The meltdown of the Valley's worst video network

A failed side project, dubious funding, and an inconvenient employee gets scrubbed from the site in this story about the meltdown of one of the Bay Area's most-known tech video networks. (I'm not chronicling the death of PodTech out of glee for sticking it to the man, but because the company has broken its promises to the community that tried so hard to make it work, and because its founder John Furrier has shown blatant disregard for the truth and for his employees in his crass race to inflate PodTech's value and sell off the doomed company. Okay, also a little glee.)

  • The spoils of failure: PodTech is announcing that they recently secured new funding. Not exactly. What I hear is that PodTech partner National Banana is shutting down. Comedy writer Jerry Zucker is abandoning the site to work on film projects. As a result, some funding that went to this unfunny video site is now going to PodTech.
  • Loren Feldman erased: PodTech show host Loren Feldman has long been an oasis of raw, offensive refreshment in the network's sea of boring interview pieces. He also gave me what-for when I slammed PodTech. So why has this company man been scrubbed not only from the front page, but also the archives? One rumor is that sponsor Seagate took offense at his style (for instance, his video about me calls me a hooker and participates in a comment thread about me, uh, servicing men) and ordered PodTech to erase him. But you can still find Feldman in a search. [While Loren was scrubbed from the front page, it turns out he's still in a back section. See the comments for an update.]
  • And by "yours" we mean "ours": Founder Furrier announced yesterday that PodTech's annual "Vloggies" awards ceremony for videobloggers will be "open" this year. He reprints a public message he sent to "Ken Nichols" (that would be Kent Nichols, co-creator of the Ask a Ninja video series, who had already corrected Furrier about his name that morning). What Furrier doesn't reprint is a long argument in the videoblogger Yahoo group; Kent had discovered that PodTech registered "Vloggies" as a trademark shortly before firing Irina Slutsky, a videoblogger who organized and hosted the first Vloggies ceremony in 2006. So by "open," Furrier means he's "open" to someone else footing the bill.
  • Those who don't get fired, quit: It's rumored that one PodTech correspondent, Matt Kelly, is frustrated with the site and pitching his work elsewhere.
  • It wasn't about the money: After over four months of nagging and public argument, photographer Lan Bui has finally gotten PodTech to pay for the photo PodTech stole from him for a kiosk display.
  • And for him, that's before breakfast: Where does Furrier find the time to blog and argue with his many malcontents? Lord knows he's not working all day. One videoblogging team says Furrier managed to miss four conference calls.
  • A kick to the privates: PodTech's next move is privacy; the company is trying to organize some seminars since they've heard privacy is the Next Big Topic. Word is they want Google involved; what's the over-under on that happening?