Start-up targeting all of civic life

The latest dot-com to enter the online services arena has its eye on more than government business. CivicLife.com's market includes schools, community groups, nonprofits and even small companies.

But government — from federal to state to the tiniest of cities — is central to the company's mission, which is making it easier for people to interact with civic organizations.

"People have had enough of the days of bouncing from one Web site to another," Dave DeRosa, vice president of CivicLife.com marketing, said Wednesday as the company announced its launch.

The plan is for the portal to stand out from others in the market by acting as a window to the whole concept of civic life. While other portals allow people to get all of their state government business done in one place, this one will let people talk to their state, the federal government, their child's school and perhaps even their local Little League team.

"The motivation is if you can buy jeans online, why can't you sign up for soccer?" DeRosa said.

Links to material, such as government e-forms and school applications, will be posted on the site for free. But the site will charge civic organizations to embellish their listings with their branded names, more text or other information, and it will also accept advertising.

DeRosa said CivicLife is counting on organizations to realize it's worthwhile to invest in their company — even if they already have their own Web sites.

"We're not trying to detract traffic from any Web site," he said. "But there's visibility here, and if they want citizens to make use of their services, they can extend their reach."

CivicLife's site, www.CivicLife.com, won't be fully operational until the third or fourth quarter of the year. The company will serve both the United States and Canada, with headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and Ottawa, Canada.

REPORT CARD

"AOL: Leave e-gov to the pros" [FCW.com, May 23, 2000]

"The dot-com invasion" [Federal Computer Week, May 22, 2000]

"Internet firms take the initiative" [Federal Computer Week, May 22, 2000]

BY Jill Rosen
May 25, 2000

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