Digg: Will The New Model Work?

The New Digg Homepage
The New Digg Homepage

Last month, Digg announced that they were combining forces with a company called Betaworks. The vision was to combine Digg with Betaworks’ existing product, news.me. News.me is essentially a simple aggregator that shows the top stories your connections share on Facebook and Twitter. Their delivery vehicles to date had been a daily email service and apps on both the iPad and iPhone.

They promised a new “cloud-based” version of Digg. Yesterday, that version was revealed.

Forget What You Know About Digg

Digg has been around for seven years. They were arguably the top bookmarking service for a period of time. Many of us have years of history, bookmarks, and networking on the site.

All of that is gone now.

If you go to Digg today, you see a very different site. They have completely removed the legacy login system, replacing it with Facebook and Twitter authentication. All of your history, Diggs, and comments are gone, as is the entire commenting system.

According to the home page, here is the new mission:

Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our community.

So basically, it’s about curating and voting on content. Not a bad idea, but for Digg?

Tools for Marketing and Entrepreneurs

The biggest change is that Digg no longer exists solely to support the user. Aside from removing user profiles altogether (meaning it’s not even really “social networking” any more), the site has rolled out a couple of new offerings for businesses.

Promote Your Content

Betaworks is clearly fishing for ways to monetize the site. The first big change is that they have moved from user profiles to brand profiles. Users can follow these profiles to get quick access to the content they generate. A brand can be a company, blog, or even a well known personality. It remains to be seen where the line is drawn, exactly.

Since Brand Profiles are the key to the new bookmarking approach, they naturally offer ways to promote your brand. The first two offers here are Buttons and Widgets for your own website. You can use these items to promote a blog or news feed on your site. Once someone follows you, they will automatically see your content when anyone, including you, shares it.

This service teeters the line behind inbound and outbound marketing. But if users will follows big brands like Coca-Cola and Target on Facebook pages, it just might work.

Advertising has now become a key piece of Digg. They offer several different ways to advertise on the site. Most of these are sponsored inline ads on organic content, and they are being sold as a great way to promote your content.

Take especial note of the focus on content, not products are services. This is a paid way to accelerate your content marketing efforts. It is not a place to pound folks over the head with sales messaging. That’s for you to do once you convert them to a prospect.

Types of ads offered include:

  1. Diggable 300×250 – This banner puts your creative in a Digg wrapper with a custom Digg headline explaining why they should read the destination content.
  2. Digg Content Ad – If you have no content to promote, you can “Associate your brand with already popular stories about a relevant topic or event”.  Basically, you can sponsor other people’s content for a fee.
  3. IAB-compliant Banner Ads – They offer traditional banner advertising and claim it will earn a high CTR (Click-Thru Rate). With no detail on how you can target the ads, it’s hard to say whether they can deliver on that performance promise. Sizes they currently accept are 300×250 and 300×600.
  4. Digg Dialog – This is the most interesting of these offerings. In it, users choose questions and the chosen interviewee answers them. And you can sponsor it.

Will It Work?

Since the new site just went live yesterday, it is hard to say whether this will work long term or not. The new version will definitely meet diverse responses. I’ve already seen negative initial reactions such as Dead On Arrival from MarketingLand.com.

Have you checked it out yet? Do you like the new model?

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As Founder and President of Return On Now, Tommy Landry provides the vision behind our SEO and SEM methodologies. With over 25 years of business experience and a deep understanding of modern internet marketing techniques, he spends his time providing hands-on consulting, insightful content, and engaging public speaking appearances to Online Marketers of all skill levels.
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