Netscape, which is run by America Online (AOL) these days, has launched a massive new revamp (which can be found here while it runs in beta) of an effort that shifts this once traditional online news portal to an interactive and vote-based “Web 2.0” interface that has been dubbed by many as a potential “Digg-killer.”
Essentially, this is the classic story of a massive company moving into the space where a small one is thriving through force of innovation and verve. And the big question, of course, is: will the e-Walmart crush the very soul from the Web 2.0-Mom and Pop Shop?
There are a number of interesting factors to look at here. Still massive thanks to the millions of subscribers that it has, AOL is now losing subscribers and it’s difficult to say whether or not the once mighty ISP will be able to stem the tide. And even with its large subscription base, that does not automatically translate into audience at the new Netscape.com.
Quite simply, the product has to be there, and there are dozens of start-ups in the space – including Digg, Reddit, and Shoutwire – already soaking up the “user moderated” (stories are submitted and then voted upon by users; the most popular ones get selected or elevated to the site’s front page, thus grabbing the most attention) content space.
So, does the new Netscape make the grade? It’s got a lot of potential. The best thing about it is that it encourages submissions in more than two dozen categories, including Celebrities, Politics, Money, and Religion. The tech-centric market leader Digg (which will expand its own focus soon, according to reports) has until now insisted that all story submissions are in some way related to technology. It also utilizes social bookmarking in the way of tags, which is a nearly obligatory social media feature these days, allowing for someone to easily click a word like Blogcritics and find every story related to that fine media source.