i was having a conversation with a few of my digg friends about diggnation a few weeks ago. the latest episodes of the show have been somewhat lackluster, sometimes feeling thrown together at the last minute, and half of the cast (kevin rose) is often mentally absent, making a less entertaining offering than what we’ve come to expect.
original image: laughing squid
this makes perfect sense given how well digg has been doing and the huge plans the team has for the future of the site, and the enormous strain this must be for kevin. this would be okay if diggnation was a ‘product’ product (like digg), i.e. was worth watching on content value alone, but it’s not. diggnation is a ‘personality’ product that requires the frat-boy personas of both alex and kevin, otherwise it fails. i doubt anyone watches the show to gain insight into popular stories from the site, rather they watch the show to see what the hosts will blab about as they get more and more drunk.
will ferrell’s online video comedy hub, funny or die, is a similar phenomenon. the site first skyrocketed to fame with will’s skit, the landlord. and while many other videos have been uploaded to the site by the community, the site’s traffic is largely seeing a downward trend. as you can see in the following chart, the site’s popularity has seen smaller spikes from subsequent skits by the all-star talent but no long-term, sustained success.
mark kvamme, one of the people involved in the site agrees that the site has to stand on it’s own, and if it is dependent on ferrell or the other stars rather than the larger community, the product is a failure. perhaps it is to soon for us to pass judgment on the site and we’ll just have to see.
such are the perils of a ‘personality’ product versus a ‘product’ product.