QuePasa Attempts Relaunch as Social-Networking Site

SiTV Creator Valdez Opens Door for Portal After Near Shutdown

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bilingual portal QuePasa is relaunching with a new team and funding after virtually disappearing during years of management reshuffling, failed technology, few ads and near-insolvency.
Jeff Valdez: Cable operator signed an agreement to create content, marketing and branding for website QuePasa.
Jeff Valdez: Cable operator signed an agreement to create content, marketing and branding for website QuePasa.

QuePasa Corp. has signed an agreement with Jeff Valdez, creator of English-language cable channel SiTV, to become chairman and provide consulting services including web-based content, marketing and branding. Last week the company raised $7 million from existing shareholders and announced a new head of technology from dating site Match.com.

QuePasa.com will relaunch in the next few weeks as a social-networking site, CEO John Abbott said. Mr. Abbott, a veteran of JPMorgan's Latin American acquisitions group, joined QuePasa in October 2007 after the last management team, hired in 2006, left following an attempted relaunch.

Dire straits
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last October, QuePasa said it had 2006 revenue of just $395,000 and net losses of $13.6 million. The company had about $5.4 million left on Oct. 23, 2007. The filing stated: "Based on our reduced cash balances and our recurring negative operating cash flows, there is substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period after such date."

Mr. Abbott said QuePasa's technology is being handled from Hermosillo, Mexico, and ad sales are managed in Miami, although potential advertisers and agencies won't be approached until there is a functioning site.

He said QuePasa once had as many as 1.2 million registered users -- about 50% U.S. Hispanics, 25% Mexicans and 25% from the rest of Latin America -- and that the company will reach out to them when the site is relaunched.

"We'll do some marketing campaigns, but you won't see us going to some slick advertising agency," Mr. Valdez said. "We're looking for real guerrilla opportunities."
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