The FriendFeed for the rest of us

Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix

Yeah, you are probably sick of the FriendFeed hype. Sorry about that. But I do look around to see if there’s any other choices out there. Today I found one.

125,000 comments per day. Heck, FriendFeed doesn’t even have that many people on it yet.

Here’s an interview with Topix’ CEO, Chris Tolles, having a conversation with me about the online community business. How is he doing it? He covers his advertising, his marketing, and other aspects of his business.

He also discusses the differences between “normal people” and people who read TechCrunch and hang out on FriendFeed.

Of course we’re discussing this video over on FriendFeed now. :-)

Oh, and note that this was done with an updated Qik client which gives a little better quality.

16 thoughts on “The FriendFeed for the rest of us

  1. Maybe a dumb question but…Is anyone thinking about scraping all the conversations on twitter or friendfeed and developing profiles on the userids? I’m not a big fan of this but it seems like it would be simple to do other than the storage of the data. Someone is probably already doing this but just wondering.

  2. Maybe a dumb question but…Is anyone thinking about scraping all the conversations on twitter or friendfeed and developing profiles on the userids? I’m not a big fan of this but it seems like it would be simple to do other than the storage of the data. Someone is probably already doing this but just wondering.

  3. Topix is one of most poorly managed public forums on the Internet. The moderators don’t do their job; Topix Administration doesn’t respond to complaints of abuse and harassment. I’ve been posting on the Immigration Reform Forum for over a year; and the discussion gets heated but the degree and types of harassment are beyond violations of TOS. They are downright threatening, vulgar, harassing, hateful and ugly. I can’t remember how many times I had death wished on me and also rape. Anyway, Topix may have a pretty boy for a CEO but his online community managers suck big time IMO.

  4. Topix is one of most poorly managed public forums on the Internet. The moderators don’t do their job; Topix Administration doesn’t respond to complaints of abuse and harassment. I’ve been posting on the Immigration Reform Forum for over a year; and the discussion gets heated but the degree and types of harassment are beyond violations of TOS. They are downright threatening, vulgar, harassing, hateful and ugly. I can’t remember how many times I had death wished on me and also rape. Anyway, Topix may have a pretty boy for a CEO but his online community managers suck big time IMO.

  5. Well, we definitely fall into the free speech side of things.

    However, we do employ some pretty advanced systems that auto-kill between 5-8% of posts before they even go up to clear out racial epithets and true hate speech with an AI system that does some pretty cool heat language detection.

    We also have a full time staff of moderators that look over every complaint that comes in through the feedback system.

    Now with regard to Chris Salzar’s concerns — at least those he pointed to on his website — I have to say just agreeing with Lou Dobbs and wanting to deport illegal aliens in a strongly worded post is not going to get you pulled from the Topix system. I personally disagree with that viewpoint, but giving people an open forum to debate such issues (like immigration. like Hartford politics. like the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed) are what we’re trying to do at Topix, and if you don’t let people express themselves, you are giving up your role as the platform for local voice.

    We try and find and remove any real hate speech that gets on the site — but we support robust and divergent viewpoints that are likely to offend someone, and while it’s a tough call sometimes, trying to prevent people from having their say just buries the problem.

  6. Well, we definitely fall into the free speech side of things.

    However, we do employ some pretty advanced systems that auto-kill between 5-8% of posts before they even go up to clear out racial epithets and true hate speech with an AI system that does some pretty cool heat language detection.

    We also have a full time staff of moderators that look over every complaint that comes in through the feedback system.

    Now with regard to Chris Salzar’s concerns — at least those he pointed to on his website — I have to say just agreeing with Lou Dobbs and wanting to deport illegal aliens in a strongly worded post is not going to get you pulled from the Topix system. I personally disagree with that viewpoint, but giving people an open forum to debate such issues (like immigration. like Hartford politics. like the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed) are what we’re trying to do at Topix, and if you don’t let people express themselves, you are giving up your role as the platform for local voice.

    We try and find and remove any real hate speech that gets on the site — but we support robust and divergent viewpoints that are likely to offend someone, and while it’s a tough call sometimes, trying to prevent people from having their say just buries the problem.

  7. I’d much rather deal with ‘offensive’ comments that sanitized / PC versions of same. Keep Topix wild and open and let the easily offended look elsewhere.

  8. I’d much rather deal with ‘offensive’ comments that sanitized / PC versions of same. Keep Topix wild and open and let the easily offended look elsewhere.

  9. Folks in my little corner of the country have been having problems with the free-for-all posting environment of Topix groups. Remember the story that hit the news a while back about the pedestrian hit-and-run in Hartford? That resulted in some, let’s say, objectionable posts from anonymous commenters in the Hartford Courant forums run by Topix. The mayor of Hartford didn’t take to kindly to some of those posts, which led to discussions between the city, the Courant and Topix to address those concerns.

    It’s been an interesting conflict over free-speech vs. the negative effects such free speech can have on a community. The Advance Internet-based forums in my hometown have the same issues wrt to the garbage being written by people hiding behind anonymity.

    Hartford-based blogger Heather Brandon has been covering the brouhaha here and here.

  10. Folks in my little corner of the country have been having problems with the free-for-all posting environment of Topix groups. Remember the story that hit the news a while back about the pedestrian hit-and-run in Hartford? That resulted in some, let’s say, objectionable posts from anonymous commenters in the Hartford Courant forums run by Topix. The mayor of Hartford didn’t take to kindly to some of those posts, which led to discussions between the city, the Courant and Topix to address those concerns.

    It’s been an interesting conflict over free-speech vs. the negative effects such free speech can have on a community. The Advance Internet-based forums in my hometown have the same issues wrt to the garbage being written by people hiding behind anonymity.

    Hartford-based blogger Heather Brandon has been covering the brouhaha here and here.

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