Techcrunch just broke the news that Digg's Kevin Rose is calling its quits with Diggnation, his weekly Web show about picking a topic and then drinking yourself silly trying to explain it. We don't know if this move will lead to Rehab or AA meetings, but it's certainly sending up one more red flag about a company that has been unsuccessfully trying to reinvent itself for quite some time.
Power DigggersIn following Digg over the years, I've watched sadly how the site's original effectiveness slowly dissipated with the influx of power diggers and a series of changing algorithms that prevented average diggers from gleaning any beneficial results from the social bookmarking service.
In posts like "Has Digg Finally Dugg Its Own Grave," and "Digg Goes From "Don't Digg Your Own Posts" To "RSS Feed Your Own Posts," I've become less and less of a fan, to the point where the only time I digg anything anymore is when a trusted source makes a personal request.
According to the TechCrunch report, Diggnation has “aired” since July 1, 2005 and regularly attracts 200,000 or more viewers. It is the most popular show on Revision3, although new shows like Penn Point are starting to bring in real mainstream talent. The speculation for Rose's departure is that he needs to spend more time re-invigorating his core business, versus playing public spokesperson and inebriated Web host.
A more likely reason for Rose's return to 'running the business' versus having the 'business run him,' is the site's dwindling stats. According to a Guardian report , Digg lost a third of its users in April, from 38 million in March to 24.7 million. That's a 35% drop. While it might be a blip, I'm sure Digg's investors will be looking very closely to the May numbers when they roll out.
Kevin Rose & Alex AlbrechtAccording to other reports, it is doubtful if the show will go on without Rose. Alex Albrecht, Rose's partner doesn't apparently have the charisma to pull this off, even if he was to invite a new co-host to join him.
So with Diggnation potentially shutting down, and no official date as to the 'reveal' of Rose's new vision for the Web site, my best guess is this patient is barely showing vital signs on life support. With a site that can't renew itself and become relevant again - it might be best to pull the plug and not resuscitate. . . unless you want to keep funny but raunchy satirical cartoonists like this in business (note: XXX alert).
Kevin Rose & Alex Albrecht cartoon
Update: A few hours after my post, Kevin Rose sent this tweet out. Looks like he's either trying to prove TechCrunch wrong, or he truly does have a new show in the works - perhaps one for recovering alcoholics!
Kevin Rose's tweet