Voter.com crumbles as merger talks with Qorvis come to a halt

WASHINGTON: Voter.com pulled its own plug last week after merger talks with Qorvis Communications disintegrated on February 5. The decision came only months after a similar deal fell apart when another backer allegedly pulled funding at the last minute.

WASHINGTON: Voter.com pulled its own plug last week after merger talks with Qorvis Communications disintegrated on February 5. The decision came only months after a similar deal fell apart when another backer allegedly pulled funding at the last minute.

WASHINGTON: Voter.com pulled its own plug last week after merger talks with Qorvis Communications disintegrated on February 5. The decision came only months after a similar deal fell apart when another backer allegedly pulled funding at the last minute.

Executives from Voter.com declined to comment on why the Qorvis merger failed, and Mike Petruzello, Qorvis CEO, did not return phone calls as of press time. However, a source close to the negotiations called the reasons for the breakdown 'not even remotely professional.'

Voter.com was widely considered a leader among political Web sites, receiving more than 8 million hits on Election Day last year - considerably more than its competitors. But it had recently been attempting to reposition itself. 'We realized we couldn't survive as a content-only site,' said Randy Tate, who had served as Voter.com's VP of Republican outreach.

'We wanted to become a public affairs portal and grassroots mobilization site, like Grassroots.com, but to a larger scale.'

The site tried to achieve that goal by way of acquisitions, but none ever materialized.

Last spring the Interpublic Group, parent company of Weber Shandwick Worldwide, is said to have agreed to back Voter.com's proposed acquisition of two DC-based public affairs firms, DCI New Media and The Dewey Square Group. However, the deal reportedly gave way when Interpublic pulled out, leaving the Web site, which debuted in November 1999, struggling to survive.

Voter.com began its transformation anyway by beginning to provide public affairs software. Unfortunately, said CEO Justin Dangel, 'The application service provider market is just too crowded. With the Qorvis merger, we were finally set to become a complete political media company.'

Similar political Web sites, such as Grassroots.com, Politics.com and Election.com, have also had their share of troubles. Politics.com put its domain name up for sale in November, and Grassroots.com underwent a major overhaul the same month - similar to Voter.com's restructuring.

Linda Gamberg, Grassroots.com's PR manager, expressed regret over Voter.com's demise. 'I don't think they ever got the chance to make the adjustments they wanted to - we are sad to see them go. The public discourse isn't served by having fewer voices.'



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.