digg: Sold for parts, in a good way

I haven’t been following the story of the Digg acquisition too closely, and have no perspective on the economics of it, but it does seem kind of awesome in a way.  In that, the acquirers of the various parts of digg seem to have each gotten something uniquely valuable (to them) and likely have the potential to do something cool with it.  From the TechCrunch story:

According to a familiar source, the Washington Post ended up paying $12 million for the Digg team. Around the same time, career social network LinkedIn paid between $3.75 million and $4 million for around 15 different Digg patents including the patent on “click a button to vote up a story”.

Betaworks picked up all the remaining assets today, including the domain, code, data and all the traffic for between $500k and $725k

And from the Betaworks blog post:

betaworks has acquired the core assets of Digg. Digg is one of the great internet brands, and it has meant a great deal to millions of users over the years. It was a pioneer in community-driven news.

We are turning Digg back into a startup. Low budget, small team, fast cycles.

How?  We have spent the last 18 months building News.me as a mobile-first social news experience. The News.me team will take Digg back to its essence: the best place to find, read and share the stories the internet is talking about. Right now.

We are going to build Digg for 2012.  More to come…

From an outsider’s perspective and without really knowing anything about this deal, it seems kind of perfect.  The Washington Post acquires a team who really knows something about being creative with news — if that works right, then they’ll have a shot a solving the Innovator’s Dilemma and building something new and disruptive inside their world.  LinkedIn, now a for real Big Boy Company, gets to bolster its patent portfolio like all the big boys do.  And Betaworks gets to reinvigorate a classic, once-awesome brand, while at the same time, handing their new product, News.me, a big bootstrap.  This last part reminds me of when Delicious’ co-founders bought the company back and gave it new life — which has been awesome for the product so far.

So, who knows if this is a good thing, or was a good deal for any of the parties involved.  But it does feel like a win on a number of levels.

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