Jason Calacanis Speaks About Digg, Netscape, SEO & Pay Per Post Blogging

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Initial founder of Weblogs, Inc., ex-AOL employee and the man who Dugg Netscape, Jason Calacanis was Danny Sullivan’s guest today at Search Engine Strategies Chicago for the keynote conversation. Jason recently left his position at AOL and his Netscape project to pursue new avenues in social media, that direction still, is a mystery.

Why is a professional blogger and social news talking head speaking at an SEO & Search Marketing convention? With more and more emphasis on citizen journalism and social media in the world of Yahoo, Google, MSN / Live.com and Ask.com (along with Digg & MySpace), Jason’s world has become more and more relevant to the search engine industry.

“SEO is bullshit!” Jason Calacanis

Jason says his initial plans were to stay with AOL for one year after he sold Weblogs, Inc. to them for an estimated $25 million. Jason says he enjoyed his time at AOL but he’s an entrepreneur at heart and missed the excitement of building & launching new companies.

Jason says that today he has accepted a position at Sequoia Capital as an Entrepreneur in Action; building new & incredibly profitable companies. Sequoia has backed YouTube and some other successful start ups over the past few years.

Jasonisms :

* How does one become an A-list blogger? Go to Techmeme everyday and blog about your views on stories which have reached the Techmeme homepage. You’ll be an A-list blogger in 30 days.

* What I love about blogging is there is nothing between you and the publisher, so a stupid post I make before I go to bed can catch wildfire.

* People who think Netscape copied Digg are 12 year old Diggers on Digg.

* Netscape is growing although Nick Denton keeps slamming us and saying it is going down.

* SEO is bullshit, if you generate a web page with good content Google will rank the page properly.

* Slimebuckets ruin each new industry and ruin it for everyone with spam, across the mediums of social news, seo & email.

* Editorial process at Netscape helps identify spammers and horrible top 25 lists which are designed as spambait or linkbait.

* Payperpost and similar paid review blogging models do nothing but dirty up the blogosphere like someone dumping trash on our city streets.

* On the ReviewMe company and their transparent paid blogging model:

* On paying Diggers & Reddit contributors to come over to Netscape : “People who get paid usually do a better job. These users deserve to get paid for what they are doing.”

* I really hope AOL continues to support Netscape as its only 4 months in. Netscape has more uniques as Digg has more pages.

* We encourage sites to make their own submissions and sites should be able to promote themselves by submitting their own content to Digg, Netscape and even their own Wikipedia profiles.

* Word association on AOL “… (long pause)… Transition”, Google “Good, Unstoppable”, Netscape “the future”, AdSense “I love you”, SEO “Keep it simple”… ValleyWag “liar, evil, idiot, stupid”

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • anon

    if new netscape is not a digg.com ripoff… what is it?

  • Everett

    RE: ” SEO is bullshit, if you generate a web page with good content Google will rank the page properly.”

    WTF-Ever… Yes, good content is great, and might even get you on the first page of MSN for a competitive keyword IF they can crawl your site. But I have taken so many website with great content out of the search engine gutters and put them on the first page of AOL, MSN, Google, Yahoo, Ask… with ethical link building, consultations with the Dev. team, and navigation overhauls that this “Content is the be-all-end-all” bullsh*t is starting to really piss me off.

    The people who say SEO doesn’t work are the same people who couldn’t rank for “blue-widgets with purple dots sold in Hoboken New Jersey” if they tried.

    When I started working for this latest client (a major catalog company that most of you would know) they were blocking Google and Yahoo in the robots text file because the site admin said they were taking up too much bandwidth. I showed him the crawl delay command and that was that. They were also blocking ALL spiders because they required cookies to even look at the catalog pages. Not only that, but their URLs were generated dynamically and had about five parameters, there were no links on the home page because it was all flash, etc. etc.

    But they had GREAT content so I guess they should have been on the first page for everything eh? No, instead they had one page indexed out of about 60,000 pages…. of great content.

    By the way, I think Netscape copied Digg – poorly. And I’m 30.

  • Cameron

    I hope the crowd booed when he said “SEO is bullshit”

  • Allen

    Grreat writeup – I have my notes plus full audio downloads here:

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    You know Cameron, there were no boo’s… only chuckles and wide grins.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Allen, thank you very much for sharing that with the group, I’m sure your audio is much better than what I captured with my digital camera.

  • Peter

    Sounds like a lot of echo in the room they’re speaking in. I couldn’t really hear what they’re saying in the videos you posted Loren, but Allen’s audio is somewhat clearer.

  • David

    IMHO, SEOs make good content easier to find, and are incentivized to do so (of course, I’m not a black hat). In this regard, its the same as paying Diggers to work for Netscape no?

    That said, I think JC is a great linkbaiter/SEO. He says all this stupid and controversial things that get him noticed in the blogosphere.

    I’d just ignore him.

  • Steve


    I think it goes without saying that if you’re blocking the search engines and don’t have machine readable content, you’re not going to get a high rank.

    Do you always expect people to clarify everything with with stupid and obvious exceptions?

  • supermom_in_ny

    I don’t understand why Jason Calacanis keeps directing so much animosity towards PayPerPost. I’m sure that he’s aware that BLOGITIVE was the first company to offer average bloggers compensation for reviews of websites. I was getting paid by Blogitive months before PayPerPost.com entered the picture.

    There are currently 9 companies that pay bloggers to write reviews. Blogitive was the first “get paid to blog” site. Many WAHMs and SAHMs are grateful for this new income opportunity. It helps with the loss of an income due to the decision of raising one’s child.

    Unlike the A-listers, we don’t earn six figure incomes, but we can earn enough to pay the utility bills. In a home with one income, two adults and children….that means a lot.

  • Cam Turner

    I completely agree that writing good content is the absolute best way to generate traffic — via search engines or word of mouth. However, in my own article on this topic (http://www.camturner.com/archives/how-to-meet-new-friends-traffic-generation-basics/) I also mention that you need to properly construct the website so that the search engines can make sense of it. Oh, and patience is key too. Getting good traffic from Google won’t happen overnight.

  • Sal Delvecio

    Who the hell is this guy anyway? Netscape so copied digg it is not even funny. SEO is bullshit? What is the matter with this too bit leaker?

  • Ron Wilcox

    Who gives a Keynote at a show where the attendees are SEO’s, then tells them that “SEO is Bullshit?”


  • revan

    Jason Calacanis, is stupid. Most imortant is links and number of pages, all other is BULLSHIT!

  • Nei l



  • Marah Marie

    Goodness, how Jason *does* run on. Even old fogies like me (I’m almost 36) think Netcape is an exact copy of Digg that only stops at the bad ad placement (right in the middle of the pages if I recall correctly — I haven’t seen Netscape since last summer).

    Then you have:

    > ” SEO is bullshit, if you generate a web page with good content Google will rank the page properly.”

    That made me laugh, along with his thoughts on the overall purity of Google (which he also chose to share on my blog for I don’t know what reason). In my experience SEO *is* bullshit, agreed, but not for the reasons Jason thinks. The greatest content in the world without good backlinks is difficult to find in the results regardless of how much SEO surgery you perform on it, yet spam sites do well in Google with no decent backlinks at all and no one seems to know why (could it have something to do with the fact that most of them are Google Domains for Adsense sites?).

    Then there’s this gem:

    >Netscape has more uniques as Digg has more pages.

    Now that’s the salesman in Jason for sure. By his calculations, if my site has 37 pages, and Digg has 678,900, I’m guaranteed *more* uniques than Digg because they have more pages to look at than I do. Nah-nah-a-boo-boo, take that, Digg — really.

    Reality check: last time I looked at my counter, I wasn’t getting over 500,000 uniques a day, and neither is Netscape.

    >Netscape is growing although Nick Denton keeps slamming us and saying it is going down.

    It’s doing well *in spite* of Nick? What an influential creature he must be! How’s *that* for a conspiracy theory? Next Jason will blame him for World War II, the new Democratic Congress and rising crime rates, I suppose. It’s all your fault, Nick! Just admit it.

    He said just one thing I like:

    * Slimebuckets ruin each new industry and ruin it for everyone with spam, across the mediums of social news, seo & email.

    Maybe there’s hope for him yet?


    Well in Everret!