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Digg doubles user count, proves merit of visual web

Digg was seen as dead just two years ago, but after being acquired, the company is making a comeback, riding the visual web wave to the finish line.

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Digg doubles user count

After enjoying their glory years from 2004 to 2008, Digg took a dip around 2010 in light of increasing popularity of content curating competitors like Reddit, and many believe the updates the company made detracted from the user experience rather than enhancing it. Last fall, Betaworks acquired the site and renovated the very structure, offering new design and function.

Today, the company announced they have doubled the number of users, offering a glimpse into what could be the company’s comeback. “We released an iPhone app, an iPad app (both featured by Apple), an email product called The Daily Digg, and a site redesign,” they noted on the Digg blog. “We doubled our users, publishers are starting to notice “the Digg effect” once again, and most importantly, users think we’re on the right track.”

They call the offering about one percent completed, and take to the blog airwaves to talk about monetization as part of their future plans, offering endorsement of apps through paid sponsorship, which requires application, payment, and approval.

How Digg works now

As it stands now, the site places stories into a hierarchy of “top stories” followed by “popular” and “upcoming,” and now, you’ll see “Apps We Like (Sponsored)” in the stream.

Top stories are ones that have been posted on to the site and received enough user Diggs and social media mentions to be displayed at the top of the page. Popular stories are ones that are receiving the most Diggs and mentions in the past 18 hours and each story is accompanied by a chart showing its peaks and valleys of popularity during that time. The more Facebook likes and tweets a story gets, the higher the story is presented in this section. Finally upcoming stories are ones that have just arrived on the site due to social media shares and mentions. In order to move up in rank, users Digg the stories they’re interested in and watch them move up the list.

Digg taps into visual web

Doubling their users and proving the merit of the visual web, the company reveals insight into the average internet user today, as we all move away from endless lines of text to preferring visuals – large pictures and graphics, to be precise. The “visual web” continues to rise in popularity, enabled and accelerated by the use of mobile devices.

Last year, we opined that “images are not only rising in prominence because the tools have made it easier, but because editing tools have become more readily available, and smartphone/tablet photography has gone mainstream, even with professional photographers. The mobile photography niche has risen dramatically, thus the rise in popularity of Instagram. A photo invokes a stronger response than written word, especially with the A.D.D. culture of today wherein we all have dozens of tabs open on our computers and are using multiple apps all at once. The visual web is rising, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. AmyVernon

    January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    These stats from Betaworks are a bit disingenuous.

    First off, no site is feeling anything close to the “Digg effect,” as that was server-crushing traffic that brough tens (sometimes hundreds) of thousands of page views.

    Second, I went to Digg right now and the very top story has no Diggs and the three right underneath it have 6, 13 and 20 Diggs apiece. That says not many people are using the site to vote on content. Which is what Digg was. Digg hasn’t rebounded, but rather a new site with the same name has started bringing bits of traffic to websites.

    Digg is dead. A new site that works totally differently is using its URL.

    • andrewburnett

      January 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

      I find your restraint commendable, Amy.

      To say Digg has doubled its users is all very well, but without the context of magnitude, meaningless. Double zero is still zero.

      Digg once was a thriving community of tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of registered daily users and many more who never registered, but rather used it as a trusted source of aggregated, peer reviewed links and discussion.

      Digg now is merely a collection of links with no real trust in the curation, no peer review.

      The only thing that Digg has of any value anymore is the domain name.

      To say Digg “proves merit of visual web” is tantamount to admitting there is nothing positive to say about it other than “it has nice big pictures”. Hardly makes it a StumbleUpon (or a Pinterest, or a Tumblr, or, or, or) though, does it?

      And, just to put a final nail in the coffin, this post has managed to attract an entire 2 comments – nobody cares about the irrelevant relic that was Digg anymore.

      Not only was Digg dead 2 years ago, it is now decomposing.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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resume On This Day load bob alice terrorism trends fine spam facebook advertising jobs earnings

Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Social Media

Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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