TechCrunch posted a story that AOL is coming on strong with incentives for user-contributed content:
A little known Digg-fact is that a relatively small group of users submit a large percentage of the stories that end up on the Digg home page. Netscape, which recently relaunched as a Digg-clone, wants to pay those top users to switch over to them. Jason Calacanis, who runs the Netscape property, wrote a post earlier today offering to pay top Digg users $1,000 a month or more to switch to Netscape and submit news there instead.
I don’t find this surprising, and I expect we’ll see more of it. We already know that many “information portals” pay people to provide ripped off or unreliable content to draw viewers for their ads. And of course, paying writers for content which earns ad bucks is the standard business model for magazines and newspapers. Little surprise that “new media” newspapers (like the new Netscape) are trying the same incentive design.
Also interesting, but again probably not too surprising, that the majority of successful contributions to digg.com come from a small group of users: 20% of stories from the top 20 contributors; a bit over half from the top 100 contributors.