MSNBC is hoping to garner stronger interest in discussion surrounding political issues, and subsequently stronger ratings for its political coverage, through its new partnership with the MSNBC site as well.
In addition, the two co-founders of HotSoup will appear weekly on Hardball with Chris Matthews and other MSNBC shows. The co-founders are Matthe Dowd who worked with the 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign and former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart.
The popularity of HotSoup among politicians and celebrities in a short amount of time shows that it may have been the right product at the right time for politicians and the politically inclined in the public sphere to have a forum in which to communicate directly with concerned citizens dedicated particularly to issues of public policy. But is it more than just a marketing tool, or do these people actually engage with the site or only someone on their staff who is trying to give the appearance of their interest?
These are the types of questions raised in a savvy piece from William Beutler on Oct. 24, before HotSoup's deal was launched. He asks, "What to make of HotSoup, the no-partisan, non-ideological, mostly non-everything political discussion/debate site?" From his perspective, the site isn't amounting to much so far.
But what will the partnership with MSNBC mean for the site, if anything?
I guess we'll find out...