Digg has launched the newest version of its social bookmarking website in an effort to regain its old popularity.
Digg has returned with a brand new website. The social bookmarking site, which has been down for construction over the last few weeks, showed users the first images of what the new Digg will look like, after a manic five-week coding spree.
The new service is called Digg v1, and has been designed to keep up with developments in social sharing that have occurred since the website originally rose to fame in 2004.
The ailing social site was purchased by New York tech company Betaworks earlier in the summer. Chief executive John Borthwick explained the rush job to UK news outlet the BBC:
“The existing Digg infrastructure was originally built in 2004, and on today’s infrastructure we can run Digg for about one fifteenth to one eighteenth of the cost. So when we shook hands and decided that we were going to go ahead and get this deal done, we immediately spun off a team that said let’s just rebuild the whole thing from scratch. Five weeks is a pretty rough sprint to put together something the scale and breadth of Digg.”
But put something together they have. As part of the redesign, the Digg team posted a user poll on their RethinkDigg.com website, where results quickly showed that 92% of users hated the current design.
From Digg to Dugg
Digg was founded by entrepreneur Kevin Rose in 2004. The site shot to fame as a user-generated news aggregator, but the dire update from version three to the much-maligned version four left many users so dissatisfied that they headed to newer, more on-trend social networking pastures.
In mid-2012 Digg sold to Betaworks for a rumored $500,000, which is pocket-change compared to the $45 million that has been invested in the site over the last eight years. The question now is whether Betaworks can turn the site around.
The new version of the website will be a lot more image-focused, in keeping with current online trends. Post rankings will also be influenced by the number of shares they have received on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Digg itself. Digg’s mobile app has also been updated: in an Instapaper-style twist, users now have the option to save stories to read later. The team behind the relaunch still have a few major creases to iron out (currently the site has no commenting system in place), but Betaworks are optimistic. As posted on the Rethink Digg site, they plan to focus on “the user, who is our first, second, and third priority”.
In a recent chat with Reddit users during the bookmarking site’s “Ask Me Anything” series, Kevin Rose, who stepped down from Digg in 2011, said he had regrets about some of the decisions he had made:
“The regrets in my mind are things I could have changed but didn’t… There were certain things, product decisions that I made that were bad calls later in the company’s life. A lot of those calls were made for reasons that were not really true to the [Digg] community.”
He also publically supported the site’s redesign under Betaworks and the direction in which it’s heading.
Have you seen the new Digg? Are Betaworks’ changes enough to draw back old users? Leave a comment and let us know.