AOL bets that money buys Web 2.0 love
Jason Calacanis is turning up the heat again in his assault on the social news space. You'll recall that Calacanis, a dot.com-refugee-turned-blogger-impresario, re-launched Netscape.com this summer in the image of Digg, the pioneer of community-filtered news headlines, and later said the AOL site would, gasp, pay $1,000 a month to its top contributors.

The catcalls that followed were loud and fast: how dare Calacanis, the blogosphere raged, introduce cash into the communitarian ethos of Web 2.0? But, armed with his Time Warner budget and desperate to make AOL cool again, Calacanis is only adding more fuel to the fire. On Wednesday, he hired seven new "navigators," as he calls them, several whom appear to be defecting from prominent "roles" at Digg and smaller rival Reddit. As usual, Calacanis seized the opportunity to do some trash talking:
The concept of the global Internets (and Interwebs and associated series of tubes) is that anyone can make their own version of the world. In our version of the world people get paid for their work, it digg's they get recognition.

Time will tell which model works better... I think digg's is more idealistic vision and Netscape's is much more practical. If digg becomes the farm league for Netscape that's fine, that's what Flickr is to Getty Images and what TypePad is to Weblogs, Inc. and Gawker.
Calacanis' taunting apparently has met with a deafening silence on Digg and Reddit. And, according to Techcrunch, Calcanis resigned on Thursday. But a few relatively-unknown blogs seem sympathetic to his vision of mixing capitalism with Web media: Pakistani blogger Muhammed Saleem, who has been following the saga, decides that Calacanis' "farm team" analogy is off, and suggests that Netscape's recruiting is akin to a pro sports draft. "The top social bookmarkers (at Digg, Reddit, and Netscape) along with non-social bookmarking bloggers essentially become the draft pool for Calacanis & Co.," Mu writes. "Since no one is competing with them to draft, Netscape gets to name the terms and have their 'pick of the litter.'" Meanwhile, the blog Quick Online Tips meekly adds: "I believe many such top users will be tempted to opt for Netscape and still enjoy doing what they like and get paid for it."

What's next? "Will Wiki for Cash?" Ah, you laugh now....
Posted by Oliver Ryan 9:56 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.