Digg.com Plans Expansion

Digg.com, a collaboratively edited technology news site that some on the Web are touting as the next Slashdot, intends to branch out from tech stories and move into other news categories as well as media such as video and audio, said Digg.com CEO Jay Adelson.

Adelson said the site has now reached a "critical mass" of users that can sustain entry into categories broader than technology--sports and business news, for example. "Whatever we choose, we've got good access to a critical mass of people," he said.

At the end of October, Digg received $2.8 million in venture capital from some several investors, including Greylocke Partners, the Omidyar Network--led by eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar--and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen.

Digg's editorial process is based on its thousands of readers "digging" a story--or voting that it be moved up in the rankings. The more votes a story garners, the further up in the rankings it goes, creating an editorial collective that votes on what stories users see first.

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Adelson's hope is that the method will end up being faster and more reliable than both the wholly automated search engines, and the wholly people-powered sites like Slashdot--which relies on human editors to push stories to the front page. "It's incredible how fast it [Digg] is growing. I think one of the reasons why is because it revealed one very serious advantage over those older models," he said. "That is, it's much faster. If you're looking for fresh data, current data, or very dynamic data, a search engine relies on the crawling technology, an editorial board takes days to process and publish."

Adelson said the venture money will be mostly used to upgrade Digg.com's server capacity, which is rapidly approaching being overwhelmed by traffic. "Just scaling the growth that we're having right now is enough to justify some investment," he said. "I think, though, when you consider that the critical mass that we've built just around technology news is growing at this rate--yes, we're going to need that capital to be able to handle that capacity."

Adelson noted, however, that Digg was profitable before the capital came rolling in; the site was monetized entirely by a set of Google AdSense units.

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