Gorp.com was a website that “delivers an informative, entertaining and interactive encyclopedia of places to go and things to do around the world.”.
At its peak in 1999, Gorp.com had 14 editors.
About a year later, the website reached a significant milestone following the launch of GorpTravel.com, an agents-only site that the company could use to give incentives to agents who sold their products.
Search for Gorp.com on the internet today, however, and you will encounter an empty page with the message: This site can’t be reached. What happened to this once-bustling website?” We took the time to find out.
The Story of Gorp.com
Gorp.com was founded in 1995 by Bill Greer and Diane Greer. The two also served as the Company’s Editor-in-Chief and Chief Technology Officer respectively.
When it started, the company was a resource for information on outdoor travel.
Its primary focus was on destinations, products and travel equipment, guides to national tourist sites, camping information, and outdoor activities in major cities.
As a leading online resource, Gorp provided its users with a wide range of information. It leveraged an easy to navigate interface that could be comfortably used by its consumers, who consisted of people from all walks of life.
The September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and other areas in the United States was a blow to many aspects of American life, including its travel industry. Gorp.com was not spared.
Due to the hard times, the company had to let 13 of its editors go; remaining with only one.
The website lost advertisers at a rapid pace.
Apart from having to let its editors go, the online adventure and travel site was forced to cut other positions across the board.
This reduction was a bid to preserve its dwindling resources. With the decrease in staff, the website would soon realize that business could no longer proceed as usual.
A Series of Purchases
In April 2002, ClickZ, the digital marketing community website, announced the acquisition of Gorp.com by Away.com, an adventure and travel site and rival of Gorp.com.
No financial information from the deal was disclosed. However, for both companies, the transaction was a win-win solution for the survival challenges that both were facing at that time.
Travelport Limited would later buy Away.com.
A recent article reports on the impending acquisition of Travelport Limited by Elliott Management, a hedge fund. However, it doesn’t look like Elliott dared to take the risk on its own.
Reports indicate that Elliott had earlier found a partner, but the partner saw Travelport’s books and grew cold feet. It’s possible that the books were not looking good.
However, Elliott was soon able to rope in Siris Capital, a private equity fund, as a partner. While the board at Travelport wanted to sell each share at $20, Elliott and Siris would only pay $15.75 per share.
Travelport’s performance and growth failed to meet the buyer’s expectations. It’s also possible that the books that scared the other investor were weighing Travelport down.
Travelport had other challenges: it had lost several large corporate clients. This situation might have made the company less attractive to potential buyers.
What then happened to Gorp.com?
To answer the question relating to what happened to Gorp.com, we believe that the demise of the site started with the downturn in the tourist industry following the 9/11 attacks.
It then looks like the website was disposed of by its buyer Away.com, which was later bought by Travelport Limited.
After first going offline around March 2002, Gorp.com started redirecting visitors to Away.com. However, it now seems like Gorp.com was eventually lost along with the many acquisitions.
Services to Replace Gorp.com
Now that Gorp.com no longer exists, where can someone looking for services and information on adventure and travel go to? Here are a few sites to fill the gap.
Travel Experience Live: This is a site for consumers seeking information on national parks. This site contains information on the products and equipment that you will need for a visit to the national park. It also contains activities you can do in various places and all other elements involved in visiting a national park, in one pack.
Travel and Leisure: Focuses on national parks in America. This site will give you a list of must-haves during a visit to the park. It presents the information in a list form that is precise and easy to scan through.
The BackPacker: Is an adventure and travel information resource site. Here you will find information on what other travelers are doing.
The website contains the best products and equipment for various destinations, photos, and videos of multiple travel destinations, and general guides for a traveler. Essential for novice travelers, this site will help you plan your trip.
TravelFreak: Are you new in the US and looking for the best adventurous destinations for your vacation? The TravelFreak is a suitable website for travel tips around the country.
The Broke BackPacker: Is the ideal site for hikers traveling on a tight budget. The site gives a detailed guideline on the best hikes in the US. Knowing that there are hundreds of hiking trails in America, the website has gone further to narrow them to the 25 best hikes.