This WSJ.com article talks about how AOL is using its Netscape.com arm to test the user-driven content model. Sounds good, but it also sounds a lot like digg. That was the first thing that crossed my mind after I read the article title. Then I saw the heading “Different Than Digg”. I read it and I realize they’re throwing in a few extra bells and whistles beyond what Digg offers, but it’s still primarily about user-driven content, readers ranking articles, etc.
That got me thinking… Why is it that the “new” products which seem to require a differentiation statement such as “product X is different from existing product Y because of points A, B and C” always seem to talk about me-too products? Can you think of a single wildly successful new product that kicked off with that sort of differentiation message? When Digg first hit, I don’t remember everyone saying, “oh, it’s just like slashdot but with rankings.” Although that would be true, it wasn’t necessary. Great, new, breakthrough products have a way of creating that “a-ha” moment all by themselves.