About a week ago Digg.com unveiled its latest redesign (“version 4.0“) along with some changes in the way the site works. I first noticed this when I went to check Digg’s mobile website and saw that it looked like something was broken. Little did I know that the entire site had changed, and as many people feel, changed was for the worse.
If you’ve never heard of Digg, what Digg originally was was a tech-oriented news aggregation site. Users submitted links to tech stories and stories got dugg up or buried based on their popularity, with the most popular stories making it to Digg’s homepage. In the beginning, Digg only had 14 categories: apple, deals, design, gaming, hardware, links, linux/unix, mods, movies, music, robots, security, software, and technology. It was a great place to learn about and spread news of cool tech stuff. Almost anyone with a link to an interesting story (including me) could get it promoted to the front page. Over the years Digg slowly evolved into more of a social news aggregation site that covered topics other than technology (see below) and along with it’s growth in popularity came abuses to the system. Users found ways to game the system, and advertisers used it as a way to promote their products and services. For the most part, we, the users, of Digg, were able to tolerate the various abuses that crept in. That is up until now.
With the latest release of Digg 4, the site has again changed, however its user base is not happy. In fact, between the site being down frequently with the new release and the Digg system being plagued by submission from it’s main competitor reddit.com, it’s become almost unusable. Popular stories have no relevance as anything is being promoted by a large group of disgruntled members. It’s not possible to set your Digg homepage to a specific category as you could in the past, upcoming stories are gone (they were gone but have been brought back) and the concept of following other Digg users is now a core part of the new site. As one Digg member put it:
“worst. facebook clone. ever.
i couldn’t care less about “my news” or “my friends bla”. i came to digg.com to see the digg community’s news. i don’t want to subscribe to anything. i’ve been visiting digg.com for the last years at least three or four times a day and always found interesting new stories without having to do all that crap. now, the digg.com frontpage is an emtpy, big mess. i have to klick on “top news” to actually see anything. after clicking on a story, i have to click another time to actually see any comments. that’s at least three clicks more than i needed before. and it sucks. the old digg.com was simple, unique, it was self-explenatory. now i can’t even find the upcoming stories and i feel like i’m on a strange facebook-twitter hybrid. however, i hate twitter and i don’t need more than one facebook.
In 2005, Digg’s motto was “What’s Digg? Digg is a technology news website that employs non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allowing an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do”
In 2006 this changed to “Digg is all about user powered content. Everything is submitted and voted on by the digg community. Share, discover, bookmark, and promote stuff that’s important to you!”
Fast forward to today and now the first thing on Digg’s about page is “Better performing ads. Ads on Digg enable you to seamlessly integrate your content and engage everyday users and taste makers as they discover and curate content online.” How times have changed.
Digg seems to have lost its way and the spark of what made it cool in the first place. It’s been drawn into the social networking pool where not everyone enjoys swimming. Digg is now about following people and having them follow you. I may be in the minority here but I truly could care less about following other people. Why should I believe that someone I don’t know who may digg items I like will continue to do so? Why should I care? What originally made Digg great was that it allowed the masses to vote on cool tech news and the most popular ones were easy to find. Now the content is controlled by a small group of fanatical users and the rest of us are now forced to wade through the mire to find something that is of actual interest. Digg’s power users have made it virtually impossible for the average Joe to get a story to the front page, despite Digg’s claims of adjusting their system to help stop this behavior. In other words, where Digg was once a great tool to find interesting news, it has now become the same cesspool that it tried to help its users avoid.
- Industry News
- World & Business
- Business & Finance
- World News
- Political News
- Political Opinion
- General Sciences
- Industry News
- PC Games
- Playable Web Games
- Arts & Culture
- Food & Drink
- Travel & Places
- Comics & Animation
- Football – US/Canada
- Other Sports
- Odd Stuff
- Pets & Animals
And just about a day ago, just after Digg 4.0 rolled out, Digg founder Kevin Rose has announced that he is stepping down as CEO.
On a side note, I just got an email from Digg with the subject, “We’ve Created A Monster – The New Digg Is Here”. How true.
UPDATE #1: Seems that Digg can’t keep some folks logged in. I’m among those people and it’s beyond annoying to have to constantly login to the site after telling it to remember me and after I cleaned my cookies. This has happened across multiple computers.
UPDATE #2: Top and front page stores have very little comments and diggs. Seems that whatever Digg did to stem the reddit tide killed the way stories got promoted. That or the rats have abandoned the ship.