Digg is Back, with a New Take and New Ownership

Remember Digg, the social news titan that tanked when a new update chased off its user base? It’s back, under new ownership, and with a different strategy. After a six-week sprint to reinvent the site, it has relaunched in its new form. There are no comments yet, as the developers didn’t feel they could build a good threaded commenting system in that time, and a Facebook account is required for now, as they don’t have spam filters in place yet.

Before, Digg followed the simple paradigm of “sort user-submitted links by the number of votes they receive.” Now, it’s trying to be something more like a cross between Slashdot and Techmeme, with a little bit of inspiration from The Verge’s design.

Stories are now ranked not just by votes, but also by the number of times they’re shared on social networking sites. If you share or like a link on Facebook, Digg considers it to be a vote. If you retweet a link on Twitter, Digg counts it as a vote. Placement on the page is determined not only by a ranking formula, though, but also by manual moderation.

The first segment of the Digg front page is made up of the highlighted stories, with their large images, but down the page you find the “Popular” and “Upcoming” sections, which will seem familiar to those who remember the old Digg. “Popular” contains the top stories by natural votes, rather than being singled-out by them moderators. Below that, the Upcoming section shows the recently submitted links.

As it stands, the new Digg isn’t a bad start. It’s less automated and democratic than a site purely driven by user votes, but the new direction may lead to better content and less image macros. One thing it’s majorly missing, however, is an RSS feed. User comments aren’t a huge deal, in fact, they were one of the worst parts of the previous incarnations of Digg.