Tronc Newspapers Expand Use of Points-Based Reader Comments Platform

L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune follow the 2016 lead of the San Diego Union-Tribune

The braintrust at Tronc must have liked what they saw over the past year after the San Diego Union-Tribune switched to third-party reader comments platform SolidOpinion. Because this month, both the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune have followed suit.

The Times adopted the platform April 1, while the Tribune is switched to SolidOpinion today. All prior published comments disappear with the change. SolidOpinion was founded by San Diego entrepreneur Michael Robertson, formerly a founder of MP3.com.

In addition to SolidOpinion users gaining points from their organic activity and the amount of likes their comments receive, they can also purchase additional points. Points are used to propel a user’s comment into the top-three promoted group for any article. Pay-to-preach, as it were.

On the publisher side, Robertson has pitched SolidOpinion as a platform that can self-moderate. But as any outlet that has used Disqus or other similarly packaged third-party solutions knows, that is always a challenge.