Netscape to Take On Slashdot

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America Online is turning its portal on its head and embracing citizen journalism, in which the community votes on what's news--not editors. Netscape Communications, a division of AOL, says it will be ditching its current tickertape infotainment portal for the new format to attract new visitors and keep them there longer. takes the wraps off of its beta today. Everyone is welcome to find current news stories, blog entries, or videos anywhere on the Internet and submit content to to be displayed on its front page. Visitors are invited to vote on current stories, with the most popular stories rising to the top of the list.

Netscape says that a link to the beta site is available today from its main page. The revved version of is slated to go live July 1. Users must register to submit and post stories. The site accepts users with existing Netscape, AOL, and AOL AIM log-ins and passwords.

The new strategy attempts to follow the success of social-bookmarking sites like Digg and Slashdot. Both of these technology sites rely on visitors to compile lists of links to interesting new articles.

Editors to Fact-Check Stories

Netscape General Manager Jason Calacanis says that, unlike competing social-bookmarking sites, has hired a mix of journalists and citizen journalists to comment on the day's top stories and fact-check them to make sure they are genuine. The group of Netscape Anchors, as they are called, will also give their editorial opinions on the most popular user-submitted stories and will add links to related Web content, Calacanis says. will have 30 different content channels, including food, news, travel, sports, celebrity news, and health. The company says that overnight will become one of the largest social-bookmarking sites, with 12.5 million visitors a month.

Keeping Up With the Slashdots and the Diggs

"Think of this as with fact checking," Calacanis says. He believes that Web sites that allow people to comment and create content garner more page views than sites that deliver traditional content.

According to estimates available from the Web site ranking firm Alexa, Digg has seen its daily page views jump from 80 million to 320 million since January 2005. By comparison, traffic dropped from 260 million to 180 million in the same time period.

Whether will be an overnight sensation is another question. It will certainly be entering a competitive market. Sites like, Newsvine, and The Personal Bee have launched in the past year. Each put visitors in the editorial driver seat as well.

Netscape hopes to offer more, with tie-ins to a nascent social-networking feature also part of the new plan. Users will be able to create simple profiles and create lists of "friends" with similar interests.

Down the road, an AOL spokesperson said, look for tie-ins to a version of the Netscape browser, toolbars, and direct links to AOL's MySpace-clone AIM Pages.

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