An Eye for Cool, and Cash

This morning, The Washington Post ran an article about the recent buzz around social bookmarking and Netscape’s move to pay people to do it. Many of my new colleagues at Netscape, as well as myself, were interviewed for the article. The article turned out great as an overview of the current landscape of professional bookmarking.

It doesn’t draw any conclusions, and I think rightly so. It is still too early to determine if “professional social bookmarker” is going to be a mainstay role on the internet. We have not yet heard from Netscape if they are seeing a return on their investment.

Sara points out that we neither report nor write the news. I just wanted to add to that that our roles might be more comparable to an editor or publisher. We decide what is fit to publish. Other users come along and validate that decision by voting on our submissions. Dozens of content producers have approached me asking “I want to write this story. Is it front-page material?” or asking for advice on how to make a story front-page material.

Another thing that this article brings to light is that we need to be very clear about the difference between “users” and “contributors”. It is easy to use these words interchangeably when referring to socially driven news sites, but they are very different things. Deciding to pay people to contribute to your website is very different from deciding to pay people to use it.