Jason: Am not — Kevin: Are too


I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the geek smackdown going on between Kevin Rose of Digg — and assorted Diggers — and Jason Calacanis of the new and improved Digg-style Netscape (let’s just call it an homage, shall we?). Jason tossed a hand grenade into the social media-social bookmarking space when he offered to pay the top submitters on Digg and Reddit and Newsvine to come over and do their stuff at Netscape. Some (okay, it was Mike Arrington at TechCrunch) have called it desperation, while some have applauded Jason’s cojones.

Then Digg founder Kevin Rose made some comments about Jason’s offer (and his lack of imagination, etc.) on Diggnation, the Digg weekly podcast. Cue the outraged post from Mr. Calacanis, in which he says Kevin has “cracked,” and that this proves he has won the debate. Kevin responds with a post saying Jason’s move is a “PR stunt” and that he should “Think of what your loyal Netscape users must think – you’re essentially telling them that they aren’t good enough and that you have pay better users.”

To his credit, Mark Glaser of PBS’s MediaShift does a nice job of summing up some of the back-and-forth on this whole issue, and also does some enterprise reporting of his own — he gets in touch with a top Digg poster by the name of BloodJunkie (Derek van Vliet, who happens to be from Toronto, and has submitted a whopping 13,152 stories to Digg), who says that he is considering taking Mr. Calacanis up on his kind offer (another Digger has the opposite view here). In an email to Mark, he says he is “at the point where I am considering pursuing the offer. I really appreciate that someone is recognizing the value we Diggers, Flickrers and Redditers add to the online world.”

PR stunt? Maybe. But Jason’s relentless focus on paying the “talent” — a topic he also held forth on during the Amanda Congdon-Rocketboom soap opera — seems to have exposed some of the cracks in the “user-generated content” model. It will be interesting to see how (or if) those cracks widen, and where they lead.

Rafat makes a good point at PaidContent, and Leo “TWiT” Laporte has one as well — which is that the top 10 posters don’t really make or break a site like Digg. I also think that Steve Rubel is right when he says that Netscape needs to find its own niche, and let its own community grow rather than trying to buy someone else’s. Meanwhile, Kevin “Tailrank” Burton calls on Jason and Kevin to publish an open API — and Jason responds in the comments.

Comments (5)

  1. Stu wrote::

    Score this one to Jason. Dude might’ve been creepy with his stalking, er, job offering during the Rocketbimbo fiasco, but Kevin’s defensiveness over this makes for a sad display.

    Where’s his response to Jason’s assertions that Kevin will sell out and will be rolling in the dough while the users who really provided Digg’s value get nothing more than lame t-shirts?

    He has none, because he knows it’s true, but doesn’t want to admit it to his silly cult followers who (so they claim) would never — NEVER — be seen making big business deals with The Man. How to distract the ignorant masses of Digg fanboys from the fact that he completely ducks the question? Easy, just make sure to take a lot of childish shots at Jason during Diggnation, so that said ignorant masses forget the real issue and fall upon their base fanboy urges to utter nothing other than bleating “OOOOH, BURN!” or “PWNED!” over and over.

    And if I were one of the top submitters and got offered thousands to switch, I’d do it in a second. Why waste your life away doing that stuff for free? If you really like Digg, sure, at least approach them with a chance to match the offer, but really, who cares? Why bother being one of the top posters unless it’s for financial gain? If you’re submitting all those stories, do you even have time to interact with the “community.” (I feel sorry for anyone wanting to belong to a part of *that* community anyway, but that’s for another time.)

    Of course, If I were a top user, I’d also be renegotiating things with Jason as well — like hey bro, I know this project is worth more than 1000/month to Netscape, so quit being so stingy? And secondly, you expect me to share the same salary with that loser at #85? As if!

    So anyway, if it’s no skin off Kevin’s back, and the Top 100 aren’t really all that much more valuable than any other random 100 Diggers, why does Keven seem so worked up about the whole thing? They couldn’t collect a salary from Netscape and still be part of the wonderful “community”? I don’t feel like a traitor when I digg an item even though I primarily use del.icio.us, so why are so many diggers going out of their heads about his? Might lower that Digg valuation for when Kevin sells out? ;)

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 2:56 pm #
  2. Mathew Ingram wrote::

    Thanks for the comment, Stu. I think that’s even longer than my actual post. You should have a blog or something :-)

    As for why top submitters do it, I’m sure some (like BloodJunkie) would be prepared to switch for cash, but I think some just do it because they want the bragging rights. Slashdot has lots of heavy contributors and it doesn’t pay anybody anything. Which reminds me — why didn’t Jason extend his offer to Slashdotters?

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 3:11 pm #
  3. Stu wrote::

    “You should have a blog or something.”

    Nah, I just like letting all the hype from throughout the net boil over within me and then I pop onto your comment section and vent. ;)

    As for Slashdot, I don’t know if it would work out. There currently doesn’t seem to be a negative stigma on the top diggers, but Karma Whores are usually disdained over Slashdot. And somehow Netscape would probably end up with a lot of goatse pics on their front page.

    Now I use digg sometimes myself, but as far as Digging for bragging rights amongst the diggers goes, well…ever see the ’80s John Hughes flick “Sixteen Candles”? The phrase “King of the Dipshits” comes to mind. :D

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 4:05 pm #
  4. Calacanus wrote::

    What’s the big fuss about $1000/month? After taxes, I calculated you would get around $857 depending on where you live – which is around $5.36/hour based on a typical month working 160 hours.


    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 5:42 pm #
  5. Stu wrote::

    I dunno, $857 per month sounds a lot better than $0 a month. I could get myself an 2 Xbox 360s and a game every month with that.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 7:48 pm #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks (2)

  1. Amyloo's OPML blog: Saturday, August 05, 2006 on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    way, reading the usual suspects. Is there something to read from the top 50 Digg users? I mean besides comments on Digg. I guess I’m not interested enough to do what would amount to reporting on it by digging through the comments. Later: By way of Matthew Ingram

  2. […] Matthew Ingram […]