Netscape Closing Down Social News Site?

Netscape Closing Down Social News Site?I think not. Much of this rumor mill was started on TechCrunch, and has grown to a debate all over the place on Digg, Sphinn, and even back to Netscape. While I’m usually a big fan of what TechCrunch has to say, this time, I have quite a few problems with the article.

Tom Drapeau, the Director of Netscape, has come out and written a counter statement to TechCrunch’s claim:

Umm… who are all of these sources? I run the social news site now, and I wrote the text that you quoted in your article.

The cobrand launch this week was simply an effort to give a place to go for those who desire a Netscape portal experience instead of a social news experience.

The social news team is alive and well, despite your “rumors”, and have extensive plans for 2007 and 2008 which are already in progress. We may exist in a different AOL division than the team, but that doesn’t make this a turf war.

I am speaking to the editorial team right now, and as they knew this portal was launching weeks in advance – they aren’t “completely freaked out”.

Where are you getting these sources/rumors?

If you are curious to know about, e-mail me at tom at newnetscape dot com.

Derek van Vliet, a popular Netscape scout known as Neophile also write on his blog:

When Jason Calacanis launched the Netscape social news offering, there was an initial backlash from the old portal users. But that was over a year ago.

Since then the Netscape user base has grown considerably, with 300,000 registered users and over 10 million visitors per month. Their enthusiasm for the site abounds, as evidenced in recent comment threads.

So, big deal? Lots of folks out there make things, and then move on to something else. Let’s review:

MahaloJason Calacanis left Netscape and started Mahalo.

TwitterEvan Williams made Blogger and then went on to Twitter.

Should we say that because Kevin Rose is developing Pownce, that Digg will be shut down? Not likely. This is just my 2 cents, but I believe that Netscape is here to stay. It’s a great community that has been growing nicely as of late.


  1. Mike

    Sure, why would netscape’s site go anywhere…they still have more to copy from Digg.

  2. brian

    @Mike: you could say that there is overlap from all social news. Not really fair to say that Digg is the authoritative news source if you ask me.

  3. majehire

    Netscape has been around for too long and adapted too well to ALL the changes that the internet has made over the years! No worries here!

  4. Digdave

    TechCrunch has a history of bad reportin/rumor spreading. Sometimes I think they have a dart board of companies and another dartboard of adjectives — throw a few darts and bamn! You got yourself a headline.

  5. Spud

    Why would they close? The site has been hugely successful. This is just rumors without substance.

  6. Phil Alexander

    I enjoy reading the Netscape News very much & would Hate to see it go away and Glad to see Tom’s comment on this Hoax. Keep up the good work to all that work on keeping this News arena open & running. Sincerely(one of you subscribers), Phil Alexander of Norfolk, NewYork.

  7. Searchbeam

    I have been an active member of Netscape Social website for over an year, and it has been a very enjoyable experience.

    Like anything new, the site had its share of problems. There were several changes in design, implementation and management. I think it is no small achievement that the management of this site has accomplished an outstanding success.

    This community has given its participants a unique place to share ideas, debate issues and learn and impart knowledge and wisdom. It has become a Town Hall par excellence!

    It is a microcosm of the world around us!

    I have visited a few other social website by invitation, but I found them to be less friendly, difficult to navigate and clumsy to use. They did not have that open, inviting look and feel of Netscape.

    Of course there were issues. Some were resolved, some were not. In some aspects, it is still a work in progress. So is Microsoft Windows after 20 years or so!

    I think Netscape is way ahead on the curve.

    I am particularly impressed with the way James Marcus is handling his responsibilities. There is a degree of maturity, thoughtfulness and willingness to listen to the participants as well as a keen sense of the mission at hand. It was such a welcome change when he came on board. He ACTUALLY RETURNED YOUR MESSAGES without that ever-present ego and know-all attitude that is so prevalent in the web world. His resume at first looked very
    imposing , but very soon I found out that this was a real guy with a sense of purpose and willingness to think outside the box. Best of all, I did not a notice any false ego, vanity or holier-than-thou attitude!

    Looking at the way people are participating here, I feel a sense that this site is going places, and that we are all headed towards a remarkable journey of discovery. It is definitely a bigger, faster and more sea-worthy ship and the passenger amenities are top-notch. Even the Captain of the ship is seasoned and sea-smart! ( I do not like to call the Anchors the “Anchors”, because that gives a false connotation that they are trying to stop this ship from moving! A term like shipmates would be more appropriate. You DO HAVE a nautical theme to your enterprise, you know!)

    We do see a lot of rowboats floating around, but they disappear fast as we sail ahead!

    Bravo, guys!

    Don’t dock this ship. She is magnificent, elegant, fast and seaworthy. Besides, she also carries a lot of paying cargo-your ad revenue- to keep everyone happy!

    I say Full Steam Ahead!

  8. brian

    @Digdave: remind me not to get on their bad list! 🙂

  9. brian

    @spud: I hear you – just wanted to give me 2 cents on the situation, as I felt it required more discussion.

  10. brian

    @phil: Thanks for your support, and glad that Tom chimed in as well!

  11. brian

    @searchbeam: fantastic comment! I really liked your point about Microsoft Windows still having problems after all this time. Netscape, while it’s been around for a while, is just barely over its first birthday as a social news site. Out of all the Web 2.0 and social news buzz, you’re hard pressed to see many other such sites with such an impressive growth record!

  12. Daniel

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article poetry, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.


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