AOL copies DIGG and relaunches Netscape.com

One of the big technology stories going around today (not the one about Bill Gates) is the AOL relaunch of Netscape.com, currently at beta.netscape.com, long the same lines as Digg.  The site relies on member participation to vote on stories, this provides a pulse on what is hot at the moment.  I was going to ignore this but a couple of things conspired against me and I had to step up.

Ben Barren wrote about the launch (Hey Ben I can now read and understand what you are writing, a good change), and I clicked through to Jason Calacanis’s comments and found myself in the site.  So given I was there I had a look, below are my thoughts.

  • The site is very messy, seems to still have the typical portal look and feel, way too many things all over the screen!  UI re-write needed!!
  • The first time I tried to register I was presented with an error screen, not a nice once just the standard web server message of something bad had happened.
  • While looking around I noticed the different Channels, specifically the Careers channel.
  • AOL have employed full time anchors who submit stories, and provide a moderation type service for each Channel, a good idea.  Users can still submit, vote and comment on stories.
  • Voting on a story or comment requires you to register, second time lucky and I was able to register.
  • The Careers Channel has a job search provided by CareerBuilder.com, interesting.
  • When you open the Careers Channel you have to scroll down the complete screen to before you see any stories.  Bad UI!
  • Submitting a story was fairly easy, I submitted a post from my blog, just to see what happens.
  • Having submitted my story I did not see it appear in the Careers Channel, strange.  A bug or will the anchors review before it appears, if they have to review every story the site will not scale.
  • There is an RSS feed for each channel, a required feature.  Oh and I subscribed.
  • Along with the RSS feed there is the tag cloud.
  • Sites like this and the upgraded Digg will put pressure on other community destinations.  Coming to mind is Minti, the parenting startup from Perth, Australia, can they compete with the Family Channel?
  • During my visit I had to re-login several times there seems to be a bug with the security side of things.  I hope this is fixed soon.

Overall an interesting site.  Not sure if I will long term I guess it depends on the content,

5 thoughts on “AOL copies DIGG and relaunches Netscape.com

  1. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for mentioning Minti. We are certainly very much aware of sites like Digg as potential competitors as they aggregate data from all over the web and allow voting of the best stuff, hence they are interesting for those seeking latest information. Minti is working on launching something like this specifically for the parenting space in the coming months but we are not too concerned because there are a number of features that differentiate us:

    1. Member contributions – the ability to write an article and contribute to the community

    2. Blog and social features – something Minti only added in its last release a few weeks ago which has added another dimesion to the site

    3. Longevity of data – we become more of a reference site (ala wikipedia) over time as the best articles remain in our “Most popular” list” for an extended period rather than slipping off the radar over time.

    4. We still have dynamic new stuff coming through with latest articles and recent activity accross the whole site easily viewable.

    We have plenty more to build at Minti and it is great to see us listed against the big boys like Netscape 🙂 See ya round.

    Matt – Minti Co-founder

  2. Matt Thanks for poping by and providing your thoughts and good to hear you are not concerned and that you are already onto similar features.

    I guess my concern with sites like Minti is that it forces users to post content on your site, not just link there existing content into the site like the new Netscape and Digg etc. While you have blogs they are Minti blogs, how about allowing members to contribute content from other sites? (Assuming they have their content in other places, which can be a big assumption I know.) I have been down this path myself and found it better to aggregate than try to build.

    Good luck going forward!

  3. Yes – we are working on Digg like addition of articles to Minti in a not too distant release. This will be content aggregation with the addition of voting and comments very similar to the above offers.

    Anyone could then “Minti-digg” a blog post on parenting which they linked and others could enhance its status/comment on the content displayed etc etc.

    Alas this feature is in the pipeline and not ready yet – but we are pretty pleased with the way content is flowing in at present 🙂

    Good luck to you too Michael!

    Matt

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