Netscape is backing off their “social experiment.” On the Netscape blog yesterday, they announced:
Visitors to Netscape.com will see a more traditional news experience very soon. Don’t worry, the social news site isn’t going away! We will keep you updated on where you will be able to find the social news site as we get closer to making the switch.
At first glance, this may seem like a giant step backwards into Web 1.0. However, the blog post claims:
We received some feedback that people really do associate the Netscape brand with providing mainstream news that is editorially controlled. In fact, we specifically heard that our users do have a desire for a social news experience, but simply didn’t expect to find it on Netscape.com.
If this is truly what a majority of their users wanted, it’s a wise decision to yield to them. They haven’t yet revealed the site for their social news (they’re probably off domain shopping as we speak). But they say that:
We, as a company, remain committed to delivering a compelling social news experience for our users. This move is an effort to make both the former portal experience and the social news experience accessible so that you can decide which you prefer–or, even better, that you want to participate in both.
Although it seems like most people disagree with this decision, again, if it’s really what their users want, I think it’s a good idea to separate the two. I think it was a mistake to fragment their brand by trying so many different things at once, but this could be a step in the right direction to fix that.