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Clicking out of politics.

Unlike most other dotcom tragedies, the story of politicallyblack.com, which launched in June 1999, ends on a high note. Charles Ellison and Roderick Conrad were touted as black digerati on the pages of BLACK ENTERPRISE'S Tech-watch section in November 1999. We profiled Ellison and Conrad, who had invested $17,000 in startup capital for a public-policy site that would cater to African Americans.

"We never made a profit," says 28-year-old Ellison only a year and a half later. "The size of the site was growing beyond our ability to fund it. I had a full-time job, a wife and two kids, and a salary of less than $40,000 per year." Ellison notes that they were spending a lot of personal money on upkeep for the Website.

Therefore, the partners sought out investors to help ease the financial burden of the new enterprise. In October 1999, the pair decided to sell to publicly held Netivation, now Medinex, an Internet company that develops topic-specific Internet communities. As part of the deal, Ellison and Conrad collectively received $55,000 cash, 15,000 shares each of Medinex stock (worth approximately $8 per share at the time) and two-year employment agreements, including full-time positions and health benefits.

The duo remained on staff at politicallyblack.com until Medinex shut down the site in September 2000. Meanwhile, Medinex sold its public-policy division, Votenet Solutions (of which politicallyblack.com was a part), in February 2001. Although Conrad opted not to stay on at Votenet Solutions, the company honored the employment agreement for Ellison, who is currently director of marketing.
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Title Annotation:sale of politicallyblack.com
Author:Spruell, Sakina P.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Words:263
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