Jason Calacanis starts an “Ask Jason” feature and I read with interest his first answer in the very offices of About.com:
1. Paul Short Asks: If you were to start a large content portal along the lines of About.com, what would you try to improve on or try to do better than them (or similar sites) in terms of a) organizing the content, b) initial promotion, and c) building in interactivity with your readers ,beyond comment features or newsletters.
Paul: Trying to take on About.com would be like trying to take on a freight train with your mountain bike–it won’t be pretty. As Mark Cuban likes to say “if you want to run with the elephants you’re either quick or you’re dead.” So, given the fact that you’ll never beat About.com or Wikipedia.org at this point in the game, your best bet is to look at how far their content goes and at least triple the value they provide.
And he goes on to give good advice.