Blognation seemed to be a great idea when it launched. Get great bloggers from all over the world, under one banner, pay them well and the advertising money will follow the quality content.
Unfortunately, the money part seems to have proven a little problematic.
One of Blognation’s authors, Oliver Starr wrote an open letter to Blognation’s founder, Sam Sethi, on the Blognation US site today where he claimed none of Blognation’s authors have yet been paid. That post has since been deleted off the Blognation US site.
Oliver Starr has since re-posted the open letter on his own blog.
The allegations Oliver makes against Sam are pretty damning. He says, amongst other things:
You made promises that people took to the bank and then you defaulted on them leaving everyone that trusted you to face the consequences. I am not kidding when I say that there are people on Blognation that probably wonâ€™t have a Christmas thanks to believing in you. There are people that are going to be late on car payments and there are people that are going to have to think twice before they go to the dentist because they are out some $10, $20 or even $30,000 dollars of income that they were expecting, for which they HAVE A CONTRACT and for which you have an obligation because you told us that you had the money when in fact you never really did!
He goes on to further add:
thatâ€™s a pretty ugly litany of yours up there; lies, more lies, still more lies, exaggerations, evasiveness, manipulation, usury, fraud even – honestly Sam I think thereâ€™s a good chance that what youâ€™ve done is actually criminal not just pathological and antisocial – perhaps even psychotic behavior. Sorry to have to recount it – I never would have expected that I would have had to write anything like this to you. It goes to show that you just never know people until youâ€™ve been down the road with them a few miles, huh?
Read the entire post – it is long but extremely well written and worth the time.
I was in touch with Sam over Twitter direct message since this broke and he said he was working on his own response. At time of writing I haven’t come across his response. I tried phoning him but the number I have no longer appears valid.
I spoke to Nicole Simon, Germany’s Blognation editor, and she basically confirmed everything Oliver said and Nicole has her own post on the matter up now too. I tried talking to Conor O’Neill, Ireland’s Blognation editor, for his perspective but failed to get him.
If what Oliver says is true, and given that Nicole backs it up, I have no reason to doubt it is, Sam’s reputation is in shreds. The Blognation brand is also in serious difficulty. No investor will touch Blognation now with Sam still involved unless Sam can come back with a seriously credible explanation for these posts.
If Sam cannot explain adequately the accusations against him, Blognation can still be saved, I believe. There is a value in the group of authors Sam gathered, in the material they have written so far, and the material they may yet write. If someone credible can step in and take ownership of Blognation from Sam then not all is lost and the brand and all the work to-date might be saved.
That is a big “if” though!
UPDATE – Sam Sethi has said he is unable to raise funding and he is closing Blognation. As I mentioned in the piece above, there is still a chance that the brand can be saved if a buyer steps in.