Social Media

Getting On Netscape's Home Page

A few days ago Neil reported on an article that I had written about how a few users were abusing Netscape.com’s site-mail feature to get their content promoted to the home page. While the feature on its own is a great idea, the abuse made it almost unbearable to use. Netscape has announced what appears to be a first step towards combating this problem.
Before I detail their first steps, have a look at the following example. I received the following message from Netscape user nativestorm:
nativestormmessage Getting On Netscape's Home Page
By the time I clicked the link, the story was already on the home page.
netscapehomespam Getting On Netscape's Home Page
Now you may argue that the story deserves to be on the home page and that perhaps the mass-site-mail-spamming had nothing to do with it.
Here’s another message I received from the same user:
nativestormmessage2 Getting On Netscape's Home Page
When I clicked on the link, it was also on the home page.
netscapehomespam2 Getting On Netscape's Home Page
Animal penile amputation naturally on the home page of Netscape? I don’t think so. In response to this increased abuse, Netscape has announced that they are curtailing a small feature that made it incredibly easy to spam 100s of users on the site.

At the moment we’re reevaluating some of the site mail features. While that’s going on, we’ve decided to disable one feature in particular: the “All Mutual Friends” box in the Send a Message interface.

This seems like the most appropriate first step. Now if you want to spam every user on your friends list, you will have to do it 5 by 5, for all 500 of them. This feature is not permanently gone though. It will be disabled for a two week evaluation period after which the team at Netscape will decide whether or not to bring it back. The team has also added a ‘Share This’ feature to the site:
netscapesharethis Getting On Netscape's Home Page
But even with this feature gone, there is always that other way to get on Netscape’s or in fact any socially driven or bookmarked site’s home page. Build something great and people will come. People are looking for something that is relevant (and targeted) to them, something that will add value to their lives, and something that will actually useful. Oftentimes people don’t even know what the need, and you may just be the one to tell them. Build a useful product/service/content and take advantage of social media. Social media is on your side; just don’t abuse it.

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2 thoughts on “Getting On Netscape's Home Page

  1. Build something great and people will come. People are looking for something that is relevant (and targeted) to them…

    I couldn’t agree more. The thing most people forget about Digg, Netscape and other web 2.0 social bookmarking/news sites is that although they send a lot of traffic your way, it is often untargetted (especially when an article lands on the homepage and is available for anyone and everyone to consume). If your article, page, video, etc. is of quality, containing valuable information to a particular segment or group of people then even if it is only moderately successful, and shows up in a sub-category, but not on the homepage, it is not a failure. The people viewing the materials will probably be more targeted and have a higher percentage of conversion, contacting, signing up and purchasing.

  2. I actually started removing users that would spam me. Every time I received a message asking me to vote for a story I removed that person from my friends list. Now I finally stopped receiving spam.