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The “digg this” button was already almost extinct

After months, if not years, of speculation, Digg.com has been acquired. A company called Betaworks snapped up the once so popular social community news site for $500,000, it’s been reported. Although the total amount paid by several organizations may have been as high as $16 million.

So what is the future like now for Digg.com? It’s been left in the wake of social networking behemoths like Facebook, and with traffic dwindling, have we seen the last of the “digg this” button?

“Believe it or not, it’s been seven years since Digg launched. To date, we’ve had over 350M Diggs, 28M Story Submissions and 40M Comments.” So begins the blog post on digg.com announcing the site’s acquisition.

Impressive figures perhaps, but nonetheless, the official Digg button appears on only 14 top sites in the world, and the text “digg this” on 11 sites, according to a quick run through our capture of the Alexa Top 10,000 sites.

In comparison, a whopping 49.3% of the top 10,000 sites in the world have some kind of Facebook integration including links to Facebook. Twitter is not far behind with 41.7%.

But let’s not dwell on the fate of a button.

Digg.com search trend

Using Google Trends for websites, we took a look at what the situation has been like for Digg.com in recent years.

As you can see in the chart below, from early 2009, Digg has seen a steady decline in search interest.

Digg.com traffic trend

When we looked at traffic instead, the decline for Digg was no less dramatic. From a high around mid-2009, with over 1.4 million daily unique visitors, Digg now has just over 250,000 daily unique visitors, according to Google Trends.

Just over the last year alone, Digg’s traffic has fallen by approximately 43%, quickly approaching the 250,000 mark.

According to Quantcast, Digg.com reached 3.8 million people in the US during May 2012. That’s down from 4.8 million at the beginning of the year.

Facebook.com traffic trend

In comparison, Facebook.com has passed 600 million (yes, 600,000,000!) daily unique visitors. With the official toll at 901 million monthly active users as of March this year, the 1 billion-user barrier is not far off, if it’s not been breached already.

Comparing Digg, Facebook, and Twitter

Digg’s traffic is in decline and Facebook is increasing, but you can’t really feel the difference unless you look at them in the same chart. Then it becomes obvious how small Digg’s traffic is, or rather, just how big Facebook is. (We threw in Twitter as well, to make the comparison a bit more interesting.)

Facebook, Digg, och Twitter

What’s the future for Digg?

Even though we’re not sure if there’s much value left in Digg.com, we can’t help but feeling a bit blue over the prospects of it disappearing or being folded into something completely different. It was, after all, the cool place to hangout, especially for geeks.

But looking at the numbers as presented above, it does present a rather gloomy picture of the once so popular site.

What do you think will happen to Digg? Have you given up on the site a long time ago, or are you still hanging around hoping there are better days ahead still?

Betaworks said: “We are going to build Digg for 2012.” Let’s see what happens.

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