Fast-growing government social networking site GovLoop acquired
Government social-networking site becomes a division of larger firm
- By Doug Beizer
- Sep 28, 2009
GovDelivery, a provider of government communications technology, has acquired GovLoop, a social networking Web site for the government community, GovDelivery officials announced today.
GovLoop will become a division of GovDelivery, and the social networking Web site’s founder, Steve Ressler, will continue to run the site, said Scott Burns, GovDelivery’s chief executive officer.
Ressler said he left his position as an information technology specialist at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month to run GovLoop as a division of GovDelivery. Ressler started GovLoop about 15 months ago to provide a way for government employees — federal, state and local — to connect and learn from each other, he said.
“It took about six months to get the first 1,000 members, and then it kind of started growing out of control,” Ressler said. Recently, Ressler has been receiving about 1,500 e-mail messages a day from members with an array of questions about using GovLoop, he said. The site now has almost 20,000 members, he said.
Working on the site during his off hours became unsustainable, so Ressler started looking for a home for GovLoop this year, he said. In March, at the Government 2.0 Camp in Washington, Burns and Ressler began discussing a possible acquisition, Burns said.
Ressler and Burns did not disclose the financial details of the deal. Ressler will be the president of the GovLoop division and plans to hire a staff of three, Burns said. “So GovLoop is going to go from having one part-time resource to having a few people very quickly,” he added.
GovDelivery is a software-as-a-service, cloud computing platform that government agencies use to communicate. For example, people can sign up to receive information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about specific topics and have that information delivered via GovDelivery.
Many of the people signing up for government information are government employees themselves, Burns said. The addition of GovLoop should give them a new way to collaborate and share information, he said.
Maintaining GovLoop’s independence will be a priority for GovDelivery, Burns said. However, the two entities will work together, he said.
“Right away we are going to launch a GovDelivery user group in GovLoop so our clients can collaborate on how to use our system better,” Burns said
GovDelivery offers modules to its clients for tools such as blogs and widgets. GovLoop will become a new module option, Burns said. Burns hopes to distinguish GovLoop as a place where professionals can get information on how to do their jobs better.
“There are lot of people who think social networking is a distraction,” Burns said. “But GovLoop helps you get more work done faster, and it helps you avoid getting stuck making the same mistakes other people may have made before you.”
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.