Investors Lose Faith in iBelieve.com
The company said the shutdown came after several months of trying to attract additional investors to keep the site running. Since launching last January, the site has attracted more than 540,000 registered members.
"We met or exceeded all of our traffic metrics, experienced revenue growth every month since launch and realized our goal of becoming the leading Christian Internet site," said Jef Fite, president of iBelieve, Grand Rapids, MI. "However, like many other Internet companies, we were not able to raise capital given the market conditions, and we are left without options."
IBelieve halted all e-commerce operations Friday but said it would fulfill orders made before then. Users can access the site's customer care services through an e-mail link for the next few weeks.
In addition, the site expects to lay off its 35-person staff within the next two weeks.
Enews.com, which has been offering Christian-oriented magazine subscriptions to iBelieve viewers since August, said it was surprised when it learned of the announcement. The company did not know iBelieve's funding was dwindling at the time of their agreement, said Andrea Root, spokeswoman for Enews, Washington.