By now probably everybody has heard about the new Netscape portal that beta-launched this week. It's sort of Digg meets Google news - or that's at least what it's aiming to be. So far, a lot of early users have been very critical, to be point of voting a story titled "AOL copies Digg" on the front page. Funny, I don't remember ever seeing any "Digg clones Kuro5hin" stories on

Aside from the expected snapping at the newbie, many of the critics do have a point. is very cluttered, many features don't work as advertised, and the up to now about 2000 registered members don't seem to make much of an impact yet. Stories with just one vote regularly make it on the front page. But hey, it's beta.

The charming thing about this is that the team seem to get what being beta is all about. They don't suppress critical postings - quite the contrary. Netscape's new boss Jason Calacanis even links to some of these stories on his (more or less) personal blog. In his own words:

"The DIGG crowd has been having a great time slamming the New Netscape over the past 24 hours, but if you look beyond their venom they actually have some amazing suggestions--the best ones so far in fact!"

The New York Times article about
refered to Calacanis as AOL's own Butterfield or Schachter. It looks like he got the first part of the Flickr mantra: Listen to your users. Time will tell if AOL is willing to change course as much as Flickr did in its early months to follow-up on these responses.

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