Shelby Bonnie Comes Out Of The Shell; Launches Politics Info and Community Site Political Base

 Shelby Bonnie's New Site PoliticalBaseShelby Bonnie, the former chairman and CEO of CNET (NSDQ: CNET) Networks, is finally on to his next thing, shortly after SEC cleared him and his previous company of any wrongdoing in the options investigation: he and four other former CNET execs are launching Political Base, an ambitious online info, database and community site focused on politics on all levels nationally. The other CNET executives: Mike Tatum, former GM of Lifestyle at CNET Networks; David Snider, who used to run; Ethan Lance; and Andy McCurdy. The venture is funded for now by Shelby, who is also full-time CEO. More in extended entry…

Shelby explained the new venture to me Monday. The idea of the site is to become a non-partisan politics and issues resource for people wanting to make informed decisions when casting their vote, be it in national presidential elections, or elections at the local level. It uses publicly available data and media resources, such as the Federal Election Commission, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube videos to build a database around each politician, their fund raising or issue, and then cross pollinate it with data about where other candidates stand on issues. The site also has bloggers and moderators and hopes to have a community which will help build the data and pages. All of the data is editable by anyone, so essentially a Wiki-model of building it up.

For now, the site is primarily launching with databases/stories on presidential elections, and Shelby hopes the base will increase as users build up. The plan is for advertising from all sides of the political spectrum to be the main form of revenue. The issue is scaling, and developing enough users so that the site sustains itself beyond the presidential election cycle. Then there is competition from all existing politics news and info sites, though their focus is to run with the news cycle, and PoliticalBase hopes to be a resource site which uses news as data pieces, and then uses reader/user contributions.

One interesting feature is how much big company employees contributed to politicians, and to whom: examples include Google employees, Viacom, Yahoo and CNET.