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Digg CEO Jay Adelson responds to Netscape challenge

Digg CEO Jay Adelson took time out of his busy schedule to email me some thoughts about Netscape's new digg-inspired community news site. Jay's thoughts below, but first some context.

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Digg CEO Jay Adelson took time out of his busy schedule to email me some thoughts about Netscape's new digg-inspired community news site. Jay's thoughts below, but first some context. I've written two posts about the new Netscape site. In the Read/WriteWeb post I had two main points:

1) I think introducing "Digg is extremely focused on transparency and absolutely no editors / intervention" paid editors into a community site may end up being as problematic as the 'hive mind' that it aims to prevent - because it introduces potential bias and favoritism.

2) The prominence of internal links and editors influencing discussions with "commentaries", IMO deflects attention away from the actual articles - which leads me to think Netscape wants to keep people onsite, in order to expose them to more advertising (which there is a lot of on the new Netscape site). This of course is an old-style portal strategy.

I followed that up with a ZDNet post which suggested that the paid editors now hold the balance of power - and how appropriate is that for a community site? I also pointed out that because Netscape has released a working version of non-tech categories before Digg, that this could spell trouble for Digg as it attempts to expand beyond tech.

Jay Adelson's response

In his email to me, Digg CEO Jay Adelson questioned how active Netscape's users will be. He suggested that to achieve true interactivity, you need minimum intervention - i.e. no editors! He told me:

"A significant amount of our visitors are active (meaning they participate, not lurk). I'm curious how many interactive users Time Warner will have on their site. That was one of our greatest challenges, building that base.

Digg is extremely focused on transparency and absolutely no editors/intervention. We will never have a small group of people provide oversight."

Jay also questioned how scalable Netscape's site will be, with Netscape putting so much emphasis on manual editing:

"Another question I have is about scalability. We feel that there is a technical scale issue with user submissions, in that if you have thousands, or tens of thousands, of submissions a day, how does a few editors parse them? Ultimately, we need the users to both digg and bury stories, provide the editorial, in order to keep up with the real-time world of Internet-based content."

Jay ends by effectively announcing that it's Game On!

"Finally, we are very proud of the fact that there have been thousands of clones of digg. Keep them coming! (Time Warner is the first billion dollar company to do it, but bring it on. Surprised they went for the look and feel too, though.)

Stay tuned for v3! (Should be fun.)"

My thanks to Jay Adelson for sending me his thoughts. I'm going to email Netscape CEO Jason Calacanis to see if he wants to respond, because I'm sure he'll have some good points in return.

NB: I'm publishing this post to both Read/WriteWeb and ZDNet, because I can't decide on which site it belongs more! But no they're not clones of each other :-)