It’s an understandable decision by Bauer Media. Having apparently spent £1 million on funding the site and development, there wasn’t a huge amount of either revenue or growth becoming available. And it makes more sense to use the technology to enhance the already popular brands in the portfolio than to continue trying to develop an entirely new one which hasn’t quite made it.
It’s understandable – but not necessarily the right move.
With some tweaks and some more time I still believe Ditto could be a major success.
If anything the need for a product to filter the sheer volume of entertainment content available has become greater in the time since Ditto launched. The amount of text and video online outweighs the production output of the printing press and the celluloid camera by some considerable margin. And there are relatively few solutions that work effectively – and even fewer from any established media companies.
But building growth, particularly organic, sustainable growth, takes a longer amount of time to show a return than a comparable print launch, because the combination of purchase price and higher advertising rates in print make an instant impact against the costs. It took Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Ebay, Flickr etc a surprisingly long period to reach the exponential growth which gave them the ‘overnight success’ tag.
Combine that with a revenue model which relied on traditional display advertising sales, and there was always going to be a problem.
Having said all that, there were some really interesting successes, including the promotion of ‘The Rock Stars of Web 2.0’, in conjunction with Dave Cushman, and which showed how traffic and inbound links could be generated.
Still, at the end of the day I enjoyed a great learning experience helping the Ditto team (And just to clarify after a flattering mention on PaidContent, I was involved as a marketing manager, rather than a developer. Sadly I can only aspire to the technical skills to be a developer!). And the co-founders have and will continue to have great success – Colin Kennedy was recently announced as the new Editor of FHM, and Dhiraj Mukharjee will always be working towards something interesting.
My only regret is not pushing harder for the revenue model I proposed for the project (but that means it’s still up for grabs one day!), and never managing to get them to redesign the Ditto Blog!