Digg.com sold to Betaworks

Catching up with Slashdot today, I read about Digg.com being sold to Betaworks:

The once popular social news website Digg.com, which received $45 million in funding, is being sold to to Betaworks for $500,000. From the article: ‘Betaworks is acquiring the Digg brand, website, and technology, but not its employees. Digg will be folded into News.me, Betaworks’ social news aggregator. This is not the outcome people expected for Digg. In 2008, Google was reportedly set to buy it for $200 million.

This brings back a lot of memories.  Back when Digg.com started, it became a “big thing” almost instantly.  There was plenty of hype around it, and many people went as far as predicting the death of Slashdot.  Digg was supposed to be some sort of new and better Slashdot.  But when I tried using Digg.com, I immediately thought that that was not the case.

The two sites are very different.   One of the most obvious difference is that Slashdot is more focused on the technology, and Digg covers pretty much everything and anything.   But that wasn’t the most important difference for me.  The most important for me was that Slashdot seems to be focused around discussions and commentary, while Digg.com was just a delivery system for the news articles.  And even back then there were numerous resources where you could find news.  Finding the news hasn’t been the problem for years.  But finding good commentary and discussions has always been.  And still is.

Slashdot comments were and still are its greatest value.  Digg had discussions as well, but somehow they weren’t as valuable.  And if I think about it for a second, for me personally, the greatest value of Digg was not the actual site Digg.com, but the Diggnation show.  Which, once again, provided commentary and discussions of the top stories from Digg.com.  Too bad that is discontinued now as well.

Diggnation week

I officially call this week a Diggnation week.  Not that I have anything to do with Diggnation except being a fan, but you’ll get what I mean in just a second.  First, on Monday, while shopping at Carrefour supermarket, I came across Michelob lager bottles.  Michelob is an American brewery which used to sponsor several Diggnatino episodes, and Kevin and Alex even did a tour of the brewery.   Not a particularly great beer (here in Europe we are blessed with a variety of excellent beers), but not a bad one either.

Secondly, I was waiting for a fresh episode of Diggnation to come out and give me an atmospheric reason to chuck the first bottle and enjoy the second.  And what did Diggnation do?  They came up with probably their best live show episode ever.  Episode #246 in Austin, Texas.  It started off slowly, but it turned epic with Leo Laporte streaming a live TWiT show while crowd surfing (fast forward 40 minutes or so).  And then it went even crazier with Robert Rodrigez himself showing up at the show and doing a brief interview about an upcoming Predators movie.   In the words of Alex Albrecht: “What??!!!”

P.S.: If you watched a few episodes of Diggnation and haven’t got hooked, don’t worry.  I skipped quite a bit of Diggnation history.  Until I saw them with my own two eyes back in Amsterdam.  The guys are awesome!

Diggnation live in Amsterdam

First of all, a confession.  I was aware of the fact that there is such a show (or video podcast) – Diggnation.  I was aware of the fact that it is somehow related to the Digg web site.  And I think I even remember watching a couple of episodes a long time ago.  But, all of that was in my passive memory.  I wouldn’t remember what the show was about, if it was funny at all, or even who or how many of the hosts there were. So, when I was checking the agenda for The Next Web Conference 2008, I couldn’t have imagined what the “DIGGnation, live recorded from Amsterdam!” entry at the end of day 1 was all about.

The situation started to change when I noticed that at the end of the day there was a stream of new people in the conference hall, and that many of them were wearing Diggnation t-shirts.  That kind of looked suspicious – are they all coming specifically for the show while avoiding the conference as a whole?  It turned out it was indeed so (I later spoke to a few people who came from all over Europe just for Diggnation).

Diggnation live in Amsterdam

The Diggnation live in Amsterdam episode is up and you can see yourself how it was.  There was also a live stream during the recording, and the whole thing was somewhat longer with preparations and closing of the show, but it will give you an idea of how it went.  There were indeed a few rounds of free beers for the audience, and there was indeed this awesome dude with two joints for the hosts.

I enjoyed the show so much that I actually watched a few episodes back and will probably watch the new ones now and then.  If have a very sensitive sense of humor, you should probably skip.  All the rest – you’ll have a blast.