The new kid vs. the veteran

One of the things causing a lot of buzz in the blogosphere lately — apart from the rumours spreading like wildfire that facial-recognition startup Riya, profiled recently by TechCrunch, may be acquired by Google for as much as $60-million — is the debate over the incredible growth of Digg.com, which according to Alexa is getting close to passing the venerable Slashdot.org in terms of Internet traffic.

However you feel about that, the rise of Digg has been pretty incredible, considering it was started just a little over a year ago by Kevin Rose, one of the former hosts of TechTV. People have already started to complain about their websites crashing after a link was posted on Digg, similar to the way people used to talk about getting “slashdotted.” In fact, for part of the day today Wired.com seemed to be having problems, perhaps because a story on the company was the number one link on Digg.

As several people have commented on Slashdot — effectively providing support for their own argument — the main benefit of Digg seems to be speed in finding new links and stories (although this ranking site seems to disagree), and the main weakness seems to be the moronic level of commentary. By contrast, while Slashdot has its share of idiots (not to mention pedants) the main strength of Slashdot is the comments, which often add a huge amount of depth. As one person put it, Digg doesn’t have a “soul.”

In other words, they aren’t really competing with each other. Each is useful in different ways. I must admit I look at both, and often find myself getting more out of Slashdot’s comments than I do from Digg’s quick hits.

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