Will apologies get Digg out of its hole?

Digg Down.The recent Digg redesign was controversial to say the least. The site’s new CEO, Matt Williams, hit the ground running his mouth with apologies for removing features, promises to restore those features, and a “please-won’t-you-take-us-back” attitude that frankly, surprised me.

Now I know the redesign scared off a lot of the site’s most loyal fans, but the whole point was to make Digg more appealing to people who had never used it. How frustrating would it be to submit links just to have them downvoted into oblivion by the “bury brigades?” Burying is one of the features the redesign did away with that users most bemoaned, but why give it back? The feature flies in the face of the whole purpose behind Digg – to give airtime to news stories that we otherwise might miss.

As Matthew Ingram points out over at GigaOM, “[Changing the fundamental function of a social site] only works, however, if enough new users arrive to justify the loss of that traditional fan base. By apologizing for and unwinding most of its recent changes, Digg appears to be admitting that it backed the wrong horse.” That’s where the apology comes in. As much as Digg needs to appeal to new audiences, the fact remains that Digg is heavily dependent on the power users that balked at the redesign. Twitter and Facebook have most of the market for this sort of thing locked up, and trying to snatch people away from those services by heavily reworking your own just isn’t a winning strat.


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