There are many factors that have contributed to this downturn, but high among them is the adoption of many of Digg’s features by mainstream media. Its influential nature was its very downfall.
Back in 2006 when the site launched, the news agenda was dictated by large media corporations. Nowadays whether a news story goes viral and gets shared by large numbers of people is more important than where it features on a news site’s front page.
The number of shares that a story gets is the equivalent of a Digg ranking and most media companies now put substantial effort into generating this kind of interest in their stories. Nearly all now feature a plethora of share buttons for different platforms.
There have been other things that have contributed to the sites downfall. It has been dogged with criticism and controversy, not least last year’s Digg Patriots scandal. The Guardian revealed how conservatives were organising themselves to systematically clicking “bury” to downgrade stories deemed to have a liberal slant.
Digg is not dead yet but with all commentators predicting its demise it may not be long until its bell tolls.