WARNING: Netscape goes Digg

We need to pay attention to the underlying message in the new AOL/Netscape (currently in Beta). Brand actually does matter online, and the strategies and tactics of amazing start-ups that tap the media 2.0 paradigms can be duplicated by brands more established with the masses (and have more money). This is a pretty big story, and I hope local broadcasters can understand what’s taking place.

Digg is one of the more popular 2.0 applications, an aggregator site where “stories” are ranked by user popularity. A high ranking on Digg means LOTS of traffic, so newer versions of blog software carry a “Digg this” link to make it easy for users to post the story on Digg. It’s a terrific model that exists, to a great extent, outside the realm of “most” people.

So along comes the “new” Netscape, and guess what? It’s a clone of Digg, and that’s being kind. Rip-off would be a better term, and I hate what’s happening here. But there’s a lesson for broadcasters struggling against the Media 2.0 disruption. You can and SHOULD be creating 2.0 applications that meet the news and information needs of local audiences, and this Netscape-copy-Digg story is a lesson in how to do that.

And let’s not forget who’s behind this. That would be one Jason Calacanis of Weblogs, Inc. fame, and the same fellow who’s launching local news aggregator sites to tap the local revenue that rightly belongs in the market. You think this new Netscape venture won’t do the same? When will local media companies stop playing ostrich with people like this?

MUST READS:

TechCrunch: AOL-Netscape Launches Massive ‘Digg Killer’

New York Times: AOL to Turn Netscape Site Into a Newspaper of Sorts

Basement.org: All Sorts Of Drama In The Digg World

Steve Rubel: First Look: Netscape’s Hybrid Journalism Site

CNet News: New Netscape.com focuses on news

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