In a late-week surprise, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that the new-media company Betaworks has come to terms and closed on a sale to buy Digg. More shocking is the rumored sale price is estimated to be no more than $500,000 total for the Digg intellectual property, website, and associated technology.
In late 2004, Digg was nothing more than another small startup team of early social space innovators like Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, Dan Ries and Jay Adelson. Within the first few months Digg made its first public appearance on The Screen Savers, in December 2004. Digg launched to a heady reception and quickly became dominant in the niche for news aggregation. By 2005 the Digg team had its first venture capital round raised and began targeting future funding, advertising, and making upgrades to its growing site.
Digg gained ground quickly from its early success and the rumors of an acquisition began as early as 2006. Most people see 2008 as opportunity lost when a purported $200 million buyout by Google fell through. From 2008 on, things began to fall apart for much of the Digg team following reports of tampering with the article voting system and some internal management disagreements. By late 2010, Kevin Rose had moved on to his new job at Google, leaving the company in the hands of current CEO Matt Williams.
After raising roughly $45 million in venture capital funding over seven years and creating a great deal of intellectual property, Digg will now move into the Betaworks portfolio as part of its News.me property.
Even in what may be considered a lackluster ending for Digg, there is a lot to be said about its impact on the industry through the innovation of community-based news aggregation. From its humble beginnings, many Digg founders and early innovators launched their careers, finding homes in Google, independent projects, and the Washington Post Social Code organization.
In honor of those innovators, check out Kevin’s introduction of Digg back in 2004.
Though Digg may have come to rest in a humble home, its influence and its innovators will go on.
I’m Chris Poirier and this is aNewDomain.net.
Julie Blaustein’s article on Digg’s 1 million user party relives Digg’s heady days.
Digg the Historical Infographic!
Image credit: Pop Jolly