Wall Street Journal digs Digg. Should we read into this?

Social news phenomenon is now a featured on the site of the newest member of the News Corp. family. What does this mean about all those acquisition rumors?

Update 4:20 a.m. Wednesday: Information from a Digg representative has been added.

Kevin Rose, founder of social news aggregator Digg, posted a quick blog entry on Tuesday night about his site's new relationship with Rupert Murdoch's latest accessory, The Wall Street Journal.

"The Wall Street Journal online is adding Digg buttons across the entire site, and you'll now have full (free) access to the articles submitted to Digg," Rose wrote. "The Digg buttons have started appearing on WSJ.com articles tonight."

The "full free access" part is key. While speaking to investors in Australia, News Corp. mogul Murdoch said this week that he planned to release the Journal's Web site from its paid-subscription mode. When the New York Times eliminated premium content earlier this fall, the Journal became one of the lone holdouts.

It looks like the Digg deal is some sort of exclusive arrangement. This is not an exclusive deal, according to a Digg representative--though it sure sounds like one: "You'll notice that it is the only button on their site," a quick heads-up e-mail from a Digg PR rep read in regards to Rose's blog post. In other words, the likes of Digg rival Reddit and bookmarking site Delicious aren't represented.

But more than anything, it's also fuel for the fire. Digg has been continually talked up as a potential acquisition target. And in recent weeks a rumor began to float that the site would soon be sold for $300 million to 400 million to a "major media player." Expect this Wall Street Journal arrangement to result in more than a few rumors that Digg is close to a News Corp. buy.

Whether that's actually true, well, we don't know yet.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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