Christopher Finke, a developer of Netscape, made news when he published the rogue Digg Top One Hundred Users List. The removal of the list and the reasons were announced February 1, 2007 by Kevin Rose. Some believe this action to be mean spirited, others believe that his employer Netscape is behind this move. Christopher Finke agreed to a quick interview with me to help make public the facts, and hopefully to quiet some of the nay-sayers.
Rose: First, I was wondering if you have been contacted about this yet by Kevin Rose or another Digg employee?
Chris: No. I haven’t heard from anyone officially affiliated with Digg. I’ve gotten lots of encouraging e-mail and IMs from the top Diggers though, who have let me know that they appreciate my effort.
Rose: If Digg hasn’t contacted you, do you believe it could be only a matter of time? Is there anything that can be construed as illegal in your actions?
Chris: I’m not sure how much Digg (the company) actually cares about it. They have to know that they can’t stop spam by obscuring the identities of the top users – you can determine who they are just browsing through the first few pages of top stories.
I don’t think any part of what I’ve done is illegal. I abide by the Digg TOS in that I’m only programmatically accessing the RSS feeds, and not any other pages for scraping purposes. I’m not profiting from the list, as I don’t display any advertising on the Digg Top Users page, and since the list is not available anywhere else, I’m not denying anyone else their advertising revenue. I’d definitely classify this type of meta-data as fair use.
Rose: I’m also curious as to how you feel about the negative remarks people are making towards you?
Chris: The personal insults that I receive don’t affect me- the Internet has always had and will always have people who use anonymity as a reason to say things they’d never say in real life. What does concern me, however, is the number of people contributing my actions to my employer, Netscape. I did this completely on my own time and of my own volition, and as hard as it is for some people to believe, Netscape had nothing to do with this.
Chistopher Finke’s list of Digg Top One Hundred Users can be seen at http://www.efinke.com/2007/02/02/top-diggers-list-is-back/. The list is updated twice daily. Currently, a Digg button is located on the page, but there is no Netscape button. However, Finke has stated that this is temporary as the page has not been finished.