AOL’s Netscape is a great adaptation of the Digg model which uses paid editorial staff to submit & filter news items and influence what is served on the homepage.
Netscape is also a proven form of link building for SEO purposes, as Netscape links are organic and even if a story never makes it to the homepage (or channel page), the Netscape listings get ranked highly in Google, Yahoo and other engines.
Of course, with that authority comes misuse, and lots of spamming.. so much in fact that it’s hard for me to sometimes believe the Netscape Navigator staff lets some of those stories make it to the top (they were better off just packing it with Weblogs Inc. stories like in the early days).
Regardless, it’s been around for about a year or so now and Netscape seems to have shed the Digg clone image it had cast upon it by Digg-loyalists and has become a staple part of the AOL/Netscape experience. Or has it?
AOL Trashing Netscape?
AOL may be trashing the social news sharing service according to Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington due to AOL & old Netscape loyalists missing their former managable portal which was stocked full of AP wire driven news and parter content; not this social news crap Jason Calacanis was trying to fling at Netscape’s core user base, who were probably only still Netscape users because they love dial up connections, still use the old Netscape browser or email, or just never changed their homepage.
For whatever reason, after Calacanis left AOL, he left Netscape as not only its visionary, but its guardian.
AOL is considering killing off the “Digg Clone” social news site that they launched a little over a year ago at Netscape.com, and redirecting traffic to the Netscape portal instead. One source says it’s a done deal. Another says no final decisions have been made. But the Netscape editorial team is rumored to be completely freaked out, and they are starting to talk to outsiders.
I for one would be sad to see Netscape (in its current form) go. Not only because it’s great for building links, but also because we all know that after a couple of months Digg will make changes which were influenced by Calacanis’s Netscape (like editorial staff suggesting the original news source on a story, or related stories) and Calacanis’s Netscape will go down in history as another great idea that was either ahead of its time or not supported by its ownership.
The site should be in its prime as normal web users start to take advantage of social media more & more, and seeing it go would be a real shame. Let’s hope Arrington just stumbled upon some hot air coming out of Camp AOL, and this rumor does not solidify. Either way, once someone posts the Techcrunch story on Digg, the rumor will surely explode along with Michael’s traffic.