Blog Post

Netscape.com Relaunched As a User-Driven News Aggregation Site; Calacanis is GM, Netscape

Netscape.com, the website behind the storied browser company, is being revived (as we first reported here in March) and has launched in public beta tonight. Jason Calacanis, the founder of Weblogs Inc (which was bought by AOL last year), is heading the venture, and is officially the GM of Netscape division now, in addition to his other duties at AOL.
The site is a journalist-and-community-driven news aggregation site, much in the vein of Digg and other sites. Only, this is beyond just technology, and covers other culture/business/news/social areas. Also, the site is not 100 percent software-and-user driven, but has (for now) eight journalists/anchors looking after the eight verticals, “curating” the content and doing original stories as well.
The site has all the Web 2.0-ish goodness you can imagine: tagging, Ajax, sharing, recommendation, RSS, video and audio uploads, etc. Jason walked me through various elements of the new site earlier this month. As he explained it, the site sits in between the packaged sites of AOL Network on one hand, and the more free-form blogs from Weblogs Inc on the other hand. All three services added together present a full range of options to potential advertisers willing to buy across or in any of those specific verticals. Stating the obvious, Netscape.com will be advertising driven.
In terms of similarities with other sites, Newsvine would probably come the closest, though that’s still has a barrier to entry in terms of being more geek-newshound-friendly than the general consumer. Netscape hopes to be the ones news aggregation site which is general news consumer friendly.
As for the current site, the mail and other users are being transitioned to AOL services…the co-branded HP-Netscape portal transitioned to an HP-AOL portal last week. When I asked Jason about whether this means that the Netscape browser will also be revived/rejuvenated, he mentioned that AOL/Netscape is fully behind the Mozilla foundation, but who knows what comes next…Some numbers: The site had 11.4 million users in May, down from 15.4 million a year earlier.
NYTimes: Digg has grown to 8 million users a month from 30,000 over the last year, according to Jay Adelson, the CEO of Digg. Next week, Digg will introduce a redesign that will allow it to cover a broader range of topics, including world affairs and business, Adelson said.