Tech: The beloved Digg, once the chief rival to Reddit, was just sold to an advertising tech company

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Digg was once one of the biggest sites on the internet. Now, it's been purchased by an advertising technology company.

  • Digg, once the chief rival to Reddit, has been purchased by ad-tech company BuySellAds.
  • Digg had previously been purchased by NYC-based holding incubator Betaworks for $500,000.
  • BuySellAds says the site will continue to be editorially independent.

Digg, a social news site that was once the chief competitor to Reddit, has been bought by digital advertising company BuySellAds for an undisclosed amount, Fast Company reports.

"We’re big fans of Digg and we had an opportunity arise that we couldn’t pass up," a BuySellAds representative told Business Insider. The company says that Digg will maintain its editorial independence: "Our intention is to keep letting Digg do its thing."

It's been a tumultuous decade-plus for Digg: Originally founded in 2004, it grew to 30 million monthly visitors by 2009. At one point in that growth phase, Google reportedly approached Digg with a $200 million acquisition offer, though it apparently didn't work out.

By 2012, though, Digg's traffic had cratered to 1.5 million visitors a month. That same year, it sold to New York-based startup incubator Betaworks for $500,000. Under Betaworks, Digg pivoted to doing more original content, and even raised funding in 2016 in a round led by newspaper titan Gannett. Now, it belongs to BuySellAds.

The purchase comes a month after Digg CTO Michael Young announced that the site would be shutting down its popular RSS feed reader, Digg Reader, to the dismay of loyal readers. Digg Reader was seen as many as the successor to Google Reader, which was shut down years ago.

For its part, BuySellAds is a privately held advertising tech firm based in Boston that helps brands place their ads on sites across the internet. It says it has 4,500 advertisers as customers. Going forward, a BuySellAds spokesperson tells us that they're looking to purchase more publishers like Digg.

As for why Digg in the first place:

“We feel it’s a great property,” Garland told Fast Company. “It attracts a crowd that is like an internet subculture, in a way.”

Read the full Fast Company report here.

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