Tag Archives: Topix

Track Presentation: Redefining Local Community

Chris Tolles, CEO, Topix who is today’s conference chairperson has begun his presentation to lok at some specific misconceptions particularly in regards to media sites. As the mistake of looking at the web as not a place, then the need to focus on local and create the experience online.

But the problem is how to represent a ‘local’ market that relates to expectations that unfortunately is not easily presented…no one is searching the web for local.

So critical issues that Chris has faced at Topix, is the shrinking amount of already limited local content…look hyperlocal to the smallest of markets, and the volume of content is almost non-existent. The thinking that local is available in the blogosphere..unfortunately, local content is still not readily available.

But Topix has experience tremendous growth, but primarily in the smallest of local markets that often have little to no community related content. The need for information in turn results in tremendous volume of activity related to that community as residents of that town provide their own content, which in turn are expanded upon by those interested

So the question then don’t certain social networks offer much of this? There are definitely examples of such use by Facebook and Twitter. However, they do not entirely cover the true ‘local’ experience that potentially represents $7.8B market in Ad Spend by 2011. While social media presents a great way to build this hyper-local audience, there are major issues in developing the online local community including looking at the best integration efforts and improved management.


Opening Remarks by Conference Chair Chris Tolles

Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix is this year’s conference chair and is kicking of the conference with an opening speech. Chris came to Topix from Spoke Software, a business social networking company, where he was a co-founder and VP of marketing. Before Spoke, Chris was a Director of Marketing at AOL/Netscape for AOL Music, Netscape Search and Directory Products. Chris was a co-founder and VP of Marketing at NewHoo, and led the sale of the company to Netscape. After the acquisition, NewHoo was relaunched as the Open Directory Project at Netscape and became the world’s largest human edited directory of the web, and is still used by companies like Google, Alexa and AOL. Previous to NewHoo, Chris held a variety of sales, marketing and management positions at Sun Microsystems. Chris graduated from the University of California at San Diego with degrees in Computer Science and Economics, where he was awarded the Michael J. Addison award for his senior thesis about the online information industry.

Chris begins his comments speaking briefly about the history and the foundational technologies that were in fact communities, though not as discussed currently as social media. Usenet, Geocities, so many sites and technologies that have been part of the Internet have always incorporated elements of interactivity and community. You can’t separate the elements of community from the Web. Looking at the 2008 US National election helps us see how much these collaborative technologies.

Now Chris has turned it over to Andrew Rasiej.