Kevin Burton Says Sources Close to Yahoo Tell Him Yahoo Will Buy Digg, Suggests Announcement Early Next Week with a $30 Million Price Tag

Digg Yahoo Logo

Update: Earlier this morning I blogged about Kevin Burton’s reported impending Digg acquistion rummored by Yahoo!. I added on my own speculation about the possibility here. As it turns out this is probably not the case and this will go down as another of those rumors that was just that, a rumor.

In addition to Kevin Rose’s comment in a Digg thread that Digg is “focused on features, not selling the company,” per additional insider sources from Digg, Digg has “denied any discussions have taken place of any kind.”

Although I still think that both Digg and Yahoo! could benefit from a marriage of sorts, Digg also has much left on their plate to do in the months ahead. Most noteably, as Kevin Rose has indicated in recent interviews, look for Digg to expand into other non-tech areas of news. It will be exciting to watch this unfold and exciting to see the company continue to grow over the course of the upcoming year. As one user on Digg wrote, “if Kevin was smart he would wait, because I think Digg will be able to buy yahoo if he is patient.”

Kevin Burton’s Feed Blog: Yahoo Will Buy Digg – Announcement Early Next Week First. Really, really, really, really, speculation should be labeled as just that speculation. Speculation is not news, it is the sport and hobby of horse handicappers, penny stock pickers and political pundits. Certainly there have been many a company that was “supposed” to have been purchased that was not. Remember how lathered up everyone got when Riya was being bought by Google?

This being said, and the strong disclaimer applied, it would be really cool if Yahoo! bought Digg. This was my only prediction for 2006 when I did my year end prediction round up last year. Of course both Jason Calaconis and Pat McCarthy suggested Digg would be bought this year by CNET — which also would be interesting given CNET’s dominance in news (similar to Yahoo!).

Yahoo Buying Digg

So with these predictions firmly in place and with my racing forum in my back pocket, it is interesting to hear Kevin Burton say that multiple “sources close to Yahoo” have told him that Yahoo will buy Digg and that he expects an announcement “early next week.” Kevin puts the price tag on Digg at nearly $30 million, which is what I suggested two days ago that they’d need to pay to buy them in my perhaps overly zealous six point plan on how Yahoo! will regain their footing in search. Kevin Rose has responded in a thread at Digg saying, “Rumors… we are focused on features, not selling the company..”

Still, you want some additional totally wild speculative kerosene to pour on the rumor? And I’m reaching here. 1. Earlier this month at the SDForum Search SIG (down at Yahoo!’s campus) when asked about how Digg planned to “make money” (and really more how companies like Digg were planning on making money) Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder, joked, “well Joshua got his didn’t he.” He was of course referring to Joshua Schachter who shared the stage with him and whose company was recently purchased by Yahoo! Although the purchase price was undisclosed it has been rumored to be anywhere between $15 and $30 million.

More totally unrelated handicapping. Yesterday an article disputing the blathering in the blogosphere regarding Yahoo! giving up on search was posted to the Yahoo blog. The story, an important message for Yahoo to get out for sure, interestingly enough very quickly made it to Digg’s front page. In fact it made it to Digg’s front page faster and with fewer Diggs than some Digg users might have thought it should take. Digg user Damentz pointed out when it was first picking up steam, “why is there already a green ribbon on the amount of diggs? Right now it’s only at 24 diggs.” I’m not sure when it hit the front page but the story picked up steam very quickly from there. (Green ribbons by the way mean one of your friends have dugg a story). One minute later it was pointed out that user Diggnation had already Dugg the story. The story was submitted by someone called Search Engines and the very first person to Digg the story after search engines submitted it was Digg founder Kevin Rose himself. Check the bottom of this Digg story for the “who dugg this” section.

Now of course it could be coincidence that as fast as things move at Digg that Kevin just happened to see the story first and was the first person to Digg it, or it could have been that he knew it was being placed and was giving a thumbs up bump to a story favorable to Yahoo! on Digg. Shortly thereafter the diggnation account also Dugg the story. Another early digger to the story was Dan Huard, a known associate. This caused Digg user mantarii to speculate, “Both kevinrose and danhuard both dugg this very quickly after it was submitted. then dignation followed soon after. Hmmmmmm…” Of course it is perfectly plausible that Dan would have Kevin marked as a friend and see the story from his friend and dugg it. This of course had digg user dykesat adding in, “The Yahoo story could be a product of a Digg buyout.” Remember how the game of telephone worked kids, when you’d whisper something in your neighbor’s ear and they’d pass it on and so on and so on until the last person said what had been passed on and it was nothing like what was started? Keep that in mind.

Anywho. It really is important to remember that this is just all good fun and speculation as sport, but I do hope Burton’s right and that Yahoo! does in fact buy Digg. More than just being able to crow about my only prediction coming true I do honestly think that Yahoo! would benefit from integrating Digg into their social search strategy and I also think that Digg would benefit from having access to Yahoo!s deep pockets to grow like they really need to. Yahoo! has done a good job with letting Delicious and Flickr run their own shops and I think they’d be the best of the bunch as a corporate owner for Digg.

Again, I can’t stress strongly enough how even with this rumor we all clearly label it as such.
You of course would never see a story like I just wrote here in the mainstream press based on pure speculation. Some might even suggest that the story I wrote is unresponsible and that Burton’s post is unresponsible. Blogging is different than journalism but I still think it important that we realize that what we are doing here is in fact at this unconfirmed point nothing more than pure speculation.

In the past journalists have been accused of floating stories without enough source back up only to see what the story shakes out of the woodwork. This of course is not proper journalism, but the blogosphere really isn’t journalism it’s an unusual hybrid of things and it will be interesting to watch what falls out of the woodwork in the next few days on this. For more on the blathering you can watch memeorandum.

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  1. Search Engines aka Search Engines Web – has no contact whatsoeve with Kevin – The story was posted because of regular visits to Yahoo Blog – there have been Many Many comments by Search Engines Web – over a period of Months

    Looking at SearchEngines Profile – many of the submissions are Search Related

  2. David says:

    Y! has Flickr, Delicious, and YouTube. Digg is/was the next likely candidate (see:
    Especially true since Digg just broke into the top 1000 most visited sites.

    What next? Social bookmarks for locations? If so, check out: