The dominant models of search and social for discovery seem to point to the need for syndication above the need for subscription to branded channels. The syndication model in turn requires additional focus on relevance. This, together with the new needs for social and design, again points to the need for media companies to refocus their efforts on their core competency; journalism.
This also points to the need for new platforms that allow these media companies to syndicate their content. Proliferation of individual apps or channels is not the new model. Google/Yahoo news isn’t the new model - they’ve been surpassed by Facebook already. Community sites like Digg and Reddit are not even in the running.
The good news for media is that when they embraces the new model, I think they will make far more money than they ever have in the past due to the combination of broader distribution and better targeting leading to larger ad revenues.
Both of these sites are being replaced by Reddit, a four-year-old news forum with far more educated, better-behaved users than either, but with a culture that somehow rides the middle between Digg’s slavery to the mainstream tastes of America’s teen males and 4chan’s obsession with inscrutable in-jokes and anti-humor.
Reddit got almost 300 million pageviews in July, compared to the 200 million Digg views in July that Digg founder Kevin Rose reported on his blog. So says an infographic posted on Reddit by Alexis Ohanian, one of the site’s founders, who also asks why the media continually call Reddit “tiny” and “dwarfed” by Digg. What’s more, traffic at Reddit, according to their Google Analytics, is up 24% in the last two months.
Rose met Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak while he was working on The Screen Savers (Wozniak was an occasional guest on the show). One day while having lunch with Wozniak, they were talking about the old days and the groundbreaking things Wozniak did back in the late 70’s. Rose decided that he needed to “do something” and later came up with the idea of a user controlled community-based news website. In the fall of 2004, he withdrew $1000 out of his account and paid a freelance web developer $12 an hour to mock up a Web page and purchased some server space for $99 a month. He paid $1200 for the domain name digg.com, and the project began. Rose along with Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson, formed Digg, a technology news website that combined social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. The website was officially launched to the public on December 5, 2004.
In October 2005, Digg.com received $2.8 million in venture capital from major investors, including Omidyar Network, the outfit led by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, and Greylock partners.
In September 2008, the company received a further $28.7 million round of funding led by Highland Capital Partners.
When Rose was starting Digg, he invested $6000 into the site, which was supposed to be for a deposit on a house for him and his girlfriend at the time. As a result of this, their relationship broke down. Since this, Rose has been quoted to say that “no matter what happens with Digg, I won’t put business first again.”