Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh Nos Teh Dramah!11!!

God help me, but I just want it over. The ridiculous level of drama that has engulfed my gaming site, Gaming Trend has got to stop. You might notice how there is basically a "JUST SOLD!" sign at that link, and you have to add forums to the end of it to go anywhere. As discussed below, Rich LaPorte of Gone Gold infamy has now officially struck back. I'll post his statement before I post by Editor-In-Chief's follow-up. Here's Rich's own words about the situation:
24-Oct-2005 23:43

I thought you might be interested to know what's going on with Ron Burke and "Console Gold". About a year before GG closed, Ron wanted to buy CG from me and we agreed upon $9,000 for the domain. I've never seen a dime, but I haven't asked for any either. I did ask that he run my GoGamer ads and links until the site was paid for since I was paying for server and domain fees, but that request went ignored.

Finally he left the server, so now I'm only stuck for domain fees, which is only $30 a year anyway, but still, it's costing me money. Recently, he contacted me about getting the domain switched to his name. (We agreed to keep it in mine until the 9K was paid... after all, it's the only way for me to maintain control.)

I didn't want to come out and mention the 9K immediately, so I mentioned that I would look into it, seeing if I could make him a contact, while maintaining the domain in my name. Unfortunately, I had gotten ill and then had more surgery, so it took me awhile to get back to him.

During that time, he sent numerous e-mails to me asking if there's been any word. Now that I'm back on, I sent an e-mail explaining that I would be "in everyone's best interest" if the domain stayed in my name until our agreement was met. I then asked him if he had any idea what we could do to complete our agreement, since the site is still costing me money, however

I still haven't heard back from him, which is not like him. I'm wondering if he may try something like, getting a different domain and switching it (like *.org or *.net). What do you think?

If he would like to renegotiate the agreement, I'm even willing to do that (Hell, SOME of 9K is better than NONE of 9K, right?)... I'm a bit worried to be honest, especially since that money would come in very handy.

(At the end of GG and the reason it finally shut its doors, was that 3 companies and Mario Knoll didn't pay their advertising fees... the deal with Ron was going to keep GG alive, but as I said, he never paid me, nor did he run my ads so I could make something off the site to support it.)

I'm thinking of writing him a couple of more times and if I don't here from him, have the domain turned off... I hate to do that, but I know if done, I'll hear from him rather quickly.

26-Oct-2005 10:08

I decided to switch the CG domain to an "under-construction" page. I'm sure fireworks are going to go off shortly, but I'm tired of being a "nice guy".

Was on the forum tonight and saw a thread about the closing of GG. I'm not sure if I ever told you, but it was an accident that the site closed, while I was in the hospital and by the time I got out, I decided the damage was done and since I didn't have the strength at the time to correct it, I figured I would just "disappear". Not the way I wanted it to happen, but so much of my life is not the way I have planned it.

26-Oct-2005 13:23

At about 7:30 PM my time, I went to Network Solutions and changed the domain name to point to an "Under Construction" page. I also removed any technical contacts that where listed, aside from myself. After all, it is my account, right? Why should anyone be listed on it w/o my permission?

At 9:30 PM my phone rings... It's Ron Burke. Yelling into the answering machine, he leaves the following message: "Rich, I need you to call me IMMEDIATELY." and hangs up.

Mary Jo asked me if I'm going to talk to him and I told her no. I think I would rather handle it all via e-mail, so I have a copy of what is said and what is agreed upon. I did the same when negotiating the sale of the domain, so I see no reason to handle it any differently this time. Without the original copy of Ron's e-mail agreeing to the sale of the domain for 9K, it would be just my word against his. Better to have everything written down I think and besides, with the surgery to my throat, it stills hurts to talk.

I was in bed for the night when he called, but I decided to check my e-mail to see if he at least tried to contact me that way. Unfortunately, he didn't. To my surprise, there wasn't any e-mail from him. He went straight to the phone.

What has me curious though, is how he knows I put in for changes. Since I am the only one on the account, how could he know? I have changed all my passwords to be on the safe side. The only thing I can think of is that the "technical contact" was notified that he had been removed from the account listing and that is what has Ron upset.

However, he sounded way too upset to think that his only problem was not having a technical contact should something go wrong. Besides, it looked like the contact was for "Everyone's Internet", while his hosting seems to be through "Host Gator" and they don't seem to be connected. Wish I knew more about how this all worked.

Of course I'm starting to feel badly, but I'm sticking to my guns. He ignores my e-mail about our agreement, but finds the time to call me immediately once changes have been made... Which again is a bit weird since none of the changes have taken place yet, I simply applied for them. It will take 42-78 hours for them to take effect.

27-Oct-2005 04:21

Please feel free to tell my side to anyone, publicly or privately. I refuse to jump in for MANY reasons, but having the truth out there would at least level the field.

Having Game Trends in the wings tells me one thing... Ron was NEVER going to keep his end of the agreement, period. Why else would he have the other site, "month's in the working" as the post on CG says. I laughed when I read that the fact this is happening one year since GG was shut down is no coincidence. lol Actually, it is.

As far as me going to read the other forums, when GG shut down I considered myself gone from the gaming community for good and plan to keep it that way. If it makes everyone feel better to hate me, so be it. I don't deal with anyone and don't plan on doing so, so let them rant if it helps. I have no ill feelings towards anyone and can understand their frustration to a degree.

I just wonder when no one is mad at Ron? Heck, he had a year to do something about Console Gold. He KNEW he didn't own it. Why did he stay so long? Why didn't he protect his community and move to a new domain as soon as he knew I was getting out of the community.

Because he wanted to try and play me. Hoping that I would just give him the site or probably die shortly and he would have it anyway. He's so pissed because he got caught publicly and now he rather it be my fault than his own.

Feel free to convey any of these thoughts as well my friend.

27-Oct-2005 04:46

One of the things that IS bothering me is that the community does indeed suffer once again. I honestly thought this would be a day or two "inconvenience", but it seems that the "Under Construction" page will be up longer than I imagined. Since it doesn't cost me anything, I don't care, but I would like to help out those that come to the site looking for the forums.

For obvious reasons, I do not want to direct people to Ron's site, but would like to point to the Forum's you mentioned. Not sure how they are set up, but can a URL point to them? I would gladly allow it to point to them for the rest of this years domain fee and next.

That would mean, come April 07, the domain is no longer on my dime, however they are welcome to keep it if they want to take over the expense.

I'm sure they're going to ask "Why would I give them the domain, but not Ron?". Anyone that followed GG for any amount of time knows I'm a big "principle's" guy. RON agreed to pay 9K for the domain, no one else. If he had offered half, I would have given it to him... Hell, if he was honest up front at told me he wouldn't buy it, I may have given it to him... but he didn't.

SO my offer to them is that the domain can point to their forum and in a year and a half, it's theirs to own if they want, free of charge.

If they ask to have their URL pointed to on the "Under Construction" page, tell them that I believe this is just a generic page in which I can make no changes. If I find out differently, I'll gladly list their URL with their permission.

At least this way, the community will have somewhere to go.

28-Oct-2005 10:01

Wanted to ask your opinion before posting, but got on with Tech Support to find out how I go about putting up a page of my own and I wound up posting it. (It only cost me 15 bucks for a year, so I did it. Once the year is out, the domain will most likely go back to an "Under Construction" page.)

Once it was too late to wait to post, I asked MJ if she thought it was appropriate or too strong and she thought it was fine since it mentions no names and at least some explanation to people.

I wanted to direct people to the OO site for two reasons. One, you told me they are the old GG community and two, since you told me Ron is all over their forums, I'm sure he has posted his new link, so eventually old CG's will find their way to him. I did this for the gamers and not for Ron, of course. If it were for Ron, I would have linked directly to the new site.

Today was the first time I've been to the site and went only to the main page for the URL, but was very impressed with what I saw. I hope with this link they'll get some more good people to post and please apologize to them for me if their forums are a mess... I didn't mean for that to happen of course. Also, if they want that linked removed, I will honor their request.

Anything I say to you, please feel free to relay to other's, unless I ask you otherwise.

The comment on the main page of CG is the most I will contribute to this conversation publicly. Let Ron blast me as he likes... in the end, what does it all matter? That's why I'm not going to bother reading anything because I'm only human and know I will be dragged in trying to defend myself. My time is more valuable than that.
Okay then, that's one side of the story. Here's the other side, Ron Burke's response:
I'll gladly discuss.

First up - I don't doubt the legitimacy of this email, it does have the specific price we agreed on. I'm sure all of this is 'true', from Rich's point of view. Unfortunatately, this doesn't jive with the reality of the situation.

As I've said before, Rich and I agreed on a price and I agreed to pay him. However, he has left a great deal out of this email. Since he is airing the laundry, lets get it all out of the basket, k?

Roughly 18 months ago I negotiated with Rich (who appeared out of nowhere) to purchase the domain Certain expectations were set forth:
- Rich was to pay for the domain registrations
- Rich was to pay for the hosting for our site until the domain purchase balance was paid in full (or as it was stated "Until we get on our feet financially")
- The price agreed upon was based on further support by Gone Gold. We would work together to make all of this happen.
- Rich picked up a cell phone and gave me the number. "Call anytime Ron. Let's stay in touch."

So lets tackle these in order.
- Rich paying for domain hosting - didn't happen. Eldon paid for year one, I paid for year 2,3,4. I can get receipts and post them if you'd like.
- Rich paying for hosting: Stephen couldn't keep the server stable, so we had to leave. I'll give him the pass on this one, but I've paid the server costs for the last several years at $50.00 a month + the cost of shipping. Again, I have receipts. As for getting on our feet, we are still several thousand dollars in the hole financially. We have yet to turn a profit - CG, and now GT, are run out of my pocket entirely.
- Further support by GG - didn't happen in any shape or fashion whatsoever.
- Stay in touch. I've got registered letters, dozens of phone calls to two phones, and dozens of emails that have gone unanswered.

After all of that, what would you do? We started THINKING about moving months ago. We started PLANNING on moving about 2 weeks ago. Anything after that point is past the point of no return.

Did I call on the day he shafted the community? I called the number that I got off of Netsol when I noted that it had been updated. When the site went down I called Hostgator, my terrible terrible ex-host who is prone to falling over all the time. When they said that the NS servers had changed, I knew something was wrong. I called Netsol and was told that Rich had logged in and changed the NS. The gig was up at that point.

Did I intend to honor my end of the deal? You are damned right I did. Am I gonna send checks to somebody who won't pick up the phone (I guess his throat hurt for the last 18 months) or make an attempt to make a contact of any kind? No. I don't know if my checks are going to Rich or Juan Valdez. Since Registered mail didn't work, why should I think my check would arrive? At this point he is absolutely right...he has broken our contract and broken my trust. It really wouldn't have taken any effort from him to get this deal on track. Mary Jo could have called, he could have written, he could have done anything...but instead, he did what he has always done - nothing.

In short, Rich can go fly a kite. Here's where things don't add up at all. He says that despite Ron calling him, he decided to keep it strictly to e-mail. Oh, and his throat was sore after a surgery. Hey Rich, that's why you type up a list of questions, hand the phone to your wife Mary Jo, and have her ring Ron right back. So right there is indeed a massive communications problem, not to mention the most glaring one of all:

Instead of registering at OO and posting this himself, he "approves" his friend Andy (who's a nice guy, by the way) to post their e-mail correspondence on the forum. As though this will automagically absolve him of any wrongdoing in the past and bring the faithful flock back into his good graces. Hey Rich, this one's for you:

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You may have once held tight my good will along with that of others, but from now until the end of time you will be the dirt I scrape off my shoe. Anything you do with your sites now is irrelevant to us, and that is just fine. Go your own way, and we'll go ours.

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