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Will Users Dig The New Digg? Reboot Launches This Week

Will Users Dig The New Digg? Reboot Launches This Week
By Adam Dickter

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"Until we see how users adapt to the new Digg and what type of business model is developed for the site, it's too early to say if the relaunch will be viable," said analyst Rebecca Lieb of the new Digg. "My hunch is there will be a play for a Buzzfeed-type model, in which brands curate or sponsor content around a relevant theme or campaign."
 


Stories on the new, improved Digg will still be ranked according to popularity, but now Facebook shares and other interactions with social sites will also be taken into account.

That's one of the changes announced by the team that is rebuilding the pioneering Web site, recently acquired by Betaworks, from scratch. The new Digg will relaunch on Wednesday after a six-week tune-up.

"When we launch v1, users will continue to be able to digg stories, but Digg scores will also take into account Facebook shares and tweets," wrote the new development team on their Rethink Digg blog Monday.

"Roll over any Digg score to see the breakdown. We're excited to see how this new data can help us identify the best stories on the Web."

'Fast and Thin'

The blog includes photos of a paper mock-up of the new Digg as well as a photo of the developers in their warroom. The New York-based team of editors, engineers and designers wrote that their priority was to create a site that makes it easy to find, read and share the most talked-about stories on the Internet; to offer an experience that is "fast and thin" that users will visit often, rather than try to keep them busy on the site (like Facebook); and build an experience that is "native to each device: smartphone, inbox, Web page."

Digg and new-medium creator Betaworks on July 12 announced a deal to incorporate Digg into Betaworks' News.me service, with the pricetag reported as low as $500,000. At the height of its popularity Digg was once valued as high as $200 million and held talks with Google.

CEO Matt Williams said in announcing the deal that Digg accepted the offer from Betaworks because Betaworks had the best plan to keep Digg alive.

"Over the last few months, we've considered many options of where Digg could go, and frankly many of them could not live up to the reason Digg was invented in the first place -- to discover the best stuff on the Web. We wanted to find a way to take Digg back to its start up roots," Williams said.

Other Betaworks properties include SocialFlow, Bitly, Chartflow, Findings and BlogLovin.

In their blog, the developers say the new Digg will be "image friendly and ad-free," and they note changes in the traditional format.

Above all, "v1 will be about simplicity," they said. "We are doing away with 'Newsrooms,' we are killing the 'Newsbar' (aka 'Diggbar'), and we are reverting 'Newswire' back to its original name, Upcoming. Digg v1 pivots around three views: Top Stories, Popular and Upcoming."

Business Model TBD

In a previous blog post, the developers said they would not seek to generate revenue for now but would "take our time to find a business model that does not disrupt or detract from the user experience."

But it will remain to be seen if Digg can dig itself out of a digital grave.

"Until we see how users adapt to the new Digg and what type of business model is developed for the site, it's too early to say if the relaunch will be viable," said Rebecca Lieb, a digital media analyst at the Altimeter Group. "My hunch is there will be a play for a Buzzfeed-type model, in which brands curate or sponsor content around a relevant theme or campaign."
 

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