Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Link to Topix removed from "Links to External Related Sites"

There had been a link to "Topix" on the  "Links to External Related Sites" page of this site. That link has been removed due to active anti-Free speech practices by "Topix".

"Topix", which is a website that posts news articles from all around the globe. On which people can comment in the forums about the articles posted. And has a section which is related to news on "Guns". On which I had been posting the articles found on this blog. In order to refute the claims made by anti-2nd amendment gun rights trolls. Has been actively removing posts which provide proof of the actual facts concerning our right to keep and bear arms. Thus apparently involving themselves in the conspiracy to undermine the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution.

Apparently Topix is under the mistaken impression that their 1st amendment secured right to "freedom of speech, and of the press". Will still be secured once the traitors within our governments have removed the right to keep and bear arms.

Upon discovery of the the treachery committed by Topix. I have done a bit of research concerning the organization. Only to discover the following:
Topix Forums - Defamation, Abuse and Cyberbullying for Profit

Intial Topix Investment by Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy

TOPIX was originally a privately held company created as the Open Directory Project and funded privately by its founders.  Full information is available here on the Toxic Topix Corporate Information Page.
In August of 2006 a press release indicated that GANNETT (GCI), Tribune and McClatchy a triumverate of the nations most powerful newspaper holding companies had increased major equity stakes in web companies, listed as (at that time, the nation's largest online classified recruitment site) and two other online businesses, and  At that time, it appeared that many newspaper and television websites did not have a well established web commenting platform and so we speculate that the investment in Topix was at least in part viewed as an opportunity to integrate the web into online news stories.  Since that time, dozens of these companies have dumped TOPIX as their online commenting forum in spite of still maintaining ownership of Topix shares, in place of manageable and registration based services such as FACEBOOK, OPEN ID, YAHOO or DISQUS (we endorse none of these).
Under the agreement, Gannett and Tribune would each increase their equity stakes in CareerBuilder and to 42.5%, and in Topix to 31.9%.
McClatchy received a total of approximately $310 million in the transaction and retained a 15% stake in CareerBuilder and, and an 11.25% stake in McClatchy's newspapers would become affiliated with each online business.
The agreement valued CareerBuilder at $1.55 billion, at $85 million and at $72 million.

Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy Invest Another 15 million in TOPIX

In November of 2006 VENTURE WIRE reported that TOPIX was valued at approximately $72 million.  That year, Topix stated that it raised $15 million in additional funds from their media investors GANNETT (GCI), TRIBUNE (privately held) and McCLATCHY (MNI) raising their states in TOPIX to the following percentages:

GANNETT - 33.7%
TRIBUNE - 33.7%
McCLATCHY - 11.9%

Topix Financials Today

We are looking for information on TOPIX today including their valuation and revenue.  One website has estimated their revenue at $1 million per year which could be a big paper loss for McClatchy, Gannett and Tribune who it appears invested initially in the company when it was valued at $72 million and then invested $15 million more.  TOPIX does not appear to have any hard assets other than office assets, but with their ability to dominate GOOGLE searches, they certainly do have some soft assets.  Of course what they DO with those assets, is everyone's concern.
Topix refused to disclose the financials of the deal but one article here puts the cost at about $5 million.  Combine that with the $15 million subsequently invested and the total was $20 million. 
Considering that back in 2005 commenting wasn't anonymous and Topix was still trying to be a legitimate news aggregator it is reasonable to assume that Topix makes alot more than one million per year.  And since they don't invest in moderators very much, their biggest salaries are no doubt their execs.  So, Topix generates quite a bit of secret money for Tribune, McClatchy and Gannett but the question is, do they have any way to make money if they do not attract unmoderated town by town forums?  Furthermore, do they have any social value?  Any at all.
These are questions that investors need to get more information on.  Topix may not be public, but most of its owners are and investors have a right to know what they own.

Our Analysis Of Gannett, Tribune and McClatchys Investment in Topix

The following information has been pieced together from old press releases.  We cannot attest to the accuracy of this information however we are very interested in any information that anyone has which would help us make it more accurate.  Please email me at if you can supply more details.
March 2005 – Press release indicates that Gannett, Tribune and Knight-Ridder (later acquired by McClatchy) were jointly investing in Topix taking a 25% stake.
Topix was quoted by Marketwatch’s Bambi Francisco, as “a startup online newspaper with relatively no money but a unique way of organizing news”
According to the same article, Topix was the number 41 news site receiving 1.4 million unique visitors a year prior (which would be March 2004).  At that time, Topix did not have anonymous commenting enabled, and it is reasonable to presume that a unique visitor would not have been checking in to participate in a blog debate, but would have landed there through some search for news.
Topix did not disclose the terms of the deal but stated that it was under $5 million dollars.  So, we’ll use a speculative figure of $4.5 million since it’s under five and its easy to divide by three.  This would make each investor’s 25% share cost $1.5 millon.
A separate source valued the company at that moment at $72 million.  Now lets bear in mind that at that time the internet bubble had burst but valuations of internet companies which had no way to make money but still seemed to be valid, had much higher valuations than they do today.  By comparison, Friedster, a social networking site which predates Facebook and MySpace, was valued at $50 million. 
Also worth noting is that at that time in March 2005, Topix employed nine people and the founders had not paid themselves a salary in three years and that they claimed that only one percent of their traffic came from blogs, a figure which would be impossible to believe today given that google searches about Topix rarely bring up news but mostly blog forums.
 There seemed to be little question that at the time, the acquisition by the news companies was meant to help them build out their online presence.  All three newspapers were interested in real estate advertising for example, no doubt due to the decline of traditional real estate ads which forever had been the domain of newspapers.  Topix took their news and aggregated it by zip code and then pushed real estate advertising, which critically had to also be advertised by locale.  However, dozens of newspapers and television stations have dumped Topix as their online commenting source and therefore no longer affiliate with Topix to push real estate or any other types of ads.  Topix still pulls in their stories of course and tries to sell ads by requiting the name of the story and showing a forum and link to the story, but Topix no longer has any official part of the stories by these media companies.  They are simply reap the benefits because they own the Google searches better than most of the newspaper sites do.  So, the reasons for affiliation with Topix by media companies is all but gone, leaving one to wonder if they are just quietly profiting from Topix command of the anonymous blog world or if they are afraid that selling their investment would kill the company and create more attention.
Beyond real estate, it seems rather obvious that Topix pushed advertising based on locale and on keywords in the page.  For example, a news story about car theft might just show you ads for cars.  Topix algorithms have become so sophisticated that we would be arrogant to suggest that we can tell you exactly what the formulas are today, but one thing remains clear and that is that the advertising litters the pages and that it is heavily keyed to the locale.
So, as of March 2005 Topix ownership was as follows:
Founders – 25%
Gannett – 25%
Knight-Ridder (McClatchy now) – 25%
Tribune – 25%
It was more widely publicized that the triumvirate invested $15 million more however the investments were not equal because at the end of the deal, the  ownership was divided as follows:
GANNETT - 33.7%    TRIBUNE - 33.7%  McCLATCHY - 11.9%
We presume the balance twenty percent to be still owned by the founders of Topix LLC
Apparently the owners of 'topix' prefer serving "mammon" rather than the best interests of their fellow American citizens. One has to wonder how they will feel once their 'masters' turn on them....

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