Remember when Netscape was synonymous with Web surfing? Other Internet names have moved to the fore now, and the iconic Web site has languished as an un-hip Web portal. But now it wants to make a comeback.
AOL, which owns Netscape, is relaunching Netscape.com as a “social news site.” It will follow the model of Slashdot and the newer Digg.com by featuring stories from other sources that are voted as most interesting by users. Unlike Digg, though, Netscape will have editors, known as news “anchors,” who will sometimes augment the stories with their own follow-up reporting.
Coming on the heels of Valleywag’s scoop about Digg v.3 social news is generating some serious heat.
The site is intriguing, and a pretty impressive beta effort. And it’s notably portal-ly. Is the portal making a stealth return, via social news? I abandoned the portals a long time ago, filled as they were with useless information, and the occasional nugget that was just easier for me to access using my reader, and I now use Google’s advanced search page as my home page. Perhaps a well-designed and highly relevant landing page would be worth the attention.
Last point: Calacanis seems a pretty entrepreneurial guy. Why is he doing this for AOL (surely the concept didn’t need the Netscape.com badge to succeed) and not for himself? Is it just a matter of the Weblogs sale non-compete? Interesting, because it seems to me there is at least a good argument that a social news site wouldn’t be competitive enough with a blog network to justify inclusion under a non-compete.