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nComment's War

Community news sharing site Digg is rumored to be in acquisition talks with the Washington Post and possibly others, sources familiar with the matter told VentureBeat.

Serious negotiations with the Washington Post have been going on almost a month, but Digg may have been seeking a potential buyer for the last three months, according to our sources.

Digg is also shopping itself to others, including CNN, sources say. Digg landing at CNN does make more sense, considering that the company is a bit more modern in its approach to online news sharing. CNN is no stranger to social news aggregation startups, as the company purchased mobile news magazine startup Zite back in August.

For those who aren’t familiar with Digg, it’s essentially a news aggregator that’s powered by users who both submit and vote on links to determine what’s the most popular. The site made a name for itself because of its ability to drive massive traffic to smaller, less publicized sites with good content, but no marketing budget.

However, Digg took a turn for the worse in August 2010, due in part to a rushed site revamp that angered many of its long-time active users, sending them rushing to Reddit for refuge. Digg’s traffic (as well as its ability to send traffic) never quite recovered from its peak, despite a handful of new and improved features.

Earlier this year the company launched a Facebook Timeline app, which gave Digg its highest traffic boost since 2010. Curiously, Digg also decided to kill off some of its publicly displayed tracking features for submitted posts — most notably the number of “eyeballs” a submission had. This could indicate that the site’s Facebook boost has peaked, or even started to disappear — neither of which is good when in the middle of acquisition talks.

TechCrunch is reporting that the sale to WaPo only includes Digg’s staff, but not the company’s technology or branding, which theoretically could still be purchased in a separate sale. I’m not really sure how much sense that would make though, considering that if you take Digg’s staff, who will be left to run the site? And as its been proven in the past, Digg’s strongest asset is its community — although less so today than four years ago. Why not just buy all of Digg at the same rate you’d be getting just the employees.

The rumor’s of Digg’s potential sale was first reported by The Next Web, which notes that the Washington Post is staying silent. We plan on following up with CNN and Digg for further comment about the situation, and will update the post with any new info.

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