Over to our sister agency, Miserable…
Interesting story filed by John Oates over at El Reg this afternoon about goings on at business networking site Ecademy…the one whose “cause is to build the world’s premier Trusted Network.”
Oates tells the story of how “seventeen members of Ecademy…have had their accounts suspended following a row on the company's messageboard. One member was banned for using the word "shit" while others were banned for posting messages in a thread which questioned the original decision. One member was even banned for making rude remarks on a different website.”
There’s some back and forth between Ecademy management and Ecademy members... accusations, denials…the usual.
Now, Ecademy boasts that profiles appear high in Google rankings and members are encouraged to use profiles to advertise their businesses. Consequently several of the banned members - including a number of successful business people - responded with threats of legal action for defamation of character and libel when their accounts were blocked without warning and they were accused of using false identities.
Ecademy issued a series of retractions - claiming that members' accounts were merely 'suspended' and that members had not been 'banned'…although the message "This member has been banned" appeared prominently on the website in place of their profiles for some time.
Ecademy management were recently reported in the Telegraph to be looking to sell their company for up to £20m. Ex-members suspect that in the light of this article, Ecademy management were seeking to remove anybody likely to criticise either their policies or their claims regarding membership numbers. The management unsurprisingly denies this.
According to The Register, management have appointed a "psychosexual therapist" as a mediator, but he's busy until December 1st. Oddly - or not - those banned were less than chuffed that they would have to wait more than three weeks for a resolution. In the meantime, they continue to pay Ecademy for membership.
Interestingly, Ecademy does have a PR representative in Jenny Rose…who is no doubt dusting off her bluffer’s guide to crisis management. Still, she seems an optimistic sort...her company’s called Happy PR.
Time for a rebrand?