Since its launch in 2004, Digg has seen strong and largely unstoppable growth. While there has been no dearth of competitors and imitators, none have been able to upset Digg’s lead in the social media space and in its goal towards democratizing the web. Out of all this competition, who would’ve thought that Microsoft would come up with the best strategy against Digg (perhaps even inadvertently)?
Marshall Kirkpatrick takes a look at a recently launched Microsoft service called MSN Reporter. The service is currently in beta and exists solely in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway, and is perhaps the most Digg-like service we’ve seen yet. While Kirkpatrick looks at these sites from a monetization and vertical integration perspective, what interested me more is how these sites seem to be on track to victory in the social media space even without having to fight with Digg for a user base.
The sites are seeing a fair amount of traffic, approaching a total of 1 million visitors per month after two months in beta.
Microsoft, of course, manages this through localization. While Digg’s readers come predominantly from the following countries:
Microsoft is marketing its MSN Reporter service for three relatively obscure markets where Digg doesn’t have any following to speak of. By offering almost identical functionality, and focusing on localization, MSN can appeal to these particular audiences in a way that Digg isn’t doing yet.
The following speaks volumes about Microsoft’s success with this strategy:
So far there has been considerable interest in the new service, with reportedly 500,000 and 800,000 users visiting the site in the 1st and 2nd months respectively. With articles getting up to 10,000 votes and 1,000 comments, this is a on a completely different level to most existing social news sites.