The Black Hole Of... Bad - HotHardware
The Black Hole Of... Bad

The Black Hole Of... Bad

I have a soft spot for Netscape.com. AOL purchased the brand name back in 1999, probably trying to get a little goodwill from people like me that remember when Netscape was THE web browser. The Netscape.com portal has used a"social news" format for submitting and voting on the prominence of news stories for over a year now, but parent AOL has decided to return to having an editorial staff present the news.

The feature received tepid response when it was introduced last summer. Over the past year, U.S. visitors to the Netscape home page dropped by about half to 2.4 million in July, according to comScore Media Metrix. By contrast, visitors to social-news rival Digg.com nearly quadrupled to 4.6 million.

Netscape's social-news feature has allowed visitors to submit links to articles they find elsewhere and vote on the ones they like most. The items receiving the most votes appear on the home page and in separate sections such as technology and food.

The feature resembles the news-recommendation system found at Digg.com, although Netscape.com also has been displaying at the top some items hand-picked by its staff.

Like many places that allow users to control the content, Netscape.com quickly devolved into a place where the most strident and crazy opinions held sway, driving out everybody else. Content providers are slowly waking up to the fact that an internet poll is a dangerous thing to rely on if you're trying to judge what normal people think. If you believe internet polls, Ron Paul is going to be the next President of the United States, for instance. I have my doubts. So does Netscape, it appears.
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I think the social news format is a great concept, but noone has done it right yet. Digg gets all the news, and somehow its creators are revered now, but that site has spiraled so far downward its hard to describe. The pages are filled with short funny videos and reguritated photos, and quality content that contains real, useful information is hidden by the bury brigage, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

Even if you tunnel down into the hardware section right now, you'll see it filled with news about card and gadgets, and only about 15% of the stories have to do with hardware. And the newest story is almost a day old, with most of the others about 3 days old.

How is that useful?

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