Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you've heard about Jason Calacanis' offer to pay social bookmarkers $1,000 a month to submit news stories to Netscape.com. At digg, reddit, and here at Newsvine, users have debated whether or not the deal is a good one or if it is 'evil,' signals the demise of Netscape, and whether or not those that take the offer are sellouts or geniuses. Today it was revealed who the individuals that will make up the paid Netscape Navigator team are.
Holy crap. One of them is me.
You son of a bitch! You sellout! How can you just go and leave us like that?! YOU OWE ME 20 BUCKS YOU ASSHOLE!
Relax. Breathe. Keep reading.
Yes it is true, I have become a paid member of Netscape's team. I also have made it no secret that I have been critical of the 'New Netscape.' Jason Calacanis does not agree with everything that AOL does, nor do I agree with everything about Netscape. Nevertheless, I was offered a job with the new site, and I took it... with one caveat.
I am not leaving Newsvine. I like Newsvine and have been here since before the doors were open to the public. I agreed to be a paid contributor to the site on the stipulation that I could continue at Newsvine. If yesterday was any indication, I would say people are interested in what I have to say. My agreement with Netscape was contingent upon the fact that I could continue to vote, read, and comment on articles at Newsvine, as well as continue to write my own articles as I always have. The folks at Netscape agreed to this. They also like what I have to say.
The only thing you will see change on my column on this website is my 'seeds.' From now on, I'll be seeding for Netscape. Yeah, that might be kind of a downer to some, others will probably never notice. However, being offered such a good deal where I can essentially have my cake and eat it, too - that's hard to pass up. I will submit stories to Netscape, and I will continue to write my own, like yesterday's Colbert / Wikipedia debacle, at Newsvine. Everybody wins.
While I don't normally justify the decisions in my life for others, Newsvine is a community, one I participate in, and I think it's fair to have a little transparency in this matter now that the news is out. I did not reach this decision lightly or without careful thought. I had a good discussion with Calvin where I asked him his thoughts on the matter, what my apprehensions were, and what I saw as advantages. While the decision was entirely up to me, I value highly the thoughts of the Newsvine team whom I have come to know over the last several months. Calvin and the team echoed my thoughts on the matter, eventually saying "you have our blessing should it make the most sense to you."
If you're worried that I will be a shill for Netscape or AOL, don't bother. If I see a good article at, say, Engadget, an AOL affiliated site, yeah, I will submit it, but it will be because it's interesting or newsworthy. If I see something good and it's written by someone on the Vine, then people ought to read it, and I'm putting it up on Netscape, like any other article. I've done this two two of my own articles, and their popularity seems to have beneficial to both Netscape and Newsvine.
So call me what you wish, evil, a good guy, a sellout, a lucky son of a bitch, whatever. I could make the argument that Jason Calacanis is fond of making, that there are paid firefighters and there are also volunteers. It's a good argument. I could also make the argument that it is Newsvine's philosophy that if you produce good work, you should be compensated for it - that's why we have the revenue sharing program. It's easy to complain and criticize (hey I do it all the time) but who actually ever does something about it? This is not only a chance to lend my help to a website that I think could use improving, this is also a good deal for me - I now have a funding source for my continued education.
So don't throw the stones too hard, remember... I'm still here.