Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Digg’s Tech Team Heads for the Washington Post, and Digg Looks for a Lifeline

Digg isn’t done. Yet.

But it’s looking pretty close. The Washington Post is in the process of buying/hiring the news aggregator’s technology team, but isn’t purchasing the business itself, according to multiple people familiar with the negotiations. The Post plans to put the new hires to work alongside the people who built the publisher’s Social Reader Facebook app.

The Next Web initially reported on rumors that the publisher was buying Digg, and TechCrunch later reported that the deal was an “acqhire.” Both the Post and Digg declined to comment.

Once the deal closes, Digg won’t shut down, at least not immediately. The site’s remaining management will try to figure out how to take advantage of its brand name and traffic, according to people familiar with the company.

But given the fact that Digg has been looking for a buyer for months, it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to find another home for the remainder of the company.

Then again, it’s been hard to see how Digg would work for some time. The site was once one of Silicon Valley’s hottest Web 2.0 start-ups, and there was a period when lots of Web publishers spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to court Digg’s hordes of users. But that time is long gone (if you’re looking for a social/traffic kingmaker, head to Reddit, which used to be dismissed as a Digg wannabe).

Its current management team — the old guys are long gone, too — has been gamely trying to broaden the site’s appeal by courting mainstream users. But that always seemed like a tough sell.

Given Digg’s track record — which includes a deal to sell to Google that got pretty far down the road before the search giant walked away — you don’t want to write anything about the company with any certainty. But it doesn’t look good.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Rob Byron)

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