You know things aren’t going well for a website when it has to come out and deny rumors that its traffic has fallen 50% over the last few months by sharing its actual Google Analytics numbers. It’s even worse when these numbers, while better than the rumors, are actual far lower than those of your closest competitor. That’s the state of Digg.com today, a site that used to be a darling of the Web 2.0 movement in its early days, with a vibrant and active community around it, but which fell from grace when it made some misguided changes that alienated exactly those users it needed the most.
After repeated rumors that its numbers were falling dramatically, Digg had to actually post its Google Analytics numbers on its blog yesterday. These numbers show that the site still gets about 17 million unique visitors a month. While Digg has to be defensive about these numbers, though, its competitors at Reddit – which used to be much smaller before Digg’s missteps last year – now celebrate 28 million uniques in October. Digg argues that because close to 50% of its visitors come to the site directly, monitoring firms like Compete can’t accurately measure its traffic.
Digg’s Problems Go Deeper than its Traffic Numbers
Getting 17 million unique visitors is a respectable number, even though Reddit now dwarf Digg easily. The company’s problems go much deeper than just pure traffic, though. It has lost its most active users, who used to keep the site stocked with interesting stories. Earlier this year, Digg actually had to hire some editors to search the site for interesting stories and highlight them manually so they wouldn’t get lost.
Its users also aren’t as active as they used to be. Where top stories used to need close to 100 votes to even appear on the site’s front page, some stories can now get on the frontpage and move all the way down without ever reaching 100 votes. Stories with more than 1,000 votes were pretty normal on Digg just two years ago.
What’s most disturbing on Digg is that the community that was once so active now barely exists. Stories can move all the way down the front page with just 2 or 3 comments.
So while Digg may be posting some positive numbers today, chances are, it won’t be able to do so for a very long time anymore. It may linger around for a while, but eventually, it won’t be able to make it unless Reddit really messes up and drives its users to go to Digg again.