Rose said on Twitter Thursday that he doesn’t even use aggregators like Digg as part of his online reading habits. Which is peculiar, given that he founded one of the first and most popular news aggregation sites in the world.
Rose might very well be onto something. While aggregator Reddit has seen massive growth, it seems to be the only news aggregator site doing that well. Rose left Digg in March to work on his latest startup, Milk.
Rose launched Digg in 2004. He always shied away from being a direct leader of Digg, instead hiring Jay Adelson (who later got the boot) and most recently Amazon.com’s Matt Williams to run the company.
Digg decided to remake the site and kill a number of features, leading to a mass exodus of its users to rival Reddit. Traffic research company Quantcast indicates that Digg now has 8.2 million unique visitors, down from nearly 16 million in August before the makeover. Reddit boasts nearly 14 million unique visitors, according to the numbers it released Thursday.
Since then, Rose has been less of a direct leader of the site and more of an adviser. That didn’t stop him from intervening in the site’s activities from time to time — such as asking his Twitter followers whether or not the site should bring back its “bury” function, which pushes submitted links out of sight if they are unpopular enough.
Rose’s latest startup is designed to be a place where developers can bring in an interesting idea and quickly turn it into some kind of operational mobile application. Most of those apps are likely to fail, but Milk’s goal is to find the few that end up turning into big hits on the scale of Angry Birds or Foursquare.