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All together now: Introducing the Vox Product blog and Chorus

Hello! Welcome to our new spot.

Today I’m super excited to kick-off our effort to share more about who the Vox product team is and what we do. We love the craft of making things on the internet and we benefit so much from everyone else in our trade who takes the time to write about their approaches, successes, and failures. We feel a real responsibility to be a part of that conversation and to give back as much as we take.

I’ll lead off by providing some context for all our stories by introducing our core product. We make Chorus, the platform that powers SB Nation, The Verge, and Polygon.

What is Chorus?

Chorus is a platform built from the ground-up for digital-native authoring, publishing, and distribution; and focused, high-quality community. From the beginning, we set out to build a platform that elevates and empowers the voices of our passionate and talented writers and community members. What makes Chorus special is that the platform was developed in collaboration with the voices that use it. And each new voice changes the composition of Chorus. With The Verge, Chorus evolved from the demand of new needs and a new perspective. Soon Polygon will do the same. This is the promise of Vox.

Chorus is not merely a content management system — it is the modern media stack

You can find all the fundamental characteristics of a CMS — we put content in a database like the rest of them. However, we put just as much emphasis on developing and integrating community, editorial coordination/planning, structured data (sports stats, tech products, soon games!), custom brand integration, social distribution, metrics, curation, aggregation, and so on. Unencumbered by the byzantine publishing process of traditional media companies and with our web native blogger DNA, we are rapidly evolving the stack to set higher expectations with writers, readers, and passionate community members. In this rapidly-evolving media environment, a CMS isn’t enough — the broader perspective of a modern media stack is a requirement.

Chorus is a platform focused on telling stories in formats designed for humans — not robots, templates, or databases

StoryStreams, first created for SB Nation, serve as a native format for real-time news coverage. Our Coverage coordination and planning tools facilitate quality content produced at scale. The incredible unique feature layouts on The Verge enable rich storytelling. Polygon will introduce a completely new way of games coverage. And we’re just getting started.

We want to make online advertising awesome for both our partners and our audience

We have been just as focused on figuring out how to develop and facilitate compelling advertising and sponsorship opportunities in Chorus as we have other components of the stack. Our business is finding, empowering, and paying people who make great content — and, like most media companies, our primary source of revenue is advertising. But we’re trying to go beyond traditional advertising and develop new models where advertisers can utilize the value of the platform to deliver great experiences for our audience.

In addition to implementing visually appealing, high-impact ad units, we developed a tool called Campaigns for easily executing differentiated sponsorship elements that are truly integrated into the fabric of Chorus. Instead of hacking custom treatments into our sites, Chorus has a framework for implementations beyond standard buttons, banners, and rectangles. The core idea is that all the aspects of our platform that are valuable for publishing are valuable for brands. Those tools give us the flexibility to create advertising that is relevant and compelling for the audience and performs well for our partners.

The important thing about Chorus is the people

Chorus amplifies the voices of our editorial teams, our audience, and our brand partners. We’ve named it for what it enables — a convergence of individual voices combined in unison for unique effect. We’re always evolving this stack by adding new layers, cleaning up the original ones, improving the performance, and launching new verticals on it.

Pushing Chorus forward is only possible with an incredible team of designers, developers, ops engineers, community managers, and product managers focused on developing this modern media stack for our awesome audiences. We’re not only creating a platform, we’re experimenting with new ways to collaborate with editorial and advertising, how to share ideas and jokes between distributed remote team members, and making ops good, not bad. Basically we’re also trying to create a new way of working that supports our ambitions with Chorus.

We hope some of what we share is valuable. Let us know what you think because we crave feedback and love a good productive argument.