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netscape_beta.jpgJason Calacanis has a brilliant idea by turning AOL-owned Netscape into a hybrid newspaper-blog-social community medium. It’s competing with Digg: both have many categories of reader-nominated news stories, ranked by users. Submitted stories are votes on in much the same way as on Digg, but instead of the top spots in each category being determined by readers, the choices are made by a team of bloggers who are paid by Netscape to be “anchors.”
Very, very clever use of the tools of social media by Calacanis. Props to him and his team. There are some absolutely great ideas at work here. For example:

– The editors comment on the stories to provide further context and interviews with subjects of the stories;
– they’ll cover news live, with video;
– they’ll host 24/7 chats with users;
– each category has an RSS feed and tags to make it easier for readers to find relevant content.


– You can look, but you can’t vote on the stories, unless you are an AOL member. When I tried to sign up, the form rejected all of my emails as “invalid.” Apparently, you have to be using a Netscape mail address, which you get when you are an AOL member.
You have to register to use Digg also, but you can give any valid email because Digg is a true citizen journalism site. Netscape News is a sales pitch for AOL. Good luck with that!
– worse yet, they don’t credit the original source in the story posts. Instead of showing the link where the story came from as Digg does, they say “visit the site.” That’s just piggy.
They’re building the site with content created by others and then not giving them a clear link! Give people credit for their stories and drive traffic to their site by giving the link!!!! After all, the originator did the work.