another quote from techcrunch piece
At the end of the day, the Netscape product is a soulless reproduction of one of the most interesting cultural experiments occuring on the web right now. It was thrown at millions of mainstream Internet users (previous Netscape portal users) who don’t understand Digg and probably don’t care (yet). If anything, my bet is that total page views at Netscape have dropped since the changeover, possibly substantially. Buying users from Digg won’t change that one bit.
let me take a slightly unpopular contrary position:
i think digg is currently a great site, but i also think that only the netscape model can survive, and is preferable in the long run.
i say this because as digg gets increasingly popular, it becomes an increasingly attractive target for manipulation.
if getting to the top of the digg front page means a $10,000 profit for a company, you can bet that large organized rings of bots and manipulation groups are figuring out ways to artificially bring websites that pay for it up to the front page. the only real way i think to reliably combat this is to have preferred trusted experts doing the final step of filtering items. you can try to implement increasingly complex schemes for detecting such manipulation, but i think it's a losing game.
it is my belief that relying on the wisdom of the crowd is doomed when the crown can be an automated swarm of robots being paid to artificially manipulate the results. this is the same problem that is increasingly coming to light with the pay per click ads.
as for netscape being a souless imitation of digg.. i'm afraid that deep down i believe that momentum and market share explains most of these things. in other words, most of the dominance of digg NOW at this point is due to the number of people who know about and use digg already, and publicity it has already. rather than to innate features of the site. That's not to say that initially it wasn't the innovation of the site that was responsible for it's growth - it's merely a comment on the fact that there are digg clones everywhere now and i don't think digg has a meaningfull advantage over the unnsuccessful immitators other than market share.
thats not to say that digg may have a slightly better feel than netscape or whatever - but it's my belief that you could make an exact clone of digg on another site, make it otherwise identical or better, but name it sdfsdkfh.com, it would fail miserably and never be able to compete with digg. that's a scary thought..