The 38% of you who voted that Rushmore Drive would be the first to enter the deadpool may have hit the nail on the head. It seems as if Rushmore Drive, the search engine for the black community, may shut down as early as Friday of this week. Sources close to RushmoreDrive tell us that most of their employees, were handed their pink slips yesterday. This news comes just moments after the announced departure of CEO Johnny Taylor. The site, which was just over a year old, recently went through a major redesign that changed the focus of it’s homepage from content to search.
Black Web Enterprises, the parent company of RushmoreDrive, was officially announced by IAC in April of 2007 and subsequently launched their first product, Rushmore Drive, with a star-studded event at IAC’s Chelsea, NY headquarters. Amidst rave reviews by the media, Rushmore Drive was slated to revolutionize the search industry for the black community and identity search.
In July of 2008 RushmoreDrive tried their hand in the editorial space with the hiring of Nsenga Burton to serve as the Editorial Director to lead their two content offerings Detour and Daily Drive. Detour was last update yesterday morning around 11:00am (via the site’s RSS feed) and Daily Drive was last updated on June 5th.
In December of 2008, RushmoreDrive then focused their efforts on the email business with the launch of the RushmoreDrive.com’s email service. According to sources close to the company, email was a move to add value for the site’s existing users, others thought it was a ploy to stay in the news while the company further drifted away from their core search business.
In 2009 RushmoreDrive, announced strategic partnerships with a number of websites including; a content distribution deal with Global Grind, and Identity search technology for Vibe Media group properties. The company then turned their focus back onto their core search business with a major redesign of the front page, in May of this year.
IAC Corporate Communications have yet to confirm the pending demise of the site reported in this post.
Update via PaidContent:RushmoreDrive.com will be closing Friday, according to an IAC (NSDQ: IACI) spokeswoman who said the move is “part of our continued effort to rationalize the IAC emerging businesses.” The closure affects 17 employees; some people will be staying as the site’s business winds down and IAC said it will help others find new positions. As for the potential sale CEO Johnny Taylor mentioned in his resignation letter to staff, no comment but she did say the company had exhausted possibilities. According to April comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) numbers, the site had 439,000 uniques; internal tracking is higher (as is usually the case), around 600,000.Category: News, Startups, web 2.0 | Tags: barry diller, IAC, johnny taylor, rushmore drive, RushmoreDrive