Digg Sold for Just $500K

Sale price makes former web darling bigger flop than MySpace

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2012 11:18 PM CDT | Updated Jul 13, 2012 3:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Social media site Digg—or, at least, what's left of it—has been sold to BetaWorks for the bargain-basement price of just $500,000, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The site, which allows users to post links and vote other submissions up or down, was once one of the Internet's hottest brands and was valued at $160 million as recently as 2008. But it became another victim of the web's fickle nature. It began to fade as Facebook and Twitter took off and large numbers of users deserted it for rival Reddit after a redesign in 2010 turned out to be deeply unpopular.

Founder Kevin Rose quit the company last year and the Washington Post snapped up most of its tech team in May. Digg received higher offers but decided BetaWorks offered the best opportunity for reviving its brands, the Journal's sources say. The sale price means the company lost 99% of its value for investors in just four years, making it a bigger flop than even MySpace, Forbes notes. In 2008, Google was in talks to buy Digg for $200 million but it ended up pulling the plug on the deal. The company's first lead engineer, who had a large stake in Digg, laments that he never got to "cash out and go live on the Riviera."

Co-creator of podcast 'The Totally Rad Show' Alex Albrecht (L) and Digg founder Kevin Rose speak during a taping of Internet TV show Diggnation in 2009.
Co-creator of podcast 'The Totally Rad Show' Alex Albrecht (L) and Digg founder Kevin Rose speak during a taping of Internet TV show Diggnation in 2009.   (Getty Images)
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They were one of the first social media sites. They introduced social components like having friends and followers. - Kristina Lerman, a social-media expert at the University of Southern California

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