Most Internet users know if you want a quick read on what's new and interesting on the Web, Digg.com is the place to find it. Founded by former TechTV host Kevin Rose, Digg is the current king of "social news aggregators."
The site is powerful and popular, but in the past few months Digg has lost some of its buzz to sites like Twitter.
In a wideranging conversation on Press:Here, NBC Bay Area's Sunday morning roundtable news program, Digg CEO Jay Adelson is this week's guest along with Forbes' Elizabeth Corcoran and Businessweek's Sarah Lacy.
In the first segment, Lacy pressed Adelson about how many truly engaged users control Digg's front page, and whether Adelson's site really has a great deal of value itself. Lacy wrote a controversial cover story about Digg in 2006.
Adelson contended that Digg has a hundred thousand highly engaged users, and Corcoran pressed Adelson on the value issue, and the CEO stated "advertising works for us," but noted that he doesn't have to limit his monetization to selling banner ads. Digg is in talks with companies like The New York Times to discuss ways to better analyze --and presumably, monetize -- the firehose of traffic going out from its home page.
In the second segment, Adelson explained why Digg broke with Microsoft over a deal which allowed Microsoft's to sell the advertisements on Digg. "Our intent was always to build a sales force," Adelson said, adding with a laugh that, "I think the economy changed. I think September happened."
As for the 140-character elephant in the room, Adelson said the Digg-ing of Twitter "is already happening." Adelson noted that the Twitter feeds that Digg provides are some of the most popular ones overall.
"We're the collaborative filter that provides the content for all these types of mediums," he said. "The bigger they get, the more people are consuming my content."
In the third segment, Adelson addressed the issue of mob rule, and how much they defer to powerful users. "They key is transparency," Adelson said.
Adelson maintained that he does not have "Oprah-envy," even though gurus from Facebook and Twitter have been guests on Winfrey's show.
The final segment was devoted to Lacy's 2006 story with its absurd cover photo and its $60 million claim. "You know how the magazine world works," Lacy said. "Do you think I wrote that headline?"
But she defended her story, noting that the prediction that YouTube could be worth $500 million turned out to be well under the real selling price.