Kevin Rose could hardly have sent a clearer signal: Less than 12 hours after announcing his takeover as CEO, the Digg co-founder killed the social news site's controversial "DiggBar." It would seem Rose finally had it with Digg inflating traffic.
Unquestionably, there was tension between Rose and his predecessor, fellow co-founder Jay Adelson. "One of us will leave the company," Rose reportedly told TechCrunch publisher Mike Arrington a couple of months ago. And don't forget that Rose was outspokenly shocked by DiggBar after the tool debuted last year. In addition to shortening Web addresses for Twitter, the DiggBar controversially framed target websites, placing a layer of Digg controls above and around the site and reaping some extra traffic for Digg.
Now that Rose has swiftly repudiated the tool in no uncertain terms — "framing content with an iFrame is bad for the internet," he wrote — it's worth asking just how much the DiggBar has been inflating Digg's traffic stats. Introduced a year ago, the bar's prevalence as a link destination from fast-growing Twitter might explain the recent traffic spike that Quantcast saw...
...but which seems curiously absent on Comscore (via All Things D):
Digg has turned profitable, according to TechCrunch, and the site owes this to traffic, which enable it to sell sponsored posts and other ads on the DiggBar and its popular home page. Digg was on track to make $30 million this year on ads before Rose's move; the question now is how big a hit revenues will take from the loss of the DiggBar—and whether users and advertisers trust the site as much as they used to.
[Top pic: Adelson, left, with Rose, by Thomas Hawk]