Early in her 8-minute interview with Digg CEO Jay Adelson, BoomTown's Kara Swisher asks Adelson about the future of the company. She casually mentions acquisition rumors. "Oh that's what you want to know, I see," Adelson says. Had this been Wallstrip, we'd see an image of a turtle pulling his head into his shell flash on screen. Swisher changes the topic. But later, in the part we've excerpted above, Swisher gets Adelson to talk anyway. She asks him how he would fix a big media company. Perpetual rumors suggest his answer is to have them buy Digg. So when Adelson starts to explain his ideas, remember that everybody's selling something. This is how Adelson sells Digg.
Digg went down this morning and, while repairs were under way, a placeholder for Digg.com redirected users to some of the staff's favorite sites. Mostly the boring usuals. Kevin Rose recommended "Purple & Brown." PaidContent and TechCrunch were on the list. But then, some guy named Micah recommended SuicideGirls, the "alternative" porn site which features girls with piercings, colored hair and tattoos. The link might upset the sensitive users who made nice guy Jay Adelson yank our Gene Simmons sex tape post from Digg. For us, SuicideGirls beats screen-cleaning puppies any day. Only thing. What will advertisers think? We heard Digg hates porn because it likes money. The screenshot of Digg's porn-loving placeholder is below.
I got the strangest feeling of deja vu this morning. When I clicked over to Digg to see if Kevin Rose had sold out yet, I was greeted by an "Out of Service" message — in the middle of the day. The site is back up, but it reminded me of a similar outage in January: Digg went offline in the middle of the day while "making some changes." During the last outage, we thought the site was unintentionally taken offline. Generally downtimes are scheduled for out of the way hours like 3 A.M. on a Sunday — not 9 A.M. in the middle of the week. After Digg came back online in January, there were significant changes made to the algorithm that decides which stories make it to the front page, angering a few of Digg's higher profile users. What's the deal this time? Our theories and a poll after the jump.
Last week, Digg CEO Jay Adelson wasted no time debunking rumors that Google, Microsoft and two media companies were bidding $200 million or more to buy the social news site. It's too bad, because last week would have been a good time for Adelson and Digg cofounder Kevin Rose to sell. According to metrics firm Hitwise, traffic Yahoo's Digg competitor, Buzz, sends to news and media sites nearly caught up with the traffic Digg sends in just one month.
I've always loved to watch Mark Cuban dance — but Tuesday night I got to see the billionaire booty-shaker up close. The venue: PureVolume Ranch in Austin, Texas. The occasion: The Bigg Digg Shindigg, South by Southwest Interactive's closing party. "You guys always picked the worst photos of me," Cuban said. Mark, as I said at Sunday's panel on gossip, I live to serve. Digg packed PureVolume's dance floor and backyard tents with hundreds of partygoers. Besides Cuban, Moby was there, as were Digg CEO Jay Adelson and cofounder Kevin Rose, iLike CEO Ali Partovi, StumbleUpon's Garrett Camp, and Automattic's Matt Mullenweg. RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser had just flown in from Florida on a private jet. But for me the most interesting person was newly hired Digger Aubrey Sabala, who put the party together in three days — after Digg had given up on the idea.
AUSTIN, TX — Randi Jayne (née Zuckerberg) and Revision3 COO David Prager have done it again. She rewrote "Roxanne" as "Rock Band," an homage to the popular Harmonix videogame; Prager, though he didn't pair up in front of the camera with Jayne as they did in iPhone parody "Doncha," helped produce the video. In the clip below, Robert Scoble, Digg CEO Jay Adelson, Facebook fanboy Dave McClure, and media raconteur David Spark headline. They play undistinguished louts who, by playing the game, transform themselves into real rock stars. The backup singers include Jayne and Rana Sobhany, a marketer who's planning a SXSW party tonight at Six Lounge. The video:
Click to viewOver the weekend, first Digg CEO Jay Adelson and then, more believably, BoomTown's Kara Swisher debunked the rumors that Google and Microsoft are in a bidding war to buy Digg. But nobody believes Digg isn't actually for sale. So Gawker Media conceptual artist Richard Blakeley decided to illustrate the typical Digg power user for potential buyers. 13 signs you may be a Digg power user, below:
A Digg sale might happen soon, to Google or Microsoft, says Michael Arrington. Cofounders Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose have made no secret of their disinterest in running a big company or going for an IPO. That leaves no exit but a sale, which Digg's bankers at Allen & Co. have been working on for months. This latest rumor could be just another trial balloon. Or it could be the beginning of the end. If not to Digg, then to a drama-filled life as an independent concern perpetually for sale. (Photo by briancaldwell)
At last night's Founders Club party in New York — an event for the self-important and those of us who fight for invitations to honor them — Digg CEO Jay Adelson finally cracked. "I remember when Valleywag and Digg used to have a good relationship," he told me. "What's happened?" Here's an idea, Jay.
Kevin Rose started Digg specifically to give users the power to decide what's news. It must be a pain to see some of his top users quit the site and write an open letter charging him with "disregard for the Digg community," "lack of transparency," and "flagrant disrespect of top users." They were angry that a sudden change in the site had lessened their influence. This may seem like an intramural tiff, but these users are known for submitting thousands of stories to Digg, driving up to several hundred thousand visits to each story that makes the front page. Gawker Media alone owes millions of pageviews to Digg. And this isn't the first time top users have grumbled. So Rose and his CEO Jay Adelson made a surprisingly sensible move: Late last night, they chatted live with the disgruntled users. Here's why Rose frustrated his top users, why he bothered talking to them, and why it's a lesson for all online media.
The following is an open letter for Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson and the rest of the Digg management, given to us by a number of top Digg users who have been unable to get any sort of dialogue going with the company which operates the social news site. Valleywag does not endorse this letter, but we like the idea of hearing from Digg about what's going on. And because the whole ruckus is entertaining.
Digg CEO Jay Adelson insists the company isn't selling out anytime soon. He also downplays the possibility that his company might buy smaller startups. But he did tell BusinessWeek to expect new "customization and personalization" features for Digg in 2008. These include a story-suggestion function, alerts, and a user-grading system similar to eBay's buyer and seller ratings. Throw in a few badly needed customer support reps and you might have yourself a gen-yoo-wine Web 2.0 company there, Jay.
Digg CEO Jay Adelson told BusinessWeek that the company is not planning a 2008 IPO, holding acquisition talks, or looking for more money. Which is obviously bullshit. That is, unless Digg hired Allen & Company, an investment bank which specializes in media deals, to bolster its ultimate frisbee team.
At last, an explanation for the renewed rumors of a Digg sale. Digg has hired Allen & Co., the boutique investment bank which specializes in media deals, according to VentureBeat. Which makes sense, since Digg CEO Jay Adelson got an invite to this year's exclusive Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley. The wave of buzz about a Digg sale is likely explained by Allen bankers' discreet inquiries. The company, as we'd heard, is seeking a price tag of $300 million. One possible acquirer, IAC, which had previously expressed interest but has backed off before. One reason for the renewed interest now: We hear that Barry Diller's online conglomerate is secretly working with Digg on some kind of project — possibly a white-label version of Digg's social news site. (Photo by Lane Hartwell)
Though the timing of Digg's deal with the Wall Street Journal was coincidental, we're told, it has sparked a new wave of whispers that News Corp. might be taking another look at the headline-voting site. We've heard a very specific number bruited about: News Corp., rumor has it, would pay $340 million to buy Digg. And there's a new angle to a potential deal: At the same time, News Corp. would take a stake in Revision3, the online-video startup which shares founders Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson with Digg.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Stanley Kirk Burrell, who sometimes goes by another name and often wears very large pants, as the video above, has teamed with Flock founders Geoffrey Arone and Anthony Young to launch DanceJam, a new online video site. Burrell is perhaps best known for pairing with videoblogger Justine Ezarik of iJustine to endorse Y Combinator's MySpace profile tool.
Digg is close to announcing its sale to a major media player for $300 million to $400 million, according to sources close to the company, I hear. When I floated this Digg rumor past some knowledgeable friends, several scoffed: "When isn't Digg up for sale?" It's true: The news-discussion site is perpetually in talks — but we hear the price tag always sinks potential deals before they're consummated. CBS, for example, backed off, with effervescent dealmaker Quincy Smith citing the media company's bubbly $280 million purchase of Last.fm as the reason it couldn't bid a high price for Digg. Things are different now, though.