Home Digg: Amazon Manager Will Take the Helm, Try to Save Site From Tides of History

Digg: Amazon Manager Will Take the Helm, Try to Save Site From Tides of History

Controversial social news site Digg has hired Amazon.com’s Matt Williams to be its new CEO, according to a scoop by TechCrunch this morning.

Williams has more than a decade of experience in online eCommerce and small business services, but little discoverable social media participation. He’ll take the helm of a site that was groundbreaking just a few short years ago, still drives more traffic than any other technology news aggregator, but struggles to remain relevant as larger, more general interest ways to share and discover news have arisen.

Williams last held the title General Manager of Consumer Payments at Amazon.com. He will replace site co-founder Kevin Rose at the helm of the ship and Rose will return to the position of chief architect, TechCrunch reports. Rose spent less than 6 months as CEO, a position he told Kara Swisher he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy. He led the company after the departure of Jay Adelson, one of young Silicon Valley’s most respected executives.

All leading sites fall, in time. Williams faces a big challenge in forestalling that fate for Digg.

Last week Digg’s business development director Matt Van Horn

left the company

to join former Facebooker Dave Morin’s pre-launched startup Path, so there’s no shortage of shake-up among Digg’s leadership right now.

Of course all this is going on in the glow of the site’s biggest relaunch in years. Version 4 of Digg offers a more personalized stream of news to users and undercuts the power of the cabal of power users whose shadowy influence has dominated the front page of the influential site for years. The relaunch has been dramatic and controversial. Williams will join Rose in trying to navigate a Digg user revolt, hardly the first one the site has faced.

Can Digg remain relevant, much less grow beyond tens of millions of tech fans it has visiting it today? New CEO Williams is not taking on an easy job. There was a time when a site where users voted for what news should be on the front page was a radical proposition. That time has passed, but Digg has smart people working for it, tens of millions of readers and continued opportunity to innovate and thrive.

All leading sites do fall in time, though. Williams faces a big challenge in forestalling that fate for Digg.

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