Rose vs. Calacanis

Normally I wouldn’t comment on a pissing match between web sites, but in this case I think what’s happening is not so nice.

To recap, Netscape boss Jason Calacanis offered to pay Digg’s top posters (as well as the top posters on Newsvine, Flickr, Reddit, and del.icio.us) to post on netscape.com’s ripoff Digg page instead. Kevin Rose called the proposal BS on his podcast “Diggnation.” Calacanis reared up and complained that Kevin didn’t address the issue. Kevin shot back. Go ahead read. And watch. I’ll wait.

Jason is getting more mileage out of this than he deserves, but you can’t blame the guy for trying to pump up his web site. I do blame him, however, for saying that Digg is ripping off its top contributors by not paying them. The implication is that Kevin is greedy and holding out on the guys that made him a success. And he says that Kevin is stooping to an ad hominem attack??

The question is, do the top 10 contributors on a social networking site determine its success?

Of course not.

Kevin and his team created the value by building a site that attracted hundreds of thousands of users. Yes, the users also create value in aggregate but no group of 10 is more important than the rest. Can anyone, even Jason, seriously believe that netscape.com would suddenly become a better site if those 10 moved there? Would Digg be any less popular?

Digg is what it is because of the entire community that participates there. Ditto del.icio.us, and Flicker, and Newsvine. Losing any 10 contributors would make no difference at all.

Kevin doesn’t owe dirtyfratboy for his work, work he undertook on his own without any notion of payment. If Mr. Frat Boy decides to go for the gold and move to Netscape, god bless him. His move will matter not a whit to anyone, anywhere.

Jason knows this. Once again the Brooklyn boy has whipped up a nice publicity stunt. But attempting to create bogus resentments in the community is a lousy way to get publicity. I have no problem with his offer to pay Digg’s top posters. I don’t think it’s going to make any difference, but I have no problem with it.

I do have a problem when he insinuates that anyone who doesn’t pay is a capitalist pig exploiting his workers. That’s just nonsense and destructive to the very social network he pretends to want to foster.