Just a little more than a year and a half old, social news network Rappler is now the Philippines’ third top news website.
California-based web information company Alexa ranked Rappler third among news websites in the country in its list of top 500 sites. As of September 6, Rappler placed 25th on the list, next to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (15th) and abs-cbnnews.com (19th).
Websites iGMA.tv (30th), philstar.com (37th), and interaksyon.com (42nd) also made it to Alexa’s top 50 list.
The Alexa Rank tracks over 30 million websites worldwide. Its website said the traffic estimates are “based on a diverse sample of millions of worldwide Internet users using thousands of different types of toolbars and add-ons for Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.”
Rappler also grew 80% in page views, unique visits, and visitors, according to Google Analytics.
The spike in Rappler’s Alexa ranking comes after a news-packed month and less than two years since the online news startup launched its beta version on Jan 1, 2012.
Since its birth coinciding with the country’s first impeachment trial of a Chief Justice, Rappler has grown to establish its name as a source of comprehensive news and investigative pieces, with a strong emphasis on multimedia and social engagement.
In August, 3 main topics drove new visitors to the site: the pork barrel scam involving alleged mastermind Janet Napoles, monsoon floods and tropical storm Maring (Trami), and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 2013.
Rappler and its investigative section Newsbreak report on the multi-billion peso corruption scam, breaking down the report of state auditors and digging into the background of Napoles, the lawmakers, and the ties that bind in Philippine politics and society.
New technology, new mindset
At the launch of Rappler’s Do More Awards this week, CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa explained how the news group is able to “do more with less.”
“Rappler is an example of how a small group of people can do a lot more with a lot less by combining old disciplines with technology and a new mindset,” said Ressa. “It’s a new world where citizens can start #millionpeoplemarch on a FB page and journalists can do more than just tell stories.”
A mix of veteran journalists and 20-something digital natives, Rappler aims to combine the strength of professional journalism, technology, and the “wisdom of the crowds” to produce collaborative stories that can help build institutions bottom up.
The company uses social media, crowdsourcing, and big data as key tools.
Beyond online metrics, Rappler’s growth and philosophy have been tracked in books and articles of international authors.
Rappler is the only news group singled out in the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung publication Asia’s Media Innovators Volume 3: Crowdsourcing in Asian Journalism.
Stephen Quinn, former South China Morning Post digital development editor, wrote a chapter with Rappler as a case study, calling it “one of the most innovative media companies in the Asian region.”
Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab and techinasia.com have also written about the innovations at Rappler.
Beyond the Internet, Rappler has brought its “social media for social good” campaign offline, organizing summits that gather experts, advocates, and ordinary citizens to discuss relevant issues.
Last month’s #ThinkPH summit focused on the big data trend in technology, with the May elections as an example. This month, Rappler will hold its second Social Good Summit on the use of technology for disaster risk reduction and response.
Rappler also holds regular workshops under its citizen journalism arm MovePH. – Rappler.com