updated 11:48 pm EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
Betaworks reconstructed Digg from ground up in six weeks
Having purchased well-known link aggregator Digg just six weeks ago, social web incubator Betaworks launched the promised "rebuild" of the site on Tuesday. The new site has a complete redesign, switching to editorial rather than user curation of stories, and featuring snappier performance. A new iPhone application has launched in parallel with the redesign, giving iOS users a native interface for the new site. Betaworks promises more features in the future -- including network-based personalization features, a new commenting engine, more work on mobile Digg, more data presented to the users, and API development.
The new iPhone application allows users to Digg stories, read stories offline, and save stories for future reading. The new location-based 'Paperboy' feature can be set to automatically download the newest stories for offline reading when the user leaves a specified location.
Betaworks bought the Digg domain, code, data and traffic for around $725,000. The Washington Post Company hired most of Digg's staff in May at a cost of around $12 million, while LinkedIn is said to have paid between $3.75 and $4 million for 15 different patents owned by Digg. Digg was once the top name in social news, with nearly 30 million monthly viewers in 2008. The site was rumored to have drawn immense interest from major players in the tech sphere, including Google and Microsoft.
Since then, though, competition from Facebook, Twitter, and competitor site Reddit saw Digg's popularity wane quickly. By 2010, Digg's audience was down to less than half what it was in 2008, and it now stands around seven million visitors per month. Digg's founder Kevin Rose left the company last year to join Google Ventures.