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janecroppedsmall-thumb As part of a group of writers who were unceremoniously ousted from our b5media entertainment blogs in February, I’ve kept fairly mum on the subject up until now. But now that I’ve had some time to absorb the news and move on, I have a few things to say.

As the sole blogger at the network’s movie blog, Film Gecko (.com), I was blessed to be part of a group of smart, independent, and strong bloggers, always willing to learn new things and support each other however we could.

Our regular group chats were fun and lively, full of great information, with everyone adding input to create the best blogs possible. We didn’t just blog on our particular topics; we networked and reached out to other bloggers in our niche. We built relationships with publicists and industry experts. You couldn’t find a better, more connected group of bloggers anywhere on the Web.

But we weren’t immune to the fact that things come and go; that’s how life is sometimes. You suck it up and move on. So the fact that b5media and CEO Elaine Kunda terminated our contracts with no warning and locked us out of our blogs showed a considerable lack of understanding of who we are. Sure, we would have been hurt and sad for a time, but if they had let us know ahead of time, we would have wrapped things up, told our readers the news, and moved on. Because that’s who we are.

The way in which b5media terminated our blogs was disrespectful and showed very poor judgment. And to be building their “new” entertainment site (Crushable) behind our backs while we knew nothing about it? Unthinkable. If they were forced to make changes to the site, they went about it completely the wrong way.

Some of us have re-built our blogs (I’ve acquired this domain, http://www.filmgecko.net) and will continue to blog into the future under our own steam. If you look at the blogroll in the right sidebar of this blog, you’ll find some of the new blogs of these fantastic bloggers. I hope you’ll visit them often and become part of their community, just as I hope you will with my new Film Gecko.

The other thing I want to say to b5media and Elaine Kunda is that you’ve alienated a very well-connected group of bloggers, and that’s only going to hurt you in the long run. I’m an editor and staff writer with AOL’s TV Squad, Inside TV, and Inside Movies. Sure, I’m just one person there, but will I ever have anything good to say about the way you’ve treated us? It’s doubtful. 

Many of the other ousted b5media bloggers are similarly connected, working with top-name networks, sites and online communities. The Web is not that big, and you do not want to be burning any bridges.

I’m sorry for how b5media chose to end their entertainment channel (other channels have since ended similarly). I hope a few lessons were learned in this whole debacle, not only by Elaine Kunda and the other b5media powers that be, but for other networks faced with similar tough decisions. Do it the right way. It’s not rocket science. Treat people with respect and decency, and that’s what you’ll earn in return.

And as Forrest Gump said, that’s all I have to say about that.

Image: Jane Boursaw

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks Jane for telling our story so eloquently. I would have liked the opportunity to tell my readers where to find me and had a chance to say goodbye the “right” way. Instead we had to leave our blog readers wondering why they were being redirected to a new site with no explanation.

  2. Jane, sorry that you found yourself in such a distasteful situation. I’m happy to see that you’re making the best of it. Your new blog looks great. There’s something to be said for being your own boss. Go for it.

  3. I was stunned and saddened to hear what happened to you and many of the other B5 bloggers, Jane. I applaud you for taking the high road and not bashing B5, even though they’ve chosen to treat you so poorly. I’m not sure they deserve such a restrained assessment as this, but it’s good to see that you’re moving on and building something of your own.

  4. Jane, thank you for a beautifully written piece. I was part of a different channel that was terminated on Friday, Blisstree. Especially since it has become perfectly clear over the past few weeks that b5 is looking for a whole different demographic than our readers, what would it have hurt to allow us to say goodbye? Most of our serious readers know how to find us anyway. Miss Kundra has lost not only the good will and respect of her former bloggers, but she has lost the good will of many many readers. A tragedy, no?

    And if you’d like to learn how to make jewelry, melt glass, fire metal, or build a jewelry business, please come see me at my new digs 🙂

    xoxo
    Cyndi

  5. Seems to me this is a blessing in disguise – no more “work for hire.” You (and the other bloggers who go out on their own) own all of your own content, sell your own ads, build your brand on your own terms.

    I didn’t realize b5 didn’t give you time to say goodbye to your readers and this seemingly happened overnight. I suppose it was in their right to do this — your signed agreement must not have included any sort of 30-day termination clauses and they clearly owned all the content. Still, a crummy way to treat loyal freelance bloggers.

  6. As a former b5media blogger, I guess I have to say I’m not surprised. In the time I was there (six months) and was asked to sign three different contracts, each non-negotiable, I felt they certainly seemed to be out for their own interests and not have a clear sense of what “community” means. I think the way you’ve handled this is very wise. Them? Not so much.

  7. That’s a terrible way to do business and it will come back to bite them because we don’t work in a vacuum.

  8. Thank you for posting this! I was also one of those b5media bloggers, with my Avril blog, and it really, really hurt my feelings. Your words in this blog are so well-spoken. I found your blog from a re-tweet and will have to follow you now.

    Thanks for speaking for all of us saddened bloggers who put our hearts and souls into the blogs.

  9. Very nicely written Jane! I joined b5 as the 21st blogger years ago and over the last couple of years I watched the same cowardly, rude tactics used over and over when terminating writers.

    Blogs are build for readers – but some people get their head stuck so far in their own pockets, they forget that.

    Not allowing a writer to say goodbye to their readers is horrible and disrespectful. But I think it’s a trend that readers got used to. For the most part, readers have been programed to search for their favorite writers elsewhere when they suddenly disappear.

    Sad, isn’t it?

    Good luck in your endeavors – you are an amazing writer with oodles of talent – b5 cut a lot of amazing people. I understand it’s just business. But there were better ways to handle it. I’m sad to see it happened again – but the bright side is, it can’t happen anymore – at least to good people. All those are gone now 🙂

  10. I’m glad to see you posted this, I too wrote about this. It was wrong the way they handled it and I think they could’ve done better. It just makes them look really horrible to me now. But glad to see so many of the b5 bloggers didn’t stay down, got right back up and started their own.

  11. Thank you so much for expressing yourself so clearly and accurately about the way that the disrespectful way b5 bloggers were treated.
    I was one of the bloggers that was terminated without warning on March 5, 2010.
    Like the other bloggers, I had worked incredibly hard for years to build relationships with my readers and with my fellow bloggers at b5.
    I was appalled that I was simply shut out of my blog, without warning and without the ability to say goodbye to my readers.
    There are a lot of other things now coming to light that I had no idea about and it’s a very bitter mouthful, indeed.
    20/20 hindsight allows for a lot of grim revelations.
    Man, oh man, was I naive! sheesh.
    Well… the really great thing is that so many of the dedicated, hard working, intelligent, creative people who were originally a very happy group working at b5, have bonded in meaningful ways, and are going to be creating bigger and better things.
    Onwards and upwards!
    Thanks so much! and I am still blogging like mad about the yarncentric life and other crafty things, but believe me… I am doing it ~independantly~!
    Noreen

  12. What a classy take on the situation, Jane! I also started my own site after being let go from the Entertainment site. It’s not worth it to put so much time and energy to be let go like this. Their reasons for not letting anyone tell their readers is pretty clear to me: they wanted to be able to redirect the sites and not lose any RSS subscribers, etc. Which you know, fine: all’s fair in love and blogging. It’s just business and I learned a lot from it.

    And you know, it’s great that they’re building new sites that cater to a young, NYC-centric crowd. That’s a very under served demographic. Good for them!

  13. Jane, so great to read your feelings about the recent experience with b5media. It mirrors what just about everyone else I’ve heard from feels. We understand things change and you needed to head a different direction. If we’d known about the changes, I think some of us would have chosen not to move forward with b5. It would have been nice to say farewell and let our readers know where they could find us in the future.

  14. Jane: You are one of the most talented bloggers/writers I know and it is a shame that even with everything you’ve done, you weren’t immune to the unfortunate situation. 🙁 I know you’ll do just great. You’re right when you said that you’re just that kind of person who moves on. I’m sure you will – and with great flair. Do take care always. And, I wish you all the best.

  15. What a shame to be treated so poorly. That really stinks. But good for you for pulling yourself up and creating something even better.

  16. It is a small world and memories are long. There is no telling what their long term repercussions will be. I’m glad you could at least get the .net registration!

  17. Thanks for the great post Jane. Yours was one of the blogs I used to follow, so it’s great to see you’re still kicking around. Like you, I’ve also picked up and moved on to a new blog. I think it speaks volumes that we cared so much about our topic that we’d write on it without the guaranteed pay-cheque at the end of the month. It’s very sad that b5media didn’t value people with that kind of passion, but I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity. While it’s kind of disheartening to see the fall in traffic that starting again has caused, at least I know I’m not doing so completely. They might have been able to take my blog, but they can’t take my contacts in the industry and my love of what I do. I’ll definitely add your new URL to my blog roll :-).

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