Ghost of Midnight

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Topix focusing on local forums

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 by 1 comment

Fascinating interview today by Mark Glaser with the leadership of Topix and how this online news aggregator is now focusing on local forums.

When local news aggregator Topix decided to set up online forums last December for every city and small town in America, they figured the forums would be a loss leader. After all, online forums have a bad reputation for unfettered discussion, gossip and slander, leading most news organizations to abandon them altogether online. And people on forums are usually more focused on the discussion than on clicking on ads.

But for Topix, the forums have transformed the site from a simple search engine and news aggregator into a series of online water cooler discussions that riff off the news of the day. And with the popularity of forums, Topix has a more engaged audience that stays on the site longer. Plus, Topix is bringing in even more money by serving up forums to newspaper partner sites and sharing ad revenues with them.

Posted in: Citizen Journalism, Local Online, Local Search, Social Media

One comment

  1. […] Digging a little deeper into the MediaShift piece about Topix providing small town forums… We found that in most places in this country, we are the only high-end news site. What happens is this odd pattern where a news event happens, and they find our site online and they like it and stick. One of the more dramatic cases was when two tornadoes struck Caruthersville, Mo. Up to that point, we had a little activity there but it was pretty low. That day we had 600 posts about the tornadoes , and it was astonishing, there were first-hand accounts and people were asking if so-and-so was OK. People in the town were responding and saying, “˜yes, they’re OK.’ A few months later, a lot of the people had stayed in the forums. […]

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