Once predominant social news-sharing site, Digg.com, sold for the bargain basement price of $500,000 recently, despite being valued at $164 million less than four years ago.
According to the Wall Street Journal, New York technology development firm Betaworks is the buyer, and hopes to revive Digg.com, one of the very first social networks. While Digg received higher offers from bidders that included technology and publishing companies and start-ups, it was decided that Betaworks had the best plan for reviving its brand, sources said.
Digg confirmed the sale on Thursday (July 12), but didn’t offer details about the financials of the deal. The company sold off its brand, website and technology to Betaworks.
Despite it’s decline — social-news website Reddit drew more visitors than Digg for the first time in December 2011 and has maintained that lead — Digg is still a well known brand with a sizable audience of more than 7 million visitors per month as of May, according to comScore.
Plans for the future of Digg were unknown at press time.
Digg was once one of the most promising start-ups in Silicon Valley. It was founded by Kevin Rose in 2004, who came up with the idea, found programmer Owen Byrne online, and paid him $10/hour to develop the idea. He also paid $1,200 for the Digg.com domain.
The website served as a way for visitors to curate their own collections of news and other Internet content, rather than relying on the choices made by newspaper editors. From there, the website would allow users to vote for their favorite news, determining the prominence of the stories they posted.
“They were one of the first social media sites,” Kristina Lerman, an assistant research professor at the USC, told the WSJ. “They introduced social components like having friends and followers.”
Digg quickly grew, and its founder Kevin Rose eventually landed the cover of BusinessWeek i 2006 with the infamous cover line, “How This Kid Made $60 Million in 18 Months,” referring to the company’s valuation at the time.
Since its inception, the company had raised $45 million in funding. However, by early 2012, Digg had begun to fade with the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter exploding.