March 8, 2013
Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of at 2:14 PMPolitix
. And what a year it's been.
Politix launched in early 2012 as your hub to keep up with political news, interact with others, and make your opinions known about issues that are important to you. People caught on fast and jumped right in, and by the time the 2012 election season rolled around things had really kicked into high gear
with record traffic, signups, and site interactions.
Topix, a site for locally focused online discussion that first launched in 2004, has seen significant traffic growth in the past year. According to CEO Chris Tolles, that's because of the big bet that the site made on political coverage and discussion.
Traffic grew 40 percent between December 2011 and December 2012, the company says, and there were 12.4 million unique visitors in January. Those visitors are spending an average of 11.5 minutes on the site each month, and a lot of that activity is coming from smartphones -- in fact, the company says that more than half of its traffic is mobile.
Back in 2011, Tolles was already telling me that political content was driving the site's traffic growth, and that he was trying to find the right product and content strategy to take advantage of that interest. That ultimately resulted in the launch of politics-focused sub-site Politix, where users can share political articles, fill out polls, and comment on the news without being (in Tolles' words) "that guy on Facebook" who's always annoying his friends with political commentary.
So what have we been up to here at Politix HQ since launch? Take a look at some highlights:
We built a full suite of mobile apps so you can keep your political news in your pocket. Have you downloaded them yet? Check out the Politix apps
for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
David Mark came on board
from Politico as Politix Editor-in-chief in July 2012. Besides overseeing our crack staff of writers, he represents Politix by providing his political expertise in interviews and appearances on dozens of radio, TV, and news shows and sites including The Sean Hannity Show, CBS News, NBC Bay Area, and The Daily Beast. He's also working to build a growing stable of expert guest contributors
, offering insightful Op-Ed posts to supplement our daily flurry of in-house Politix articles.
At launch, Politix offered users a way to participate via Debate Maps
and article commentary. You wanted more, and over the last year we've been busy building additional interactive features, including quizzes
, mini polls, and forums
And you've sure been busy using 'em! Let's look at some numbers:
- 3869 articles written
- 270,140 comments made
- 209,935 debate map and mini poll votes cast
- 39,124 quizzes taken
- 4,328 late night cans of Red Bull consumed by the Politix team (Our tireless Senior Editor Mary Noble may be responsible for 89.7% of those cans... )
But we're not done yet. We've got plenty of tricks up our sleeves planned for year two, and we can't wait to show you what's next.
Happy Birthday, Politix. Our baby's growing up!
August 3, 2012
at 7:10 AMIdeaMensch
, a site providing interviews with entrepreneurs bringing ideas to life, caught up with our CEO Chris Tolles for an interview. Chris answers questions ranging from how the idea for Politix was born to his three favorite online tools to the most important thing to pick in a job. Check out the full interview on IdeaMensch
July 16, 2012
at 9:00 AM
We've just hired David Mark from Politico to be our Editor-in-Chief of Politix! David was running The Arena section at Politico, and now he'll be leading our editorial team, helping write and edit, as well as reaching out to contributors and thought leaders to build out the community.
I'm happy to have David on board for several reasons:
- For the product: At Politix we're building a new community where everyone - everyday aspirational folks all the way up to members of Congress - can meet in a marketplace of ideas, take their stand and make their point. David's experience at Politico's Arena is key, because like Politix, The Arena isn't simply a set of news stories - it's a place where the news is transformed into fuel for discussion and debate. Our concept of "endorsing" someone's viewpoint on an issue fits in well with having the kinds of contributors David fostered at The Arena weigh in with their opinions and points of view. While we are doing something pretty different with Politix, his understanding of how people respond and interact will be informing how we go forward.
- On the inside: David adds the core DNA we need for Politix. Getting Politix to the next level is going to require a robust set of experiences that we didn't have here at Topix - until now. Notably, David's experience with Politico and AP bylines, not to mention time at the Congressional Quarterly and as editor-in-chief of Campaigns & Elections magazine. In spending a fair number of years pitching, and whining about, journalists, I believe there is a very strong cultural component to the editorial operation, and being able to build that out is an important part of his role.
- To the outside: We wanted someone who knew the players in the political industrial complex - and could speak to them as a peer. Having someone who has actually been on the Daily Show to pitch his book, who is a frequent analyst in the media on politics, and who represents the editorial arm of our company is a huge win for us.
- For the Team: We are extremely fortunate to have made a great first senior editorial hire with Mary Noble, who has successfully spearheaded the boot-up of a new editorial property: built up the editorial guidelines, writes much of the content, coordinates the existing writers, and oversees the editing. We're doing great, and I'm confident we have quality editorial every day up on the site. Bringing someone on who could add to Mary's efforts, and help all of us succeed, was a tall order, but David is a great culture fit for us.
We're doing something new.
Our vision is to create a new community around participation with the issues we face as Americans. I'm humbled that a guy who edits and runs a piece of the best political site on the web is willing to hitch his wagon on our star and come work with us.
CEO, TopixUpdate: Christina Farr covers the announcement on VentureBeat.
May 23, 2012
at 11:15 AM
I want to thank you for participating on Topix, and helping make us the largest local forum site and the best local news aggregator in the US. The issues and candidates around election time are always the biggest conversations on Topix, from the Presidential campaign down to the local city council races. So, we built a place where your views on the issues that matter to all of us can take center stage.
We're excited to be launching Politix at politix.topix.com, where you can take a stand on the issues you care about, especially those around the 2012 election. Politix isn't about just reading the news, but about inspiring citizens to engage with politics by interacting with the news.
In this important election year, we provide you with a central place to share and express your political opinions online. Check out Politix today, and download our new iPhone app.
To celebrate our launch, we are giving away over $1000 in prizes just for participating.
We need your help to make Politix interesting! Your voice matters. Come join the conversation.
December 21, 2011
at 2:10 PM
We are always happy to see people using Topix to discuss what matters most to them, especially when it involves civic issues and encourages people to become more involved in the democratic process.
Case in point, a Topix thread
is giving the citizens of Herkimer, NY a forum to discuss a controversial school merger proposal. Though the school board has put forth great effort to hold town hall meetings and information sessions to raise awareness of the pending vote, the citizens of Herkimer have carried the debate online where everyone in town has equal chance to voice their opinion.
Though part of a larger grassroots effort involving Facebook groups and personal websites, the Topix thread serves as a prime example of how administrations as well as individuals can make use of local forums to educate and forward debate on a number of relevant issues.
For more information please read this article from the Herkimer Telegram:
November 16, 2011
at 3:40 PM
Topix CEO, Chris Tolles, took part in a recent Street Fight
Summit panel discussion about the increasing relevance of hyperlocal content in
Chris spoke of how hyperlocal ad inventory becomes a very
valuable commodity during election cycles, "It all of a sudden becomes a place
where there's a lot more inventory -- the folks who are buying it are looking
for good places for it, so those of us in publishing-land have the opportunity
to try to create a good home for that."
Others discussed how politicians have the unique opportunity
to leverage hyperlocal content to speak directly to their constituents. The effect of which could have demonstrable
impact on swing voters in smaller communities.
You can view the discussion in its entirety here:
November 1, 2011
We commissioned Equation Research to do a survey of over 1,000 people regarding the link between voting and online commenting behaviors, and the results were really interesting. at 5:29 PM
The research found an increasing number of citizens
turning to each other (versus one-to-many sources such as traditional news
outlets and candidate-driven leaflets, etc.) for guidance on key issues. Research uncovered voters using the Internet
as their preferred venue for this exchange of ideas. Specifically, more than two-thirds
(68 percent) of voters use the Internet as their primary source of information
about candidates and political issues, second only to television (78 percent). Online
news also ranked the most helpful political information source, with 89 percent
of respondents calling it somewhat or extremely useful
Even more surprising, more than a quarter of voters (27
percent) participate in political discussions or debates online.
Other key findings include:
- The primary reason voters participate in online
political discussions is that participants dissect issues in greater depth than
traditional media (81 percent of those active online somewhat or completely
- Over half of all respondents agreed online
discussions provide an array of opinions, not just extreme sides. This number
jumped to 89 percent when asked of those who actively participate in online
- 24 percent of voters agree somewhat or completely that online conversations drive
their vote. Of those that participate in political debate online, 58 percent
say the conversations drive their vote
The research also addressed political advertising. 68 percent of those active in
political conversations online say they are more likely to pay attention to
advertising on a site where they participate in political discussion and
debate. Two out of five voters say they are more likely to see political
advertising as credible if it is on a website that has both positive and
negative commentary about the candidate.
And, 48 percent of voters ranked the Internet as the second most
impactful advertising medium, second only to television (66 percent).
For the 2011 Politics Online Report, Topix and its partner
Equation Research surveyed 1,008 U.S.
residents, over 18 who vote in
elections. The mean age of respondents was 44 with a mean income of $70,000
Here's an infographic of the results (click on it for a human readable version :-)
And a great writeup by Read Write Web of this and other information from Digitas:
October 5, 2011
at 1:35 PM
A recent study shows that top news sites are attracting a large female audience. According to the report Topix has the largest percentage of women readers of all the news aggregators as they make up 56.2% of our overall audience.
These stats should be of particular interest to politicians who are increasingly trying to find ways of garnering the female vote. Luckily Topix provides a perfect venue for candidates to speak directly to their constituents and potential voters have equal footing to engage in the conversation.
View the results of the study here:
July 6, 2011
Tom Grubisich from at 10:09 AMStreet Fight
has posted an interesting article about the struggle hyperlocal sites such as Topix face when trying to increase engagement of their users.
July 5, 2011
at 8:54 AM
A recent survey conducted by Topix about the state of local advertising has garnered some interest from the press. Below are three articles outlining the results of the survey and an interview with Topix CEO, Chris Tolles discussing the role that Topix plays in this geo-targeted rush for advertisers to reach local markets.