Digg failure

Digg

Enables users to share interesting stories

Description

Digg stated mission on launching was that of ‘democratizing’ the content and news that people saw. The concept was simple: anyone that found interesting content could ‘digg it’ and post it on the Digg site. The post and stories that received the most amount of upvotes were featured on Digg’s front page getting thus maximum exposure. The site was initially a place for geeky and tech content but it soon grew to incorporate various types of content.

Stats

Category
Social Media
Country
United States
Started
In 2004
Closed
Active
Number of Founders
One
Name of Founders
Kevin Rose
Number of Employees
Between 51 And 100
Number of Funding Rounds
6
Total Funding Amount
$49M
Number of Investors
14
Precise Cause of Failure
Competition
Business Outcome
Still Active

Cause of Failure

Digg is a site that missed the opportunity to become a thriving social network. The site is still active but even one of its former CEOs posts more frequently on Twitter than on his own site.

The reason Digg failed were interlinked and quite obvious to point out in hindsight.

First of all, it failed to carry on with its mission of offering a platform that was free of any group’s agenda. As a matter of fact, anyone with a large circle of friends or with a numerous follower’s base (or the highest number of fake accounts) could message their posts to get the most amount of upvotes within hours, not because of the quality of the content of the post, but simply because of the connections that that specific ‘power user’ had. In an attempt to remedy to this, the site disabled the messaging feature it had and only allowed sharing with their friends by means of Facebook and Twitter. As you can imagine, the move didn’t do them any good, not only that, but it left their users dissatisfied (to say the least) by the newly implemented restriction.

And yet, these were not the only changes Digg’s team made that distanced its users. In 2010, Digg came back with a new design that, alas, had even fewer features. Digg v4, as it was called, did away with features such as down voting posts, saving favorites and posting videos.

Digg had the advantage of being the early mover since it was founded in 2004 and valued at $160 million in 2008, but it failed to adapt to its growing user base and renew the mission it had. Another bookmarking site, Reddit, slowly but inevitably started to catch up with it. As Digg users left the platform in 2010, there was Reddit offering them a ready and welcoming alternative. The interesting and inviting thing about Reddit, which is basically a spinoff of Digg, was that user content was encouraged and this allowed the platform to thrive. Self-promotion and publishing of one’s own content on Digg, instead, seemed to be frowned upon. Reddit valued and nurtured its community in ways Digg wasn’t able to do.

There were rumors that Digg would be brought back and improved upon as an app, but even so, by now it would face quite a bit of competition.

Go on Reading

Other Startups

LuckyUnicorn t-Shirts
We've just launched 20 limited edition Failory t-shirts. Click here to buy one!

Startup Cemetery

A big resource for entrepreneurs and startup owners, in which we have collected and analyzed why +100 big companies have failed. Learn from mistakes, and avoid being part of the 90% of businesses that fail.

Digg

Enables users to share interesting stories

General Information
Category
Social Media
Country
United States
Started
In 2004
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Still Active
Closed
Active
Cause of Failure
Competition
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
One
Name of Founders
Kevin Rose
Number of Employees
Between 51 And 100
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
6
Total Funding Amount
$49M
Number of Investors
14
Description

Digg stated mission on launching was that of ‘democratizing’ the content and news that people saw. The concept was simple: anyone that found interesting content could ‘digg it’ and post it on the Digg site. The post and stories that received the most amount of upvotes were featured on Digg’s front page getting thus maximum exposure. The site was initially a place for geeky and tech content but it soon grew to incorporate various types of content.

Cause of Failure

Digg is a site that missed the opportunity to become a thriving social network. The site is still active but even one of its former CEOs posts more frequently on Twitter than on his own site.

The reason Digg failed were interlinked and quite obvious to point out in hindsight.

First of all, it failed to carry on with its mission of offering a platform that was free of any group’s agenda. As a matter of fact, anyone with a large circle of friends or with a numerous follower’s base (or the highest number of fake accounts) could message their posts to get the most amount of upvotes within hours, not because of the quality of the content of the post, but simply because of the connections that that specific ‘power user’ had. In an attempt to remedy to this, the site disabled the messaging feature it had and only allowed sharing with their friends by means of Facebook and Twitter. As you can imagine, the move didn’t do them any good, not only that, but it left their users dissatisfied (to say the least) by the newly implemented restriction.

And yet, these were not the only changes Digg’s team made that distanced its users. In 2010, Digg came back with a new design that, alas, had even fewer features. Digg v4, as it was called, did away with features such as down voting posts, saving favorites and posting videos.

Digg had the advantage of being the early mover since it was founded in 2004 and valued at $160 million in 2008, but it failed to adapt to its growing user base and renew the mission it had. Another bookmarking site, Reddit, slowly but inevitably started to catch up with it. As Digg users left the platform in 2010, there was Reddit offering them a ready and welcoming alternative. The interesting and inviting thing about Reddit, which is basically a spinoff of Digg, was that user content was encouraged and this allowed the platform to thrive. Self-promotion and publishing of one’s own content on Digg, instead, seemed to be frowned upon. Reddit valued and nurtured its community in ways Digg wasn’t able to do.

There were rumors that Digg would be brought back and improved upon as an app, but even so, by now it would face quite a bit of competition.

Go on Reading

Kiko

Ajax-style online calendar application

Productivity
Acquired
$50K
Bad Management
Productivity
United States
In 2003
By 2008
Two
Between 11 And 50
Less Than 1M
Bad Management
Acquired
Yik Yak

Anonymous location-based social network

Social Media
Shut Down
$73.5M
Legal Challenges
Social Media
United States
In 2013
By 2017
Three
Between 11 And 50
More Than 50M
Legal Challenges
Shut Down
Circa

Mobile news app on diverse topics

Productivity
Acquired
$4.7M
Multiple Reasons
Productivity
United States
In 2011
By 2015
Three
Between 11 And 50
Between 1M 10M
Multiple Reasons
Acquired
Design Inc.

Marketplace for high-quality design work

Design
Shut Down
$2.3M
Bad Business Model
Design
United States
In 2016
By 2017
Two
Between 1 And 10
Between 1M 10M
Bad Business Model
Shut Down
Wesabe

Personal finance management website

Finances
Shut Down
$4.7M
Bad Management
Finances
United States
In 2005
By 2010
Two
Between 11 And 50
Between 1M 10M
Bad Management
Shut Down
QBotix

Solar panels attached and regulated by robots

Software and Hardware
Shut Down
$23.5M
Multiple Reasons
Software and Hardware
United States
In 2010
By 2015
One
Between 11 And 50
Between 10M 50M
Multiple Reasons
Shut Down