Are the Digg guys bent on creating a media empire? Perhaps. The mini-Murdochs behind Digg and Revision3 — that is, Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson — have launched a new show called The Digg Reel, featuring the top videos submitted to Digg. It’s hosted by Jessica Corbin, who was a host on another Revision3 gadget show that got canned, and before that was on TechTV, the very same show that a young Kevin Rose was once a host on.
The Digg Reel is the same breezy kind of tech show most of us have gotten used to by now, with the cute girl/woman host with great hair — Natali del Conte, Joanne Colan of Rocketboom.com, etc. — introducing short clips. In this case, the clips include LOLcatz videos with titles like Weird Sleeping Cat, submitted by people with names like SmartAsseur. In other words, not exactly Masterpiece Theatre. But will the Digg gang watch it? Sure they will.
Whether anyone else watches it remains to be seen. At least this one comes from the same site that discovers such jewels of online content — fate has not been so kind to shows such as Online Nation, an attempt to bring Web clips to mainstream TV. And in case you forgot, Revision3 is “the first media company that gets it,” according to the website. There’s more on Digg Reel from MG Siegler at ParisLemon and Stan Schroder at Mashable.
There are lots of ways to get on Digg — and one of the best, as many people know by now, is to mention Digg. Better still, write a cute song about it. And better even than that, be a cute girl and play the song you wrote about Digg on a guitar, with your cute friends in the background. Kina Grannis has done all of those things, and on top of that she has a great voice too. She’s in the running for a SuperBowl contest, according to her website. This one has front page written all over it.
The Digg-sale plot continues to thicken. First there were rumours that Digg was for sale — asking price $300-million — and then there were reports that co-founder Jay Adelson had gone to the Allen & Co. venture fund party, where those who want to mingle with those who want to sell. And now, Eric Eldon at Venture Beat says he has it confirmed from a highly-placed source that Digg is for sale and Allen & Co. is handling the deal.
It’s not at all surprising that Digg wants to sell. But is $300-million a realistic price? In a world where less than 2 per cent of Facebook sells for $240-million, maybe it is. But to whom? One theory (which I wrote about the last time this came up) is that an existing media entity like News Corp. might want to buy it, for the same reason that the New York Times bought BlogRunner.com — which has now been integrated into its technology page — and Conde Nast bought Reddit.com.
I know this will probably expose me to widespread ridicule, but I could even see Google being interested in Digg. There’s no question that Google is getting more social, as recent developments — such as the ability to share Google Reader items with friends — indicate. But much of what Google has tried in that area hasn’t gained much traction. Why not make Digg the foundation of further social networking from within the company? I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility at all.
So as Matt Marshall reports at VentureBeat today, the Los Angeles Times has taken a stake in Mixx — a relatively new Digg-style social-bookmarking site whose main claim to fame is that Mike Arrington recently said that people were leaving Digg to go there — and will integrate Mixx buttons into its site in the same way that the Wall Street Journal recently added Digg buttons to its news stories.
I have to admit that I don’t really get why the Times would do this (the paper has apparently bought a stake in the site as well). Don’t get me wrong — I’m in favour of having social-bookmarking tools integrated in a news site, whether it’s Digg or Mixx or Stumbleupon or del.icio.us or whatever. I think that’s a smart thing to do, because it encourages people to submit your stories to those sites, which can increase traffic and (hopefully) readership as well. But why get into bed with Mixx?
Some people — like my friend Jason at Webomatica and Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web — like Mixx, and I will admit that the site has a nice, clean look. But the fact is that Digg is still orders of magnitude larger. If you do a Compete.com chart of the two, Mixx is a flat line. The top most-recommended stories or links on Mixx have about 20 votes, while the top stories on Digg routinely get more than 2,000 votes.
Is the LA Times betting that somehow Mixx will become the next Digg? Or is it just looking for a social-bookmarking site to cozy up to because everyone else is doing it? Or maybe the paper is interested because the company includes a former USA Today exec, a former Associated Press exec and a former Yahoo exec. Either way, I don’t see what there is to be gained by picking one social tool over the others.
Kevin Rose and the gang at Digg have finally done some housekeeping and are adding some features that people like my blog friends Stan Schroeder at Frantic Industries and Allen Stern at Centernetworks (and plenty of others) have been asking for for some time now, including a dedicated image category — which will please those Diggers who get upset at posts that consist solely of a link to a LOLcatz image.
Digg is also cleaning up its taxonomy (which is Latin for “where did I put that thing?”) as Adam Ostrow details over at Mashable, so that Offbeat becomes its own category and News, Video and Images will share the same sub-categories. And the new photo category has a couple of interesting features, including a link-up with Photobucket, so that images uploaded to the latter can be easily submitted to the former.
The other interesting feature of the photo category is the fact that Digg will be doing some image recognition to make sure people aren’t uploading the same photo over and over. And the engine powering that image recognition comes from Toronto’s very own Idee Inc., run by my friend Leila Boujnane and her team. Congrats to them.