|Foundation date||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Headquarters||New York, New York, United States|
|Founder(s)||Jay Adelson & Kevin Rose|
|Key people||Matt Williams (CEO)|
|Revenue||US$8.5 million (2008 est.)|
|Alexa rank||480 (December 2013[update])|
|Type of site||Social news|
|Launched||December 5, 2004|
Digg is a news aggregator with an editorially driven front page, aiming to select stories specifically for the Internet audience such as science, trending political issues, and viral Internet issues. It was launched in its current form on July 31, 2012, with support for sharing content to other social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Formerly, Digg had been a very popular social news website, allowing people to vote web content up or down, called digging and burying, respectively. Quantcast had estimated Digg's monthly U.S. unique visits at 3.8 million. Digg's popularity prompted the creation of copycat social networking sites with story submission and voting systems such as Reddit. 
In July 2008, the former company took part in advanced acquisition talks with Google for a reported $200 million price tag, but the deal ultimately fell through. Four years later, on July 12, 2012, Digg was sold in three parts: the Digg brand, website and technology were sold to the current owner, Betaworks, for an estimated $500,000; 15 staff were transferred to the Washington Post's "SocialCode" for a reported $12 million; and a suite of patents were sold to LinkedIn for about $4 million.
Digg started as an experiment in November 2004 by collaborators Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson. The original design by Dan Ries was free of advertisements. The company added Google AdSense early in the project but switched to MSN adCenter in 2007.
The site's main function is to let users discover, share and recommend web content. Members of the community can submit a webpage for general consideration. Other members can vote that page up ("digg") or down ("bury"). Although voting takes place on digg.com, many websites add "digg" buttons to their pages, allowing users to vote as they browse the web. The end product is a series of wide-ranging, constantly updated lists of popular and trending content from around the Internet, aggregated by a social network.
Additions and improvements were made throughout the website's first years. Digg v2 was released in July 2005, with a new interface by web design company silverorange. New features included a friends list, and the ability to "digg" a story without being redirected to a success page. One year later, as part of Digg v3, the website added specific categories for technology, science, world and business, videos, entertainment and gaming, as well as a "view all" section that merged all categories. Further interface adjustments were made in August 2007.
By 2008, Digg's homepage was attracting over 236 million visitors annually, according to a Compete.com survey. Digg had grown large enough that it was thought to affect the traffic of submitted webpages. Some pages experienced a sudden increase of traffic shortly after being submitted; some Digg users refer to this as the "Digg effect".
CEO Jay Adelson announced in 2010 that the site would undergo an extensive overhaul. In an interview with Wired magazine, Adelson stated that "Every single thing has changed" and that "the entire website has been rewritten." The company switched from MySQL to Cassandra, a distributed database system; in a blog post, VP Engineering John Quinn described the move as "bold". Adelson summed up the new Digg by saying, "We've got a new backend, a new infrastructure layer, a new services layer, new machines — everything."
Adelson stepped down as CEO on April 5, 2010 to explore entrepreneurial opportunities, months before the launch date of Digg v4. He had been the company's CEO since its inception. Kevin Rose, another original founder, stepped in temporarily as CEO and Chairman.
Digg's v4 release on August 25, 2010, was marred by site-wide bugs and glitches. Digg users reacted with hostile verbal opposition. Beyond the release, Digg faced problems due to so-called "power users" who would manipulate the article recommendation features to only support one another's postings, flooding the site with articles only from these users and making it impossible to have genuine content from non-power users appear on the front page. Frustrations with the system led to dwindling web traffic, exacerbated by heavy competition from Facebook, whose Like buttons started to appear on websites next to Digg's. High staff turnover included the departure of head of business development Matt Van Horn, shortly after v4's release.
On September 1, 2010, Matt Williams took over as CEO, ending Rose's troubled tenure as interim chief executive.
In July 2012, Digg was sold in three parts: the Digg brand, website and technology were sold to Betaworks for $500,000; 15 staff were transferred to the Washington Post's SocialCode project for $12 million; and a suite of patents were sold to LinkedIn for around $4 million.
There are reports that Digg had been trying to sell itself to a larger company since early 2006. The most notable attempt took place in July 2008, when Google entered talks to buy Digg for around $200 million. Google walked away from negotiations during the deal's due diligence phase, informing Digg on July 25 that it was no longer interested in the purchase. Digg subsequently went into further venture capital funding, receiving $28.7 million from investors such as Highland Capital Partners to move headquarters and add staff. Several months later, CEO Jay Adelson said Digg was no longer for sale.
On July 20, 2012, new owners Betaworks announced via Twitter that they were rebuilding Digg from scratch, "turning [Digg] back into a start-up". Betaworks gave the project a six-week deadline. Surveys of existing users, through the website ReThinkDigg.com, were used to inform the development of a new user interface and user experience.
Digg v1 launched a day early on July 31, 2012. It features an editorially driven front page, more images, and top, popular and upcoming stories. Users can access a new scoring system. There is increased support for sharing content to other social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
In response to the announced shutdown of Google Reader, Digg announced on March 14th, 2013 that it was working on its own RSS reader. Digg Reader launched on June 28, 2013 as a web and iOS application. An Android app was released on August 29, 2013.
Issues Relating to Former Digg Website
The Digg algorithm samples a diverse group of users to identify trending content, but in the past it was much more dependent on flocking behavior. In 2006, an anonymous user wrote a blog post accusing an O'Reilly writer of stealing Digg's CSS and HTML. Digg users flocked to the story and it was promoted with nearly 3,000 votes; Digg founders Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson and Daniel Burka promptly expressed dissatisfaction on finding Digg's code on writer Steve Mallett's sites.
Mallett's code came from the open source project Pligg, which replicates some of Digg's features and backend. Pligg is based on a similar Spanish project called Menéame. Menéame copied CSS and HTML code from Digg; this was distributed to Pligg, then to Mallett. On downloading the code from Pligg, Mallett had "assumed the open source code didn't violate copyrights, as we all do, and was surprised to learn otherwise." Which is to say, "the main claim of stealing CSS was superficially true, but substantially false." Mallett defended himself in a blog post supported by O'Reilly.
Digg's executives were quick to make amends. Rose acknowledged the misunderstanding and notified Pligg developers of the issue, while Adelson expressed support for Mallett's claims and personally thanked him for clearing the issue. Nonetheless, O'Reilly writer Nat Torkington noted in her defense of Mallett that thousands of Digg voters had already supported an article claiming Mallett was a thief and a spammer.
This error has been attributed to the wisdom of the crowd, where the collective opinion of individuals is given greater weight than a single expert. Another explanation is groupthink, which differs by requiring independence among its nodes.
Organized promotion and censorship by users
It has been possible for users to have disproportionate influence on Digg, either by themselves or in teams. These users are sometimes motivated to promote or bury pages for political or financial reasons.
Serious attempts by users to game the site began in 2006. A top user was banned after agreeing to promote a story for cash to an undercover Digg sting operation. Another group of users openly formed a 'Bury Brigade' to remove "spam" articles about US politician Ron Paul; critics accused the group of attempting to stifle any mention of Ron Paul on Digg.
Digg hired computer scientist Anton Kast to develop a diversity algorithm that would prevent special interest groups from dominating Digg. During a town hall meeting, Digg executives responded to criticism by removing some features that gave superusers extra weight, but declined to make "buries" transparent.
However, later that year Google increased its page rank for Digg. Shortly, many 'pay for Diggs' startups were created to profit from the opportunity. According to TechCrunch, one top user charged $700 per story, with a $500 bonus if the story reached the front page.
Digg Patriots was a conservative Yahoo! Groups mailing list, with an associated page on coRank, accused of coordinated, politically motivated behavior on Digg. Progressive blogger Ole Ole Olson wrote in August 2010 that Digg Patriots undertook a year-long effort of organized burying of seemingly liberal articles from Digg's Upcoming module. He also accused leading members of vexatiously reporting liberal users for banning (and those who seemed liberal), and creating "sleeper" accounts in the event of administrators banning their accounts. These and other actions would violate Digg's terms of usage. Olson's post was immediately followed by the disbanding and closure of the DiggPatriots list, and an investigation into the matter by Digg.
AACS encryption key controversy
|Wikinews has related news: Digg.com suffers user revolt; Founder will not fight|
Digg's version 4 release was initially unstable. The site was unreachable or unstable for weeks after its launch on August 25, 2010. Many users, upon finally reaching the site, complained about the new design and the removal of many features (such as bury, favorites, friends submissions, upcoming pages, subcategories, videos and history search). Kevin Rose replied to complaints on his blog, promising to fix the algorithm and restore some features.
Disgruntled users declared a "quit Digg day" on August 30, 2010, and used Digg's own auto-submit feature to fill the front page with content from Reddit. Reddit also temporarily added the Digg shovel to their logo to welcome fleeing Digg users.
Digg's traffic dropped significantly after the launch of version 4, and publishers reported a drop in direct referrals from stories on Digg's front page. New CEO Matt Williams attempted to address some of the users' concerns in a blog post on October 12, 2010, promising to reinstate many of the features that had been removed.
|October 2004||Development on digg.com begins|
|December 1, 2004||Kevin Rose creates the first profile|
|December 3, 2004||The first story is submitted to Digg|
|December 5, 2004||Digg is open to public|
|December 13, 2004||Kevin Rose shows off Digg on The Screen Savers|
|January 2, 2005||Comment section introduced for stories|
|February 28, 2005||Digg 1.6: duplicate story detection|
|March 19, 2005||Profile page now includes comment histories and sort by category|
|May 9, 2005||Digg spy is released|
|May 27, 2005||Digg 2.0 is released. Friends feature, ajax buttons for Digg/bury, and a non-linear promotion algorithm are implemented.|
|July 2, 2005||Diggnation podcast begins with Alex and Kevin|
|October 2005||Raises $2.8 million in venture capital|
|December 2005||Digg Spy 2.0 released|
|December 2005||KoolAidGuy saga results in anti-spam tools being introduced|
|January 17, 2006||Top user Albertpacino resigns after accusations of him being on Digg payroll|
|January 18, 2006||Digg Clouds is introduced, Search is improved|
|January 25, 2006||Acquisition rumors begins|
|February 2, 2006||Report stories as 'inaccurate' and Profanity filters are introduced|
|February 15, 2006||Digg widget for blogs and share by email is released|
|March 1, 2006||New Digg Comment System Released, threaded and Diggable comments.|
|April 20, 2006||Digg Army Saga: after an exposé by forevergeek.com Kevin bans dozens of top users.|
|June 26, 2006||Digg v3 rolled out, site redesign, shouts, new categories: politics and sports.|
|July 24, 2006||Digg Labs Launches|
|August 15, 2006||Thumbnails added|
|August 27, 2006||Digg begins enforcing trademark rights|
|September 6, 2006||User rebellion against Friends System and vote rigging results in promises about the diversity algorithms and other tools that were never implemented. Top user p9 resigns.|
|September 8, 2006||diggriver.com is launched for mobile devices|
|September 12, 2006||#1 Story feature added later renamed as favorites|
|December 18, 2006||New features: Podcast, Videos, Top 10 sidebar, wide-screen support and friends page|
|December 28, 2006||Raises $8.5 million in venture capital|
|February 2, 2007||Top Diggers list removed after user complaints|
|February 2, 2007||Big Spy Launched|
|February 26, 2007||The new US Elections 2008 section creates lots of buzz|
|March 1, 2007||Blog post leads to concern about 'bury brigades'. Digg investigates and find no evidence for these allegations|
|April 19, 2007||Digg API is made public, Contest launched for best app using the API|
|May 1, 2007||HD-DVD saga regarding the censorship of the leaked encryption key, Kevin sides with the users and ends the censorship|
|June 4, 2007||Facebook app is launched|
|June 21, 2007||New Comment System - Joe Stump edition. Instant backlash from community after slow loading.|
|July 10, 2007||iPhone App beta launched|
|July 25, 2007||Ad partnership with Microsoft|
|August 27, 2007||Customizable homepage options. Images and videos now back to homepage.|
|September 19, 2007||New Digg profiles, story suggestion, email alerts|
|November 20, 2007||Digg the Candidates: Presidential candidates get their Digg accounts|
|February 1, 2008||Digg Town Halls|
|May 15, 2008||New comments system is released|
|June 30, 2008||Recommendation engine is released|
|July 23, 2008||Facebook minifeeds of digg stories|
|July 31, 2008||m.digg.com - Mobile site is released|
|August 6, 2008||Firefox Extension released|
|August 25, 2008||Digg Dialogg|
|September 8, 2008||Digg warns users against script for auto digging friends stories.|
|September 24, 2008||$28.7 million capital raised with Highland Capital Partners.|
|October 3, 2008||A small number of power users are banned after they fail to follow guidelines against script digging.|
|October 9, 2008||Digg Spy and podcasts discontinued|
|December 18, 2008||Related stories and "People who Dugg this also Dugg" boxes added to individual stories|
|April 2, 2009||DiggBar and short url launched|
|April 9, 2009||New Search|
|May 6, 2009||Facebook Connect|
|May 26, 2009||Shouts feature is removed|
|August 6, 2009||Diggable ads implemented|
|October 16, 2009||Partners with WeFollow for categorizing user in the upcoming version 4 release|
|November 4, 2009||Digg Trends launched|
|January 17, 2010||Chrome extension launched|
|March 23, 2010||iPhone app is launched|
|April 1, 2010||Android app is launched|
|April 5, 2010||Jay Adelson Steps Down as CEO, Kevin Rose becomes interim CEO|
|July 2, 2010||Digg version 4 alpha testing begins|
|August 3, 2010||Digg takes down new user registration in preparation for Digg 4.0|
|August 25, 2010||Digg v4 is released: My News and Publisher Streams launched|
|September 1, 2010||Matt Williams replaces Kevin Rose as CEO|
|October 27, 2010||Digg lays off 37% of its staff along with refocusing the service|
|March 18, 2011||Kevin Rose resigns from his role in the company |
|August 9, 2011||Newswire is launched.|
|September 20, 2011||Newsroom is launched.|
|December 22, 2011||Digg Social Reader is introduced.|
|March 6, 2012||Digg Mobile is now in a relationship with Digg Social Reader.|
|July 12, 2012||Digg announced its sale to Betaworks for $500,000.|
|July 20, 2012||Digg announces new site redesign in progress, "rebooting" the site back to v1 as a "startup," slated for release on August 1, 2012.|
|August 1, 2012||Digg releases v1 site reboot|
|June 28, 2013||Digg Reader launches|
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