Newspaper Group Owners Invest $15 Million in Topix.net
Topix.net, a news aggregator will be announcing today that they have received another $15 million from already existing stakeholders in the $72 million-valued Palo Alto, CA based company. By upping the ante of investment into Topix, Gannett Company Inc. and the Tribune Company will now hold a 33.7% share of the company each. The McClathy Company owns another 11.9% of the company, thus making 79.3% of the Topix.net company being held by investors.
What makes Topix.net unique from other news aggregators such as CNN, Google News, Live Search News, etc? Topix aims to provide customized news aggegration based on user needs. Topix.net’s patent pending NewsRankâ„¢ technology allows its users to select from over 360,000 categories or from over 32,500 U.S. cities and towns to bring them the news they want to hear. Not only that, but users can backtrack news articles produced since the last year using the Topix.net search engine.
In August of 2006, Topix.net added a couple of impressive features which include a case-sensitive enabled search and a click-o-gram histogram chart in which users can select at what point in the timeline that they would like to read archived news about certain companies, celebrities, sports, etc. Check out the screenshot that I have of the histogram below when I searched for Detroit Tigers, one of the worst teams in the MLB until this year when they moved all the way to the World Series in one of the biggest turnarounds in MLB history. Notice how the news aggregators picked up on the Detroit Tigers in October during The World Series?
Currently there are 25 people working for Topix.net and with the new funding, Chris Tolles, VP of Sales and Marketing of Topix.net plans on hiring and marketing aggressively as well as finding other ways to monetize from Topix services.
As I was writing this article and referring to CNET, I also noticed that a similar post went up on GigaOM about an hour or two ago and had several comments added right away which I thought I would mention since they suggest improvement for Topix. Louis Gray stated: “Topix is a great site, and does a strong job of searching archived news releases. Despite this, for some reason, they just arenâ€™t on my list of ‘go to’ sites. Topix is NOT a destination site in the way that Digg and Slashdot and Google News are.” Om Malik, founder of GigaOM stated: “I use it to track telecom and its various subsectors.they could do a better job of the user interface.”
Given what it sounds like from these Topix testimonials, the site is finding a hard time being “sticky.” However, since the site is now backed by another $15 million, I’m sure that they will find ways to take away marketshare from Google News, Digg, and Slashdot.