It’s been a tough week for digg.com, the popular news aggregator. After alpha testing a comprehensive site redesign, they went live last Wednesday only to be plague with technical problems almost immediately.
Users were greeted with an error page for hours as they tried to fix problem associated with the switch over. Even when users managed to get onto the site, they were faced with an unfamiliar page voided of any content. digg decided to jump into the social networking bandwagon by integrating feature to add friends and generate custom user news pages. For the vast majority of casual users who surfed digg rather than participate in adding friends, this meant a blank page with no content.
Power digg users today launched a “Quit digg day” and proceeded to game the new system by flooding the Top News page of digg with stories from smaller rival Reddit.com. A sample of top news in the last 24 hours reveals all stories linking back to Reddit.com with the exception of a single sponsored link from National Geographic. Alexa reports digg page views down by 36% and bounce rate up by 8%. A bounce rate is the percentage of viewers who leave the site without navigating to any other links. Time on site is down 11% and pageviews per user is down 6%. It’s all bad news and to add insult to injury, Alexa is reporting the site as “very slow and 81% of sites are faster”. This last statistic is potentially damaging to digg because Google has stated they may penalize slow sites in terms of search rankings.
But don’t count digg out of the game just yet. digg.com is ranked 112 by Alexa.com and surely has the financial and technical resources to get through this bump in the road. Founder Kevin Rose is a smart guy and based on his blog, he is listening and adjusting the design to answer some of the more valid concerns. Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone. Rose did not seem overly concerned about the revolt tweeting a reply to @kiantech “this too shall pass, it’s revolt #5 for us, we have to fix some features, but we’ll get back to normal soon. thx for the support.”