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Digital Mobilization Firm Crowdverb Acquired By Grassroots Advocacy Group Direct Impact

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, April 4 2012

Crowdverb, a seven-person digital mobilization startup founded by a group of veteran Republican operatives, has been acquired by Direct Impact, a grassroots public affairs group headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Crowdverb was founded In Seattle by three Republicans who've been very active in the areas of both online media and Republican politics, and at one time or another they've all worked at Microsoft. The three founders are Cyrus Krohn, the Republican National Committee's digital strategist during the 2008 election, Todd Herman, his successor at the RNC, and Sally Poliak, a veteran Republican communications strategist in Washington State.

Crowdverb's big idea is to use social media to identify potential supporters for a cause or campaign.

"Our job" Krohn told techPresident last month, "is to sort through data to find the crowds, and then to find out through various tactics what they're willing to do, what we believe they might be willing to do on behalf of a customer, and then with tactics get them to mobilize to take that action."

It sounds like a perfect fit then for Crowdverb to team up with Direct Impact, which has been in the grassroots lobbying business since 1988.

Direct Impact is a subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller, which is itself part of WPP, the world's largest global advertising and marketing company. WPP also acquired Blue State Digital in 2010.

Nicole Cornish, Direct Impact's CEO, said in a blog post that she expects Crowdverb to help Direct Impact better target people in advocacy campaigns.

"Make not mistake; the physical, hyper-local nuances of traditional grassroots have not been lost," she wrote. "But it is no secret that communities are no longer confined by zip code; they are in fact alive and well online -- and most of us belong to at least a few. People have always been at the heart of grassroots communications, and now there is more data, better data, available about the behaviors, interests and motivations that drive a person or group to act."