There was a time when Digg was the king of the web. And its reign was beloved; as the once-premier social news site online, it was the engine through which news broke and stories were told for and by millenials long before Reddit even had a toehold. But, after a hated redesign and much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Digg all but died, and the torch was passed on to the Reddit mob and other smaller competitors.
But last year’s $500,000 acquisition by venture capital company BetaWorks may be the silver lining Digg needed. In August, Digg enjoyed a more minimalist redesign that was considerably better received by its former fans. It also released mobile apps as well as and an email newsletter to drive interest. And it seems to be working. BuzzFeed reported last month that the site was back, driving more than one million referrals for the BuzzFeed Network. TechCrunch reported in October that Digg saw 1.7 million visits since the redesign, healthy numbers for any site and strongly indicative of a turnaround for the former giant.
However, it may be a bit early for the accolades. Sites like Quantcast and Alexa, though they can be inaccurate, consistently depict Digg as having steadily declining traffic, with no signs of improvement. What’s more, even if Digg is posting gains in traffic and user engagement, it will be some time before the site can compete at parity with the now-dominant Reddit.
With 2013 now in full swing, this could be the year Digg sees a resurgence. But it definitely has an uphill climb ahead of it.