Does Ask Need Soul – Launching ‘Black’ Online Community

First an ad featuring Jesus, now Ask (IAC Interactive) has announced it will launch a ‘Black’ online community in January 2008.

The community, and the initiative IAC is making into this specific ethnic niche, will be headed by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. and headquartered in Charlotte, NC., the company press release detailed.

The press release is an interesting read and continues Ask’s controversial branding campaigns. It cites 40 million AfroAmericans as its target audience and 20 million ‘Blacks’ from the rest of the world. No citation or mention of where these numbers came from and how and what they represent.

The press release states:

IAC announced today that it will launch an online destination for the Black community featuring topical content, relevant services and a platform for community interaction. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. has been appointed CEO of the initiative, which is scheduled to launch in January 2008 and will be based in Charlotte, NC.

The yet-to-be-named site aims to bring the best the Web has to offer to the U.S. Black population, specifically catering to the community’s distinct needs and interests. It will be part of IAC Programming, created in 2006 to grow branded online content properties that engage passionate communities.

“There exists enormous opportunity in today’s online landscape to provide Blacks with an experience that engages their unique communities through a collective voice,” said Mr. Taylor. “There are 40 million African Americans in the U.S., and we estimate an additional 20 million Blacks from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. IAC – with its superior technology, operational expertise and more than 60 brands – is poised to provide exceptional content and services for this growing and underserved population.”

Michael Jackson, President of IAC Programming, said, “Johnny has superb experience in talent acquisition and an exceptional track record in business strategy and execution. He is also a passionate advocate and leader for the Black community. With his intelligence, business acumen, and people skills, Johnny is the best person to launch this important Programming initiative – the first ethnically focused property in the IAC family of brands.”

For the past year, Mr. Taylor has served as IAC’s SVP of Human Resources in New York. Previously he was SVP of Human Resources at LendingTree, an operating company of IAC. Before joining LendingTree, Mr. Taylor was President of McGuireWoods HR Strategies LLC, and served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Compass Group
USA, Inc. Mr. Taylor also spent more than eight years in senior executive human resources and legal positions with Viacom subsidiaries Blockbuster Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

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