Topix to Power Community for MediaNews

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Topix is going to provide forums and comment functionality to all of MediaNews Group’s online newspaper properties. Better late than never I always say. MediaNews operates 61 local newspapers including the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News

This is a no-brainer and a development that’s at least a couple of years overdue. There’s considerably more that Topix can do with newspapers, which own the company after all.

Print newspapers historically have been at the center of real communities and so they should equally be online, with caveats.

7 Responses to “Topix to Power Community for MediaNews”

  1. Howard Owens Says:

    And I have a post up about what a dumb deal this is for MNG. Really, really dumb.

    You say newspapers should be at the center of community — so how is it smart to outsource your community?

    This is giving away the core business.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    What about the Zillow deal or the Zvents deals that newspapers have done? Doesn’t the identical argument apply, even more so to those deals? I agree on some level, however newspapers at least own Topix. Then there’s the question of actually executing on strategies that have been talked about. Newspapers aren’t really in a position to invent most of the things that they now need to do online — and there’s the dilemma.

    What do you think they should have done Howard?

  3. Howard Owens Says:

    Is Zillow trying to get into the news business?

    Is Zvents trying to get into the auto ad business?

    Topix is trying to get into the classified business.

    They want to take newspaper content — use it to build an ad platform and give nothing in return. Unlike Google News nor Yahoo! News, Topix sends back next to nothing in traffic.

    Partnering with them may increase traffic in a way that their merely crawling your site wouldn’t, but the fact is, Topix wants to own the core mission of a local news web site — the community. That doesn’t apply to Zillow or Zvents.

    I would also argue that while events and real estate, say, are very important, they are not at the heart of what a local news site should be about, so partnering with them is probably smart, because they can provide functionality that would take time and resources to build, so partnership frees up those resources for more important missions.

    Also, there’s nothing to invent. The invention has already been done. The trick is in the execution. And the technology for this is really a commodity, so it doesn’t even take a large investment these days — just get it done.

    What they should have done is do what the Denver Post (an MNG paper) is really doing — leverage open source software and launch it.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    There are a number of social networks in a box. It’s true. That may distinguish this case from Zvents and Zillow. It’s not clear to me that putting the Topix functionality on the site will steal the classifieds business. But you may be right that in a “commodity” or open-source scenario it makes sense to do it yourself.

  5. Howard Owens Says:

    FWIW: Chris Tolles has responded to my criticism on Editors Weblog …and I’ve responded, and he’s responded, and I’ve responded.

  6. Greg Sterling Says:

    I’ll take a look. Thanks Howard

  7. Newspapers Accelerating Community Features « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Accelerating Community Features Last week MediaNews announced it would be using Topix to power comments and other community features on its newspaper sites (Howard Owens thinks this is a dumb deal). Now the Tribune Co. owned LA […]

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