The future is looking bright at Digg, or at least that's what cofounder and CEO Jay Adelson is claiming. The social news aggregator has been trying a lot of things lately to spur growth and, more importantly, revenue and it's clear that at least some of them are working; the CEO especially notes Digg Ads. They're working so well in fact that revenue is no longer an issue at Digg and profitability is just around the corner.
In an interview with Fox Business News, the CEO made some interesting comments regarding Digg's present and future, but also on the state of 'news' in general. One of the first questions most startups are being asked is how are they doing financially. This has been an issue for Digg also and there has been a lot of pressure on the company to start making money. This was evident from all of the focus on generating revenue especially over the summer, but this isn't as much of a concern now and Digg is actually doing quite well revenue-wise with profitability now not so far ahead.
Digg has tried a number of products and it looks like Digg Ads turned out to be the most popular. These type of ads combine advertising with content, making them much more engaging for the reader, so much so that Digg has been seeing very high click-rates, as much as 100 times more than the ones it sees on standard display ads. In fact, he believes that the model is so good that the company could take the concept and implement it on the more traditional news sites, hopefully to the same level of success.
The CEO has a surprising stance on the issue of paying for news which has been a hotly debated topic of late. While he believes that regular people aren't prepared to pay for news anymore, news organizations are entitled to some form of retribution, even actual payments from the news aggregators like Digg itself. Micropayments are also an option in this case, but Adelson says he would much rather have some sort of revenue sharing deal on advertising with the news organizations than direct payments.
He also believes that the information that Digg has on the users would be of much value to the news sites and that knowing more about the readers coming from aggregators or search engines should help these sites monetize much better. Still, he isn't prepared to start selling the data anytime soon, especially not without a clear consent from the users which he believes will not happen, especially now that people are starting to realize how important their online privacy is. He doesn't discount selling aggregate data though, like trends and similar information, a direction that is shared by other sites sitting on a pile of data like Digg.
For now though, the biggest concern at Digg is growth, Adelson says, and this will be the focus of the company for the foreseeable future. When asked about the possibility of going public, Adelson said that the company would have to get a lot bigger before any he even began thinking about it and that, because the company was doing OK financially, there was no pressure at the moment. Still, it's bound to get there eventually, especially if Digg plans to go international, which the CEO says is one of the things he's focusing on in the short term. You can watch the whole interview here.