Digg to be merged with News.me daily briefing service

Digg screenshot Digg's users voted for their favourite stories, sending the most popular to its front page

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The news aggregator website Digg has been sold to the New York-based technology group Betaworks.

Digg announced the news on its blog saying that it would be combined with the daily briefing service News.me.

Digg allows users to submit and vote on news stories to decide which ones should be promoted highest on its site.

It lost traffic to competitors last year, but had been staging a comeback after releasing a Facebook app, according to The Next Web blog.

News.me had previously limited its articles to stories shared by a user's friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Rise and fall

Digg said it had received more than 28 million story submissions, 350 million article votes and 40 million comments since it was launched towards the end of 2004.

It rose to prominence three months later when links to images hacked from the mobile telephone of socialite Paris Hilton were posted on the site.

It went onto become one of the 100 most visited sites on the internet, attracting fame for its founder Kevin Rose who appeared on the cover of Businessweek magazine alongside a headline saying "how this kid made $60m in 18 months".

But Mr Rose left the site in 2011 after an unpopular redesign caused a user backlash and a dip in traffic which was capitalised on by its competitors Reddit and Stumbleupon.

Many users had also switched to Twitter as a way to keep across the news.

The Washington Post newspaper subsequently struck a deal to hire 15 of Digg's engineers.

Value drop

"Digg has always been a site built by the community, for the community," blogged its chief executive Matt Williams, who is standing down from the post.

"Over the last few months, we've considered many options of where Digg could go, and frankly many of them could not live up to the reason Digg was invented in the first place - to discover the best stuff on the web. We wanted to find a way to take Digg back to its startup roots."

The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal was worth $500,000 (£324,000).

That can be added to the $12m the Washington Post paid to hire the Digg engineers and a further $4m paid by Linkedin to buy some of its patents - as reported by Techcrunch - to value the firm's sold assets at $16.5m.

If the estimate is accurate it marks a significant shortfall on the $45m of funds the firm raised from venture capital firms, as recorded by the tech firm database Crunchbase.

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