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The Demise of The Martini Lounge

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About 50-60% of my female visitors will have heard of The Martini Lounge. It’s a few years old now, and for the most part used to have a positive reputation for being somewhere that ladies could hang out and chat at without blokes pestering us, and without the typical e-drama/etc that happens at a lot of forums. If it sounds dull to you, that’s because it is. Was, even. I didn’t post there that often.

Anyway, in April 2006 I offered to help out ML by formatting and uploading articles for the Entertainment section of the website. Basically I was told to stick them on a page, upload them and edit the index of the section to reflect the new content. I was given a file with nothing but a couple of PHP includes in, and scrambled text in the content documents. I sent several e-mails to the “President” of ML explaining problems I was having/etc and got completely unrelated responses back.

In the end, I had to get Malin to help me fix them up and all was well. I got the articles up on time, even fixed a whole ton of spelling and grammar mistakes which had been clearly missed. I was sent a second batch of articles and when I sent an e-mail asking when they needed to be online for, I was ignored. I sent several follow-up e-mails and they were ignored. Not long after I received an e-mail basically telling me off because “nobody had uploaded their articles”. It really pissed me off, and I got quite snotty in my reply:

I cannot speak for any other person who has failed to get their articles online but personally I find it incredibly hard to work to a deadline when my queries aimed at you don’t get answered, or take days at a time to reply to.

You sent me a second batch of articles on the.. 18th, I believe. I sent you an e-mail asking when these were due online and still haven’t received a response. I appreciate that you’re busy but I personally could get things done a whole lot quicker if I had the necessary information at the time I needed it.

I got no response and ended up jacking it in. I don’t mind helping people out but if a person can’t even be arsed to acknowledge your existance they’re not worth helping. It was not long after this that I heard about Maja and Malin getting conned. At that point I pretty much stopped posting at the ML forums; Maja and Malin deserved that little stand of support (and, really, I wasn’t missing out on much.)

So, drama aside it came no surprise to me when I was told in December that the ML domain name had expired. If someone can’t be arsed to pay their staff, they’re not likely to pay to renew a domain name. Somebody obviously finally noticed because it popped back up early in the New Year.

Unfortunately this isn’t the end of ML’s trouble. On the 24th I was pointed to a thread at the forum in which Vixx mentions that she has been ripped off. Money was taken off her mid-2006 for “lifetime advertising”. Advertising that she hasn’t received/no sign of her money back, with no word of why. After having downloaded the awstats logs while I had ftp access, I’d have not considered advertising through ML (they got less hits then that I did) but I could see why it was an interesting prospect.

Apparently, “[the] VP’s are trying our best to communicate with everyone even though we do have our own personal lives to attend to and some times we are not always in forums checking the boards“. *sniff sniff* Is that a bullshit response I smell? Having a personal life is no excuse for taking a large chunk of money off somebody and then ignoring them for months on end. Looking at it, I feel really sorry for the Erica chick because it seems she’s had to take the rap for Alecia’s mistakes there…

It seems that the ML forum has been badly hit with spam, and Maja is (rightly-so) refusing to do anything until she is paid. People are complaining that the hosting they’ve paid for hasn’t been arranged and rumour is rife (Has Alecia died? Is she bored of the Lounge? Is she trying to make a bit of cash for nothing?) Whatever has happened, something has obviously gone wrong in Alecia’s life and she hasn’t got an adequate back-up plan to cope. She “employed” people to run the site and the forum, why do they not have the access to add web banners and create these hosting accounts? These tasks hardly require a degree in rocket science to complete..

I sense the death of the Martini Lounge, and it’s been a long time coming.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

30 comments so far

  1. Vixx said:

    I sense the death and look forward to laughing at the funeral. I may even jump up and down in the grave. I’m so angry and upset about this. There are people who have invested not just their money (in my case, $70), but their time, their effort, their love and their energy in this project. It’s disgusting how they’ve been awarded – well, or not as the case may be. Thanks for bringing attention to this (have been meaning to, but I can’t discuss it dispassionately (as this entry will attest) so have been putting it off). I’m at the point where I feel that I need to make people realise how pointless it is to participate in a community where the “president” seems to willfully defraud people. I, for one, don’t want to be associated with a place like that. V xx

  2. Janine said:

    And to think that I was so jealous/envious of Alecia and her community. I had my own community (Daring2Dream) and we were always pushed away because we weren’t as “hip” as Martini Lounge. Never in my three years of owning D2D did I ever treat any of my staff or visitors with such little respect and dignity. There was always open communication and my members did not have to worry about anything, just submitting articles through Word documents (I coded it all and found pictures to relate). When I had to neglect my community due to the death of a very close family member I made sure to let everyone know what my situation was. Alecia has absolutely no excuse to not do that as well. Hearing all the things she has put you guys through is infuriating. She hasn’t given customers what they paid for? Give me a break! More and more it just seems like she scammed you all to get your money. Did she ever really do anything? It just seems like she assigned you all with work and she just recruited. That is not a president of a community. Why Martini Lounge got as popular as it did and let honest and reliable communities such as mine fail is beyond me. My community failed because no one wanted to come to it, they just wanted to go to Martini Lounge. Even my own VP was a member! I constantly asked myself what I was doing wrong. Obviously nothing. It is innocent, reliable, and all-around good women that makes a sisterhood. Alecia does not even know what sisterhood means. In other news, my VP (Angela from quasigeek) and I are in talks to make a brand new community and if any of you are interested in making a personal web community please contact me. The internet really does need a good community where women can join and I would really want to be a part of that. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated on what exactly you are looking for in a community for women. I am so sorry that this happened to all of you.

  3. Jenny said:

    I figured something would go wrong when the actual basis of ML was from someone’s own profit and not a decent business “enterprise” sort of thing. However, seems like it got hit the hard way by the “President”.

  4. Malin said:

    I’m still, like Vixx, angry and upset about the ML-issue. Sure I got my 20 bucks but that’s a piss in the Mississippi for what it actually was worth for all the time I put down on it… I hope the whole place dies… I don’t think there is any hope for the rest to get any money…

  5. Leila said:

    I was wondering about that. I had been in touch with Alecia and another staff member for the hosting layout/subsite that went up back in september.. I was paid with no problems. Then I was contacted soon after about a directory project for ML but hadn’t heard from her in since then. Sorry you guys are having so much trouble and Vixx you shouldn’t have been replied to like that in that forum post about your advertising….ridiculous. btw Jem this layout is lovely!

  6. Jessica said:

    I have an account there somewhere. I wanted to see what it was all about… But found it really wasn’t for me. This was in September or so. I hardly get along with chicks in my offline life. I have no idea what I was thinking I could get along with some online. Even though I am married I need male interaction. Everyone says I am such a guy with the exception of my makeup and dresses. Anyhow I am blabbing… I am glad I didn’t get caught up in the mess. It is a pitty the people got ripped off. I am sure there is a place to report such issues? I know in USA they have the BBB (Better Business Brerau or however you spell it).

  7. Jordie said:

    I’m in the same boat of Katie. I didn’t join when I first heard of it because I didn’t think an all-female community on the Web was the place for me and they’d eventually run into trouble. Guess I was right?

  8. Carina said:

    I never joined. I don’t think I’m old enough? The idea behind it is great, but it’s a website that needs a lot of dedication and the owner didn’t deliver :(.

  9. Courtney (Wuzzlicious At The Infamous Lounge) said:

    You know, I don’t know how much I ever really loved the place, but for a while there I enjoyed popping by. The posts always seemed a bit… young and the immaturity of a few members drove me nuts, but I let that kindof slide off my shoulders and kept going. Then I started writing for them and a month and a half after I turned my article on- being nagged about making deadline- it was finally published. I think it was June or July that I just gave up and stopped going for good. I pop in every once in a while to see what’s up and the place has seriously gone to shit. Alecia had a good thing going for a while that with some time, attention, and honesty she could have cultivated into something amazing. Instead, she chose to cop out, back out on her promises, scam people out of money, and let the Martini Lounge run itself into the ground. It’s unfortunate, really. It had such potential.

  10. Melle said:

    I never got round to joining it. As the others mentioned, an all-females forum is BOUND to have some drama and/or trouble brewing on. Thank god I didn’t. But after reading this entry of yours, I feel very infuriated as well, and I’m cursing ML to rot and die now, well not literally of course.

  11. Chans said:

    I joined, but never really posted there, just lurked around for a little while on occasion. After reading this I’m pretty happy I didn’t get involved. It’s understandable that people start speculating about what happened to the owner if she’s been absent for that long and is not paying her staff. And it’s even more understandable that people that aren’t getting their money are getting pissed off. Isn’t there any way to find out more information as to where to reach this owner?

  12. Belinda said:

    I definitely lurked more than I posted but it had seemed like a decent forum to me. It was only after reading the problem in Maja’s blog that I learned of how screwed up things were. What really pisses me off is how the Vice President (Roxie) told off Vixx because Vixx wanted what she paid for. After months of no replies, I’d be pretty damn pissed off too. How dare that the VP take the lofty, better-than-thou attitude and call Vixx “rude”? Geez. I’d be a lot more “rude” than Vixx if I was in her shoes.

  13. Jem said:

    What really pisses me off is how the Vice President (Roxie) told off Vixx because Vixx wanted what she paid for. I know. If it had been me in the same situation I’d have blown my top. Vixx obviously has a lot more patience than I do :p

  14. Stephanie said:

    Well, it seems that it has to die, so die it shall! Such irresponsible webmasters. If they’re running something like this, then this is a second job for them, and an obligation to attend to as well.

  15. Nan said:

    I was never a part of the Martini Lounge. This is actually the first time I hear something bad about the place though – maybe I am slow. No matter if the place dies or not I hope Vixx will have a refund.

  16. Jessica said:

    I’m apparently part of the 40% who’d never heard of the Martini Lounge, but I’m glad I’ve never heard of them if the owner’s like that. It has to be illegal to scam people like that.

  17. Maja said:

    Forum is currently not in an operational state. I couldn’t be bothered with waiting anymore. I completely broke it after I took my monthly backup. It may look working, but try clicking a thread and you’ll see what I mean, granted you get passed the redirect of course…

  18. Corinne said:

    I joined to join the webring, but I never posted because it looked dead at the time. I’m not the best forum poster, I usually don’t post on many, there’s only 2 that I regularly frequent, and 1 that I “regularly” (and by regularly, I mean a couple times a week) post on, and they are about fan stuff. I’m glad I never bothered with ML. BTW, you should add a link to the sitemap in the footer.

  19. King Echo said:

    I guess I’m lucky I’ve never really been much for forums, eh? : P The last time I went to Martini Lounge the articles were getting on my nerves. I can’t remember why (maybe they didn’t work? didn’t make sense?), but I remember the articles bothering me.

  20. Belinda said:

    I feel bad for them. On one hand, obviously, Alecia did a really bad thing in not paying sufficiently for any of the services. But, I’m sure there are a bunch of really dedicated members of the Martini Lounge who aren’t bad people. For me, if fu.CK were to suddenly get pulled off the web, I’d definitely feel horrible. Somehow, I don’t feel its right to take down the forum. =/ I don’t know though, I’d obviously feel mad if I didn’t get paid for my services. Also, what’s with this Janine plugging her new forum in every single comments I’ve seen her post? Uh.

  21. Chrissy said:

    ^ But a bunch of really dedicated members of the website are also being ripped off and taken advantage of. Not only is Maja making it so that she gets her money, she’s making it so that everyone who has been wronged will also get something from it, too. It IS fair, and it’s about time the other members see just how Alecia is treating the people who support the site.

  22. Maja said:

    I haven’t mentioned this earlier, but I had a rather fiesty discussion with ShadowXP wether or not I should take down the forum. I wanted to take it down ASAP because I was at a point where I just wanted to kill something and he would continue to argue how I would only damage my own reputation etc. We got a bit crossed, but I managed to calm down. I blogged about it first, and made a small “I’ve blogged” post at ML Forum and waited a few days before making any descisions. I wanted first to see what the reactions would be and just how much hatemail I could potentially end up with. And considering I have yet to receive any emails that says “omg, you sux!” I’m rather confident that my actions where not so harmful to the general public itself, just the owner that ends up loosing her profit through the pages themselves. One of the VPs has contacted me and confirmed ongoing support and that she won’t try to “repair” the damage I’ve done. Several members have left support in form of email or comments. As such I can only conclude I’ve done nothing wrong and they don’t see any problems with it.

  23. Marta said:

    God. That place sounds messy. I’ve never exactly heard of it, but it’s been brought up on some websites I’ve visited. Generally complaining about it, now I think of it. Hopefully everything works out. :)

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