Digg v1: Betaworks Flushes Seven Years of Internet History Down the Toilet

Categories: Tech

The end of San Francisco-based Digg has been nigh for over two years, ever since founder Kevin Rose helmed a disastrous redesign in August 2010 and many of the site's users fled to Reddit, but the news-sharing behemoth plodded along, not realizing it was supposed to be dead. That is, until yesterday, when new owner Betaworks put a bullet in its head.

Here, take a look. At first glance, it looks a lot like Pinterest, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it only takes a couple clicks to realize all of the archives are gone. All of them. All of the Ron Paul idolatry. All of the ASCII facepalms. All of the linkbait. Gone.

And this could have a profound effect on the rest of the Internet.

Betaworks bought Digg's remaining assets for $500K a few weeks ago, after the company had already been picked clean by LinkedIn and the Washington Post. These assets included the domain Digg.com and all of the content on the site. A big relaunch was promised. A new beginning. And that's what the world got yesterday, minus all of the old user accounts, comments, and stories.

So what's the big deal? What's so bad about a fresh start? Nothing, in theory. A new interface might've been necessary, even desired by what remained of the Digg community. But by removing all the historical content and not even redirecting those pages to anywhere interesting, Betaworks has wreaked havoc on all kinds of internet publishers.

Digg.com has a page rank of eight, which in the world of search engine optimization is a pretty big deal. We're talking Ron Jeremy big. Links from Digg.com mean a lot for other sites. Even if tons of readers don't click a link on Digg.com and land on a publisher's page, just having that link there tells Google and other search engines that the story must be pretty damn relevant, and that means the page will show up in search results for years to come.

Those memes were actually more valuable than you might think.
This is part of the reason why many social media types didn't give up on Digg even after the users fled. Those links were still really valuable for SEO. Now they're all gone, and publishers from the New York Times to Your College Roommate's Bacon Blog are going to feel the effect down the road in terms of search traffic.

Why should Betaworks care? Because by removing all of Digg's archives and creating dead links, the company removed seven years of content. We're talking millions and millions of words, all of which were coming up in Google searches and driving traffic to Digg.com. Without all those words and working links, Digg.com can kiss its page rank goodbye. Betaworks just took Ron Jeremy and turned him into George Costanza after too much time in the pool.

What would've been the harm in leaving those archives up? It's not that complicated. Instead, Betaworks decided to throw away all of that equity, leaving itself with a fairly expensive domain name and not much else.

Turn the page for reactions from former Digg power-users and other internet talkers...


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10 comments
sumon766
sumon766

This is a nice post I liked it. Showing the reality and always talking about good things and people's thoughts. 

sumon766
sumon766

I like this a lot, it is talking about real people and their thought of growing up and moving ahead. It helps people to get on.

sadffasd
sadffasd

If you actually read the FAQ on Diggs website......

 

"What about my data from the old Digg?We believe that users own their data. We’re working on a system that will extract all user data from the old Digg infrastructure. In August we’re launching an archive website for users of the old Digg to find, browse, and share a history of their submissions, diggs, and comments.  If you’d like to be notified when your data will be available, just enter your email address here. Then stay tuned, and let us know if you have any questions."

 

http://www.digg.com/faq

 

manda907
manda907

If you actually read the FAQ on Diggs website......

 

"What about my data from the old Digg?We believe that users own their data. We’re working on a system that will extract all user data from the old Digg infrastructure. In August we’re launching an archive website for users of the old Digg to find, browse, and share a history of their submissions, diggs, and comments.  If you’d like to be notified when your data will be available, just enter your email address here. Then stay tuned, and let us know if you have any questions."

 

http://www.digg.com/faq

 

yonbeastie
yonbeastie

Did anybody read the manifesto before the redesign was launched? Everybody is acting so confused about the "v1" that I think everybody is ignoring the fact that the design team clearly explained that it will be a clean slate, that they are starting over completely with a new direction, and that story archives may return.

 

Most people don't want Digg to succeed. It's a bummer.

xs650
xs650

I have to admit, the new Digg V1 makes Kevin Rose's botched redesign look brilliant by comparison

Joax
Joax

Yep, they pretty much butchered Digg. The data and accounts purge is just shamefull, and I'm sure they didn't even realize what will be the side effect of loosing all the backlinks. I think I'm back to Reddit now. And if you want to take a look at something new, those guys aren't half bad: http://ping.it

Anonymous
Anonymous

So you didn't even read their posts about where the old data was did you?  They didn't throw it away.  They were in a rush to get the new site up for launch so they couldn't have that information available right away, the same way they couldn't have a log in to filter spam without using facebook.  It will be available in the coming weeks as they get more stuff added.  Settle down.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

And nothing of value was lost.

Anand
Anand

 @sadffasd I guess that's doing things in reverse. Betaworks should have enabled that feature first and then wiped history later. Because by doing this, they are going to create a buffer period where regular users see they are not seeing their data and so are going to stop coming. Also, because there is not going to be any new users coming in because all the existing links are dead. Betaworks is basically bringing down the entire site and needlessly starting from scratch. 

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