June 15th, 2006

AOL/Netscape’s Big Web 2.0 Test


On the face of it, the news that AOL/Netscape is launching a Digg killer suggests that if Digg, Reddit, and other imitators had a chance to sell, they should have taken it. It also suggests that Web 2.0 start-ups may be vulnerable to the goliath media companies with huge reach swooping in to eat their lunch — the low barrier to entry sword cuts both ways.

This will effectively be a large-scale test of Web 2.0 ideology.

Web 2.0 has been betting that active user participation in news and information gathering and filtering is the wave of the future. It works for the niche audiences of Digg and other Web 2.0 sites, but will it work for a mass audience?

This will also be a key test because Netscape has not drunk all of Web 2.0 the koolaid:

It’s not exactly a Digg clone (home page screenshot here). Submitted stories are voted on in much the same way, and the more votes a story gets the higher it appears in a category home page or on Netscape.com itself. However, the top few spots in each category and on the home page are determined by an “anchor” – essentially an editor choosing from stories moving up the ranks.

AOL is betting that the “collective intelligence” can get you 80% of the way there but it can’t get you all the way to information filtering nirvana — you still need hierarchical editorial intelligence. (Of course, Digg may not be entirely 2.0 pure either.)

I’ll be perfectly honest — I don’t know what the results of this grand experiment will be. But everyone with a stake in the convergence of media and technology should be watching very closely.

Comments (5 Responses so far)

  1. - Site de Wikio : ici. Lire également sur le sujet l’analyse publiée sur “Le web 2.0 en action” (ici), Techcrunch (ici) et celle de Pierre Chappaz (ici). – Site beta de Netscape : ici. Lire également les posts de Publishing 2.0 sur Netscape (ici) et de jouranlism.co.uk (ici) posted by Benoit Raphael at 9:52 AM 0 comments links to this post

  2. czy tradycyjnych mediów, jak np. stacji telewizyjnej CNBC. Jeżeli pomysł okaże się sukcesem, AOL zastosuje go na swoim portalu, AOL. com, jednym z największych na świecie (87 mln użytkowników tylko w samych Stanach Zjednoczonych). Źródło:Publishing 2.0 , journalisme.co.uk > Tag: media, internet, dziennikarstwo , dziennikarstwo obywatelskie, informacja, web2.0

  3. I say much more here but in short – I like it.

    The Netscape effort will, if successful, legitimize many of concepts behind participatory media, to those who have been taking a wait and see approach. I think they have the right idea mixing editorial and participant filtering as well.

    My only question is whether their implementation is right. Time will tell, but so far today, it looks like it will be one I will be visiting regularly.

  4. Take a look at the followup/metajournalism/social journalism we did on these two stories:


    That is what this is about… our users vote a story up, and we have a journalist (citizen or MSM) followu on the story.

  5. I like it Jason. I think the mix is great.

    One thing though that didn’t hit me at first. Framing content is a bad practice. I know there is functionality you are going to offer in that left hand rail, but it there were huge arguments (justly) that this was copyright infringement a few years back.

    Other then this (big) concern, like the comment I left on your blog – your team deserves a round of applause I think on the launch. I’ve been a long proponent of the editor + collective approach and I think some combination of is the way to go.

  6. Looks like framing, and whether it is copyright infringement, is widely disputed.

    This lawsuit against Google may indicate it isn’t a legal concern whatsoever:

  7. [...] Related: Jason Calacanis: Meta-journalism Experiment Day One (or, Day One at my new startup: Netscape) Scott Karp: AOL/Netscape’s Big Web 2.0 Test Steve Rubel: First Look: Netscape’s Hybrid Journalism Site [...]

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