In yet another example of how fickle the internet business can be, it’s reported that Digg, the once-huge social sharing website, has been sold off for $500,000.
That’s small change compared to its estimated value when Digg was in its prime.
Back in 2006, less than two years after launching, Business Week claimed it was worth up to $60 million.
At one stage it was thought to have had an acquisition offer from Google of $200 million, which was turned down.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that New York-based company Betaworks has acquired the remaining assets of Digg for just $500K.
Betaworks is an ‘incubator’ firm that backs Bitly and Chartbeat, among others. It plans to merge Digg with News.me, its own startup that focuses on news discovery, which has recently been spun off as a standalone venture
GigaOm says that the core of Digg’s development team departed in May to join WaPo Labs, the research arm of the Washington Post.
In a blog post, Betaworks said: ‘Digg is one of the great internet brands, and it has meant a great deal to millions of users over the years. It was a pioneer in community-driven news. We are turning Digg back into a startup. 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.’
Digg’s founder Kevin Rose left his company behind in 2010, replaced by Matt Williams, who will now reportedly move to Andreessen Horowitz. Rose is currently at Google Ventures.
In many ways, Digg lost out to the likes of Twitter and Facebook and its changes in recent years failed to help it retain or grow its user base.
News.me, which was originally part of the New York Times, is aiming to become ‘an Instagram for news’ but it faces strong competition from various content discovery sites and mobile apps, such as Flipboard, Zite, Pulse, Taptu and so on. It hopes to use its connection with Bitly to power a new recommendation engine based on a database of shared links.