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Betaworks Buys What’s Left of Social News Site Digg (The New York Times/Bits Blog)
On Thursday, Betaworks, a technology incubator in New York, said it had acquired social news site Digg. Betaworks paid $500,000 for Digg’s assets, including the site and its technology, and Digg shareholders received equity in a new Betaworks unit that will use those assets, according to a person involved in the deal. The Wall Street Journal The price is a pittance for a company that raised $45 million from prominent investors including Facebook investor Greylock Partners, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. Digg received higher offers from bidders that included technology and publishing companies and start-ups but ultimately decided Betaworks had the best plan for reviving its brand, three people familiar with the matter said. Wired It used to be one of the most fearsome traffic drivers on the Internet, but faltered with a redesign in 2010 that critics complained gave all the leverage to promote stories to publishers, and took it away from the community that had built the site’s popularity. Users started leaving in droves, turning to Twitter to find their news, or Facebook to share links with friends, rather than “Digging” a story. PC Magazine Digg will be combined with News.me, which serves up the best stories shared by friends on Facebook and Twitter via an iPad and iPhone app and in a daily email newsletter. In the near future, Betaworks will release a cloud-based version of Digg intended to complement the existing News.me apps, Digg said. Reuters The sale came after the majority of Digg’s engineering staff left in May for Social Code, a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co. “Over the last few months, we’ve considered many options of where Digg could go, and frankly many of them could not live up to the reason Digg was invented in the first place — to discover the best stuff on the web,” Digg Chief Executive Matt Williams said in a blog post. “We wanted to find a way to take Digg back to its startup roots.” Read more