Can Kevin Rose Get Digg Out of the Hole Dug By Departing CEO?


Does anyone really care about Digg anymore?

It seems like I’ve asked that question before and now it appears that Digg’s original founder is asking himself that same question. I’m guessing he didn’t like the answer, because CEO Jay Adelson is out the door and Kevin Rose will once again assume the reigns of the social bookmarking site.

If you go by Adelson’s internal email…

Got some news. After five years, forty million users, and an amazing ride, I’ve decided to step down as CEO of Dig…The entrepreneurial calling is strong…

…you get the picture that he’s just ready to move on to something new. Whether you buy that or not will depend on whether you believe Digg is still a fresh and exciting company or mature and boring. Personally, I think it has the potential to be both at this point, so I’m not inclined to believe Adelson’s motives.

I’m more inclined to believe that the “entrepreneurial calling” was more like a megaphone placed to the side of his head with Rose shouting, “get out, get out, get out!”

Indeed, both the New York Times and TechCrunch seem to support the theory that all wasn’t well at Digg HQ.

People with knowledge of the situation, who asked to remain anonymous because of its sensitivity, said Mr. Adelson’s departure was partly due to frustration among the venture capitalists who have invested $40 million in the company but have yet to see a return.

And..

…one ominous conversation I had with Kevin Rose a couple of months later stuck with me. “One of us will leave the company,” he told me, venting some frustration he had with Jay…

With a new design and new ads close to launch, this is a critical time for Digg. If I were a betting man, my money would not be on any huge comeback from the company. I believe Digg’s had its day and simply didn’t stay current enough. The way we share news has changed (Twitter, Facebook), the way we get traffic to our web sites has changed (Twitter, Facebook), and we’ve changed our focus from quick-hit, transient traffic, to long-term engaged audiences (Twitter, Facebook).

The next few months will either prove me right or wrong.

  • http://www.dan-london.com Dan London

    Digg’s traffic has been in a steady decline since October of ’09. Has that model of discovering content lost value for the “regular” reader?

    Many sites that offer higher placement via a voting method often are gamed by power users who are only looking for traffic to a website. The site needs to provide value for regular users as well as the power user. Look at Stumbleupon. Great idea, but is also tanking.

  • http://www.otrtiresupply.com OTR Tire Guy

    Digg is boring at this point. It is becoming the news submission equivalent of MySpace: They redesigned the interface, threw up some ads, and now they expect to make a profit.

    While the Digg Dialogg is a good idea, it isn’t original enough to bring people back on a regular basis. It’s just sad to see how dated the site has become.

  • http://joehall.me/ Joe Hall

    Just a few weeks ago I listened to this interview with Adelson where he boost of his “self sustaining” business model. He took some what of an anti VC stance in the interview….This explains it!

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Someone should give him a call and ask him how that’s working out for him. :-P

  • http://www.dan-london.com Dan London

    Supposedly Rose is killing the new iFrame design and unbanning domains as his 1st 2 changes.