HOTSOUP.com, was a website that debuted in October 2006 with the aim "to spark debate over hot-button topics of the day in the worlds of politics, business, and culture," its founders stated in a July 11, 2006, announcement. . Despite a launch with great fanfare and "a-list" of supporters and editors (including Associated Press chief political writer Ron Fournier), HotSoup failed to generate any interest from advertisers or any substantial traffic, and was shut down after a less than a year, joining the ranks of numerous other failed political web sites voter.com speakout.com.
The name—HOTSOUP—was "chosen to evoke a tasteful mixing of ingredients," Howard Kurtz wrote in the July 12, 2006, Washington Post.
HOTSOUP.com was "the brainchild of some of the best-known practitioners of partisan politics in Washington, including Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, and Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under President [Bill] Clinton and a senior adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign," the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn wrote July 11, 2006. Former Associated Press chief political writer Ron Fournier served as editor in chief.
HOTSOUP.com "will be organized in a way similar to MySpace.com, with areas for information and networking so people can connect to one another"; "will also include discussion boards throughout the web pages"; and "will feature a ranking system to allow users to rate how persuasive, interesting, and relevant they find someone else’s insight or opinion to be." 
HOTSOUP's "target audience will be opinion leaders around the country who use the Internet to help make up their minds," Kuhnhenn wrote. "The Web site would connect these local opinion leaders with high-profile newsmakers who influence national opinion. Newsmakers would post essays, respond to reader questions and debate the issues. Participants could rate the arguments, much like readers post book reviews on Amazon.com.
HOTSOUP's "founders estimate there are 30 million such opinion drivers scattered across the country whom friends, neighbors and fellow citizens rely upon for advice," Kuhnhenn wrote.
"Among the controversial topics already slated for discussion will be corporate responsibility, society, and religion." 
HOTSOUP "will feature at least five guests each week who will share their opinions on the site, ranging from prominent power brokers and industry leaders to small-businesspeople and local PTA presidents." 
- Matthew Dowd: chief strategist of the Bush-Cheney '04 Inc.
- Carter Eskew: chief strategist for Al Gore's 2000 campaign
- Michael Feldman: former adviser to Al Gore
- Ron Fournier: former Associated Press chief political writer
- Joe Lockhart: former press secretary to Bill Clinton
- Mark McKinnon: directed ad campaigns for George W. Bush
- Chip Smith: former adviser to Al Gore
Eskew, Feldman, Lockhart, and Smith are also partners in the Glover Park Group.
- Bart Barden: led archtecture team for MSN Web Channels
- John DeTar: co-founded SisterWoman.com
- Allie Savarino: involved with Internet advertising and community space since 1995 and with SisterWoman.com
Email: info AT hotsoup.com
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Atlas Project
- One America Committee
- The Donatelli Group
- The Fudge Report
- U.S. congressional elections in 2006
- U.S. presidential election, 2008 / U.S. presidential election, 2008: Campaign Issues
- U.S. House of Representatives
- U.S. Senate
- "Political, Media & Technology Heavyweights Join Forces to Launch Issues-Based Online Community: HOTSOUP.COM; HOTSOUP.com is First Online Community that Unites Opinion Drivers from Across the Spectrum," Business Wire, July 11, 2006.
- Jim Kuhnhenn, "Political Strategists to Launch Web Site," Associated Press (Forbes), July 11, 2006.
- "Political networkers to get new Web site, HotSoup," Reuters, July 12, 2006.
- "Politics to Spice Up HotSoup. Politicos will lead discussions on hot-button topics at startup social network," Red Herring, July 12, 2006.
- Howard Kurtz, "Online Venture Seeks To Elevate the Debate. Civility Is In, Rancor Out on Web Site Begun by Democratic, GOP Strategists," Washington Post, July 12, 2006.
- Ronald Brownstein, "Political Website With No Party Lines. A group of campaign veterans from both sides wants to cool the rhetoric and stir debate," Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2006.
- Rory O'Connor, "Pundits 'R' Us. A bipartisan group of spinmeisters and insiders aims to 'bypass the filter' and deepen the debate. Sure thing," AlterNet, July 12, 2006.
- "Political Strategists to Stir HotSoup.com," NewsMax, July 12, 2006.
- "Ron Fournier returns to AP as online political editor, had edited political site Hotsoup.com" Associated Press, March 1, 2007.