Tomorrow (or maybe Monday, unless Betaworks is really cracking that whip) the work of rebuilding Digg will begin. But today is a day of eulogies. What slew Digg, the once-mighty social site at one time thought to be worth $200 million? The Wall Street Journal points to Twitter and Facebook. This Forbes contributor is pretty sure it was Reddit.
Actually, Redditors are pretty sure that Digg killed Digg.
We popped over to the /r/technology subreddit, where Redditors–many of them self-confessed former Digg devotees–were discussing that Forbes article. Between nostalgic ASCII spam and arguments about Ron Paul, users were pretty much unanimous (or as unanimous as Redditors get) regarding what the site had evolved into. Read More
Just a couple of months after the Washington Post poached most of its staff, Digg proper–the “core assets,” anyway–finally has a fate: It’s been purchased by New York’s own Betaworks, to be combined with News.me.
As for what to expect: Betaworks CEO John Borthwick told Betabeat by email, “We are reverting digg to a startup, expect more things like paperboy,” a feature that lets you automatically update whenever you leave your house.
As for the price tag, well, that’s a little unclear. Mr. Borthwick refused to comment. However, someone with knowledge of the deal told Betabeat said that ballpark number of $500,000 had been floating around and that was the only figure the source had heard. That’s a long way from the $200 million Google is rumored to have once offered for the service, before an acquisition fell through. Read More
After a brief interlude, wherein an organizer appealed to whichever publicity-seeking startup might have released the still-chattering bird high aloft in the rafters, TechCrunch marched onward. M.G. Siegler (formerly of TechCrunch, currently of CrunchFund) opened with what sounded like an invitation to coffee, rattling off the overlap between their respective organizations’ portfolios and concluding, ”We should probably talk more.” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick didn’t bite: ”We probably should, but we’re doing just fine.” He also added rather pointedly that, “as you know, we are not a fund,” though Betaworks, of course, has investments.
Mr. Borthwick proceeded to, at Mr. Siegler’s inquiry as to how they work with investors on the sunnier side of the country, essentially dismiss any notions of conflict: ”This bicoastal thing, I think it’s fun and games” but added that “the market is bigger because of the complementary skills that both coasts offer the market and entrepreneurs and so it’s not, it’s fun to sort of pit one coast against the other, but companies are better for having East Coast and West Coast investors.” Some companies might be a better fit for one coast or the other or both, but regardless, more options are better. Read More
New York-based startup non-incubator Betaworks announced today that it’s making a new investment in Bloglovin, the fashion and design lover’s answer to RSS, according to GigaOm. Bloglovin is a Swedish company that curates blog posts, much like an RSS reader, but with a strong focus on aesthetics. It also can notify you via phone or email whenever one of your followed blogs updates. Read More
Unless you’ve gone off the grid, you probably already know that Internet Week 2012 launches on Monday. But with a dizzying number of events to attend, it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth the time, effort and subway fare. Betabeat guest blogger Gary Sharma, something of an events truffle hound, already penned his personal list of recommendations. But consider this Betabeat’s official to-do list: blogger tested, Betabeat approved. Read More
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Josh Miller, the precocious 21-year-old Princeton dropout behind Branch, one of tech’s most buzzed-about new startups, took The Observer on a tour of the Obvious Corporation, a growing operation helmed by the cofounders of Twitter that advises and invests in an elite set of fledgling tech companies, Branch among them.
The San Francisco office radiated industrial California coziness, with tall windows and exposed pipes, dark grey walls and a fridge overflowing with Vitamin Water. Mr. Miller, who is tall and insouciant, with the laid-back linguistic tenor of one who spent his childhood in Santa Monica, bustled about the office, seemingly unthreatened by the fact that he is both much younger and less experienced than the majority of Obvious employees.
“Check this out!” he called from a breezy conference room with a panoramic view of downtown San Francisco. He pointed to a wet bar fully stocked with top-shelf bottles. “You know, I’m just out of college, so sometimes I’m, like, afraid to drink any of this because it’s so expensive! It’s like, where’s the Franzia?” he joked, referring to the cheap boxed wine favored by destitute college students. Read More
Much like Lena Dunham on last night’s episode of “Girls,” New York technophiles seem to be embracing their “experimental” side. Some side projects are more facetious than others. But a new leisure pursuit from News.me general manager Jake Levine and designer Justin Van Slembrouck released today falls into the more utilitarian camp. Welcome to the Last Great Thing. Each day for a month, the duo plan on featuring a single link to the last great thing someone saw online.
The twist is that the site is “purposefully ephemeral,” Mr. Levine told Betabeat by email. “There will be no archive. What’s visible on Tuesday won’t be findable on Wednesday.” As far as gimmicks go, the disappearing link tops “by invitation only” in our book. We already feel a sense of panic over missing something great! Today’s entry from Clay Shirky is off to a stellar start. Read More
Vibe, the anonymous microblogging service used during the Occupy Wall Street protests in the fall, is back. The app has a new release for iPhone and, later today, Android as well. The releases are timed to the citywide Occupy Wall Street protests planned for tomorrow.
Vibe works like Twitter, but users don’t have to register their names. Instead, a message is pinned to a specific location and shown only to users within the designated radius. Vibe also allows users to set an expiration date on their messages. Activists can use the service to coordinate in real-time, creator Hazem Sayed told Betabeat, and recently it’s been discovered by users in the Middle East.
The new features should make Vibe even more appealing to protesters. ”The main thing that’s been added is this idea of a double hashtag,” Mr. Sayed said. “Unlike the standard hashtag, where you put it in and it’s vis to everyone, a double hashtag makes that thread invisible. So if you do ##newyorkcity, it doesn’t show up in the public stream. The only way to find it is to search for it explicitly.” Read More
Chartbeat just announced a hefty new round of funding led by Josh Stein, managing director at Draper Fisher Jurveston, and Saul Klein, a partner at Index Ventures, for $9.5 million in all. Some of the funding has already been put to use, as Chartbeat is rolling out a “complete new look,” CEO Tony Haile told Betabeat, with a new dashboard, two major new features, and a mobile app. Read More