Building an Ad-Supported Business around a Community

Chris Tolles (Topix)
Strategy & Business Models
Location: 2005 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.40, 10 ratings)

Topix launched in 2004, and after establishing an early lead in the news aggregation space, received $60M in investment from the three largest newspaper publishers in the USA. Chris Tolles, Topix’ CEO will talk about what it takes to build out both the product and the monetization to create an ad supported business around a local community.

Topix has built a top 150 website with 8.85M unique visitors (comScore January 2010) and conversations in over 20,000 cities and towns across the US.

Please join us for a look into the real numbers and issues behind building an ad-supported, community-focused web site:

  • Timeframes for traffic growth
  • Ad mix for a growing site: AdSense, networks & display ads
  • What it takes to build a ad sales force: How big do you need to be and how long does it take?
  • SEO, past & present
  • Local content & advertising
  • Business Development; opportunities and pitfalls

Read the speaker interview with Chris Tolles

Chris Tolles


Chris Tolles: CEO
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.

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Scott Wainner
05/06/2010 9:36am PDT

Summary: to earn anything from ads, you must generate hundreds of millions of page views like Topix. Reality: not true: double digit eCPMs are possible at scale (millions of PVs, and we’re doing it) but without massive scale.

Picture of Slade Sherman
Slade Sherman
05/04/2010 12:13pm PDT

Great session Chris.

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