Rockto.com and LintasBerita on Service Development Plan After The News of Digg’s ‘Death’

4 mins read
March 29, 2011

Late last week came a few articles that basically showed that Digg is ‘dead’. The term ‘dead’ here certainly is using quote marks, not actually closed, but more on the services that dimmed and its fading brand charisma.

I put enough attention to what is going on Digg, although I did not use their service very often but I wrote about their updates several times, such as Digg v4. Digg for me is one of the many legends of the web, as written by Sarah Lacy, they made a breakthrough by bringing the element of Web 2.0, and one of its founder is also a rockstar in the Internet world, Kevin Rose.

However, the development of the Internet is dynamic, when one service is popular; other services would come later to drop the popularity of the previous service. Digg is one of the case example, in addition to the development of other more popular services (Twitter – Facebook) internal policies with the release of v4 that was opposed by those loyal users and it lead Digg to restore some of the favorite features that were previously removed are a few ‘mistakes’ that Digg made.

The role of Digg ‘brand Ambassador’, Kevin Rose as the founder and CEO (now founder + board of directors) is too embedded in Digg, so when he decided to reduce the role of his daily job on Digg and doing another project including plans for a new startup, he brought down the charisma and the popularity of Digg (although this was denied by Digg CEO Matt Williams).

What is the relation with Indonesia? In my opinion, there are some services that have the same direction with Digg, though of course have some differences in features and have their own uniqueness. The two services are Rockto.com and LintasBerita.com. I then chatted via email with the two CEOs from each service, Mustafa Kemal W of Rockto and David Wayne of LintasBerita. (An explanation of Rockto service can be viewed at this link, while LintasBerita is here).

My question was of course about the news Digg is ‘dead’ and how they deal with these challenges, linked with their respective services and Indonesian market share. Kemal and David agreed that Digg was recently dimmed. Kemal agreed with me that Twitter also takes on the role of Digg’s downfall, and Digg’s lack of focus in the development also gave an impact.

Another factor is the behavior. Kemal highlighted Kaskus or Reddit. Each services dependent from the users and the user-distributed contents, but they still survive and even grow. The pattern of behavior in Kaskus and Reddit seems to more flexible, while Digg was not as ‘wild’ as Reddit.

While David highlighted the steps taken by Digg which made them begin to lose its users and the element of ‘cool’. Some important features were deleted and unsupportive for the contributors or their members.

Each of them is aware of the social bookmaring/social recommendation challenges, including the problems that exist in the Digg service, then how each of these services behave and prepare the strategies to keep their service from ‘fading out’ like Digg?

For Rockto, Kemal explained that the development of their services is more to social recommendation sites in which more focus on the interaction between users. Rockto also focuses on the content that fits to each user’s preferences.

For example, when you go to someone’s profile then you can immediately see the user’s interest field, such as technology, music, etc. This preference can also be changed according to user’s activity. For example when users add their interest in bikes, because the new has a bike, then when another user wants to find out other users’ interests, they simply visit Rockto and see a variety of contents distributed by these users.

Kemal also added that Rockto is more oriented to Reddit. One of the reasons is to open more opportunity for its users to show who they are, and provide various facilities for the interaction process to become more liquid.

While David from LintasBerita tried to adapt the social element of the LintasBerita service by making people stay at LintasBerita. Users do not open the content to another site but still in LintasBerita. To support this LintasBerita develops various updates, including the new feature that will launched in April 2011 to accommodate the users to remain active in LintasBerita.

David added, that for 3 months, LintasBerita are developing their new service, including websites, coding, features, and UI changes. But of course, those developments are still in the DNA of LintasBerita as a social sharing aggregator which activities or contents are driven by the users.

David also realized that Indonesian users have unique behavior. Thus with this condition, LintasBerita also try to provide the contents which are different from other medias, such as a unique, fun, entertaining and light contents. It was developed as an alternative to the various news medias or other ‘serious’ contents. LintasBerita also will focus on building good relationships with bloggers who share their content in LintasBerita.

The development services must continue. Rockto itself which is still relatively new, continues to develop their services. Last time they showed one of their monetization strategies that will be executed, while LintasBerita is being focused on the changes in appearance. Recently they released version 2 of their appearance.

Apart from the founder factor and the changes in the service itself, for me the content of other channels, such as Twitter and Facebook that allows people to share the news also still must be considered. People are now distributing contents directly to Twitter or Facebook. Social bookmarking or social recommendation services that have several different characters must continue to develop their excellence, both in features and user community. If it developed properly it can provide many advantages from the contents of other channels.

The challenge to developing applications in the Internet, web or mobile world is always dynamic. Rockto and LintasBerita also see it; each had realized that there are challenges to be faced. Therefore they must continue to develop their services and provide facilities for users to the maximum.

Digg may be ‘dead’ but LintasBerita and Rockto will continue to grow. Hopefully.

[Image Source]

Disclosure: LintasBerita also incubated by the Merah Putih Inc. as well as DailySocial.

Translated by Nita Sellya.

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