Latino internet users are mourning the passing of one of the greatest websites ever, Latino portal QuePasa.com, which is filing for liquidation. The Latino community is in shock as most of them had never heard of QuePasa.com until today.
"QuePasa.com? I'm going to have to check that out," said Salinas, California farm worker Juan Picante, adding, "Maybe after I get a pinche computer!"
Standing in the QuePasa.com marble auditorium under a pi?ata made of gold and encrusted with rubies, company officials held a press conference to discuss the portal's problematic path to profitability. "We felt our mix of moronic articles about lame Latino celebrities and idiotic polls about inane subjects absolutely no one cared about was among the best on the Internet," said QuePasa.com spokesman Harry Webon. "But our biggest miscalculation was that Latinos aren't as stupid as we thought they were."
The company was greeted with great fanfare in its home city of Phoenix, known in neighboring Tucson as the capital of Latino culture, when it was introduced in 1998. But despite heavy advertising and signing entertainer Gloria Estefan as a spokeswoman, Quepasa struggled in the shadow of more popular broad interest portals such as America Online, Netscape and Yahoo!
Analysts say the hiring of Gloria Estefan may have been the other crucial mistake, although company officials vigorously defend that decision. Spokesman Harry Webon said, "We felt that the combination of Ms. Estefan's aging looks, her God-awful tropical musical manglings and her far right wing political views could be overcome with the promising technology of the Internet. Besides, Maria Conchita Alonso wasn't available and Gloria Trevi was on the run."
The Nasdaq Stock Market halted trading of Quepasa.com Inc. last Wednesday. The stock last traded at 9 cents per share, down 3 cents. After seeing the price drop, company officials were considering changing the name to QuePeso.com. Internet financial analyst Robert Dinero said, "Perhaps they shouldn't have had that kickoff party where QuePasa.com hired Arizona resident and singer Linda Rondstadt to serve tequila shots from her belly."
Quepasa.com's assets are scheduled to be liquidated at the East Phoenix Swap Meet. Included in the liquidation are the Quepasa.com Web site and three wholly owned subsidiaries: UnbathedSpaniard.com, shopping site E-frijol.com and BadCredito.com.
The website has been seeking a buyer since May, and a visitor since April. It fired 38 of its 58 employees Nov. 14, the day before announcing third-quarter losses of $7.9 million. President-elect George W. Bush remarked, "Was I running that company?"
Proceeds from the liquidation, which also includes furniture, fixtures and equipment, will be distributed to shareholders in the form of Chiclets and QuePasa.com mouse pads. Hotel worker Maria Sanchez of Phoenix, said she will be there early Sunday at the East Phoenix Swap Meet. "I hope to buy the website for under five dollars. Then I will use it as a paper weight or hang it up in my bathroom so I can receive my regular Ricky Martin updates."
?pocho.com. Reprinted by kind permission of its author.