On a very basic level the name symbolizes socially driven news. Interacting with content by submitting, voting, commenting, and sharing interesting, entertaining, and otherwise important news items. but more than that it symbolizes what Netscape plans to do going forward, i.e. propel the social news model into the next generation through a mix of fixing the problems with the current generation and innovation.

Muhammad Saleem - Netscape scout

Upon first impression, Propeller may appear similar to Digg; however there is one key differentiator that make it both interesting and unique. News on Propeller is submitted by a team of paid power-users and editors. That paid team also produces original content and appears to steer the content, conversation and the overall direction of the site.

This week I take a look at Propeller, by the numbers.

Propeller.com logo

The Beginning:

Propeller.com is part of the AOL Network owned and operated by AOL LLC, a Time-Warner company.
Netscape.com was re launched in June 2006 as a social news site in hopes that this once great brand would develop into an alternative to Digg.
The Chief Architect of the site was Brian Alvey and the lead developer, Alex Rudolff.
It was maintained by Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis until he left AOL in November of 2006.
September 19, 2007, AOL re-launched their social news site under the new name Propeller.

The Traffic:

Alexa traffic rank:

Yesterday 1,443
1 wk. Avg. 1,897
3 mos. Avg. 1,647

propeller digg reddit traffic

Reach for Propeller.com: 0.0712% (3 month change: up 412%)
Page Views per user for Propeller.com: 3.6 (3 month change: up 29%)
Number of minutes average visitor spends on the site: 1:50
Monthly Page Views: 11,202,223
Monthly Uniques: 4,308,699
16% of audience is considered to be regular visitors.
Hit 400,000 users after just 6 weeks.

Propeller.com traffic rank in other countries:
India 367
Pakistan 413
Canada 599
South Africa 669
United States 739
Israel 1,970
Ukraine 2,563
Greece 3,089
China 7,254
France 17,070

Where people go on Propeller.com
propeller.com - 44%
celebrities.propeller.com - 7%
tech.propeller.com - 7%
health.propeller.com - 4%
news.propeller.com - 3%
videogames.propeller.com - 2%
politics.propeller.com " 2%
realestate.propeller.com - 1%

propeller daily reach

The Financials:

AOL acquired Netscape on November 24, 1998 in a tax-free stock-swap valued at US$4.2 billion at the time of the announcement.
Propeller earns advertising revenue from both display and paid search. Revenue is included as part of AOL parent, Time Warner, corporate results.
AOL reported 13% growth in the third quarter ad revenue however forecast soft numbers for 2008.
University of Phoenix, which accounted for $162 million in AOL ad revenue, and is a major sponsor of Propeller, represents about 10% of total corporate revenues.

The Demographics:

According to Quantcast, Propeller.com caters to a fairly wealthy, primarily older, slightly more male than female audience.
Only 27% of the audience is made up of the 18-34 demographic
24% of audience has a household income of $100K
12% attended grad school

Did You Know?

Over 1,000,000 pages were submitted within a 2.5 month period.
Current Propeller director, Tom Drapeau (ex barnesandnoble.com, Yahoo! HotJobs, Ask Jeeves) just announced the end for Netscape Navigator as of February 1st, 2008
Netscapes market share had been declining for over a year at the time of the change-over
There are 36 Top Scouts listed on the website and they include Wil Wheaton, Fedquip Angry Ken, Henry Wang, TweekerChick, Corey Spring and Mohammed Saleem.
Netscape.com traffic halved itself when Propeller split off in September.
Propeller.com used to be the site of a video decoding software company. It hasnt been in use since 2002

If Propeller can successfully build a new system powered by personalization algorithms, they could become the innovation leaders in the social news space. Steve OHear said it best The Digg-formula, as it stands, is far from perfected " with a number of problems that urgently need to be fixed. Whether or not Propeller.com will be the one to fix them remains to be seen, but at least theyll get to continue trying. Will Propeller overtake Digg? I dont think so, but they could be a very strong number 2!