Pros and Cons of Social News Sites

I came across this blog post today discussing the differences between the business styles of Reddit, Digg, and Stumble Upon. The author’s viewpoint is that Reddit has the best take on how to appeal to consumers while still earning revenue. Here is a summary on the pros and cons of each of the ‘social news’ websites.


The main benefit is that there are no editors, and the importance of content is voted on by masses. This helps viewers sift through the enormous amount of information that is available on the web, while being able to skip over news items that are more obscure and not relevant.

The main complaint is that since the Digg community has grown so large, more and more content is being fed in and voted on by a larger audience. This leads to a problem with the front page content as stated by the author if it is not “viewed by someone within the first 75 minutes, 2 in 3 readers wont see it, and if no one sees the story in the first 3 hours, almost no one will see the story.”


The benefit is that it is non-invasive. After signing up on their main web-page, there is no need to go back there. You simply download a toolbar and search for information that you are interested in.

The main complaint is not on the users behalf but instead, because it is so user friendly that individuals don’t have to return to the site, as the author of the blog post states “it is very hard to monetize the system based on current (ad based) business models”.


For Reddit the positive is that it is a mix of both StumbleUpon and Digg. Like StumbleUpon, they have a toolbar so you don’t have to constantly be on the site. Also the have a new feature that in the words of the author is a “module at the top that rotates between some of the stories from the upcoming section, allowing you to vote on them directly from the front page”

The con is that some find the new features hard to read and confusing. Also some feel that this is still putting the focus on how to generate revenue instead of placing utmost importance on user benefits.

Which business model do you feel provides the most value to consumers while still remaining profitable? Also what is your take on the evolution of Social News sites?


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