Should Community-Edited News Sites Pay Top Editors?

    by Mark Glaser
    July 25, 2006

    If there is one push-and-pull balancing act that defines news in the age of Web 2.0, it’s the question of how much power to give the audience, the masses, the collective mind, and how much control remains centralized. That balancing act has played a crucial role in the development of community-generated sites such as Wikipedia, Slashdot and even Google, where search results and PageRank depend on people linking to the most authoritative sources on a subject.

    This is the so-called Wisdom of Crowds as described by James Surowiecki in his book by that name, but how do you motivate people to join these crowds online and spend countless hours working on the sites without pay? That question has come into sharp focus, after entrepreneur-provocateur Jason Calacanis made his indecent proposal to users of rival crowdsourced news sites such as Digg and Reddit: “We will pay you $1,000 a month for your social bookmarking” work, he wrote on his blog.

    i-3e6a70bd666b996ff153df41d680c5d2-Jason Calacanis.JPG


    Calacanis (pictured here), who started the Silicon Alley Reporter magazine and blog publisher Weblogs Inc. (later sold to AOL), was very publicly offering to pay volunteer bookmarkers on these sites to leave the sites and come to work for him — for pay — at Netscape. Calacanis is now general manager of Netscape.com, the old home page for the old browser that’s trying on a new life as a group-edited news site a la Digg, but with an editorial layer. The idea behind these sites is that the users pick out news stories or blog posts from around the Net and submit them. People then vote on them — or “Digg” them — pushing the hottest ones onto the home page for the most exposure. If a particular news story gets enough Diggs, and gets promoted, it’s likely to get an avalanche of web traffic.

    Digg is already in Version 3, is ranked at #100 in web traffic by Alexa, and is trying to move beyond its roots as a technology news site. Digg CEO and co-founder Jay Adelson (pictured below) was unmoved by the Calacanis offer to steal away Top Diggers by paying them. Adelson told me the offer would not affect Digg — though it might help spark the new Netscape.

    i-a1db06cbc338b8c2aebdd6f402401130-Jay_Adelson of Digg.jpg


    “It’s not something where there’s a short list of characters, like a team, that if you buy them, you’ll win the World Series,” Adelson said. “It doesn’t quite work that way, but it could help with the submission quality at Netscape. It doesn’t affect us in any way.”

    When I brought up the possibility of Digg compensating its top users monetarily, Adelson drew a sharp line in the sand.

    “Oh no, that would be a complete destruction of what we consider to be the principles of Digg,” he said. “There will be recognition for the people who do a lot of work on the site, not just for being ranked a Top Digger. In the future, you’ll see other forms of recognition that are purely, you know, things that exist within the community. Certainly no monetary compensation or things like that, because what we don’t want to do is create this artificial hierarchy.

    “I’ve thought about what to do with the real power Diggers, the ones who spend their whole day on Digg and really work hard, is there a way that I could show my appreciation. The way I would show my appreciation would be to never give them more power, more features than another user has. It might be something like a T-shirt, it might be a rating that they can show other users, but it has to be a level playing field.”

    Hmmmm, $1,000 of cold, hard cash from Netscape per month… or a Digg T-shirt? Doesn’t sound like a level playing field to me. But Digg power users were split over the monetary offer. While many loyal Digg users were put off by the offer, some of them were still considering the money.

    Derek van Vliet, a Toronto-based programmer who goes by the moniker BloodJunkie on Digg (and was ranked #2 among users recently), told me how he has wavered over the offer — ultimately deciding to take up Calacanis on it. Here’s part of van Vliet’s email to me, describing his thought process:

    I love Digg. I believe Digg has the potential to change the way all media is aggregated. Through Digg I have met a large number of kind, bright people. I can’t put a price on those contacts. That being said, after taking a day to let it sink in, I am 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. And that potential for more networking opportunities is very appealing to me.

    I must admit, until now I haven’t given that much credit to myself for what I am doing on Digg. I give all credit to the authors of the content I link to. Obviously whatever value I have added to the online world would be nothing without them.

    I have been aware for a while that sites like Digg and Flickr are making millions off of users like me, so I have been considering possible ways to share that wealth among contributors. I think of all the ways you could go (pay per post, ad revenue share, etc.), Jason may have the best idea with the monthly flat rate. If he is convinced that he will get a return on that investment, then it is a win-win.

    An Uphill Battle for Netscape

    While these 12 lucky people Calacanis and Netscape pluck out and pay might now have income where they were previously doing bookmarking work for free, the Netscape site itself won’t necessarily become a slam-dunk proposition for web visitors. So far, stories on Netscape’s home page have a scant number of “votes,” with some in the single digits; on Digg’s home page, the top stories have hundreds, and in some cases 1,000-plus Diggs.

    Calacanis has hit some bumps in trying to change Netscape from a general news portal, similar to Yahoo or MSN, into a social news aggregator. A group of users set up an online petition complaining about the change in format, and the New York Times even filed a story about “sour responses” to the New Netscape.

    Calacanis told me he expected some rough sledding with a revamp of the old Netscape.

    “A small percentage of users preferred the old version, which we expected since we are making a significant change,” he said. “However, the old Netscape site lost one third of its users over the past year, so we had to turn that around and this is the best way to do that…Right now this is an experiment and in three to six months we will figure it out. My guess is most of the services will wind up paying the top users — including MySpace and Wikipedia.”

    In a nod to the problems users have had with the redesign, the Netscape site has plenty of disclaimers such as this: “If the new Netcape.com isn’t for you, make sure to check out the free AOL.com [portal].”

    Reactions to Calacanis’ offer to pay community members from other sites has varied around the web and blogosphere. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington called the offer a “sign of desperation more than anything” in a post titled “Huge Red Flag at Netscape.”

    i-975b4ad8cb567c186b291cf5e80c7e4c-Aaron Swartz.JPG

    Aaron Swartz (pictured here), a co-founder of community-edited news site Reddit, had a hard time taking the offer seriously.

    “When we first all saw it at the office, the first reaction was laughter,” Swartz told me. “It was so funny to see this guy who just a couple weeks ago said his site was going to take off and do some great things, to see him begging for users and fighting for users. We thought that was pretty funny. We’ve gotten emails from users saying that Calacanis seems to be missing the point, saying to leave the sites just for cash.”

    So what motivates the users of Reddit to put in so much work for the love of the site?

    “Part of it is a selfish motivation, that it’s useful,” Swartz said. “You vote up the stories you like because other people do it, and you want the best stories on the top. It’s a fun thing to do. I got addicted to it, to find things on the Internet, submit it, vote on things and watch the impact to get something on the front page and have everyone read what you submitted. Plus there’s a whole community that’s built around it, they know each other’s names and get a sense of who each other are. It’s a group of friends you share links with.”

    Vulnerabilities, Strengths of the ‘Hive Mind’

    In the middle of wading through the debate on paying social bookmarkers, I came upon an essay from virtual-reality pioneer, composer, author and tech guru Jaron Lanier titled “Digital Maoism.” In it, Lanier argues that there is a fallacy to the wisdom of crowds on sites such as Wikipedia and Digg, because the collective can be stupid too. “Witness tulip crazes and stock bubbles,” Lanier writes. “Hysteria over fictitious satanic cult child abductions. Y2K mania.” Plus, the Wikipedia community had stubbornly referred to Lanier as a film director in its bio of him, despite his objections.

    Lanier rants against news aggregation sites for trying to get “more meta” than each other, with Digg and Reddit and Popurls — an aggregator of the aggregators — all taking heat from him for burying original authorship without someone taking responsibility for what’s coming up to the top. His conclusion is that collectives can succeed online, but require the guidance of some individuals.

    “Every authentic example of collective intelligence that I am aware of also shows how that collective was guided or inspired by well-meaning individuals,” Lanier writes. “These people focused the collective and in some cases also corrected for some of the common hive mind failure modes. The balancing of influence between people and collectives is the heart of the design of democracies, scientific communities, and many other long-standing projects. There’s a lot of experience out there to work with. A few of these old ideas provide interesting new ways to approach the question of how to best use the hive mind.”

    While Lanier’s expertise and background is in computer systems and human interaction within those systems, I was impressed with his awareness of the changing media landscape as well. When I queried Lanier to expound on his thoughts vis a vis Digg and news aggregators, he told me via email that he wasn’t as concerned with the question of whether social automation filters or human editors were needed to best filter the news flow. Instead, he worried that sites such as Digg and Reddit were signs of a deeper problem surrounding newsgathering — that we have more news analysts than people on the ground doing hard-nosed reporting.

    “It’s true we have a surplus of interpreters of news, as from bloggers, so in a sense we have a gigantic staff of volunteer public analysts, but we are starved for raw data,” he said. “We can read what a blogger on the ground in Israel or Lebanon is experiencing this week, and that is important, but there are almost no unbiased investigative reporters of consequence helping us understand what is going on from a perspective other than that of an ‘ordinary’ person on the ground. This lack is in part a failure of the Internet to serve humanity.”

    Lanier then goes a step further, blaming these aggregators for shooting out traffic to silly stories and news of the weird, and ultimately hurting the funding of important, investigative reports.

    “There’s also the problem that professional authors need financial sustenance,” he said. “So the overall ecosystem suggested by the popularity of approaches like Digg ultimately starves out the sources of content it is intended to help you find. You or I might post an item that will become an overnight sensation on Digg, but that won’t finance a dangerous reporting mission in the Middle East.”

    Fair enough, but the aggregators also play a role by bringing up stories at smaller publications or blogs that might not have seen the light of day under traditional media oversight. As for the problems with the “hive mind” and its fallacies, the folks at Digg realize their non-hierarchical approach has its drawbacks.

    “The people behind Digg, we definitely see the limitations of the wisdom of the crowds and mob mentality issues,” Digg CEO Adelson told me. “The thing we think we’ll do better than anyone else is provide the tools to counter those limitations. It’ll be an interesting experiment and we’re really excited about where it’s going to go.”

    What do you think? Should social bookmarkers and other community volunteers around the web be paid if the site is making money? What’s a fair compensation for them? Which social news sites do you like and what motivates you to participate? Or do you prefer professionally edited news sites? Where would you draw the line between an open editing system and one with paid editors?

    (Note that MediaShift readers have already answered the Your Take question about why you work for free online. The answer: A sense of community motivates many of you.)

    UPDATE: The debate took a nastier turn when Digg co-founder Kevin Rose made some personal attacks on Netscape general manager Jason Calacanis on the Diggnation podcast and on his blog. From Rose’s blog post:

    bq. Clever PR stunt, but man, in the end I believe it’s going to do more damage for Netscape than good. Ya see users like Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit and Flickr because they are contributing to true, free, democratic social platforms devoid of monetary motivations… Jason, I know AOL has given you access to their war-chest, but honestly, take that money and invest it into site development.

    Calacanis has tried to make the debate less personal and says many social bookmarking news sites can succeed — it’s not a winner-take-all situation. But still, Calacanis takes a stab right back at Rose and Digg:

    Kevin Rose is going to make millions of dollars (perhaps tens of millions) when he sells Digg to Yahoo (my best guess). When he does sell Digg — and trust me it will be sold before in the next 12 months — he will have done it on the backs of those top 50 members. Those top 50 members will get exactly… ummm….. nothing. If I was running Netscape as a startup I would create a bonus pool for these users in case the site gets bought. I can’t do that given our structure, so we’re gonna just pay folks. Kevin should do something similar.

    While Digg’s Adelson says that I took his quote about paying with T-shirts out of context, I believe I included the full context of the quote. Yes, Adelson does want to show he cares about the top users who spend all day on Digg — but how he would do that is unclear when he categorically dismisses paying them.

    Aside from the personal attacks, I think this has been a healthy debate about a subject that has interested me for years — stemming from the old AOL chat room moderators, who eventually sued the company for back pay for all their volunteer work. I don’t think there is necessarily a “right answer” about paying or not paying, and as one commenter notes, we are in the early days of social bookmarking.

    But perhaps there’s a middle ground or hybrid model that could work, some sort of payment mechanism similar to the South Korean citizen journalism site, Ohmynews, where submitters are paid a small fee if their story rises to the top. Rather than dismiss every new idea as a crock, let’s keep an open mind and see what transpires.

    UPDATE 2: Derek van Vliet, who I interviewed for this story, did indeed get a job as a Netscape Navigator. Calacanis says the “experiment” in paying social bookmarkers has been so successful — doubling and tripling bookmarking output — that he’s decided to hire 20 Navigators, up from the initial 12.

    He wrote in a recent blog post triumphantly:

    Voting, comments, and a number of other factors have doubled (or tripled) over the past two weeks at Netscape since we hired our first 10 Navigators. These folks are doing an AMAZING job of not only putting in good stories, but they are building the community by teaching and showing folks how to be good citizens on a social bookmarking site. That is really what this is about, training folks on how to be members of the community and truth be told I’ve learned a lot from the Navigators…on that subject — it is the key.

    So perhaps the paid bookmarkers are helping set an example for the non-paid bookmarkers, which is by extension helping the entire community.

    Tagged: social networking web 2.0
    • For what it’s worth, I should stress I do _not_ equate the value of a top digger with a t-shirt. We’ll find many ways to recognize top diggers without changing the level playing field, and certainly without monetary compensation.

    • Okay, so they skim the top users list on digg to find out who is the top members… but how do they find that out about reddit members? I wasn’t aware reddit had any kind of ranking system like that.

    • Bruce Milligan

      The fact is that this media shift toward social bookmarking has just barely taken its first breath. It’s a baby! Digg and Reddit and Netscape are not conclusions, they are hypotheses. The big idea here is not about who’s right or wrong, whether we should be paying social bookmarkers or not. Of course we should mostly because Netscape’s value-recognition model MUST be tested. If someone like Jason doesn’t try it, then we’ll never know under what circumstances this model will work, if at all. The people who take him up on it are not sellouts. They are forward thinking, willing participants in a grand new-media experiment. I wonder who is the next pioneer who will find a way to test a new money model for Web 2.0?

    • Shashi

      I see this debate as rather silly, childish and totally unnecessary. One can see such “bottom-up” approaches as a strong complement to existing top-down approaches, and they are not mutually exclusive.
      Fundamentally, the premise that this is an either/or proposition is , IMHO, incorrect.

    • Karl Chase

      If this is what Netscape is becomming because of Jason Calacanis then I would have to say let him go. Netscape is a browser, mail reader and a news group reader. Thats what it has been for years this change is crap and they should boot him out because stocks will fall because of this change. It’s pure crap.

    • T-Shirts are great. $1000 a month is better. If Jay really wants to “level the playing field” how about sending us diggers each a check for an equal amount of the millions he makes off the site. Or, better yet, based on our rank – aka – work we have done earning those millions.

    • typo : entrepreneur not entreprenuer.

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    • Paying people for contributing bookmarks cheapens the whole social bookmarking movement. Calacanis may have to pay people to contribute to Netscape, but he’ll have a hard time building up the critical mass of “Diggers” (or whatever you’d call Netscape posters) required to make the site truly useful.

    • Jason Hedges

      I see this as nothing more than good old fashioned competition. The nature of social bookmarking sites will preclude the results from becoming skewed – a submission will still have to be “dugg” by the site’s users wheather the person making the submission was paid for it or not. All that paying the top submitters will do is drive more traffic to the site, which is obviously the desired effect. Calacanis’s folly (or perhaps his genius, if this is indeed a PR stunt) was to try to “hire away” the top users from the other sites. The same effect could have been achieved by offering to pay Netscapes own top 12 submitters, then submitting that as a story on the other social sites. It may have taken a little longer, but would probably have offended fewer people.

    • This is a great story… I think we should all try and keep this debate focused on the real issue: should the top users of social services like digg, Netscape, delicious, Flickr, Reddit, MySpace, AIMPages, TypePad, etc. get paid for their work–or not.

      This isn’t about Kevin vs. Jason or digg vs. Netscape… this is about crowdsourcing/serfsourcing vs. people getting paid.

      My belief is that the Silicon Valley elite are going to make billions of dollars on the “wisdom of crowds” over the next five years, and that startups and established companies should figure out ways to compensate those top users (if they want to get paid of course).

      Just because you are paid doesn’t mean you are any less a member of the community. There are paid firefighters and volunteers. Both provide great service to their communities… so one size does not fit all, and clearly both models work.

    • On some other (still essentially infantile) social networking / videosharing etc sites revenue sharing systems, which are, in my mind, quite welcome given the way so many of the Web 2.0 behemoths disrespect their contributors. Facebook and YouTube have disgusting privacy policies, for example.

      The news aggregating crowd-minds are doing just as much work [sometimes] as the copyright infringing / creative minded individuals behind new media content across the web. This debate over compensation is talking about the -notables- at the base–but as some have pointed out, the lion’s share of the revenue would (even under ANY of these payment systems) still be going to the big-ups.

      Jay Adelson can prattle on as much as he likes about the “principles of digg” as he reaps the revenue from the work of diggers. It’s true that most visits to digg don’t involve digging–that most people are sort of social-networking-leeches–but of the “work” being done, to provide the service to those leeches, Adelson owes a lot to these committed people who slave away to digg and digg.

      Craig of Craigslist is much better natured about the commercialization of his community-centric service. Digg and other sites threaten to compromise their own principles and drown in hypocrisy if they fail to demonstrate their appreciation of the crowds which build their content. Now, what form that takes, I don’t know. But I don’t think a t shirt cuts it, and 1,000$ might not either. Something with a little more heart. :)

    • addendum: I would hope that my comments right there wouldn’t be construed as a “personal attack” –i’ll confess they were slightly poorly worded, making Adelson victim at the hands of this early hour’s fatigue. All I was meaning to say was just that Digg is, well, very profitable. For certain people. :p

    • 好!

    • bob

      Let people work for free. Some people value peer approval more than money. Some people just prefer to read which in essense is making digg money too. Should the top website visitors get paid for visiting the site?

      And yes, some users are making digg what it is and the corporate backbone knows this and milks the hell out of it. Many people have a built in need to be part of a group, even if anonymous. People that post comments on blogs also work to build up a sites status and apparent popularity.

      Netscape can’t beat Digg because digg is the original and Netscapes brand is dead. Paying posters would not bring traffic to a brand that is like an old hag. When I think of Netscape I think of pop-ups.

    • Ohnan

      I’ll assume that the prohibition against compensation does not extend to you or your senior staff.

      Typical hypocrisy

    • Being a top digg user like myself (darkhack) doesn’t mean someone can pay me money in order to help promote their site to gain popularity. It’s up to the visitor’s who will decide if they want to visit the site or not.

    • It doesn’t matter if the top 10 or 100 people leave digg for Netscape. The Digg community is huge. There will be more than enough people to replace the runaways

    • Good balanced analysis – i see the angle as possiblt being about user-created leading to user-owned, http://bootstrapping.net/2006/07/26/should-community-edited-be-community-owned/

    • BobM

      “Social Movement” (in comments)? Please…

    • We are going to break digg, so check out the blog and see if you want to be part of Webreakdigg.

    • great analysis Mark….

      From the beginning, the were reasons to be skeptical over the Digg model working for Netscape–in part for two reasons. First, the Digg community is tech-focused (a very narrow niche on the Internet)–and second, that there are probably more males than females doing the Digg-ing.

      Calicanis made a big reach by thinking that Netscape could funtion like Digg for all types of news. Do enough people have the time, or the inclination, to be *that* involved with the news? Offering people money to do the Digg-ing–in a sense, be gatekeepers–isn’t really going to change media, nor is it going to show the “wisdom of crowds.” If the crowd is single minded, and single gendered, then what sort of crowd-wisdom is that?? The Digg model does not address any sort of imbalances because it simply relies on whomever decides they want to participate. That’s more like mob rule than crowd wisdom.

    • CharlieR

      I recently came across a group blog, thisisby.us, where writers share in a portion of the ad revenue based on how popular their posts are. It’s interesting to watch what happens when the community decides who gets paid more and who doesn’t.

    • I saw thisisby.us, and it felt a little built pyramidal schemish, but I’m still watching it to see how it comes out, if it proves viable. There are some encyclopedia-style bloggish sites where they pay for top content, too.

    • It sure looks funny when Kevin digs in his heels and says, “No, we will never pay our top submitters!” Jason’s point is not that everyone should get paid for submitting any little news story and he’s not trying to make things undemocratic. The point is that when all this social bookmarking stuff started up those involved didn’t fully know at first that a small percentage of users would be submitting the vast majority of stories. If I submit four or five stories a month to Digg or Netscape I don’t really care if I don’t get paid like someone is who is submitting 120+ stories a month because what I do is not equivalent to a “job” but what they do is.

    • “Do enough people have the time, or the inclination, to be *that* involved with the news?”

      That’s a good point. It seems like only people who are intimately involved in this social bookmarking scene think that everyone on the planet should be submitting news stories all the time and if you aren’t then you must be some sort of serious slacker. Most people are content to simply read the news. Have you ever heard of specialization? I can’t print my own newspaper, and I can’t milk cows all the time for my dairy supply, and I can’t build my own car or cut my own hair or fill my own cavity or build a place like Disneyland every time I want to be amused for a day.

    • Mark, I’m a fan of your work and believe even-handed journalism has its place but I wrote a post in my MiniMediaGuy blog that sides with Calacanis and likens the social freeloaders to so some many Tom Sawyers. For more please see, “Painting Aunt Polly’s Fence.”

    • Mark, I’m a fan of your work and believe even-handed journalism has its place but I wrote a post in my MiniMediaGuy blog that sides with Calacanis and likens the social freeloaders to so some many Tom Sawyers. For more please see, “Painting Aunt Polly’s Fence.”

    • Robbert

      Why would social networking site kill off content providers? If you have good content on your site, chances are high you will end up on digg with a high ranking, which will generate traffic to your site, and generate money. I think everyone wins.
      I don’t see why should people get paid for submitting stories. It’s not like you have to submit. If someone wants to spend his/her whole day on digg, that it his choice. If you enjoy it, do it, otherwise don’t, and don’t complain someone else is getting rich while you’re doing the work.
      The guys who created digg had a good idea, and are making money off it. Good on ’em!

    • Jeff Meyers

      I would not have any problem with anyone getting paid to spend countless hours slogging through the crud online looking for useful items. I say “I would” if the articles on the new Netscape more resembled a true news organization with priorities, fairness, and editing. What I find here about half of the time is opinion pieces posing as news. How can people be polled about the issues when so little time is spent educating them and so much time is spent getting their opinons?

    • Now take what everybody just said about Netscape and Digg and apply it to to Google and Scroogle (scroogle.org).

    • Stu

      Now if I could just get Google to pay me for using their site…

    • As I recall, Jason was an early adopter in paying bloggers and helped prove the business model. People can still blog for free, but those with serious skills can make a living at it, too. Aggregation/editing skills are valuable in the web news economy. Those who want to be paid can work for Jason. Those who see merit in voluntarism and community can keep Digging.

      Me? I blog for money and Digg for fun.

    • “Now if I could just get Google to pay me for using their site…”

      The issue is “adding content,” not merely “using.” Netscape is not offering pay to people who view their site or search for content on it.

    • I see the future, and it’s not going to be pretty.

      How many copycat user generated content sites have launched in the last 6 months? Thousands. How many of those sites are venture funded? Probably hundreds.

      What do you think is going to happen when the vast majority of those start ups are struggling for traction and the vcs are cranking up the pressure?

      Those start ups are going to whip out the check books just like Jason Calacanis did, and start giving away that VC cash at artificially high rates.

      When everybody’s paying (which they will be eventually), only then will we get an accurate view of who’s service is best.

      There’s still a lot of lumps remaining for all of us as this whole Web 2.0 stuff starts coming back down to earth.

      My only advice to those considering this pay model is to try and build revenue sharing into your busines model – ie, if the user’s contribution is earning your site money, great, pay them. If it’s not, don’t.

    • “Netscape can’t beat Digg because digg is the original.”

      Kind of like how Google copied Yahoo! and other search engines? Yes, all they did was copy, and, no, they are not the best search engine.

      “Paying posters would not bring traffic to a brand that is like an old hag.”

      You’re saying nothing can ever, ever be revived? If “the crowd” has decided to neglect it you better neglect it too?

      “When I think of Netscape I think of pop-ups.”

      Funny, since they don’t have pop-ups.

    • I think many are forgetting that – all money aside – the product speaks for itself. Netscape may be buying contributors, which presumably translates into better/more content, but at the end of the day people come to a site as much for its design and utility as they do for the actual content itself (which can typically be found elsewhere around the web). There’s also the type of community a person is bound to interact with when they arrive at that site (which cannot be replicated, no matter how much money you have).

      I’ve always been a big fan of the work they do over at Digg in terms of design and implementation. It will be interesting to see if any company is able to outdo them at their own game.

    • Shane Trammell

      I’ve been a digg user since 12/04 so I may be a bit biased but it seems to me that my interest in the site would be unaffected by the loss of the “top 100” (as I remember when there was no such thing). That makes me question the monetary value of their contribution. It also seems to me that if Jason was serious about the underlying value of these folks he would be offering real quit your day job money to them, after all its a multimillion niche according to him.

      Personally I digg and submit what I like and have time for with no expectation of compensation and until a few days ago thats the same model the top users had to be operating on as well. Any hue and cry over all the work that has been done will be revisionism and hindsight on the part of those hoping to cash in. Not that there isn’t a place for paid editors in the social webspace, just not at digg. If we regular joe users wanted slashdot we know how to get there.

    • Edmundo

      I think it is hypocritical to say that Kevin Rose will make millions off the digg users when he sells digg.

      What percentage of the millions that Weblogs, Inc. sold for went to the bloggers? You can argue that that company made money “on the backs” of the bloggers that were paid only a couple of bucks a word.

      The argument presented by Calacanis seems to be applicable only to the competitor. Well, competitor might not be the right word since Netscape has not yet proven to be in the same league as Digg.

      I agree with others, this smells of PR and desperation.

    • Anon

      This is Bloodjunkie’ comment on the techcrunch post, I guess he saw his bills and figured the hell with loyalty. Next time think things through before you make bold statements on the net.

      “It is going to take a lot more than $1000/month to get me to jump ship on digg. I honestly dont know that you could put a price on it. The people that use digg are where the real value is for me.”

    • http://www.republicanordemocrat.highbb.com is a great site to debate the political future of our country. please visit. post and reply. great discussions

    • Fantastic article covering some points I really needed. Thanks

    • The Digg community is huge. There will be more than enough people to replace the runaways

    • Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. Its interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone elses point of view makes you think more. So please keep up the great work. Greetings

    • Okay, so they skim the top users list on digg to find out who is the top members… but how do they find that out about reddit members? I wasn’t aware reddit had any kind of ranking system like that…

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