If you’ve been around the Internet the last couple days, then you’ve probably come across this audio video, featuring the voice of Fred, the owner of EdenFantasys, and some staff members as he fires them all in bulk – and all without really saying so. In the event that the video gets deleted, Epiphora has a transcript up on her site. Multiple sources have verified the validity of the video; although Fred continues to deny that it’s real (also in E’s blog).
In fact, that post only outlines years of member abuses, shady behavior and a whole slew of things that have made people walk away from the company and community with a sour taste in their mouth. Not one, not two, but multiple of my friends have been banned from EdenFantasys over the years, and most of the time there was no legitimate reason other than “makes the site look bad.” In fact, review policy was changed a while back to state that we could only write positive reviews, more or less, to keep things looking all sunshine and kittens.
And, so the gist of the audio is that things had been going downhill for some time, but the company wasn’t even able to break even last month. So… Fred had to fire everyone via audio chat in a completely roundabout way. While he made it obvious that he had known what was coming, some people were completely blindsided, and he didn’t even take the time to fire some people. He simply changed email passwords to some people, essentially ending their jobs in the shittiest way possible. But, hey, it’s not the first time.
Things have been going downhill for some time according to Fred in that recording. In fact, Fred would have you still believe that everything is just hunky dory, and the only staff member who’s still around is spewing those lies to the community. But it’s more obvious than ever that things are bad. Stock has been dwindling for months. Good luck trying to find anything to spend those gift cards on because vendors don’t want to deal with the company. They’re calling the shots, but Fred’s minions would have you believe that inventory is shrinking to get rid of redundant products. As the truth comes out, it seems like this never was the case.
I’m eventually getting to my point, which is something along the lines of “I can’t believe he treated employees like this and is lying point blank to the community” and “I totally saw this coming.” By now, you’ve probably heard complaints from several people about various aspects of EF dealings, including unfair bannings, blocking off-site links, sending out used toys and employee abuse. So, I’m not entirely surprised that things have gone down in flames, but I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming the way that it did. Even staff members were left out in the cold, and now that we have proof that Fred is blatantly lying, it only brings into question everything he has ever said and, by association, anything the staff members have ever said because we don’t know how much involvement he had in it.
[edited to add]
I would count several people who have worked for the company among my friends, and I don’t mean to implicate them as dishonest, but I don’t know that what Fred told them was in truth.
Fortunately, I have no personal loss, but many people do, and many people are still drinking the god-damned Kool-Aid for some unknown reason. I’m being realistic. I cashed out my points and bought one of the few freakin’ things that still left in stock because I don’t even know if the website will be around tomorrow. Some people are in a so-called panic mode, and they’re not wrong to be.
Even before this, my role really dropped. I was unhappy with the company after they fucked with my friends and I became far less active. However, I still signed in and accepted reviews for one simple reason: I was gaming the system. It went something like this.
- I’d write reviews and participate on site for points
- I’d turn those into gift cards and buy other stuff
- I’d get points for those purchases (the system no longer allows this)
- I’d use my affiliate code to earn actual money
No, I didn’t feel bad about this. I always felt that the company had it coming from an ethical standpoint and their system continued to let me do it for years. You see, I agreed with all my friends who had left but I kept my mouth shut long enough to make this work for me because who doesn’t want some extra cash or free sex toys?
I think, perhaps, that the methodology to spend money to make money is one that Fred does not understand. Throughout those years, I became increasingly frustrated by this community movement. Sure, some awesome people joined even after the people I have grown used to left, but the blogger outreach and points programs led to a lot of shitty reviews and spam that made the site that much less useful. If you weren’t all overly supportive for the company or even for a freakin’ toy, you weren’t community-minded. Somewhere down the line, EF really became about quantity over quality, as if having people posting and talking about you was enough to drown out the negative and the cold, hard truth. Sadly, for a while, it was.
This should be a lesson to everyone. Treat your community, customers and employees like shit? It won’t work. Spread yourself too thin? And you’ll soon tear. Respond negatively to criticism or suggestions and the people who have a different vantage point will stop talking to you and start speaking up against you. Make enemies in the blogosphere, and people will tell others about what a little shit you’ve been.
Shortly before the announcement that all the staff had been fired, I received a PM as one a group of valuable members, asking me to stick around through some upcoming changes, I had no idea they’d be so extreme and, honestly, how can Fred expect the company to rebound in any way? As it stands, there’s nothing to stick around for. The community, the store are all in dire straights. The staff is gone. EdenFantasys is as good as dead, and if you think otherwise, you probably deserve to go down with the ship.