Just a few months ago MSNBC purchased Newsvine, a citizen journalist website which my wife writes for, to enhance their online image. To my wife’s delight her articles are now showing up on MSNBC. Without this purchase her exposure to a wider audience would have been a bit more challenging. However did Newsvine lose their independence and the individual voice that it once had when devoured by a corporate parent like MSNBC (owned by GE and Microsoft)? Good question.
The reason I bring this question up is because of the rumor now circling the net which CNET has picked up that another darling of the independent, arm-chair journalist Digg might the next site to be absorbed into corporate American. Currently the rumor has both Microsoft and Google looking at adding Digg to their portfolios for around 250 million dollars. As much as I like Google and feeling so-so about Microsoft, is Digg a good fit with either company? I wonder…
CNET reported several weeks ago in an interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose about possibility of selling, Rose felt that selling the company to a corporate parent would cause Digg to run less efficiently. Not selling is good news . . . for now. But how long will Rose hold out when he is offered upwards of 300 million dollars. At some point the dollars will start to talk and it’ll be too hard not to listen.
Is this the wave of social networks to now become arms of much larger media companies? Will the independent, critical voice now be silenced when the views of the writers differ from the corporate owner? That is a distinct possibility.
I guess with Web Advertisement firms now been gobbled up by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, the next wave of purchases is the hot social networks like Digg, WordPress, Twitter, and etc.
With access to million of users in these social networks, Google and Microsoft will have a forum they can use to display their in-house billboards for their now acquired web ad firms. What an easy way for these firms to build synergy for their companies and to control advertisement costs. When will it end?!?!
For all of us, let’s hope Digg along with the rest of the social networks stay as independent as long as possible, the voice of the independent, arm-chair journalist will not be silent!