Betaworks buys social news aggregator for $500,000

By on July 12, 2012, 6:30 PM

New York technology studio Betaworks has agreed to acquire social news aggregator Digg and all of its remaining assets as part of a deal rumored to be valued at only $500,000. It’s quite the reality check for a site and brand that Google once considered spending $200 million for although for what it’s worth, Digg CEO Matt Williams said the overall consideration was significantly higher.

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick will take over as the new CEO of Digg, although that likely doesn’t mean much as Digg will be rolled into Betaworks’ social news product. delivers popular stories shared by friends on Facebook and Twitter.

The story of Digg’s rise to fame and fall from grace is eerily similar to former social networking starlet MySpace. The site was created as an experiment in late 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson and saw huge success through the first three revisions of the site, raising $45 million from several investors including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

But it was Digg v4 that sent a number of users packing. The update was laden with bugs and removed many of the features key to Digg’s core belief of giving the power back to the people. Many users boycotted the site and ultimately left to join competitor Reddit, a site that currently has a global Alexa ranking of 126. Management mix-ups ensued and now with today’s sale, it seems that will soon become a thing of the past.

User Comments: 2

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p51d007 said: wow, haven't heard that one in years. Didn't know it was still around.

Do they still have the trolls, fake posters, in fighting, political bias that they had years ago?

If they do, then someone spent about 400,000.00 too much.

TJGeezer said:

@p52d007, I dunno about all that stuff. I mean, you tend to find trolls everywhere, making intentionally provocative statements. Even here. As for political bias, I just thought the comment sections tended to attract people who were literate and aware, which probably self-selected for what you perceived as a site bias. Seriously, just in terms of language usage, there was a world of difference between the Digg comment areas and those of, shall we say, less biased news aggregators. Probably says more about me than about the sites, but I simply lack patience to wade through other people's inchoate rage and incoherent insult-tossing. With Digg, I left because of the final version's intentionally crippled interface, but have to admit all the front-page trivia stories of the Man Eats 100 Snails variety got tiresome long before that.

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