CEO Says He Will "Make Digg As Good As It Used To Be"

Here’s the latest dispatch from contrite-CEO-land. The social news site “Digg” has a new CEO and he started things off with an admission that the site isn’t as good as it used to be, but promises that fixing things is his top priority.

You’ll be relieved to hear that the bury button is coming back, but as Mashable points out, “whether [the company] can both appease those who have abandoned Digg and find new users to spur growth remains very much in question.”

Here’s the letter:

I’d like to use this opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Matt Williams, Digg’s new CEO. It’s certainly been an eventful first month on the job. As many of you know, the launch of Digg v4 didn’t go smoothly, and we’re deeply sorry that we disappointed our Digg community in the process. Thank you for your patience and your extremely candid feedback — we hear you loud and clear.

Recently, we’ve been reinstating a number of the features that many of you loved about Digg. In the past two weeks we’ve brought back the “Upcoming” section, started restoring user profiles from the previous version of Digg, and made small but important tweaks to the site including better pagination. In the next few weeks we’ll bring back the bury button, restore all user profiles (including comment and submission history), add filters and navigation for videos and images, provide a tool for users to report comment violations, and update the Top News algorithm and overall site design based upon your feedback. The result will hopefully be a much better web site experience.

I’d also like to share some insight beyond what you may have seen or heard in the press. Despite the changes to our platform at the end of August, there were still 23 million unique visitors worldwide using Digg last month. Digg today is a much faster web site, operating on an open source platform. And with the launch of My News, you now have more personalized control on Digg by filtering news with the help of friends and others you choose to follow.

Digg has always been a place where users help one another find out what’s interesting, fun, and important. Unfortunately, our re-launch managed to get in the way of that happening. I don’t need to tell you that without the Digg community, we’re just another news web site. So we’re working hard to quickly improve the Digg experience. Our top priority is to make Digg as good as it used to be. Then we plan to make it even better, through innovations in both Top News and My News.

Still using Digg? Or have you moved on?

Comments

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  1. MercuryPDX says:

    [muffled guffaw]

  2. Snowblind says:

    Sorry, if you have a community of asshats, changing hats won’t fix it.

  3. thewriteguy says:

    I don’t even bother clicking the comments anymore on Digg. Nothing but d-bags who downvote every comment out of spite.

    • BobOki says:

      I got banned before all this happened for having intelligent conversation.. *gasp* there was no can has and I was banned. Hi reddit *shoutout* never looked back.

  4. agent 47 says:

    I miss TechTV. :(

    • RogueWarrior65 says:

      Ah, yes, those were the days before G4 took it over and turned it into a 24/7 ad for video games.

    • Rachacha says:

      visit live.twit.tv it is essentially Tech TV broadcast on the internet with many of the old TTV hosts…Leo Laporte, Sarah Lane, Patrick Norton, etc.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        …with a notable exception of late to the “etc.”: Kevin Rose. Small wonder why he’s not showed up for a TWiT podcast since the debacle of the v4 Digg launch–I’m sure his eyes would burn at the chatroom comments. Yes, I once loved Digg. But that love has since fizzled into oblivion.

  5. cmdr.sass says:

    It’s too late. The internet has already moved on. No site can afford to burn their users the way Digg has and expect to make a comeback.

    • twonewfs says:

      Well said!

    • dohtem says:

      I dunno what happened but this is how I saw it; they took their awesome product, ripped all the killer features out and were genuinely surprised when everyone left.

      Now when they make an announcement that X feature will be returning, the employees jump aboard en masse and post desperate “thanks for hanging in there” messages.

      • lymer says:

        What exactly did they remove. I have been a casual digg user and I just recently noticed that all the stories are uber-lame.

        • mmmsoap says:

          They removed the “bury” button. So, like Facebook, you could “Like” something (digg it), but you couldn’t unlike it. The end result was that crap stories didn’t get filtered out very much at all, which of course was a vicious unstoppable cycle, where the crap alienated the users, who left, causing more crap, alienating more users, etc etc.

          • IphtashuFitz says:

            Don’t forget that they also changed the way stories are submitted so that content providers can get their articles promoted over cool stories that individual users may find. So Digg has basically become a content aggregator for sites like cracked.com, tmz.com, various news sites, etc. Basically it’s like Google News with the ability to comment on submissions. They threw away what made their content unique (interesting stuff submitted by users, even if some of them were “power users”) and decided to sell out to corporate interests.

        • dohtem says:

          Just off the top of my head… sub categories, the recommendation engine, the bury button, ability to report comments, popularity stats and how clicking on digg counts on comments worked.

  6. Bix says:

    I rarely used it, and always had a weird dislike for it going back to Kevin Rose shilling it in a blog post when it launched without mentioning that he owned the site.

    • rdldr1 says:

      You shouldn’t surf Digg if you dont know who Kevin Rose is.

      • Bix says:

        Huh? I know who he is. I was reading his blog semi-regularly at the time of the Digg launch. When Digg went live, he initially pretended he had no involvement w/ the site.

  7. framitz says:

    IMO Digg always blew chunks, so whatever…Blowing bigger chunks?

  8. DarthCoven says:

    I was already migrating from Digg to Reddit a few months prior to the v4 launch. v4 was the final nail in the coffin and I haven’t been back since. v4 wasn’t the only problem Digg had. The “Digg Patriots” fiasco left a very sour taste when it was revealed just how easily they were gaming the system and how little Digg was doing to stop them.

    Sorry Matt, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do to convince me, and I’m sure thousands upon thousands of other refugees, to come back to Digg.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Digg had. The “Digg Patriots” fiasco left a very sour taste when it was revealed just how easily they were gaming the system and how little Digg was doing to stop them”

      Scientologists were also trying to game the system, but thankfully they were less efficient and much less in number compared to the anon-loving dudes on digg.

    • Das G says:

      I’d never been to reddit until Digg V4. After a few days of Digg V4, I had to delete all the feeds off my rss reader because it had gotten so bad. Now, those feeds have been replaced with reddit feeds. Can’t say I’ll be going back to digg.

    • Minze says:

      I was an avid Digg user until the v4 launch. I hit the site a few times a day every day to check things out. After the new version was released I was initially put off. When users made Reddit articles the top articles on the site I thought “If I have to learn how to use a new system, maybe I should check Reddit out”. I never looked back.

  9. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Ban Huffington Post links and all the other political sites, and I might go back to Digg.

    • Chaosium says:

      Yeah! I’m a lib but can’t stand HuffPo. It’s absolute trash, and its linkfarming is ridiculous.

  10. aloria says:

    Digg was never good.

  11. DoktorGoku says:

    How long until Reddit bombs as well? I abandoned Digg for Reddit, and then noted that Reddit was doing the exact same things… it ended up being a lesson in how community moderation leads to a groupthink/hivemind mentality. The subreddits were a good idea, it seemed, but then those became just as vulnerable.

    Now I just check Google news and the blogs I otherwise did.

  12. jason in boston says:

    Digg used to be great with all of the user submitted stories. But now it looks like an RSS reader. Reddit is my new home.

  13. Mike says:

    Did they find a way to stop the “Digg Patriots?” Those clowns ruined Digg.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      No one even knew about those dorks until people blogged about them, and the site was fine.

      Digg killed itself.

  14. Sword_Chucks says:

    I left Digg a few years ago, im not missing anything because I’ve found better websites to get the news I care about without all the political and stoner oriented crap

  15. ktjamm says:

    Digg was very good back in the day that it was only a technology news site. They day the opened it to other news is when things started going south. All it is now is Info-graphics, extreme political viewpoint blogs/rants, or NSFW sites.

    • Kevin says:

      Digg was going head to head with Slashdot but getting the stories first. That was when I started reading it. Then a few months ago it turned into TMZ.

      Slashdot’s only fault was adding CSS and making itself slow on my ancient netbook.

  16. Taylor@HiKarma.com says:

    I stopped using Digg after the release of v4. I didn’t stop intentionally or spitefully, I just lost interest somehow.

  17. waltcoleman says:

    I miss the good ole “Bush is behind 9/11, Bush is stealing oil, Bush stole two elections, insert Bush conspiracy theory here” days of Digg.

  18. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Death to MrBabyMan!

    • Croccydile says:

      As a digg refugee (what a silly way to describe it) one of the best things about reddit after getting used to it was the lack of MrBabyMan submissions.

      reddit is not perfect, but Digg would need a miracle to get me to go back. It has gotten about one step away from being no different than an underling of failblog.org

  19. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    If you ever find yourself saying “remember when X was good?”, you have to have the courage to face the fact that it’s entirely possible that “X was never good.”

    (This and other things I learned from, um, er, ebaums world. Yeah, EW.)

  20. Cicadymn says:

    For some reason I used to frequent digg alot. During the Bush years.

    Afther the seven thousandth “Bush is the devil” and “Bush eats live babies” making it to the top stories I just never went back. I kind of forgot about it until this article. Kinda funny,

  21. UltimateOutsider says:

    I used to visit Digg every day, multiple times a day. The v4 update was horrific- and it actually affected signed-up members a lot worse than it affected casual visitors (in terms of limiting capabilities and changing site behaviors). They rolled back a few of the most egregious changes (like forcing logged-in users to a useless new page instead of “Top News” every time they landed at Digg.com) but by that time the content was gone (everything there now is just rehashes of what other sites post) and the commenters had vanished. As it is now, most stories only get 8-16 comments unless they make the sidebar; just a few weeks ago every story on the front page got at least a hundred.

    I’ve removed Digg from my Links bar. V4 was a betrayal. It is dead to me.

  22. swarrior216 says:

    It’s to late Digg, I’ve already moved on.

  23. shinseiromeo says:

    Stopped reading Digg when the new v4 layout hit. It’s a wreck ever since and a waste of time… not that it ever wasn’t. =D

  24. RogueWarrior65 says:

    So would that mean it will be completely filled with radical left-wing stories or just mostly filled?

  25. coren says:

    A step in the right direction would be that when people are known to be circumventing lifetime bans, or abusing the site for their political agenda (like the “Digg Patriots” – I’m sure there are others, and of both political leanings) they should be banned. Repeatedly if need be. It shouldn’t be that hard when so many abusers are well known.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to track by vote history comparisons, although I imagine there’s a way to do that.

  26. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    “Thank you for your patience and your extremely candid feedback — we hear you loud and clear. “

    Did Obama ever say that? I hear it coming out of HIS mouth, for some reason…

    (Completely serious here.)

  27. Corinthos says:

    Its still a habit for me to go to digg when I wake up every morning. Every morning I click ore two things then get disappointed and don’t visit again til the next day.
    I used to check that site 6+ times a day from work.

    I could pretty much bypass digg if I just visit totalsports, consumerist, that k four letter work comic site that I can’t remember the exact url to, huffington post, cracked and the oatmeal. I think 90% of the stuff I click on the front page of digg are from those sites.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      …xkcd…

      I remember it as a close approximation of “exact” as pronounced by a recent Arab immigrant. But you might need your own mnemonic.

  28. Kevin says:

    Even if he fixes it, how will he get former readers like me to come back?

  29. jayde_drag0n says:

    too little to late dude, you screwed up so bad there is no return for you. They have all left you for reddit, and we have now learned that you don’t want to hear us.. we TOLD you we didn’t like things.. its not like we were silent and you didn’t know why we were upset, but you decided to ignore us.. now.. your front page diggs are there after 30 auto-diggs from marketing bots.

  30. Razor512 says:

    Digg ruined them self because they got rid of the main thing that caused the site to be successful in the first place. Users pick the content that goes on the site but they cant promote their own content. this essentially allows users to share truly interesting content with each other. To monetize the site, digg allowed sponsored stories which where a company pays to share their own content.

    Digg is ruined now because companies can now have their own special accounts where they can submit their own content and they can end up on the front page with like 15 diggs (which is easy to get on a site with hundreds of thousands of people on it)

    The site is also biased towards profitable users, for example, I submitted a story and it got around 70 diggs, but never wound up on the front page, but a submission from an account of a large group or company, promoting their own content (non sponsored) gets their stories on the front page with 5-15 diggs.

    Compared to the old digg, there is less interesting content. In the old digg, unless some major improvement was made that revolutionized something, you will never see a submission by a car related group announcing a car that is advertised on tv constantly become a top in 24 hour or even hit front page, now that is common. Most of the top content is content submitted by groups promoting their own content. User submitted content is hard to find and requires a large number of diggs to end up on the front page.

    • Razor512 says:

      To further show how far digg has fallen, with the old digg, if you owned a website or company and created a digg account to promote your own site or company news, you would be banned, now you get a special placeholder which digg uses to shove your content down the readers throats.

  31. Tomas says:

    I went from being a regular Digg user before the change to maybe using it 5 or 6 times total since the change.

    I used to find it worthwhile, I no longer do.

    For now, I’ve moved on…

  32. Vandil says:

    I used to visit Digg multiple times daily. I never commented, I simply used it for news aggregation and sometimes to read the attached comments for my own entertainment.

    Digg v4 sucks so bad, I stopped visiting the site within three days of v4′s launch and haven’t returned since.

  33. Nick says:

    What is Digg?

  34. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    As good as it used to be? Ever since it started, Digg has been like Slashdot for complete retards. Matt Williams has been smoking some good stuff if he is feeling nostalgia for the Good Old Days of Digg.

  35. Crass says:

    Reddit FTW

  36. viper2000 says:

    I used to visit digg numerous times a day. Loved it.
    Then v4 came out. It was like twitter and a rss aggregator had a bastard love child.
    I have only been back once. About 3 weeks ago, to see if maybe, just maybe, it was all just a nightmare. I’m done for good now.

  37. MercutioGeek says:

    Sounds like he’s ‘taking it very seriously’

  38. MaximusMMIV says:

    I abandoned for reddit and I’m not coming back.

  39. Wasabe says:

    Digg used to be good?

  40. DAVISMIT says:

    Really guys .. does anyone use Digg because it’s fun or because they want to share personal insights? It seems to me the only people who use it are doing it for SEO purposes. These vultures are destroying blogs, forums and commenting sites all over. Drives me mad!