Valleywag is reporting Google is digging around to acquire Digg. A few months ago I felt the best acquirer would be CNET — I wasn’t thinking of the bigger picture. I was thinking Digg/CNET would be a natural fit, given their focus on technology news [Digg is still primarily for the geek, but has slowly diversified].
Digg is the social bookmarking utility of the web for news. How many websites out there have a ‘digg this’ button on them? I have no clue, but it’s huge.
That little Digg image that loads on all those webpages loads from Digg’s web servers — meaning that Digg knows exactly when their Digg image loads (meaning a webpage load) and thus can see how many pageloads a specific webpage is getting and how often. If a Digg image was on every webpage of Techcrunch, Digg would know exactly how many pageviews Techcrunch gets. Digg would know what webpages a user views during a session across the web (on webpages that have a Digg image loading) and if that user was doing Google searches at the same time, Google could determine higher relevant results based on the user’s behavior.
Digg has a TON of data in the back-end — valuable data that shows them the most popular viewed webpages on the web at any given time — not to mention when their own users ‘digg’ a webpage.
But Techcrunch doesn’t have a Digg image/button on their webpages — they have an AddThis button on their webpages — which contains a Digg image, but it isn’t loading off of Digg’s servers, so Digg has no clue the total Techcrunch pageviews happening — AddThis does. Another competitor of AddThis is ShareThis.
Digg should be an AddThis/ShareThis, and allow users to easily ‘del.icio.us’, ‘twitter’, ‘facebook share’, etc, the webpages — because as websites replace their Digg button with an AddThis or ShareThis, Digg loses tons of valuable data — and tons of value.
Back to Google acquiring Digg — this is like Google acquiring Feedburner. There’s not much of a business model now, but the back-end data will improve the relevancy of Google’s search results, which is worth a lot to Google.
…or Yahoo …or Microsoft …or Ask …