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Kevin Rose and Jason Calacanis have a little spat

Kevin Rose and Jason Calacanis have a little spat

We’ve twice reported about Jason Calacanis’s offer to social website contributors (Digg, etc) for $1,000 to post stories at Netscape.

Now the fray has expanded as Digg’s Kevin Rose has a few things to say over at his blog:


Clever PR stunt, but man, in the end I believe it’s going to do more damage for Netscape than good. Ya see users like Digg,, Reddit and Flickr because they are contributing to true, free, democratic social platforms devoid of monetary motivations. All users on these sites are treated equally, there aren’t anchors, navigators, explorers, opera-ers, or editors. Jason, I know AOL has given you access to their war-chest, but honestly, take that money and invest it into site development….

Calacanis, of course, responds at his own blog:

I’ve created a market for these users, and others are about to jump in and do that same (I know this for a fact). So, if there is gonna be a market for community leaders, why not just join the party Kevin? You raised a ton of money and you can raise more. You’re making money from advertising and you can easily afford to pay the top 12 users $1,000 a month each–share the wealth dude! Why not carve out 10-20% of your revenue for users?

It only makes sense that folks should be paid for community leaders.

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The sad thing here is that Rose has gone on the personal attack instead of addressing the real issue here – Digg is a great site but has made it’s way on the backs of its users. Calacanis is offering to pay them. Perhaps it’s time for Digg to reconsider its model.

A more serious discussion of this can be found over at

More interestingly, of course, is going to be to see in six months how the traffic and contributions have shifted…

View Comments (13)
  • Disagree. Rose has a point by pointing out the democratic process. If money comes into it, the Digg effect is diminished. Maybe a balance between the two where the top 12 get $1000 but that it is not a contracted thing, but in fact a numbers game. At the end of a period of time, whoever has the most {fill in the requirements} gets $1000 reward.

    JCals method is the New York Yankees approach. If I BUY an all star roster, I’ll win the World Series. When was the last time the Yanks were in the Series? How was the Red Sox organization managed in terms of salary during their pennant year?

  • If it isn’t broken, I certainly wouldn’t fix it just because JC said so…


    Aaron hit this one on the head.

  • Sorry, youv’e been wrong on this from day 1. Paying users destroys the community, it doesn’t enable it. Yes, you can get great links and sources if you pay users. But you lose community and at the end of the day community is what makes these sites cool and popular.

  • David: b5 pays bloggers on a revenue-share basis. This is not the same as Digg. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

  • writes a blogger:

    “I don’t know Jason Calacanis, but he’s starting to remind me of the rich kid in school who wasn’t particularly well liked but whose free-spending ways always kept a crowd around him. Since he sold Weblogs to AOL and joined the executive team, he’s been bragging about hanging with Ted Leonsis and making gushing carte blanche offers to attractive unemployed video blog hosts”

    Is that a wad of cash in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

  • The key to the success of Digg is the users are feeding each other great content and they all have the same power to elevate that content or bury it. It’s a collective and it’s obviously working.

    Kevin Rose has simply given them the platform to do so, then tweaked and improved that platform based on users feedback and trends.

    What Jason has done with netscape is apply a hierarchial structure to the concept rather than trusting the community to moderate itself. The concept may seem plausable but whether it works or not is still up in the air.

    IMHO, Digg is better.

  • Ok, in addition to what I wrote above…

    On Digg, the top 100 or so “power users” have gotten to where they are for 3 reasons:

    1. They spend a lot of time there and are passionate about what they do

    2. They love being in the spotlight and get tremendous satisfaction from having their stories hit the front page. It’s a sense of accomplishment.

    3. and most importantly… the power users have been elevated to where they are by the rest of the community.

    In any community there are layers of people. Some observe. Some people get involved by kissing the cool people’s butts. Some go off on their own, the majority play follow the leaders – those leaders are the power users.

    The flaw in trying to buy the power users and thinking they can migrate over to another community, is – there’s NO #3 yet. The first 2 elements above can be incentivized. #3 can’t. Respect doesn’t just happen because someone is “placed” in a position of power. The respect has to be earned.

    Let the community chose it’s own power users and you’ll have a much happier, more stable community.

    Does any of that make sense?

  • I disagree, and by reading this I’d almost think that Weblogs Inc. paid you to post this. Listen to the podcast…it was all light hearted and with drinking involed! They were having fun…and the fact is, Jason started this fight, not Kevin.

  • One thing Jason Calacanics is missing that the power doesn`t lies in the 100 or so community leaders, but the followers who follow these 100 community leaders. And one of the major reason why these people are followed by so many people other than finding quality news is their dedication to a social network in volunatiry manner.

    Jason is already paying its dozen anchors, and I bet they are real smart people otherwise wouldn`t have been there, if these people are not able to get flocks of people then I am unsure how JS is thinking of getting herds of followers by buying dozen of Digg top users.

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