In a few years time, the story of Digg – the once popular social news/bookmarking service – will likely be a textbook case of a big brand that didn’t manage to change with the times. For now, Digg is still a decently large site, though down significantly from its heights pre-Digg v4. The end for Digg as we know it could be near, though. According to TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington, Digg founder Kevin Rose has resigned from the company. Rumor is that he is closing a $1 million financing round for a new startup.
As Arrington rightly points out, Digg’s glory days were around 2007/2008, when Google was quite interested in buying the site, though that deal eventually fell through. Since then, Digg has struggled to keep up with the times and is now under pressure from social media services like Twitter and Facebook, as well as from Digg-like sites, including Conde Nast’s Reddit. The launch of Digg v4, which alienated the site’s most loyal users in an effort to turn Digg into a more mainstream-oriented service, was a turning point for the site, which never recovered from this.
For Digg, Rose’s departure (assuming this rumor is true) likely won’t result in any immediate changes. While Rose took over as Digg’s CEO after the departure of Jay Adelson (who, according to various people I have talked to at SXSW, has rarely looked as happy and relaxed than these days), Matt Williams took Rose’s role late last year and now runs the day-to-day operations at Digg. One has to wonder, though, if others at Digg won’t follow Rose’s example and will start looking for new jobs (maybe even at Rose’s new venture).
Note: I have asked Revision3/Digg for a comment about this rumor and will update this story once/if I hear back from them.