We sat down with Digg co-founder Kevin Rose after TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday to talk about the recent Digg Version 4 launch and the user revolt and media circus that ensued. Rose addressed the lessons he had learned during the tumultuous redesign, including what he would have done differently if given another opportunity.
“We’ve taken heat from a lot of people who don’t like the changes because they take the power out of their hands.”
“It’s always a battle for us, it’s like an arms race. We have the same problems Google does with people trying to manipulate search results with SEO, except on the social voting side of the house.”
“If I had to do it all over again I would have kept all those features we had on the old site, and let the users try them out first and see if they had a taste for the new features and only then, if they really liked them then rolled them out to everybody else.”
“We couldn’t keep the servers up or the site live, so it was frustrating to even access the new features.”
“We took away a lot of the features the core users were using, because we thought we had great alternative and replacements.”
“Twitter did an amazing job with their rollout, they let you switch back to the old Twitter if you didn’t like it, they were constantly collecting feedback via the hashtag. They could jump back anytime to see what users were liking and what users were not liking.”
Rose, who was recently replaced as CEO by Matt Williams, also went in to future product plans for Digg, such as “Interests” pages for different verticals, a product that Rose says will be launching in the next couple of weeks, with the eventual goal being a Digg that allows you to jump into niche interests and form communities around those interests.
Says Rose,“If we can tap into the longtail of content, then we’ll have a much larger site than we have today.”