L.A. Times To Partner With Mixx Of McLean

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mixx, a McLean start-up that runs a news-sharing site on the Web, has nabbed a major media company as a partner and investor.

The company announced this week it has received an investment from the Los Angeles Times Media Group and would partner with the newspaper's Web site. The announcement may raise Mixx's profile in the fiercely competitive field of "social news" and is another sign of traditional media's interest in capturing readers who go online for information.

Mixx allows users to aggregate news on subjects of interest to them and share it with others. Users can then create or join networks to follow what others are collecting. A network might be a group of friends, people who live in a community or those who work for the same company.

The company is trying to get media companies to put a "Mixx" button on their Web pages allowing users to click on a story and signal to people in their network what they have read. As part of its arrangement with the L.A. Times, Mixx's tool will be featured on articles on the newspaper's Web site. The L.A. Times already incorporates a similar functionality from other social networking sites such as Facebook and del.icio.us, the bookmarking service. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

"It just stems from understanding who users are and how they're consuming news in general," said Jason Oberfest, managing director of product strategy for Los Angeles Times Interactive.

The top player in news-sharing sites is Silicon Valley's Digg, which tends toward quirky articles and technology news. Three-year-old Digg gets about 6.3 million unique visitors a month in the United States, according to surveys by ComScore Media Metrix. Mixx did not get enough readers to register on ComScore's monitor.

A year ago, Conde Nast, the big magazine publisher, bought another site in this category, Reddit, based in Boston.

Mixx already has teamed with USA Today, Reuters and others. The chief executive is Chris McGill, a former vice president of strategy for USA Today and general manager of Yahoo News.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company