Could Netscape deal be a win-win-win?

The Netscape-Digg story is the gift that just keeps on giving. First there was the offer from Jason Calacanis, formerly of Weblogs Inc., to pay the top submitters on Digg, Newsvine and Reddit if they started submitting stories to the new Digg-style Netscape site. That led to a mild flame-war between Jason and Digg founder Kevin Rose. And now Jason has updated everyone on the results of his little strategy (which some applauded and some — okay it was Mike Arrington at TechCrunch — criticized as an act of desperation) in a recent post.

According to Jason, Netscape has hired three of the top 12 Digg submitters and the top submitter from both Newsvine and Reddit. He also has some stats on how active the top Diggers are (I’d be interested in hearing Kevin’s take on those stats at some point), and expresses them in his typically restrained fashion:

“The top 10 users on DIGG are responsible for 30% of the front page stories on DIGG. That’s 3% of total front page stories each!!! Think about that for a second… the top 10 users of DIGG do 3% of the work each–that is stunning. They get paid nothing but they are responsible for 3% of the total content on the home page. Wow. Like WOW, WOW, WOW!”

Despite all the sturm und drang about the payment offer from Netscape, it’s possible that this deal could turn out to be good for everyone: Netscape has gotten lots of publicity and will get some motivated submitters, and the loss of a few people from Digg and one each from Newsvine and Reddit isn’t likely to hurt them. In fact, the Newsvine member who accepted the deal has a post up about his decision, which is well worth reading. He remains committed to Newsvine as a community, even though he will be paid to submit to Netscape.

Erick Schonfeld of Business 2.0’s blog also has an interesting post that jumps off from the Netscape issue. He says Derek Powazek — whose wife writes the Flickr blog — is publishing a print magazine that contains user-submitted photos, and plans to launch a series of magazines that contain user-submitted content and photos. He said he plans to pay contributors if the magazines start to actually make money.

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