Friday, June 16, 2006

Way to Not Make Friends... AOL "Bums Out" The World

In a recent ReadWriteWeb.com article, Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg.com says in regards to AOL's New Digg Clone;

"We are very proud of the fact that there have been thousands of clones of digg. Keep them coming! (Time Warner is the first billion dollar company to do it, but bring it on. Surprised they went for the look and feel too, though.)"

Problogger.net blogger, Darren Rowse, has voiced annoyance at the new netscape beta saying that he is not a fan of "links which take you to the source of the news but with an annoying netscape frame on the side".

Even our little poll showed a poor response to this new launch.

So what went wrong? What did the executives at Time Warner miss? Here are a few things...

1. They copied a service that was already popular and didn't improve upon it.

2. They took the idea of community voting for the top stories and mixed in paid editors, which immediately creates questions as to the true value of the information you find.

3. They link to stories using frames. The purpose of this is clearly to hold onto visitors so that they can be subjected to more AOL advertising.

Beyond that, AOL-Netscape-Warner-Whatever failed to comprehend. That was, and is, the biggest problem of big business on the web today. Those who copy others, who try to censor, and who try to force feed advertising will be actively frowned upon by the world community. And what is most mind boggling is they didn't comprehend this even as they were cloning and launching a tool used to facilitate community conversation.

Here is a good mantra for AOL-Time Warner to learn quick if they'd ever like to turn this Beta.Netscape.com in to a quality service:

"Listen and Respond"

Here is what people are saying...

You copied our beloved Digg.com. You didn't improve it. And your site obviously is designed to trap visitors.

Appropriate Response...

Apologize and take people's suggestions to improve your product.

But, so far... Where is AOL's response to all this? Hello?