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03 August 2006


Jay Fienberg

Some of this seems like a natural consequence of the current generation of social sites, which talk the talk of online community ideals but walk the walk of dot com profit ideals.

Regardless, people will make community. And, trying to pay people to make community is (as in this case) probably worth more as a way of generating PR/news than as a way of generating good community activity.

What's interesting, still, is the degree to which individuals can take some of the value they put into one community and--it being attached more to themselves than to the community, take it with them elsewhere.

Ultimately, IMO, we need to somewhat frown upon all sites that effectively try to own your activity--by literally owning the community. Some of that is OK--like, Disney can own an online Disney community, fine. But, the standard for community should be more like community, made up of many smaller, privately owned "properties" and some collectively / publicly owned ones, etc.

Jason Calacanis's Netscape reveals a fundamental flaw (from the point of view of "the user") in the ownership of the "communities" he is competing with. Netscape has these same flaws, and is simply being differently commerical in how it capitalizes on the sharecropper position of its users.

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