A couple days ago Topix.net launched a new look and a whole bunch more functionality. In case you don’t know Topix, it is a news aggregator. The news is categorized into 360,000 topics that include categories for all major sports teams. The news displayed was typically from mainstream media outlets, but about a month ago they started to include blogs. Some sports bloggers may have seen some additional traffic if their posts were included in the Topix crawl.
The new Topix is still a news aggregator, but it has become much more interactive. Instead of just displaying news by category, it now allows readers to comment on stories. In addition, users are now allowed to suggest stories and a forum is included as well.
So what does this mean for sports bloggers? First, it is another potential source of traffic. Second, it is another potential source of information. You can subscribe to a feed for each topic (your team for example). Third, and most importantly, it may be a step towards another potential online community.
Technology and politics have several different sites that help promote discussion and awareness. Digg covers technology, and memeorandum covers tech and politics. Sports is a very vibrant online niche, and yet there isn’t a similar product. Sports Blogs does a terrific job as an aggregator, but it doesn’t do link analysis or measure popularity. Baseball Primer excels at aggregating relevant stories and hosting discussion, but it doesn’t aggregate the discussion across blogs.
Now I don’t think Topix will accomplish all that, but it may be another opportunity for an underserved niche.
And finally, I don’t know what this will mean for the future, but Topix is jointly owned by Knight-Ridder, Gannett and Tribune. Topix functionality may be coming to a local online newspaper near you.