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New Digg CEO Says Sorry . . . But Why Did He Have To?



You know the story. Digg changed the site in order to bring it more in line with modern social media. The old school Diggers got mad and threatened to leave. Kevin Rose said, oops, we messed up, then he left and Matt Williams took over as CEO and now he’s trying to dig out from under the mess he’s been handed.

Williams decided that the best way to address the problem was to say hello and I’m sorry.

“As many of you know, the launch of Digg v4 didn’t go smoothly, and we’re deeply sorry that we disappointed our Digg community in the process. Thank you for your patience and your extremely candid feedback — we hear you loud and clear.”

Loud and clear? I bet. It’s a funny thing about the Internet, people think they own it. Not only own it, but that they have certain inalienable rights to it even when it’s free to them and costs a company a lot of money to run.

I’m not saying the new Digg is perfect. I liked the concept when it first went up but with time I’ve found it more confusing than the original. Posting is easier and the site in general feels more organized, but I feel like I’m missing out on a lot and I can’t ever find the links I’m looking for.

The problem is that Williams is talking about putting back many of the features that caused Digg to become a private playground in the first place. Like the bury button. Once the most powerful bookmarking site in town, people started looking elsewhere when a small percentage of the people appeared to have control of the majority of the site. You can bet it’s these same people who complained the loudest, because Digg took down the gates and made the playground open to all.

Williams says;

“Our top priority is to make Digg as good as it used to be.”

More to the point, they need to make Digg better than it used to be and better than it is now. They do that, not by bowing down to the loud crowd, but by using the talent they have to take what was a useful site and bring it in line with current social media trends.

Being a CEO doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry. But in this case, it feels like Custer calling for a retreat and not an honest mea culpa.

What do you think? Does Digg have something to apologize for or are missteps just a part of rejiggering a popular website?

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    I think DIGG took its position for granted and is now paying the price.

    Unless they can offer a really compelling reason for users to come back, it will be the next Bebo, MySpace…

  • http://wickedwebdesign.com.au Wade Cockfield

    I hope this new CEO has the skill and determination to bring back Digg to its former glory.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    Digg’s ship has sailed. With so many other ways to share information the only folks who will care are the ones who have been there forever and that is a finite group. In other words, growth ain’t happenin’.

  • web booger

    It’s already too late. I’ve given up on them. I dearly miss Digg Labs, but I’m not a permanent fixture on Stumbleupon.com. It’s nowhere near as interesting (content or presentation-wise), but it’s there…and can be used. You effed up big time Digg. Sorry, got to agree with above poster: Welcome to the abyss of web failure a la Myspace and Bebo!

  • Sean

    Digg suffered from a limited worldview. People like the author think everyone wants to follow feeds and RSS and “modern social media” whatever that means. No wonder Digg failed. They removed the “gang mentality” that humans seem to actually want. . “Modern social media” will be a failure because people really aren’t that interesting to be trusted as a continuous source of entertainment. These new sites force you to “select” friends in order to gain metrics to sell to advertisers. They are so focused on how to obtain the data they are losing the real reason why people went to Digg. To not have to think and V4 made users “think” and select and choose.

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    I’d agree Sean,

    They neutered Digg.

  • qwe

    > It’s a funny thing about the Internet, people think they own it. Not only own it, but that they have certain inalienable rights to it even when it’s free to them and costs a company a lot of money to run.

    When it’s your users who make your site popular, then you better believe those same users “own it.” Without them, where would you be?

    Sheesh.
    qwe

  • MrBabymanKilledDigg

    Unless Matt Williams is Christ he won’t be able to get Digg to the top. And this is not an issue about the redesign. It’s an issue around Diggs Techno dictatorship escapades: One digger can have all the attention and the diggs no matter if he steals others posts (I’m talking about MrBabyman), using scripts is allowed to some but not the many (again MrBabyman), being part of seo interest groups (hey MrBabyman again) and the self serving editors (i wouldn’t be surprised of MrBabyman being part of that too).

    Time to move on Digg is the past Tweeter is the future.

    • http://thedrilldown.com MrBabyMan

      You’ll have to forgive people if they dismiss your opinion. Not only have you made generalizations and accusations without evidence, but I have suspicions that you, MrBabymanKilledDigg, may be a little biased on the subject.

    • http://www.methodicallife.com/methodicalblog/ Michael Anderson

      The problem with social bookmarking sites like Digg is that they have been overrun by article marketers trying to build backlinks to their articles and their websites. Poorly put together articles are being Dugg and are overpopulating the site.