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Jarndyce And Jarndyce

Jarndyce And Jarndyce

For those of you who do not already know, I come from a family full of lawyers.

In fact, one of the reasons I didn’t become a lawyer myself was because I was concerned that if I had, the earth might have swallowed up inside of itself from the ego vacuum that would have been created by such a happening over an already ego-heavy area like Southern California.

Therefore, when MyFormerAdNetwork breached its contract with me two weeks ago, I did not speed-dial Gloria Allred (or somebody like her) in search of a quick payday, as some of you might have surmised, based on the lovely graphic provided by ShePosts.com.

Rather, I asked somebody in my family to dash off a quick email to them to protect my rights.

And I have a feeling that, had you been in my shoes, and you had your ads taken away without cause and for fraudulent reasons — as you all witnessed occur two weeks ago — you would have done the same.

Nevertheless, to clear up the confusion, the email that was sent on my behalf is pasted below (minus any names of affected parties except for myself). Please note that it was written by email, rather than through cutting out letters from magazines and pasting them onto a piece of paper with rubber cement.

Please be advised I represent Ms. Anna Viele as well as ABDPBT.com. I have been closely following the course of events over the last few weeks. Without arguing the merits of your numerous and egregious misrepresentations and actions during that time, I am now forced to respond to your termination of my client from the network.

You terminated because you think Anna misrepresented her numbers. In fact, what she stated was that those numbers were a “Case Study”. There was no representation that the numbers were hers. In fact, the numbers she used were absolutely accurate and we can prove it. As such, you terminated her in knowing violation of the terms and conditions of your contract with her. This was done, clearly, in bad faith.

We are in the processes of compiling many, many case studies. Your faithful members are knocking down the doors with their numbers, some on the record and some off the record. Clearly you did not enjoy or endorse ABDPBT’s recent “how to” series empowering bloggers to generate their own ad revenue and monetizing their blogs beyond the purview of your monolithic enterprise and “service”. You wanted to disassociate yourself from one of the most popular bloggers because she was showing your members and your potential members how to live and earn and prosper without you. You then created a series of bogus, bad faith excuses to at first suspend and now to terminate her from your service as a measure of your dissatisfaction with her speaking out monetizing mommy blogs. Shame on you!

Everyone knows the effect your signing up PW has had on their own situations. What they do not know, and what is becoming readily apparent, is that you are operating in bad faith and fraudulently under the terms of your agreements with them. I wonder if you will be able to still call it a “network” when all you have left is PW?

To wit, and in any event, we are in the process of preparing a massive lawsuit against you alleging, among other things: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) fraud; and (4) intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.

This is about business as far as I am concerned. As such, my client is willing to settle this matter and quietly move on with her blog and herself. The price is $150,000. This offer shall expire upon close of business, PST, Friday April 30, 2010. My client is willing to settle for so little to simply buy herself peace and move on. Our mathematicians have come up with some very interesting conclusions about your business both before and after PW came on board. If you want to fight this then let’s go ahead and do so. It should be very interesting. I am looking forward to looking at your books and your contracts which, I am confident, will help confirm the hundreds of reports we already received from your subscribers. My guess is that at the end of the day Anna will either own your company or your company will no longer exist. How this plays out is your decision.

I look forward to your response.

Please note, in particular, that there is no mention of me ever, under any circumstances, discontinuing the writing of my posts about advertising inventory tiers in the BlogHer advertising network.

This is because I would never, ever, under any circumstances, have made such an offer. I would never have put a price on my posts.

This is in direct contrast to the allegation made by Elisa Camahort-Page, Co-Founder and current manager of events, marketing and corporate operation of MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork, and as reported by Esther Brady Crawford of ShePosts.com on May 1, 2010, who claimed that the offer of $150,000 was to “stop the posts,” and which has since been picked up and run with by the Internet At Large.

I’m guessing that — if Elisa indeed did say this, and it is not a misquote — she probably did so because the attorney was simply hired to write a letter and is not formally on retainer, and therefore did not actually explain my email to MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork’s executives at length, so they did not understand my offer and what it actually covered. Therefore the executives at MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork attached the settlement offer to what they most wanted most in the world to have happen, which was to have my posts stop appearing.

Which is actually kind of interesting, now that I think about it.

Because if the attorney had been on retainer, he would have explained to her what my letter actually said: viz., you will avoid a lawsuit that is actually worth a lot more than $150,000 because it will expose a business model that is fraudulent, a contract that is made in bad faith with all of your publishers because it does not treat them fairly, and exposure at a national level to class action lawsuits, bad publicity, termination of relationships with advertisers, et cetera.

I’m guessing that about Elisa’s quote because I am a generous person. If I were an ungenerous person — or if I were my attorney/my family member I would allege that Elisa’s quote is just another example of MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork’s dishonest business practices and their ongoing effort to smear my name with the community. Indeed, that is precisely what has occurred over the past few days as a result of that quote.

Click on each to read the full text, redacted only for the names and addresses of attorneys. Enjoy.

Page One

Page Two

For those of you not wanting to wade through the legalese, there are two salient points to get from perusing their attorney’s letter, viz.:

  1. That MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork’s own attorney was under no misconception about the terms of my settlement offer governing a breach of contract claim ONLY; that the settlement offer had nothing to do with writing or not writing of posts; and
  2. That my contract with MyFormerAdvertisingNetwork was terminated under false pretenses, viz. ostensibly because I published false statistics regarding my own traffic stats by tweeting about a blogger case study, when in fact I was tweeting about another blogger’s statistics which were completely accurate and, what’s more, completely verifiable, and so my claim for wrongful termination is not only a viable claim but in fact something easily proven in a court of law.

Comments (60)

  1. hannah
    May 4, 2010

    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV— but I can see how parts of that that last paragraph “quietly move on with her blog and herself,” “Our mathematicians have come up with some very interesting conclusions about your business both before and after PW came on board. If you want to fight this then let’s go ahead and do so”– could be interpreted by a layperson to mean a)if you got the money you’d stop blogging about BlogHer and b)if you didn’t get the money you’d continue the posts. I mean, I can see that you’re saying it would be the lawsuit that would bring it all out in the open, but I can also see how reading the letter leaves that open to interpretation. (Maybe it doesn’t, legally. But that’s how it came across to me.)

  2. Alison
    May 4, 2010

    Hmmm. The letter from your lawyer is not a good legal letter. Don’t continue using this same lawyer. (“Massive” lawsuit? And the snide digs. Unprofessional. Not what you want in a lawyer.) Good luck — I can’t pretend to understand all the nuances here, but I do know that you’re awesome.

  3. May 4, 2010

    I have nothing of value to say, I am just boogled by all this. Funny thing is I find myself checking Blogher each day thinking maybe they will say something, anything, and granted with lawyers I know they won’t….. but a girl can dream.
    Dollar amounts usually are for people to take notice and if that was in fact Elisha reaction she seemed to take notice.

  4. May 4, 2010

    Not to say there isn’t a point to be made with all of this mess, but this is *completely* bizarre: “My guess is that at the end of the day Anna will either own your company or your company will no longer exist. How this plays out is your decision.”

    This can’t have been written by a lawyer. I don’t know shit about law, but I know that much. Cringing. Sorry.

  5. Sara
    May 4, 2010

    I have to agree with the above comments.

    However, I also agree that you were wrongfully terminated and hope you move forward with the lawsuit. All the best!

  6. Danielle
    May 4, 2010

    I’m sorry. I’ve been following this blog series and while at first I was riveted by what seemed like a good David and Goliath smack down, you know, little blogger against big corporation, this has turned into a train wreck.

    If anyone had sent me a letter stating to “settle this matter and quietly move on with her blog and herself. The price is $150,000”, I’d look over my shoulder and wonder what bush my extorter was hiding in. If this was a true letter to start a settlement claim, I’d have actually used more professional and legal terms.

    Perhaps, if you are serious about this, you need to look into hiring a real lawyer. One that doesn’t leave bizarre threats at the bottom of their letters. The lack of professionalism is just, well, unsettling.

    Good luck to you Anna and I hope you come out of this relatively unscathed.

  7. Charlie
    May 4, 2010

    I have long considered myself an expert, nay artist, at resentment. Snide barbs, snarky asides, eviscerating remarks are the colors on my palette. Add to that 23 years as a writer and 15 years sober, and I think I’ve built a solid enough resume to say that your letter sounds more like the vengeful manifesto of a super villain than the words of an attorney.

    I don’t know the specifics of your case, so I cannot say whom, if anyone, was wronged in your dispute. My comments are those of a writer who’s learned (sometimes the hard way) about restraint of pen and tongue.

    Best of luck in whatever direction you choose.

  8. Heather
    May 4, 2010

    I am struggling here. I don’t see how this letter could have helped your claim against BlogHer, or how making it public would be of benefit to your image as it doesn’t clearly correct the accusations being made against you.

    I understand that the money was being asked for as a settlement for breach of contract, but when you couple that with the numerous threats of exposing the company’s ad revenue schemes if they don’t comply, it sounds as though what you’re really asking for is hush money. That’s how I read it, so I can see how the people at BlogHer could have read it similarly.

    This whole situation has left me very sad and disappointed.

  9. David
    May 5, 2010

    That is the kind of letter you send when you want somebody who is not a lawyer
    to think they need to get a lawyer.

    Looks like it worked on all of you. Ha!

  10. May 5, 2010

    The letter does not govern my posts: this was my specific direction to my attorney, and it is clearly understood by their attorney.

  11. May 5, 2010

    The letter does not govern my posts: this was my specific direction to my attorney, and it is clearly understood by their attorney.

    I’m sorry that you’re disappointed that . . . I’m not sure? I’m not the type of person to not sue for breach of contract? But yes. I’m not that kind of person. I am somebody who would sue for breach of contract. Sorry.

  12. May 5, 2010

    Thank you, Susan. You seem to understand the point of the letter!

  13. Alison
    May 5, 2010

    Like Heather, I’m struggling and disappointed — because I love your writing and think you’re great, and supported you in your fight even though I still don’t understand the details of it. The letter from your lawyer though is so unprofessional, immature and snide. It doesn’t sound like it was written by a lawyer, even, certainly not a skilled or persuasive one. It’s embarrassing to read, even for someone like me who’s predisposed to love you. It’s disappointing because it casts your side in a new light, and I think that’s what Heather was trying to say. That lawyer did you a real disservice, and I think you’re probably too close to the situation to realize how awful it was.

  14. May 5, 2010

    Oh no! I’m aware the lawyer’s letter sounds douchey (to no offense to the person in my family who wrote it, and to whom I told as much), what maybe not everybody understands is how much of this kind of stuff requires this kind of douchey stuff on occasion to get stuff done. THIS right here, is why I didn’t want to EVER talk about lawyers, and I made that misstep when, in a fit of emotion, I talked about their lawyer’s letter, and I never, ever should have done that, that was a huge misstep on my part because once I had done that there was no going back.

    The problem is, I know the lawyer letter is douchey, I maintain it is not an extortion attempt. It is a letter designed to ellicit a response out of a layperson. That’s why you all are responding like this. We needed a response and we got it.

    I’m sorry that I’m not meeting the idea of me that you had built up. But the bottom line is that a corporation with shady business practices screwed me over. And they are continuing to do that to other people. By continuing to pay attention to a side issue like this . . . I mean.

    You know, maybe you’re right. Maybe this all happened for a reason. Maybe this is weeding.

  15. Alison
    May 5, 2010

    I’ve had a fair amount of my own experience with lawyers, and I’ve never found that you need to send a letter like this to get a response. A threatening letter, sure. But this letter doesn’t even sound like it was written by a lawyer. To the point that I’m sure it made them take you less seriously and probably prompted them to write you off as crazy/inept, and I’m worried that it’s harming your credibility with people who assumed you were right (like me). Whoever told you that this is the kind of letter you needed to send to get their attention really did you a disservice — it’s just not. Lawyers get companies’ attention every day with professional-sounding, mature letters. The thinking that something so snide and unprofessional was required is baffling to me.

    Please know that I write this as someone basically on your side. But I think you’re missing the impression this letter is giving people, and defending it is making it worse.

  16. Alison
    May 5, 2010

    I should add: I agree with you that it’s not an extortion attempt. That’s not the problem with it.

  17. May 5, 2010

    I’m not disappointed, as I never viewed you as conquering hero. But, I am perplexed. What I appreciate about your viewpoints and writing is that both are clear, well-constructed, and contain arguments backed up by fact (or at least fact-based opinion). In short, your posts read like they are written by someone with an academic background. This letter reads like it was written by a garden-variety internet reactionary. Which…isn’t effective. Ever. Even on a “layperson” (which BlogHer folks are not. They are business people). So I don’t understand why you would want this sent on your behalf.

    I don’t think this invalidates your arguments against the BlogHer Network, the discussion of tiers, or the argument that bloggers who work with BlogHer may wantt o consider alternatives. But you have often written persuasively about perception on the internet differing from reality and you’ve been quite scornful of botched PR efforts in the past. Yet, here you are. Botching away.

    So, yeah. Color me as confused as everyone else.

  18. May 5, 2010

    I’m a little surprised at the responses. I was in HR so I’ve received lots of letters from attorneys too, and this one isn’t really out of line with the others I’ve gotten. Perhaps I’ve had more than my share of vengeful super villains or something.

    Whatever the tone, it’s clearly about the contract. I think that’s pretty clear to even a layperson.

    It’s a shame we’re talking about who was the bigger meanie instead of the issue at hand.

  19. May 5, 2010

    OK, so if I said it sounded a bit douchey, and it’s not an extortion attempt, then what is the problem? The fact that it was written at all?

    I mean . . . I’m not quite getting what it is you want me to say.

    The letter does not govern my posts. It was written to get a response. I was wrongly terminated. If you don’t think I should sue BlogHer, you’re entitled to that opinion. If you don’t want to read here, you’re also entitled to stop reading. But . . . eh, I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry people are disappointed by a letter that I didn’t write?

  20. May 5, 2010

    OMG. People. I never should have mentioned lawyers. I don’t want to be an apologist for lawyers or this letter or whatever, OK? If you hate this letter and you cannot reconcile ever reading me again because this letter was sent on my behalf, then OK, that’s your prerogative. It’s probably best we part ways now.

  21. May 5, 2010

    I”m also guessing, Kerry, that they didn’t even read the BlogHer attorney’s letter, because that letter is pretty fucking bad, even if it’s written in more legalese language. They accuse me of libel, which is totally false. But because it’s cleaned up, it goes over everybody’s head and seems OK.

  22. Alison
    May 5, 2010

    Anna, you wrote: “OK, so if I said it sounded a bit douchey, and it’s not an extortion attempt, then what is the problem? The fact that it was written at all?”

    It’s what Alias Mother said above, the fact that you would allow this particular letter to be sent on your behalf. It sounds like the rantings of a crazy person. It harms your credibility, and no, it wasn’t necessary for it to sound that way.

    You’ve responded to criticism here with comments about “weeding out” and “it’s best that we part ways.” That’s not helping either. We all make errors in judgment sometimes, but you’re digging in your heels, putting up a wall, and just saying “go away then.”

    I’ll stop the back and forth now, but I think you are too close to the situation to see clearly right now, and your emotions are coloring your reactions in a way that isn’t helping you and which you’ll probably look back on and regret. (I know that feeling well.)

  23. hannah
    May 5, 2010

    I just wish it had been less douchey. And maybe included the reasoning for the $150,000 figure, which (again, to me, not knowing any of the specifics of whether that’s remotely in line with what you could have expected to earn from BlogHer, sounds like a punitive figure, and again, to me, possibly an overly high one.) I don’t think their letter was great, either, but their lawyer’s tone was better- which, again, to the layperson, is easier to swallow.

    Maybe I have a high minded view of lawyers being all cool, collected, and analytical (I’m not related to any, I just watch a lot of Law and Order), but I think threatening to own their company went beyond attention-getting. I am still going to read you, I like you, etc etc– I just didn’t like the letter. I guess I think that while you can and maybe should sue for breach of contract, on the other hand you were highly dissatisfied with BlogHer so was it that big of a loss?

    That said, I admire your full disclosure on this, and hope that there’s not going to be a Letter Litmus Test required to keep reading.

  24. May 5, 2010

    Actually, I have Asperger’s, so no worries about my emotions clouding my reactions to anything, Alison.

  25. May 5, 2010

    Sorry Kerry, I disagree. I read (or used to read, since I quit my job last week) a lot of letters like this from attorneys (to a federal agency no less). It’s true that the ultimate result ends up coming down to the law, not the tone of the legal correspondance. However, I consider it unprofessional and unnecessary and it almost always prejudiced my client against settling, formal arbitration or even information meetings to discuss the situation. Anyway, the only reaction it ever gained from me was a massive roll-eyes, after which I’d move on to trying to figure out the cause of action. Sometimes the claims had merit, sometimes they didn’t-but it almost always made my job harder.

    Anna, I’m gently suggesting that it is a really bad idea to be posting this correspondance, whether or not your attorney approved it. Legal posturing is legal posturing and difficult for the lay person to understand. Moreover, you’re close to the case and it’s clearly upsetting you-just as your lawyer made claims regarding breach of contract, their attorney will look to the contract you signed and aggressively defend them. Blogher and its employees making claims about you on Twitter etc. looked bad for them. Talking about this stuff publically does not bode well for you.

  26. May 5, 2010

    I agree, I just felt like I didn’t have a choice because people thought I was trying to extort BlogHer, and there was no way to prove I wasn’t absent posting the actual correspondence. I knew when I did that it would be a mixed bag of responses. I knew not everybody would respond well.

  27. May 5, 2010

    I think everyone has overlooked something here, in all the “oh, I’m so disappointed in Anna” head-shaking. She was terminated from her blog’s main revenue source for posting about hypothetical ad figures. Posted. Hypothetical. She was cut off because of what she WROTE. Doesn’t we all get that part? It could happen to any one of us, and I really ask everyone to think about how you’d react if your blog’s income stream was cut off, summarily, for something you wrote. The cries of censorship would be deafening.

    Also, at that point, Anna was just spinning theoretical numbers, trying to figure out if and in what way BlogHer’s adding of PW was affecting everyone else. That means you and you and you and me. So, backing up, 1. Bloggers under contract with BlogHer can’t write about someone else’s ad deal? and 2. We can’t even discuss our own, publicly? How can this be legal, to fire her for asking questions?

    Put aside if you think she “should” be doing this or whether she’s even on to something here. Maybe BlogHer’s deal with PW doesn’t mean anything for the rest of us. (However, the data seems to be there.) She questioned it, publicly, and was hit with accusations of libel. That worries me about what kind of company most of us are aligned with. Is it simply that they’re still a little green as a corporation or are they truly arbitrary and fraudulent? Regardless of what you think of Anna, ISN’T THIS WORTH CHECKING OUT?

    I don’t need to get into whether Anna handled everything to my satisfaction. There were emotions and personalities and lots of harsh words, and I defy any of us to keep a cool head in the face of that. I don’t think my opinion is important enough to weigh in here with my, “Well, Anna, I think you shouldn’t have done X.” Anna’s a friend and she has legitimate concerns and has done considerable research to back them up. Just like my real-life human outside-the-computer friends, they don’t have to conduct themselves according to my impeccable standards to retain my support.

    About the letter … What everyone is forgetting is WHY lawyers are retained in the first place and WHY lawyers on the whole have the reputation they have. You’re hiring (or, in this case, enlisting a family member) someone to do your dirty work. You’re hiring a BAD GUY so you don’t have to be. The tone of the letter is designed to get a response. Do I agree with it? What the hell do I know? I didn’t go to law school. But if I needed a lawyer to draft a letter, I would hope there would be things in it that I hadn’t thought of, said in a way that got me some results. Once you’re even talking lawyers, things have disintegrated, so, really, is civility really a priority anymore?

    I think we’re so far from the important points here that it’s devolved into a nasty, hurtful mess, all directed at one person. You don’t have to agree with everything Anna’s written, but maybe instead showing off our powers of pointed criticism at every single twist of this evolving story we give a gal a tiny break.

  28. May 5, 2010

    You have perfectly expressed exactly how I feel. Exactly.

  29. May 5, 2010

    “Doesn’t we”? DOESN’T WE? Jeeezus. Good thing I don’t draft legal documents for a living. Or write blogs … uh … or produce news Web sites …. eeeek. *slinks off, wondering if Dairy Queen is hiring*

  30. hannah
    May 5, 2010

    No, I think most of us commenting here do wonder whether BlogHer’s compensation rates are fair or arbitrary, and wonder why questioning that got such a draconian response. I don’t know that we’re going to get the answer here, but I do think it’s a question worth asking. I think the point of the comments on this post is that Anna’s personal relationship and bad blood with BlogHer are going to make it hard for her to be the person to get to those answers, and probably WILL make a lot of people ignore the questions since she is the one asking. (Which, I think, is why she wanted this to get picked up and researched by someone else from the very beginning.)

  31. May 5, 2010

    Perhaps you’re right. Maybe Anna won’t be the one who gets the answers. Maybe this is the right time for others to pick up the story and run with it. And those others are …?

  32. Susan Tiner
    May 5, 2010

    Eliz, thank you. Now I don’t have to spend time figuring out how to write down the thoughts making my head explode right. I am GOBSMACKED by the responses. Anna, your lawyer doesn’t mess around. Is he or she available for hire?

  33. May 5, 2010

    Yes! Yes, please! Somebody else start asking! Right now.

  34. May 5, 2010

    Susan, he is. He is kind of expensive but I might be able to get you a deal.

  35. May 5, 2010

    Here’s another thought: I’m wondering if the emotion here isn’t personal. Anna has a practice of involving her readers in her business ventures. Whether it’s searching for product placement or creating a media kit, she has always alerted her readers ahead of time and made them part of the process, asking for advice and input.

    So then we all read on ShePosts that not only does she have an attorney, but that she has asked for a $150k settlement. *Without asking us first!* Could some of this be based on a sense of betrayal, in a way? The feeling that we don’t really know her? Obviously I’m not talking about the tone of the letter or anything specific at all. I’m just wondering if Anna is now suffering from expectations her readers had of her.

  36. May 5, 2010

    Oooh! Eliz, I think you might be right. I have been trying to figure it out. Because like I said, I admit the doucheyness of the letter, I admit that there’s a reason for that Henry the Sixth quote about killing all the lawyers etc., but I still couldn’t figure this out, but that might be it. I didn’t include people in this decision. I just said “we are handling this on the one hand,” in a comment, and didn’t go into specifics. I think you might be onto something.

  37. Susan Tiner
    May 5, 2010

    Eliz, you may be right, but if so people just need to suck it up. It’s totally inappropriate to have those kinds of expectations.

  38. hannah
    May 5, 2010

    Oh, I think that is a big part of it! One thing I like about Anna, and why I started reading her (which was fairly recently), was that she was upfront about what she was doing, and how she was trying to grow her blog, and asking for feedback for the media kit, etc. I don’t know that I will ever go down the route of monetizing my own blogs, but I liked reading about how she was doing it. The fact that this came as a surprise did feel out of “character.”

  39. May 5, 2010

    Since Eliz covered a lot of the points I wanted to make (but better than I would have made them, probably), I’ll make this quick: what we’re all responding to here is an unexpected tone of voice. The letter does not read like what we know Anna to be.

    There are two reasons for this: 1) Anna didn’t write it. 2) It is a common (and acceptable) argumentative strategy to “switch it up.” If one tactic doesn’t work, you try another. Calm, collected, and articulate only gets you so far before you have to try something else.

    And as for the 150K, BlogHer isn’t a nice old man with an apple cart. It’s a corporation. Asking for 150K in a wrongful termination suit is the equivalent of asking for a box of candy or a pat on the head. It’s more symbolic than actual, but it’s also reasonable if we’re talking lost potential revenue.

  40. May 5, 2010

    Okay, you’ve heard enough about the badly written letter. Let’s move along.

    I just want to say that things like this make me soooo glad that my blog is too small and insignificant to catch the eye of BlogHer or any other corporate entity. Another thing, I’m sorry you got caught up in the whole BlogHer thing to begin with. It has always seemed a bit too egomaniacal and shyster-like for me but maybe that’s my 60s childhood showing.

  41. Sara
    May 5, 2010

    This might be true for some, but for me personally I felt pretty confident that Anna was going to pursue a lawsuit from the beginning. There were comments made on twitter and in the comments section to the effect of … if they want me to sue then we can go that route, as well as the comment Anna just mentioned. I wasn’t surprised by the lawsuit, or the settlement offer, and therefore don’t feel betrayed. I suppose that my reaction to the letter has less to do with my expectations from Anna (of which I have none, really) and more to do with my imagined expectations of lawyers, which, as someone else mentioned, are routed in old Law and Order episodes.

    I’ll hush now.

  42. May 5, 2010

    I’m glad that we have a site covering news in the mommy blogosphere now though to pick up where I left off, in that case. Maybe they can push this issue and get some real answers.

  43. Heather
    May 5, 2010

    Look, Anna has no obligation to live up to my (or anyone else’s) expectations. But the water was muddied for me when she misconstrued their response to her, when in light of her attorney’s earlier correspondence, their response was completely warranted and routine.

    The problem I have is that I believed, up until this point, that (on this issue and several others in the past) Anna was on the side of the truth – and unpopular in some circles because of her willingness to stick her neck out and tell it.

    I’ve defended her to others, believing she was telling us the whole story. But she wasn’t. Seeing this letter, no wonder they wrote the response that they did – whether they are guilty or not. And no wonder a layperson at BlogHer took this to mean that the posts would stop if they just settled the matter. I completely believe Anna when she says that legally that’s not what her attorney was saying, but it sure sounded like that was what was being implied to me, as someone (college educated, yes) without a law degree.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think BlogHer has a TON of explaining to do regarding the evidence she’s put forward. There are many questions that they should be forced to answer. I think she’s right about what she alleges they did. She WAS wrongfully terminated, if that termination was based on the “case study” stats that she tweeted about, and not the additional things they claim. She has a right to sue them, too.

    Anna, I’m sorry that you are getting a “weeding out” attitude about readers if they don’t agree with the way you’ve handled things. I’m not one of those people who is upset you didn’t include your readers in this decision – you don’t need our permission – I just wish you had been forthcoming with all the facts instead to leaving large, important parts out.

    Particularly in light of your tweets talking about how everyone has abandoned you on this fight, which is a fight for all of us – how can we publicly defend you if you aren’t straight with us and, as it turns out, you’ve been spinning the issue? It makes me wonder what to believe. And that is, yes, disappointing.

  44. May 5, 2010

    Eliz, I think you’re dead on.

    I’ve watched a lot of Law and Order too, but I’ve never met an attorney in real life who resembled the ones on that show.

    I’ve also disliked almost every attorney I’ve ever met…except the ones who were on my side. I liked nearly all of those.

    Everyone hates attorneys until they get screwed by somebody. Then they want the biggest asshole lawyer they can find.

  45. Susan Tiner
    May 5, 2010

    An accusation of libel is hardly warranted and routine.

    And one person can never tell the “whole” story if what you mean by whole is presenting each point of view perfectly as if you held that view yourself. One person can tell one story from their own point of view, however imperfect.

    Anna already said she sensationalized their letter, that she shouldn’t have posted about it. The point here is not how imperfect Anna is in handling a situation in which she’s getting royally screwed. It’s time to stop beating a dead horse.

  46. Alison
    May 5, 2010

    I don’t feel like I know Anna or that I expect her to involve her readers in her decisions (!). There’s no sense of “betrayal” — that’s just weird to allege (or maybe I don’t read her enough to understand why that would be alleged, although I read pretty regulary). The issue is solely (to me) that she let an incredibly unprofessional, immature letter go out on her behalf and then, rather than acknowledging it when it was pointed out and saying “yeah, okay, we misstepped, we were worked up,” she has instead defended it by saying you “have to” do that to get their attention, which isn’t in any way true. And insisting it’s true has made it much, much weirder.

    I think it’s reasonable that Anna is taking legal action and that she asked for a settlement. But I do not think it’s in any way credibility-enhancing to send letters that make ridiculous, wild-eyed statements and sound like they were written by a teenager’s idea of a lawyer. (And I know and like lawyers and have used them myself.)

    For me, I haven’t really known whether or not to believe BlogHer. But I have long thought Anna’s writings were smart and logical and sane, and so when there were reasonable-sounding arguments on both sides, my default was to assume Anna was the one who was right. Seeing this ridiculous correspondence, though, has made me question that, and that’s why I’ve said it’s done her a disservice.

    It’s Anna’s fight to fight the way she wants. But when she posts a letter like that and tells people to “enjoy,” of course some people are going to point out how crazy it was.

  47. Heather
    May 5, 2010

    Fair enough, Susan.

  48. kathy
    May 5, 2010

    So, just out of curiosity, how many mathematicians do you employ? I know some who need jobs 😉

  49. May 5, 2010

    What Heather and Alison said.

    I have truly appreciated Anna’s posts on monetizing blogs.

    I didn’t comment up until now because others made the points I would have and I don’t like pile-ons.

    That said, I will have a really hard time taking Anna seriously after this.

    And, full disclosure: I don’t use BlogHer and have no inclination to.

  50. May 5, 2010

    Come on, nobody’s going to bite on that one?

  51. May 5, 2010

    I haven’t even begun disappointing you.

  52. May 5, 2010

    Thank you, Eliz, for this. Thank YOU SO MUCH.

  53. May 5, 2010

    Yeah, I was wondering about that too, “This isn’t what I expected of you.” Uh, yeah. I didn’t write it . . . ?

  54. May 6, 2010

    I can’t, because I’m busy writing a headline and then also photoshopping that same headline onto an inappropriate photo right underneath it.

    These things take time.

  55. May 6, 2010

    Speaking for myself, this has nothing to do with personal disappointment. It’s about the credibility of an information source.

  56. May 6, 2010

    does the picture include the ace of spades stuck into a lemon (WTF?!)

  57. May 6, 2010

    OK. Well, yeah, I guess I’m saying that I’m not credible as a completely disinterested journalistic source of information 100% of the time, yes. I don’t have an editor, I don’t have journalistic training, and I have emotional reactions on occasion. But when I say here’s what happened at a conference, it’s still my best stab at telling you the “truth.” So, you know. That may be the only version of “the truth” of that kind of thing you’re going to be able to get, absent going to the conference yourself and reporting on it yourself.

  58. May 6, 2010

    No one is asking you to be “a completely disinterested journalistic source of information 100% of the time.” Nor is anyone asking that you not have “emotional reactions on occasion.”

    It was clear from the beginning that you were personally involved in this story and that’s fine.

    Journalists tell their personal, emotional stories all the time, but, in so doing, they are expected to reveal their conflicts of interest, especially the big honking ones.

    That enables the rest of us to evaluate the journalist’s “truths” and decide if they jibe with ours.

    My evaluation changed once I learned that things weren’t at all how they were initially portrayed, not because you were emotional or had a distinct POV.

    It seems there are a lot of straw men being punched down.

  59. May 6, 2010

    OK. I’m not sure that I agree that things are “not at all what they appeared to be at the beginning.” I still don’t think that is true. But you can disagree with me. I’m not sure why you’re reading this if you think that is true, because it means you think I completely lied and am completely lying right now.

  60. May 6, 2010

    I’m reading this because I read people I disagree with. I even like people who I disagree with.

    Do I think you completely lied? A lie by omission, yes.

    Do I think you are “completely lying right now?” No, I think you’re trying to come to terms with people’s reactions to what happened and you’re attributing a whole lot of emotions to them that they don’t actually have, as is pointed out in the comments section of your most recent post.

    I don’t share your interpretation of events, but I’m sure lots of people don’t share my interpretation either.

    And, as I said earlier, I don’t want to pile on. Nor do I want to come off as an unbearable prig so I had better stop now, but I’ll keep reading.

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