Remember Digg? It's just been sold ... for less than the price of a terraced house in Phibsboro
Digg was once the darling of the internet, with rumours circling four years ago that it was on the verge of a $200m takeover by Google.
That was 2008, and this is now: the sale of the social news sharing site to San Francisco tech firm Betaworks has been announced, with a sum of just $500,000 changing hands.
To put that in some sort of perspective, Facebook recently paid $1bn dollars – or 2000 times the price of Digg – for photo-sharing startup Instagram.
Another comparison closer to home – a terraced house in Dublin is valued at a good deal more than Digg these days.
So what is Digg, and where did it go wrong?
Well it was established in 2005 and quickly became a phenomenon, drawing traffic figures of 44 million monthly unique users and venture capital investment to the tune of almost $50m.
Its method of user-generated ranking of popular news stories meant Digg soon made it into the top 25 websites in the US, with founder Kevin Rose heralded as a net visionary.
A censorship storm in 2007, when Rose is said to have removed user posts demonstrating how to remove encryption on DVDs, was the first sign of a schism between the service and its user base, while the algorithms which ranked stories on its frontpage – a position certain to drive massive traffic to the source websites – were also found to be vulnerable to manipulation.
The growth of similar social news site Reddit and the explosion of Twitter and Facebook as sharing mediums of choice then saw dramatic drops in Digg usage.
The end was foretold in several tech media outlets as far back as the first half of 2010, when Website Magazine’s Mike Phillips wrote: “In the soon-to-be end, Digg will become known as the first network to die from social fatigue,” and a Guardian Technology headline read: “Digg loses a third of its visitors in a month: is it dead?”
Still, the collapse from a possible $200m company to a six-figure takeover deal is nothing short of staggering.
If nothing else, though, its new owners are remaining fairly upbeat.
The statement from Betaworks, which will incorporate Digg into its News.me platform, read: “We are turning Digg back into a startup. Low budget, small team, fast cycles. How? We have spent the last 18 months building News.me as a mobile-first social news experience. The News.me team will take Digg back to its essence: the best place to find, read and share the stories the internet is talking about. Right now.”
Eh, best of luck with that one.