The dilution of the Netscape brand

It’s hard for me to hear “Netscape” without thinking first of the browser, then of the company that destroyed it’s lead in the browser race, and finally of the company AOL bought for some damned reason.

I know it’s morphed many more times – to a portal, and now to a “Digg wanna be”.  It may have been other things when I wasn’t looking – but what it isn’t anymore is a brand I identify with.  Given the below choice, I would naturally and without giving it a thought, “Digg This!” something before I would “Submit to Netscape”.  Why?  Because I don’t understand Netscape anymore.  I don’t know what they will be tomorrow (an online movie store, perhaps?)

But someone thinks the Netscape brand still has value.  And it might.  But not to me.  To me it has a very negative value because it has lost it’s identity.  It isn’t what it was, and it’s not even close to being a brand that gives me warm fuzzies.  I don’t trust that Netscape, as a brand, won’t morph again – and effectively trash any investment I made in the latest, last incarnation of Netscape.

It’s time to bury this brand, I think.


  1. I think Digg is designed to cater to the tech crowd, and whilst they’ve tried to expand that into sports and entertainment, they haven’t done so very successfully. Those “diggs” have a dramatically lower vote count than the rest of the site’s technology content. I think it’s too late for them, if they were to go to a more widely-appealing site they’d leave their original market out to dry and alienate themselves.

    I don’t think they have plans to do so anyway – Revision3 has shown that they’re a very tech-centric group. Still though, it’d be an interesting situation…

  2. Chris – Digg could break into the mainstream – but not with their current model of “my vote is more important than your vote”. And it’s risky for them to try that – they would alienate a good part of their existing customer base (there is already evidence of this with just some small changes they are making).

    What Digg could do though is roll out a completely new product that doesn’t replace the current Digg – but it more openly involves everyone equally (meaning 1 vote is 1 vote). Do that and roll in some smart metrics based on what’s being talked about, how many blogs are talking about it (not just how many popular blogs are talking about it), how it relates (via links) to other topics, the longevity of interest in the topic, etc and they could deliver a very compelling mass-appeal product.


  3. I support(ed) Netscape, in the small hope that, perhaps, just perhaps, they would be able to bring social news to the masses. Netscape failed though, which is unfortunate, because I don’t think there is any way that Digg can break into the mainstream. And Reddit is kinda irrelevant.