Case Study for Digg

Background

While he was a popular TV personality at TechTV, Kevin Rose had an idea: to create a user-generated, democratic news and content web site and community that would be unencumbered by editors and driven by the will of its users. He called it Digg.

Bootstrapped by Rose, Digg faced already-established social content sites, such as Slashdot, del.icio.us and others.  Although there was significant buzz surrounding the social content space within the tech community, the category was virtually unknown by the masses and the mainstream press.  Digg was not known as a market participant, let alone a leader, and the small Digg user base consisted mostly of self-described “geeks”,  many of whom were already dedicated users of other similar sites.

When Kevin and his partner Jay Adelson brought in Karbo and her partner to help publicize the site and take it from a personal project supported by friends and a small fan base from TechTV to a community open to the Internet masses, it was clear that there was a great deal of work to be done.

Objectives

The ultimate goal was to make Digg the leader in its space and draw general interest in the site by increasing the number of registered users and general visitors.  At the same time, there was a significant amount of education that needed to be done about the social content space, this new offering, and the unique features and benefits of Digg.

The immediate goals were to increase media and blog awareness of Digg and to generate “buzz” for the company as a cool, non-corporate startup with an offering that could revolutionize the web.

Execution

After developing a strategic positioning platform that addressed the company’s goals, target markets, competitive landscape and communications objectives, The agency began an aggressive media, analyst and blog outreach program.  This was done through a detailed program that involved many targeted initiatives to specific influencers (bloggers, podcasters, traditional media, pundits, Web 2.0 personalities, etc.), rather than the traditional approach of blasting out numerous press releases.  In fact, the agency only developed two press releases for Digg in its first year.

By focusing on building a dedicated grassroots community, the agency was able to heighten Digg’s awareness within their most important constituency while building a solid foundation to approach traditional media.

Results

Within only nine months, Digg went from a relative unknown to one of the hottest companies in Silicon Valley (as positioned in Business Week’s August 2006 cover issue featuring Kevin Rose and Digg). At the same time, Digg grew from a registered user base of just a few thousand to an exuberant base of half a million, doubling its growth rate every three months.  Some analysts have even estimated Digg’s value of $200 million

In addition, Digg has won a variety of accolades including Time Magazine’s “50 Coolest Websites”, Business Week Magazine’s “Web Smart 50”, Newsweek Magazine’s “Tipsheet”, Businees 2.0 Magazine’s “Next Net 25”, PCWorld’s “100 Best Products of 2008”, TechCrunch’s “Crunchies” and Webbly Award’s “People’s Voice Award”.

The original positioning developed by the agency as well as the execution of the PR program have been significant contributions to the company’s success. The posittioning helped Digg maintain its “hip” image within its core technology user audience, while expanding into new content areas that engage an entirely new group of users.

The positioning of Digg has also enabled it to thrive despite growing competition from the likes of Time Warner Corporation’s Netscape and Yahoo!’s Yahoo!Buzz The PR initiatives launched by the agency to counter the launch and activities of Netscape and Yahoo!  have helped to position Digg as the leader in the space, while Netscape and other “Digg clones” have suffered significant negative media attention for copying the Digg model.

Media Placements for Digg

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Award placements for Digg

Askmen.com – Top 49 Most Influential Men, Kevin Rose
2008

BusinessWeek – 25 Most Influential People, Kevin Rose
2008

7×7 – Top 30 Under 40, Kevin Rose
2008

AlwaysOn – Global 250
2008

TIME – 50 Best Websites
2008

Interactive Media Awards – Top 10 Websites
2008

PCWorld – 100 Best Products
2008

Webly Awards – People’s Voice(Best Practices)
2008

Time – The TIME 100, Jay Adelson
2008

The Daily Green – Heart of Green
2008

Interactive Media Awards – Top 10 Websites
2008

Interactive Media Awards – Best in Class, News
2008

The Webbly Awards – People’s Voice, Best Practices
2008

Times Online – 50 Best Eco Blogs
2008

TechCrunch Crunchies – Best User-Generated Content Site
2008

.net Awards – Web Personality of the Year, Kevin Rose
2008

Forbes – The Web Celeb 25, Kevin Rose
2007

Mashable Open Web Awards – Judge’s Choice & People’s Choice
2007

Businessweek – 25 Most Influential People, Kevin Rose
2007

Adweek – Digital Hotlist
2007

Forbes – Top 25 Trendsetters, Kevin Rose
2007

MIT Technology Review  – TR 35, Kevin Rose
2007

Interactive Media Awards – Best in Class, Community
2007

Business2.0 – Who Matters Now, Kevin Rose
2007

Business2.0 – 50 Who Matter Now, Jay Adelson
2007

BusinessWeek – Web Smart 50 TIME – 25 Web Sites We Can’t Live Without
2007

PC World – Top 100 Products, Website
2007 & 2008

Seomoz – Web Site Awards, Social News
2007

Laptop Magazine – Top Ten Web 2.0 Sites, Social Bookmarking
2007

TIME – 50 Coolest Web Sites, Technology
2006 & 2007

WebWare/CNet – Webware 100, Community
2006 

Information Today – People’s Choice Award, Top New Technology
2006 

EContent – Top 100 List
2006 

AlwaysOn – Media 100 Awards
2006 

Business2.0 – Next Net
2006

Next Web Conferrence – Hottest Company
2006

BusinessWeek Online – Best of thee Web, TechNews
2005 & 2006

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 Speaking Placements for Digg:

South by Southwest – Anton Kast
2009

Qcon – Joe Stump 2008

Web 2.0 Summit – Kevin Rose
2008

Future of Web Design – Daniel Burka, Joe Stump
2008

ReeSys – Anton Kast
2008

Future of Web Apps – Joe Stump, Kevin Rose(*Keynote)
2008

dConstruct – Daniel Burka, Mark Trammell
2008

Supernova – Jay Adelson
2008

NANOG – Jay Adelson
2008

Umesh – Daniel Burka
2008

Interactive Mediaweek – Beth Murphy
2008

WiF – Daniel Burka
2008

Future of Web Design – Daniel Burka
2008

MySQL Conferrence & Expo – Joe Stump
2008

The NextWeb Conferrence – Kevin Rose
2008

South by Southwest – Kevin Rose, Daniel Burka, Joe Stump
2008

Future of Web Apps – Kevin Rose, Daniel Burka
2008

The Future of  Technology in the Field – Anton Kast
2008

Social Networking Conferrence – Scott Baker
2008

Webs Directions Norths – Daniel Burka
2008

Web 2.0 Summit – Jay Adelson
2007

Le Web3 – Kevin Rose
2007

MIT TR35 Conferrence – Kevin Rose
2007

AlwaysOn Media – Jay Adelson
2007

Web 2.0 Expo – Owen Byme
2007

Web 2.0 Summit – Kevin Rose
2007

Fortune Innovation Forum – Kevin Rose
2006

SIIA Content Forum – Kevin Rose
2006

Forbes CIO Forum – Jay Adelson
2006

 

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