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Digg, Inc.
Type Private
Founded San Francisco, California, United States[1]
Founder Kevin Rose[2]
Headquarters San Bruno, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Kevin Rose (Founder)
Jay Adelson (CEO)
Scott Baker (Operations Director)
John Moffett (CFO)
Daniel Burka (Creative Director)[3][4]
Employees 77[2]
Website www.digg.com
Alexa rank 99[5]
Type of site Social news
Advertising Banner ads, referral marketing
Registration Optional
Available in Multilingual
Launched December 5, 2004 (2004-12-05)
Current status Active

Digg is a social news website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories. Voting stories up and down is the site's cornerstone function, respectively called digging and burying. Many stories get submitted every day, but only the most Dugg stories appear on the front page. Digg's popularity has prompted the creation of other social networking sites with story submission and voting systems.[6] The website traffic ranked 99th by Alexa.com as of January 2010.[7]


History and description

Digg, Version 1.6

Digg started out as an experiment in November 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson. All except Byrne currently play an active role in the management of the site. "We started working on developing the site back in October 2004," Rose told ZDNet.[8] "We started toying around with the idea a couple of months prior to that, but it was early October when we actually started creating what would become the beta version of Digg. The site launched to the world on December 5, 2004." Rose's friend, David Prager (The Screen Savers, This Week in Tech), originally wanted to call the site "Diggnation", but Rose wanted a simpler name. He chose the name "Digg", because users are able to "dig" stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called "Digg" instead of "Dig" because the domain name "dig.com" had been previously registered by the Walt Disney Internet Group. Diggnation would eventually be used as the title of Rose and Alex Albrecht's weekly podcast discussing popular stories from Digg.

The original design was free of advertisements, and was designed by Dan Ries. As Digg became more popular, Google AdSense was added to the website. In July 2005, the site was updated to "Version 2.0". The new "version" featured a friends list, the ability to "digg" a story without being redirected to a "success" page, and a new interface designed by web design company silverorange.[9] The site developers have stated that in future versions a more minimalist design will likely be employed. On Monday June 26, 2006 version 3 of Digg was released with specific categories for Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment and Gaming as well as a View All section where all categories are merged. Digg has grown large enough that submissions sometimes create a sudden increase of traffic to the "dugg" website. This is referred to by some Digg users as the "Digg effect" and by some others as the site being "dugg to death". However, in many cases stories are linked simultaneously on several popular bookmarking sites. In such cases, the impact of the "digg effect" is difficult to isolate and assess. On August 27, 2007, Digg altered its main interface, mostly in the profile area. The domain "digg.com" attracted at least 236 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.[10]

Potential sale

Several reports have come forward claiming Digg has been trying to sell itself to a larger company since early 2006.[11] While Adelson claims that Digg will meet with any potential buyers, he denies that they will actively begin talks for a sale. The most recent sale talks were with Google in July 2008 for approximately $200 million. On July 25, during the due diligence part of the potential sale, Google informed Digg that they were not interested in the purchase.[12] As a result of Google's decision, Digg entered into a third round of funding, receiving $28.7 million from investors such as Highland Capital Partners. With this funding, the company plans to move from their current offices to accommodate a bigger staff base.[13] On December 2, 2008, BusinessWeek reported "Digg Chief Executive Officer Jay Adelson says the popular news aggregation Web site is no longer for sale, and the focus of the company is to build an independent business that reaches profitability as quickly as possible. That means the four-year-old startup will dial back some of its expansion plans, instead prioritizing projects that generate revenue and profit".[14] On December 18, 2008, BusinessWeek analyzed Digg's financial statements. They reported that Digg lost $4 million on $6.4 million of revenue in the first three quarters of 2008.[15]


Digg Inc is based mostly from its Digg.com website. Many of Digg's new developments are improvements and features to its website.

Facebook Connect

In May 2009 Digg launched a new feature integrating Facebook Connect with Digg.[16] The Digg integration with Facebook connect allows users of Digg and Facebook to connect their accounts. When a Facebook account is connected to a Digg account, Digg articles can then be shared on the user's Facebook page.[17] Facebook Connect also allows Facebook users to log into Digg with their Facebook account, thus bypassing the normally required Digg registration.

Digg Dialogg

Digg Dialogg allows Digg users to submit questions to a preselected famous individual who agrees to do an interview with a reporter chosen by Digg.[18]

Digg Bar

On April 2, 2009, Digg released the Digg Bar, which provides a toolbar above the top of a site allowing the user to produce shortened urls, or access digg comments and analytics without leaving the page.[19]

Digg API

On April 19, 2007, Digg opened their API[20] (Application Programing Interface) to the public.[21] This allowed software developers to write tools and applications based on queries of Digg's public data, dating back to 2004. Since then, many blogs[22][23] have sought to keep up with all of the ongoing Digg API projects.


Digg has come under criticism for varying reasons. Most disparagements are centered on the site's form of user-moderation: users have too much control over content, allowing sensationalism and misinformation to thrive. [24][25] The site has also suffered the risk of companies paying for stories submitted to the site,[26][27][28][29] similar to the phenomenon of company-attempted Google bombing. Other critics feel that the site's operators may exercise too much control over which articles appear on the front page as well as the comments on Digg's forums.[30][31] Some users complain that they have been blocked from posting, and their accounts disabled, for making comments in the user-moderated forums that conflict with the personal interests of Digg's operators.[32] The existence of the "bury" option has also been criticized as undemocratic due to its anonymous nature, unaccountable,[33] which often leads to expungement of criticism of hotbed topics that do not mesh with the prevailing view of the community, which has been characterized as liberal or left-leaning by some critics and users.[34] Another criticism in this area has been[35] how a faulty or misleading article can reach many users quickly, blowing out of proportion the unsupported claims or accusations (a mob mentality). Certain Digg users have been accused of operating a "Bury Brigade" that tags articles with which they disagree as spam,[25][36][37] thus attempting to bury stories critical of Digg.

It has been reported that the top 100 Digg users posted 56% of Digg's frontpage content, and that a niche group of just twenty individuals had submitted 25% of the frontpage content.[30][38] A few sites[25] have raised the problem of groupthink and the possibility that the site is being "manipulated", so to speak. In response to this question, the site's founder Kevin Rose has announced an upcoming change to the site's algorithm:[39] "While we don't disclose exactly how story promotion works (to prevent gaming the system), I can say that a key update is coming soon. This algorithm update will look at the unique digging diversity of the individuals digging the story. Users that follow a gaming pattern will have less promotion weight. This doesn't mean that the story won't be promoted, it just means that a more diverse pool of individuals will be needed to deem the story homepage-worthy."[40]

Due to the controversy surrounding it, Digg removed their shout feature as of May 2009, replaced with options to share via email, Facebook, and Twitter.[41]

AACS encryption key controversy

On May 1, 2007 an article appeared on Digg’s homepage that contained the encryption key for the AACS digital rights management protection of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Then Digg, "acting on the advice of its lawyers", removed posting submissions about the secret number from its database and banned several users for submitting it. The removals were seen by many Digg users as a capitulation to corporate interests and an assault on free speech.[42] A statement by Jay Adelson attributed the article’s take-down to an attempt to comply with cease and desist letters from the Advanced Access Content System consortium and cited Digg’s Terms of Use as justification for taking down the article.[43] Although some users defended Digg's actions,[44][45][46] as a whole the community staged a widespread revolt with numerous articles and comments being made using the encryption key.[47][48] The scope of the user response was so great that one of the Digg users referred to it as a "digital Boston Tea Party".[49] The response was also directly responsible for Digg reversing the policy and stating: "But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be."[50]

Digg Bar

Digg Bar on Wikipedia homepage

After its release the Digg Bar rapidly became the target of criticism, for framing the original webpage and not redirecting the user to the original URL.[51][52] However, there are many internet products that incorporate a similar feature, such as Google Images. There is now a recent (As of July 20) and ongoing worry about whether the Digg Bar would lower sites' page rank because the shortened URLs fail to give 'link credit' to the original sites.[53] Several content management systems released plugins that blocked the Digg Bar and Engadget began redirecting users to the original urls.[54]

Legal Issues


In December 2008, Digg sent a cease and desist notice to social media marketing company uSocial.net. The letter (which was posted on social media news blog Mashable in an edited version) stated that uSocial were in violation of promoting the manipulation of rankings on the social bookmarking site and demanded this violation cease within ten days.[55] This was in relation to a service uSocial still markets online which claims to allow people to purchase a ranking on the front page of Digg.

As of the 27th of November 2009, uSocial still offers the service[56] which is a reason to believe Digg may not have followed-up on the cease and desist.

See also


  1. Corporate Profile - Digg, Inc., 2006-09-28, http://techaddress.wordpress.com/2006/09/28/corporate-profile-digg-inc/, retrieved 2009-01-18 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Digg.com
  3. "Digg Inc.". Business Week. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=24526784. Retrieved May 9 , 2009. 
  4. DeltaTangoBravo.com
  5. "digg.com - Traffic Details from Alexa". Alexa Internet, Inc. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/digg.com. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  6. Pat McCarthy (2006-09-10). "Revisiting Top 10 Web Predictions of 2006". Conversionrater.com. http://www.conversionrater.com/index.php/2006/09/10/revisiting-top-10-web-predictions-of-2006/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  7. "digg.com - Traffic Details from Alexa". Alexa Internet, Inc. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/digg.com. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  8. MacManus, Richard (2006-02-01). "Interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose, Part 1". ZDNet. http://blogs.zdnet.com/web2explorer/index.php?p=108. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  9. "Digg". silverorange. http://www.silverorange.com/a/portfolio/digg. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  10. Compete.com
  11. Arrington, Michael (2007-11-07). "Just Sell Digg Already, Jay". Techcrunch.com. http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/07/just-sell-digg-already-jay/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  12. "Google Walks Away From Digg Deal". washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/26/AR2008072601421.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  13. "Digg the Blog » Blog Archive » Big News: Expanding & Growing Digg". Blog.digg.com. 2008-09-24. http://blog.digg.com/?p=256. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  14. Ante, Spencer E. (December 2008). "Digg: Not For Sale". http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2008/tc2008121_004686.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  15. "A Wrench in Silicon Valley's Wealth Machine". December 2008. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_52/b4114082618241.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  16. Rose, Kevin (May 6, 2009). "Facebook Connect Launches Today!". http://blog.digg.com/?p=729. 
  17. Arrington, Michael (May 6, 2009). "Facebook Connect Now Live On Digg". http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/06/digg-to-launch-facebook-connect-today/. Retrieved May 9 , 2009. 
  18. Digg.com
  19. Rose, Kevin (April 2, 2009). "DiggBar Launches Today!". http://blog.digg.com/?p=591. 
  20. Digg.com
  21. Digg.com
  22. Techipedia.com
  23. QuickOnlineTips.com
  24. "Digging The Madness of Crowds". Radar.oreilly.com. http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/01/digging_the_madness_of_crowds.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 "Why Digg Failed". Kuro5hin.org. 2007-02-14. Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. http://web.archive.org/web/20070809235643/http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/2/14/131127/709. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  26. "Digg, scripts and bots". Searchsiren.com. 2008-12-17. http://www.searchsiren.com/?p=98. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  27. Sandoval, Greg. "Digg continues to battle phony stories". News.com.com. http://news.com.com/Digg+continues+to+battle+phony+stories/2100-1025_3-6144652.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  28. Cory Bergman (2006-07-25). "Paying users for creating content". Lostremote.com. http://www.lostremote.com/2006/07/25/paying-users-for-creating-content. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  29. Arrington, Michael (2006-03-18). "The Power of Digg". Techcrunch.com. http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/03/18/the-power-of-digg/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 1:58 am. "A Brief History of Digg Controversy". Deepjiveinterests.com. http://www.deepjiveinterests.com/2006/08/25/a-brief-history-of-digg-controversy/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  31. "'Democratic'? 'User-driven'? These do not describe Digg". Jesusphreak.infogami.com. http://jesusphreak.infogami.com/blog/what_happened_to_digg. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  32. "Is Digg being subverted by some sort of spamming?". Technology.guardian.co.uk. http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1761697,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  33. webmaster@starttherevolution.org. "Is Digg Closer To Extinction Than We Realise?". Starttherevolution.org. http://www.starttherevolution.org/archives/2006/200611/IsDiggCloserToExtinctionThanWeRealise.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  34. Owens, Simon (2008-09-04). "Digg Puts Focus on Politics, Bringing Charges of Liberal Bias". MediaShift. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/09/digg-puts-focus-on-politics-bringing-charges-of-liberal-bias248.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  35. View my My Posts Facebook Twitter LinkedIn (2006-01-10). "Digg and the So-Called "Wisdom of Mobs"". Mashable.com. http://mashable.com/2006/01/10/digg-and-the-so-called-wisdom-of-mobs/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  36. 7:05 pm. "ZDNet Not Immune To The "Bury Brigade"". Deepjiveinterests.com. http://www.deepjiveinterests.com/2006/12/09/zdnet-not-immune-to-the-bury-brigade/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  37. "An Open Letter to Kevin Rose". Techipedia.com. 2007-09-07. http://www.techipedia.com/2007/an-open-letter-to-kevin-rose/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  38. Posted by randfish on Thu (7/20/06) at 12:35 PM Blogging (2006-07-26). "Top 100 Digg Users Control 56% of Digg's HomePage Content". SEOmoz. http://www.seomoz.org/blogdetail.php?ID=1228. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  39. Cory Bergman (2006-09-06). "Digg to tweak its algorithm". Lostremote.com. http://www.lostremote.com/2006/09/06/digg-to-tweak-its-algorithm/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  40. "Digg Friends". Diggtheblog.blogspot.com. 2006-09-06. http://diggtheblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/digg-friends.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  41. Softpedia
  42. Stone, Brad (2007-05-03). "In Web Uproar, Antipiracy Code Spreads Wildly". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/technology/03code.html. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  43. Jay Adelson. "Digg the Blog: What's Happening with HD-DVD Stories?". http://blog.digg.com/?p=73. 
  44. "Cease and desist letters backfire horribly against AACS". TGdaily. 2007-05-01. http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31859/97/. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  45. "Digg losing control of their site". Weblog.infoworld.com. http://weblog.infoworld.com/railsback/archives/2007/05/digg_losing_con.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  46. Sanders, Tom. "DRM lobby tries to get HD DVD genie back into the bottle". Computing.co.uk. http://www.computing.co.uk/vnunet/news/2188970/drm-lobby-tries-hd-dvd-genie. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  47. Marcus Yam. "DailyTech: AACS Key Censorship Leads to First Internet Riot". http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=7129. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  48. "BBC News: DVD DRM row sparks user rebellion". 2007-05-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6615047.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  49. Forbes.com, Digg's DRM Revolt
  50. Kevin Rose (2007-05-01). "Digg This: 09 F9 [...]". Digg the Blog. Digg Inc. http://blog.digg.com/?p=74. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  51. DaringFireball.net
  52. Markt8t.com
  53. Danny, Sullivan (April 10, 2009). "The Growth Of Framebars & Kevin Rose On The DiggBar". http://searchengineland.com/the-growth-of-framebars-kevin-rose-on-the-diggbar-17416. 
  54. Topolsky, Joshua (April 10, 2009). "Why Engadget is blocking the DiggBar". http://www.joshuatopolsky.com/2009/04/10/why-engadget-is-blocking-the-diggbar/. 
  55. "Digg Bans Company That Blatantly Sells Diggs", Mashable. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  56. Usocial.net, "uSocial Front Page Services", Retrieved November 27, 2009.

External links

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