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Social Voting Sites Dying & Struggling

It’s been a rough week for two of the bigger players in the social voting space. Propeller, an AOL-owned property that grew out of the old Netscape website, has announced on its home page that the site is shutting down on October 1st.


The change was spotted by Search Engine Watch. Propeller was pitched as a challenger to Digg’s throne. But that never materialized. Its home page is currently filled with submitted stories that only have one or two votes, many of which are spammy content about ATV rentals, plumbing, loans, and carpet services.

Meanwhile, the king of social news/voting sites is also struggling mightily. In a blog post yesterday, Hitwise shared charts showing dramatic losses in traffic to Digg both from U.S. and U.K. Internet users.

Digg US internet visits
Digg UK internet visits

Hitwise says U.K. traffic to Digg is down 34% since the end of August; U.S. traffic has dropped by 26% in the same timeframe. That’s when Digg relaunched version 4 of its site, a change that was widely panned by many of Digg’s most loyal users.

A common perception has been that these loyal Digg voters shifted to Reddit.com, but Hitwise says that’s not necessarily the case, at least where the U.K. is concerned:

“…although the decrease in visits to digg is highly noticeable, there hasn’t been a correlating spike in traffic to reddit. During the same period of decline in the UK for digg, reddit only increased its visitors by 2.6%.”

On the other hand, one of Reddit’s founders recently posted an infographic that shows Reddit has surpassed Digg in terms of page views. That and more about Reddit’s current position is in this Nick Douglas article.

As a disclaimer, I should also point out what many of you already know: Our sister site, Sphinn, recently dropped voting altogether in favor of publishing content curated by a team of editors. I’m the Editor-in-Chief at Sphinn.

Postscript: ReadWriteWeb recently updated an article about Digg/Reddit with additional details, including Hitwise saying that U.S. visits to Reddit have increased 15% since the new Digg launched. And a Reddit employee shared a Google Analytics screenshot showing clear traffic growth in the same timeframe.

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