Blognation, the tech blog network, was launched in July by Sam Sethi, a former blogger for TechCrunch and former Microsofter, among other things.
It was always a very ambitious but plausible project - to set up a network of bloggers covering the tech and start-up industries across multiple countries.
Sethi, who fell out with TechCrunch head Mike Arrington and left its UK spin-off, described Blognation as a "go big or go home" project at launch, drawing in some enthusiastic and high-profile bloggers across Europe and the US to work on the project.
But questions started to appear about funding for the site, with speculation that claimed investment did not exist rather than being delayed, as Sethi claims. Writers got nervous. Some spoke out. And now-confirmed arch-enemy Arrington waded in to speculation about the site.
Today, editor of the US site Oliver Starr has posted a 3000+ word rant calling Sethi a liar, saying he owes his writers money and, though Sethi denies this, calls Blognation a scam. He tells Sethi to expect lawsuits and says he turned down a good job at a Valley start-up for Blognation. Starr does not hold back.
And fellow Blognation writer Debi Jones has done the same. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant," she starts off, illustrating her points with Chaucerian charm.
"The story begins with a knight, Sam Sethi, whose noble quest along with fellow bloggers was to create a global perspective on technology news and analysis. This trek was noble though the knight was neither virtuous nor pious as is the recounting of some knight's tales. Au contraire! This knight is a faker and liar of unbounded proportion. Having been ousted from his realm one year ago, his single-minded desire for vengeful legitimacy and avarice drove him to beguile, tempt and seduce the bloggers to undertake the doomed trek that has been Blognation to date."
So I spoke to Sam Sethi just now. He told me that he sacked Oliver two months ago and that he therefore hasn't been party to discussion and updates on the Blognation back channel that say funding has slipped back, but is on its way.
He gave me the name of the investor and said money is due to come through on December 10th.
"Anyone raising money knows that it takes time, and it can be a horrible business. It has taken four months to grow this idea to a brand. Every editor has a contract and has the right to sue me, but there are nine editors on the backchannel that are aware of what is happening with the funding.
"At the end of the day, the two points are that he said he hasn't been paid and that I lied. It is true that the editors haven't been paid, bar some goodwill payments, but I haven't lied about funding. "
He said that he took out a loan to make goodwill payments to some editors, and that Oliver "kicked up a stink" because he didn't get one.
"It will be closed and the term sheets will be signed on December 10. Everyone will be paid straight away."
Risky business, that blog world. You put your reputation on the line. It will be interesting to see how the site recovers from these attacks on his credibility coming, as they do, from well-respected writers.
Source: Blognation, owstarr.com
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