Sad day for Netscape today…. seems they are losing the domain name Netscape.com and being pushed over to a new, unknown domain name. Some folks have said Wow.com, which was actually something I suggested when we started so I’m not sure if that is new information.
The truth to all of this has nothing to do with Netscape the social news sites. Netscape’s site is the #2 site behind digg and if it were a startup company it would be getting VC investment hand over fist. Of course, it doesn’t operated in a startup environment, it exists in the reality of a big company. That big company AOL had its advertising revenue crushed last quarter. When Jon MIller was there we had two quarters with 40%+ advertising growth, and when he left it got cut in half. From what I’ve read–and again this is all pubic information that out there–the loss came from changing the search product from the one AOL spent years building to a simple Google design copy.
Now, social news sites make a small fraction of what an optimized portal page like AOL and Yahoo make. The shuttering a growing and vibrant social news site here has to do with one thing and one thing only: the three million folks coming to Netscape every day will probably make 10x the money no AOL.com then they did at Netscape.com. It’s NOT because some small percentage of “old Netscape users” wanted their “old Netscape back.” The old Netscape and the Netscape.AOL.com portal they are pointing it to, are