The Netscape blog announced yesterday some upcoming changes to their service. Basically, they announced that they are going back to offering a more traditional news experience, much like the one that the Netscape site used to offer.
The post states that this is in response to user input which told them that people did want a social news experience, but that they did not expect to find it at Netscape.com. The announcement did say that they plan to move the social news site to a new URL, and that they would make an annoucement once the switchover was made. Based on this, the social news service does sound like something they will continue to operate.
Over at TechCrunch, Duncan Riley wrote that the Netscape Digg Clone is Kaput. It’s hard to disagree, as this move by Netscape is clearly not a sign of a runaway success story. This potential has been visible for a while.
The traffic and voting volume on Netscape is quite a bit lower than that on Digg. For example, there is a story on Netscape’s home page as I write this that has only 8 votes. You are not making the Digg home page with 8 votes. Also, the site is just too similar in structure. People are naturally going to focus their efforts on the bigger fish, which is Digg.
The first thing it will be interesting to see is how the transtion is managed. Will they move the social news site over, or will they simply discontinue it? AOL would not be making this move if they thought that there was a potential for a large return on the property. And, if that’s the case, why continue it all?