I have noticed several signs in the past few months that Digg has jumped the shark. Any one of these signs alone might be an aberration, but taken together I think they signify that Digg has peaked, and is now beginning a slow, gradual decline.
- First we had a mass exodus of many of the best users when the ‘top users’ function was removed.
- A user revolt (on account of a hand job) brought the Digg administration to its knees. Their credibility could now be questioned from multiple angles.
- The ‘bury rate’ continues to rise (it now appears the majority of stories on upcoming/most get buried rather than making it to the homepage); I understand they want to prevent commercial content getting to the homepage but in the process they are also preventing anything remotely controversial from gaining traction, and what good is a social media site without controversial content?
- The Digg Effect isn’t what it used to be. Rand Fishkin noticed that Digg sends less traffic these days and I can confirm this from stats on my own sites.
- Aaron Wall notes that after training its user base to be highly hostile to commercial content, Digg now plans to extend its platform to restaurant and product reviews. Somehow I don’t see this being well-received.
Now let me repeat, I am not saying ‘Digg is dead’, only that after an initial highly accelerated growth path, it has peaked and will now slowly decline. The guys over there built a really killer app but then squandered much of is business potential because of bad decisions (and a lack of common business sense). As a marketer I believe this is a good thing, with social media we don’t want a situation like in search where one player controls 70% of the market. I would rather depend on getting my traffic from 25 niche social media sites instead!
p.s. Digg thanks for the memories (a few hundred homepage stories, a few million visitors and half a million inbound links to various sites when the going was good)
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