Twitter wants to be a media company, and its efforts to become one have created a lot of collateral damage.
That's not at all surprising: when the company was positioned as a communications platform with an open API, developers flocked to take advantage of the connately-flowing river of data that Twitter produces. But many of those developers, as well as companies like LinkedIn, had to be cut off as Twitter's desire to be a media company realistically requires it to control the user experience, and how its content is displayed, in consumer channels.
Social news site Digg was once one of the most popular services on the internet. An early social media darling, Digg and its founder, Kevin Rose, were the subject of numerous high-profile articles, including an embarrassing (and not-entirely-accurate) BusinessWeek cover piece with the headline How This Kid Made $60 Million In 18 Months.
It wasn't just the media lavishing attention on Digg: investors poured big money -- some $45m in total -- into the company.
But what goes up often comes down and as it turned out for Digg, the company's future was not going to be nearly as bright as its early years. Yesterday, the company's assets, including the code for the Digg site itself and its domain, were sold to New York-based development firm Betaworks for a reported $500,000.
Social media may be alive and well, but some of the most prominent web properties that rose during 'Web 2.0' have seen better days.
From Digg to Delicious, if the rise and fall of companies that were supposed to change the web, if not the world, reminds us of anything, it's this: the consumer internet market evolves rapidly, and can be as brutal to the losers as it is rewarding to the winners.
But can a Web 2.0 has-been be brought back to life by a couple of entrepreneurs who built one of its biggest winners? Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, who founded YouTube, hope so.
Digg is dead. Sure, the company won't be disappearing today,
tomorrow or next week, but to anyone who lived through the first .com
bust, the writing is on the wall: the company's redesign woes and
yesterday's 37% staff reduction don't bode well for its future prospects.
For Digg to survive and thrive once again, it's going to have to beat the kind of odds that few companies do.
Back when social media first burst into the mainstream in a big way and
popular Web 2.0 services like Digg and Flickr were the subject of
articles touting phrases such as "the wisdom of crowds" and buzzwords
like "democratization," it might have seemed that the web was truly
changing the fundamental dynamics of information distribution.
But a new CNN study hints that some of the hype around this notion has been overblown.
Social media and Web 2.0 (a term that, incidentally, we don't hear much of anymore) were supposed to make the internet a more democratic place. On today's internet, just about everybody has a printing press, and the little guy has equal opportunity to distribute a message. The best, we're often told, will rise to the top.
Of course, anyone who is involved with user-generated content and the popular web services through which user-generated content is shared and promoted, eventually learns that the internet isn't as democratic as it's supposed to be.
Digg may have been a Web 2.0 pioneer, but out of all the mature startups loosely grouped into the 'social media' category, it's one of the companies some might argue is well past its prime. While other upstarts born around mid-decade, such as Facebook and Twitter, continue to rise, Digg seems to be treading water.
That, of course, is not to say that Digg isn't very popular. It is. And that's not to say that it can't do wonderful things for publishers who hit the front page. It can.
But for both consumers and publishers alike, the Facebook and Twitters of the world have largely become more important when it comes to sharing and discovering interesting content on the web.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. These are but a few of the services many of us have come to enjoy.
Yet there's one thing that seems anything but enjoyable about them: dealing with their customer service.
Metrics matter. Every online publisher and every digital marketer knows this.
In a new article, BusinessWeek's Sarah Lacy asks the question: is the 'unique user' metric an endangered species?
Hellomagazine.com, the online version of the celebrity magazine, was redesigned a couple of months ago.
I've been having a look around the Hello website to see if the revamp has improved the site, and how it compares to those of its rivals; sites like iVillage, More, and heatworld.