In the fall of 2004, Rose withdrew $1,000, nearly one-tenth of his life savings, and paid a freelance coder $12 an hour to mock up a Web page. He got a deal on server space for $99 a month. He then purchased the domain Digg.com for $1,200 after failing to buy dig.com (owned by Disney) and digdig.com. The site launched on Dec. 5, 2004. Today Digg.com is the 24th most popular web site in the US, just a few ticks behind The New York Times (#19) and far ahead of Fox News (#62). Digg has also blown pass Slashdot.org to become the biggest geek news site on the net. Digg.com receives over 200 million page views per month and has over 400,000 registered users (a number that will double in 3 months, according to the article).
In term of income, Digg is breaking even so far – it will take in an estimated $3 million from Google AdSense and private ad sales. However, income is secondary at this point. According to the article, Digg is easily worth $200 million. The best part of the article comes at the end of this quote:
So far, Digg has succeeded. But success has also brought copycats and stress. A rumored $40 million offer from Yahoo! Inc. surfaced in January, which Yahoo denied. Two weeks before the Digg.3 release, AOL launched a rival under the old Netscape brand. (It was headed up by former Silicon Alley superstar Jason M. Calcanis, owner of Weblogs, who early on offered Rose an investment in Digg and an option to buy it for $5 million. That deal would have left Rose with no control. Forget it.) On July 18, AOL tried to lure Digg’s top 50 contributors with $1,000 a month to switch to its site, which led Rose to rant on his weekly podcast that Calcanis and AOL were trying to “squash Digg.” The corporate giant’s failure to gain inroads so far shows that simply copying Digg won’t work. It also spells out why Old Media types are so afraid of being eaten alive by the creative destruction these young new players are delivering. The barriers to entry are now so low that all it takes is a laptop and a $50-a-month Internet hookup to make a kid the next mogul.
All it takes is a laptop and a $50-a-month Internet hookup to make a kid the next mogul. Remember that people! Digg was started for just $1,000 and is now worth somewhere north of $200 million. If you have an idea, don’t keep it bottled up. Find a way to make it happen. All Rose had was an idea, but he follow through with it. You can read the full article here.
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