Last week, Betaworks acquired former Internet wonder child Digg for surprisingly little. The deal was the culmination of a squandered platform that lost its footing and alienated core users with relaunches, slowly chipping away at its glory days in the process.
Digg has been declared dead more than once, and the acquisition seemed to possibly be the final nail in the coffin. But according to a blog post from the new team created by the deal, that’s hardly the case. Betaworks and Digg are ambitiously planning to rebuild the site from the ground up – by August 1.
“On August 1, after an adrenaline and caffeine-fueled six weeks, we’re rolling out a new v1,” the team announced today. “With this launch, we’re taking the first steps towards (re)making Digg the best place to find, read and share the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet – and we want your help.”
The newly organized team (a handful of engineers, designers, and editors) are asking users to fill out a survey and provide feedback as they drag Digg out of the ashes. They also want us to have a little faith. News.me says that it’s been on the forefront of developing personalized, shareable news within eye-pleasing interfaces, and that it wants to combine this with the power of what Digg once was. Of course, that’s asking a lot – but News.me says that it’s not going to gobble up the product and throw its own skin on it. According to the blog post, “We will ultimately roll them into one product, under the Digg brand.”
So it’s back to the drawing board and into startup mode for Digg, which once was a very promising startup during the dawn of Web 2.0. But in the wake of Digg’s absence, Reddit has become a force. Its community is devoted and it’s a vital news source; it’s going to be a tough competitor for the next iteration of Digg to rival. Here’s how the team plans to do that (note that monetization is not a priority yet):
- We make it easy to find, read, and share the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet.
- The experience must be fast and thin. Let users go, and they will come back to you. We optimize for return visits, not pageviews per visit.
- Build an experience that is native to each device: smart phone, inbox, Web page. Stories must find the user, wherever they are.
- Users must be able to share where they and their friends already are — on networks like Facebook, Twitter and email.
If anything, it’s an encouraging and inspiring statement, and those are two things that have been missing from Digg for a long time.