Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Set-Up

You don't know me.

I am one of the top 15 users on Netscape. What does this mean? Since Netscape relaunched in mid-June 2006, I have entered more news stories on the site than most other people. Many of these news stories have landed on the front page of the site.

In case you don't know the back story, the Netscape web portal was in serious trouble. It was losing thousands of visitors every month. AOL owns Netscape. They brought in Jason Calacanis to overhaul the Netscape website. Jason is the CEO of Weblogs, Inc, which he recently sold to AOL for an insane amount of money.

Jason's idea for the site was to copy Digg, a popular social news site. On Digg users enter news stories to share that they found on the web. Other users then "digg" or vote on these stories. The more diggs a story receives, the higher its placement on the site. Users can also comment on the stories.

When Netscape launched, it was largely criticized for being a Digg clone. Long time users of Netscape complained that their portal was taken away from them with no warning. Since I had never heard of Digg, I decided to check out this new Netscape. I liked what I saw and soon became an active user of the site. I have found hundreds of quality news stories on the web that I have entered on Netscape. The stories I have entered have been very popular and have received many comments. It was through active users like me that this new Netscape began to attract a new audience.

I was an active user of the site because I enjoyed it. It was fun. Sure there were other places on the web I could have spent my time, but I chose to support Netscape because I liked the community there. I never thought of compensation for my participation.

A couple of weeks ago, Jason Calacanis announced that he was going to hire 10-12 people to become Netscape Navigators. These people would be responsible for entering at least 150 stories a month exclusively to Netscape and receive $1,000/month compensation. Naturally I was interested since I was already on track to submit at least that many stories. I was told by some guy named "CK" that I was being considered and to keep up the good work. I continued my active involvement with Netscape with the eye on earning that extra income.

A week or two passed by, then suddenly a couple days ago Jason announced that only top users from other sites like Digg would be eligible for the Navigator positions. I was immediately contacted by other users who like me wondered why Jason would not want to reward the very people who had helped Netscape get off the ground. A variety of excuses were given from the idea that we didn't have a "following" to the fact that we had no experience. Never mind all the stories I had already entered. They didn't count.

Let's get one thing clear here: I was not the one who brought up the compensation. Jason was. I had never even heard of the guy until I started using this new Netscape. I wouldn't have minded doing this for free, but if people are going to be paid for it, shouldn't I be considered too? It annoys me to think that Jason would think those of us who started out with Netscape wouldn't be good enough to be hired. Jason and CK have told us via the Netscape site and Jason's blog to keep up the good work and we will be considered in the future. I'm annoyed though that this "CK" fellow led me on to believe I was eligible when all along I wasn't. I feel used.

Some of the other top users have told me that they think that this is all a publicity stunt by Jason. They think he has no plans to hire us or anyone else down the road. I think they are right. One other users told me that Jason seems to get annoyed if you even ask about it.

So since I am not good enough to be a Navigator for Netscape, all I can say is "Bye bye." I'm going to go check Digg out. I'm sure I'll be welcome there.

This is my first entry on this blog. In future entries I will tell you how Jason is still taking advantage of people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'll be always be welcomed to digg! screw netscape.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:17 PM  

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