Digg, the popular online social news site, is witnessing a large decline in popularity after its recent and rather large and dramatic overhaul. The new Digg has been panned by everyone, and it has lost a lot of traffic to Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if some drastic remedies aren’t undertaken soon, then Digg will soon become extinct. The founder, Kevin Rose, actually admitted recently that he has made a mistake by changing the website completely in a single swoop, instead of introducing changes gradually over time.
There are 4 things that could be done to prevent Digg from becoming extinct:
A Balancing Act
Digg is what you could refer to as a social gaming website. Digg features a voting system that decided whether a story is good enough for the front page or not (or at least that was the case before). Hardcore users of the website, or Power Diggers, formed groups that voted on stories created by their teammates and ensures that the story got published on the front page. Publishers flocked to them for some publicity for their stories, and the Power Diggers made a lot of money by doing this. Obviously, this is irritating for regular users, because their stories seldom got front page space. What Digg needs to do is to try and make the website attractive to all. The Power Diggers are necessary; they provide a steady flow of genuine content. Regular users are invaluable as well; they drive up the traffic and they are the ones that publishers are interested in. Catering to the needs of both the groups is a tough task, and balance is the key. The new auto-submit feature was on the right track; but needs to be tweaked a little.
Stop the Spam
After the new version was introduced, the front page is filled with spam. The spam includes links to free herbal remedies, travel and other such websites that don’t have any news value whatsoever. The front page has become one large advertising column. This needs to change, and many feel that the old Digg had it right when it came to the front page.
Concentrate on Content, not Revenue
Revenue generation has become a major problem for Digg, ever since the recession back in 2008. It was in negotiations with Google for a takeover, but things didn’t work out. After that, everything went wrong and Digg found its revenue was dropping. To make things profitable, Digg cut back on staff and concentrated on generating revenue by attracting publishers and largely ignored users. Innovation is necessary to keep traffic coming in and current users hooked, but Digg ignored this as well until it was too late and much of its traffic was taken by Twitter and Google. With great content and content recommendation, and less emphasis on revenue, Digg will successfully stop this decline.
There are many bugs on the new version of Digg currently. Posts aren’t time-stamped, RSS feeds and story categories aren’t working as they should. The saved stories page should be reintroduced. The Top User list is another feature that should be reintroduced. The Report button was a good feature as well.