Popular social news site Digg.com's parent company Digg Inc. is still looking for a new CEO, but the end of the search is near. In an interview, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose revealed that the field of candidates has been narrowed down to three possibilities and that he expects that the new CEO of the San Francisco-based company will be announced in another week.
At the same time, Digg will reveal a major overhaul of its site. Recently news of a conservative group that had organized in order to promote stories with a conservative slant and bury stories posted by liberal commentators spread like wildfire across the net, leading to demands for the site to rework its system in order to make manipulating its contents more difficult. Currently Digg allows users to vote stories up and down, with the most popular stories appearing on the front page, a method that allowed organized groups to game the system and control which stories appeared there.
The website revamp, which will be the fourth version of the site, will move it towards a simpler and more minimalistic interface as well, offering users a personalized homepage based on their history of Digg likes and dislikes, and allowing them to follow friends, publishers, and other favorites. In this, Digg is drawing on the lessons provided by the success of social networking sites. Among the promises made for the new site are an easier way to submit URLs, including an automated process for publishers, and a system that will weed out duplicate stories. Similarly, Digg reportedly will use user-created tags, rather than its current taxonomic system and unban all previously banned domains , relying on its filters to remove malware and spam.
More than the design will change. The architecture and performance monitoring have been optimized, leading to a site that Steve Franch of Digg called "blazing fast." John Quinn, Digg's VP of Engineering, said on the Digg blog, "We're working on a soup-to-nuts rewrite. Not only are we rewriting all our application code, but we're also rolling out a new client and server architecture. And if that doesn't sound like a big enough challenge, we're replacing most of our infrastructure components and moving away from LAMP." Previously the site has used MySQL, but will move to distributed database system Cassandra.
The website revamp is an indicator that the company's feeling the pressure of competition. Digg's number of visitors has shrunk within the past year, going from 30 million per month last year to 25 million per month this year. The rise of social networks has played a part in this decline as users have turned to places like Facebook and Twitter to find their news.
Digg was founded in 2004 by Jay Adelson, Owen Bryne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Kevin Rose, Adelson, who served as the company's CEO until this April, explained his departure as prompted by the fact that Digg had moved beyond the start-up phase and that he wanted to work with a younger company. Kevin Rose has been acting as CEO until a new one can be located.