Congrats to Rich Skrenta and his Topix.net team.
Today, the company is announcing that a group of three newspaper publishers (Tribune, Knight-Ridder, and Gannett) are jointly acquiring 75% of Topix.net. Ownership will be evenly split amongst the three companies. Topix.net founders will retain a 25% percent stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Tribune, Knight-Ridder, and Gannett consortium are also joint partners with CareerBuilder.com, Cars.com, ShopLocal.com and other properties.
Rich and his team will remain in place to hopefully develop more impressive services (I would love to see more international resources) with the influx of capital that will now be available. That’s good news.
I said in January that if asked to name my favorite new resources (from my researcher perspective) of 2004, Topix.net would be at the top of the list. As someone always on the prowl for news and info, I find great via Topix. I’m also thrilled that they are continuing to add more sources to their database. At the moment they’re crawling about 12,000 sites.
From a business perspective, many organizations have also noticed Topix.net services. 2004 saw deals with Ask Jeeves, Citysearch, The New York Times, Findory, and Wondir. Recently, AOL said that they’re using Topix.net services on AOL Local.
Rich Skrenta told Search Engine Watch that today’s deal has been in the works for about four months and the new investors are “keen” on keeping Topix editorially independent versus giving a higher ranking and placement to content from their publications. That’s crucial. He also said that the partnership will allow these publishers to leverage advertising inventory from their other properties while using Topix.net 150,000 topical “channels” (including one for every U.S. Zip Code) to show more contextually related advertising.
For example, someone browsing the BMW “channel” might be shown cars for sale in their local area from the Cars.com database or a person reviewing the Nursing channel be shown job openings in their area from CareerBuilder.com.