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Digg and the Big Breakup

“We are turning Digg back into a startup. Low budget, small team, fast cycles.”

Betaworks is the new owner of the front-facing portion of Digg. The sale was kind of like a day at the flea market. The pros arrived first. They picked only the best items, paid a low, but reasonable fee, then left the dregs behind for the amateurs.

According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn picked up 15 Digg-owned patents for around 4 million dollars. Included in the haul, the patent on “click a button to vote up a story.” Let’s stop here and marvel at the fact that a company can actually own the patent on that. Reminds me of when Trump wanting to own “you’re fired.”

The Washington Post bought an even stranger lot of items, TechCrunch says the news organization paid 12 million for the Digg team. But isn’t the buying and selling of human being illegal?

Betaworks wandered in late in the day and bought the facade, the URL, the portion of Digg we see every time we pass the house on our daily internet walkabout. Reported cost? 500 million which sources say is way too cheap.

Betaworks says they know how to turn Digg around because they’ve spent “the last 18 months building News.me as a mobile-first social news experience.” Whose going to argue with 18-months experience? That’s old age in internet years.

So back they go to the drawing board, to the late-night ping-pong matches, the catered gourmet hot dog lunches, the days when you only needed one guy to agree with you and it was a done deal. Start-ups are the best. I’ve worked for dozens and it’s always an incredible experience. Not always a profitable experience, but hey, they’re fun while they last.

There was a day when Digg was a huge asset for the content marketer. Can it go back to it’s former glory? Or have Facebook, Twitter and the like replaced the need for an all-encompassing, content voting hub? And if it does rise from the ashes, how will they keep it from turning into another private club for power users?

For the answers to these and other question. . . . well, just stay tuned, because either way, we haven’t heard the last of Digg.