Since we launched the OpenLogic Expert Community that pays open source software developers to fix customer issues (something they do for free), I'm very interested in other programs that pay people for doing things they would normally do for free.
Here's a program that I think missed the point. Netscape is offering to pay Digg users to post bookmarks on the Netscape site instead. Here's the original post from the guy that set up the program. I think he missed the point of why Digg is successful and what it would mean to Netscape to have a successful social bookmarking site.
People post their data to Digg because of what they get out of it. They share their links because they like the way Digg shows them what everyone else is looking at. Or because they like seeing how many people follow their links. Or how ahead of the curve they are in identifying cool links. Or how many people are reading the same articles as them. Or what other people are saying about the articles they find interesting. They are sharing their data with Digg because Digg does cool things with the data.
If Netscape wants that same type of user community, they need to provide something to those people to incent them to come to Netscape. Most likely they can only afford to pay 20 people, so how are they going to recruit the others? You can't tell me the top 20 were at Digg for all the reasons I mentioned above and all the rest were just there to see the top 20. That's not how social websites work. I don't post my pictures on Flickr because I want to see the pictures that the top 20 users post. I post them because I like all the things that Flickr gives me (easy sharing with my friends, tags, sets, etc.) The only way I'll convert to another photo site is if they give me cooler features, not if they offer to pay me. (Although I do have one friend, not to be named here, who keeps changing photo sharing sites because they offer her free pictures. So the money thing might work with some but only because they aren't using all the extra features that attracted me to Flickr.)
And what's to keep those paid Netscape bookmarkers from crossposting on Digg? If Netscape makes them sign something saying the data now belongs to Netscape ... well that goes against the whole grain of social networking. My data is mine. (Although I am agreeing to share it with others, I still own it.) If Flickr said I couldn't copy my pictures to another photo site, I would never post another picture there.
So if Netscape wants a successful social bookmarking website, they are going to have to make a really cool, feature rich social bookmarking website and market it. And it's going to take more than money to get the top bookmarkers from another site.
So now you're asking, so how's that different than OpenLogic's Expert Community (OXC)? Well, for starters, we are not trying to compete with any of the open source software projects. We have customer issues with open source software that we want resolved quickly with the help of the community but we fully expect and hope that they will remain active members of the project and give any bug fixes or new code back to the original projects and continue to participate in the project. If they quit participating in the original project, it would defeat our purpose. Our value add and our community is around making open source accessible to enterprises. It is a new type of community with a new purpose. And just as you can participate in both Digg and Flickr, you can participate in multiple open source projects and the OXC. They are complimentary, and hopefully over time we will figure out better and better ways to integrate them both socially and technically.
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