Some of the smarter blogs/websites out there have realized that Netscape sends a ton of traffic. Jake Ludington says he gets much more traffic from Netscape than any other source–including DIGG or boingboing–which is amazing to me (but not so surprising).
He also had some great advice for us on how to make the system better. Here they are with my responses:
Jake says: 1) Level the Playing Field – if Netscape anchors get to have links to their personal blogs and the various Weblogs, Inc properties in their bio, let everyone else link too or don’t let anyone link. The anchors already play god in the system, why add additional unbalance.
What Jake is referring to here is that users can’t put links in their bio pages and our anchors can. We did this to stop spam in the system, but we’ve realized that it’s important to folks so we’re gonna do it.
Look for the change next week!
Jake says: 2) Sort the Tracker – Having a tracker is great! I want to see the new stories, not the most popular ones, but the Netscape river of news is everything in every channel. I want to watch about 12 of the 30 possible channels. Let me customize my experience so that I only watch those 12 channels.
This is in the works. Clearly people want to customize their experience, and the Tracker is nice, but if you don’t want to read the autos or politics channels we understand that.
Jake says: 3) More User Control – Let users add their own photo to a post by choosing from a list of related images from Getty. Posts with photos are trending toward getting more votes. It’s great your editors are choosing the photos, but give users more control within defined constraints.
This is a complicated legal issue, and if we were a startup we would let people do whatever they want. However, we’re not a startup and we get held to a much higher standard.
Jake says: 4) Suggest tags on the fly – if a WordPress plugin can figure it out, AOL’s resources can do it too
This is in the works… I love this feature.
Jake says: 5) Change Vote to something more meaningful – most of the U.S. doesn’t vote in important things like elections, why would they vote on Netscape?
Not sure what you mean here… are you saying we should use a different word? I think vote is the most accurate of what people do on a bookmark site. You’re endorsing the story if you vote for it–as opposed to delicious where you are just bookmarking it (which doesn’t tell you if the person endorses it). What do you suggest?
Jake says: 6) Integrate mail and stock tickers back into the front page – give me some Ajax widgets to go with the user generated news.
Could happen… 🙂
Jake says: 7) Let me Subscribe to PEOPLE via RSS – There are people submitting to Netscape who aren’t my friends, who I’ve never met, but who have great submissions. Let me subscribe to those people so I can easily watch what they submit.
I think we have this feature, but haven’t opened it up…. Alex/Brian: did we open this up yet?
Jake says: 8) Allow Posting to Multiple Categories – granted, I’ve seen several posts that didn’t really fit the category they are currently in, but there are times when one category doesn’t quite nail it.
No way….. we’ve given this one a lot of thought and cross posting makes people very angry because people hate seeing the same story on multiple channels. I love the discipline that one channel forces on people. We had long debates on this one, and our view was that tags allow folks to do this.
Jake says: 9) Better Category Breakdowns – the single most popular tech subject for most users is digital photography. Where’s the category for photophiles? Is a camera a technology or a gadget? Or both? See #9, but seriously consider improving customization.
Again, I think this is the role of tags. We are going to add channels down the road, but with the 30 we have right now some are not moving as fast as we like. This is what the Netscape Navigators are gonna help with I think–getting the slower channels jump-started.
Jake says: 10) Allow Links in Comments – Sure there will be some link spamming, but allowing links allows smart users to correct a story when someone makes an erroneous post.
You nailed it… this is a spam issue. We’re gonna consider letting folks who have been on the system > 15 days and who have voted on more than 15 stories earn this privilege I think.