Topix was launched in 2004 as a news search engine. Topix was launched under the domain, and in 2007 was acquired and moved there. In addition, volunteers and over 100 journalists and editors from various already registered newspapers were invited to work on topics of their choice. The focus was now increasingly on content generation. Topix created a community newsroom platform and a popular forum system that allows users to comment on news articles and the activities of local communities. In addition, forums were created that were organized by location as well as by topic, allowing visitors to post comments whether or not they were relevant to a particular newscast. In 2017, the search was stopped, and at the end of 2018, the forums were also available. Today, Topix works as a quiz forum.

Language English

Launched 2004
Closed 2017

Developer Bryn Dole, Rich Skrenta, Bob Truel, Tom Markson, Mike Markson and Chris Tolles

Country of Origin US America

2004 - 2017 Topix LLC

Topic News SeEn

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
News Site Search // News Aggregator

Used SeEn Topix

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Wikipedia: »It was co-founded in 2004 by Bryn Dole, Rich Skrenta, Bob Truel, Tom Markson, Mike Markson and Chris Tolles, many of whom founded the Open Directory Project. In March 2005, the Knight Ridder (later taken over by The McClatchy Company), Tribune Company and Gannett media companies purchased a 75% share of the company. On April 1, 2007, it acquired the domain name and invited volunteers to edit the topics of their choice, on top of over 100 journalists and editors from various newspapers already signed up. Sometime in 2012 they took that volunteer edit option away without any communication to the thousands of volunteers.

Topix went on to create a community news editing platform, and popular forum system, allowing users to comment on news articles and the goings on of local communities. Topix also created forums, organized by locality as well as by subject matter, which allow visitors to post comments whether or not they are relevant to a particular news story.

The founders of Topix initially wanted it to be a news aggregator, with specific pages for every community in the United States. As Topix matured, most of its growth occurred in small cities and towns in the United States. The people who commented in the Topix forums wanted to focus the discussions on more traditional small community gossip. Topix's main user base consists of posters from cities and towns in the United States. Chris Tolles, the chief executive of Topix LLC since June 2007, said that Topix is very popular in "the feud states".« Source

Loren Baker (2006): »’s News Search indexes 50,000 main stream news sources along with hand picked and human reviewed blogs – covering small town news around the states in a way other news aggregator and search systems cannot.

One interesting feature with News Search Product is its case sensitive search, which makes searching for news on terms like “IT”or “MIT” much easier.

In addition the news trends visualization brings instant definition of the depth behind their index. Searches for Katrina or Hezbollah reveal obvious news oriented peaks where as such natural disaster searches as tornado or flooding reveal the improtance of’s coverage to small town America.« Source


Critical points

Wikipedia: »A. G. Sulzberger of The New York Times wrote that "The same Web sites created as places for candid talk about local news and politics are also hubs of unsubstantiated gossip, stirring widespread resentment in communities where ties run deep, memories run long and anonymity is something of a novel concept". He added that "Whereas online negativity seems to dissipate naturally in a large city, it often grates like steel wool in a small town where insults are not easily forgotten". Various local governments censured the Topix forums. Many lawsuits resulted from content posted on Topix.

On February 3, 2009, Mark and Rhonda Lesher filed a lawsuit against anonymous posters on According to their petition, over 1,700 defamatory statements were made about them by anonymous posters, resulting in 2,568 allegations of defamation and libel. Although Topix was not a party to the lawsuit, it was forced to reveal the IP addresses of the posters and the dangers of unmoderated anonymous posting on Topix were publicly brought to light for the first time.

Initially Topix charged money to people who requested that Topix expedite the removal of negative posts. After thirty state attorneys general protested, Topix stopped charging. Jack Conway, the Kentucky Attorney General, said the charging scheme "smacked of having to pay a fee to get your good name back".

On March 20, 2012, online gossip was the subject of a story called "Innocent Man's Life Destroyed by Anonymous Topix Poster" on Good Morning America. Topix CEO Chris Tolles was interviewed for the piece.« Source

Features & Functionality


References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

DELANEY, KEVIN J. (2007): How Search-Engine Rules Cause Sites to Go Missing. Online available at WSJ. URL:
Loren Baker (2006): Launches Massive News Search Engine URL:
Richard MacManus (2005): adds blogs - is it news? URL:
BETH MUSGRAVE (2018): Kentuckians talked about people, issues on them. Here’s why Topix ended popular forums. URL:

Created: 2013-02-19