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Bloggers Left Unpaid As Mode Media Suddenly Shuts Down

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Mode Media, “a publisher for fashion and lifestyle bloggers”, announced it is shutting down.

Brisbane’s Mode Media has abruptly shut down, leaving bloggers unpaid, investors frustrated and rumors swirling in its wake…The company, a publisher of lifestyle sites and operator of an ad network which placed big brands’ campaigns on smaller websites, told investors and employees Thursday that it was closing its doors after failing to find a buyer or line up financing.

Bloggers are naturally furious, most claiming they haven’t been paid and demanding to know wtf happened. They have created a twitter hashtag #ModeOwesBloggers, and started a Facebook group to try and figure out what to do next. One blogger insists it’s not about the money, while saying “it’s the time I spent putting these campaigns together. I invested a lot of my own money into creating the content, all the while thinking, it’s OK because I can put it back into my savings soon…” Another blogger explained why the closing is a blow for bloggers who were tied to the Mode Media ad network.

If you were part of the ad network…you were tied to an exclusivity contract for at least a year and couldn’t be a part of any other networks…which hurts like hell now for some bloggers because not only did Mode close without notice, they were months behind in payment.

There are some who think the closing should come as no suprise – over a month ago Dianna Mullins posted a “Farewell Letter” to Medium hinting at possible problems.

Ego must be put aside. The vision must be for the good of the whole never just for the individual. If competing visions and misalignment occurs at the core level with this team, it is imperative that issues be resolved quickly. The company must come first, even if it means breaking up the entity into smaller parts, to allow each to find its path. Some may succeed, others may fail, but this ensures the entire entity does not fall.

While some panic over what this “might signify for the blogging industry” others are rushing to remind everyone that possible mismanagement at one company does not spell doom for the blog advertising structure as a whole.

  1. oh, you

    I’d suggest they go through their contract with a fine toothed comb, and sue for back payment. In the future, make sure all contracts have FIRM payment dates (eg 1/2 payment up front for piece, remainder within 30 days of invoice submission), and if the contract is broken, go after them legally and don’t re-engage. As small business owners, they should also speak to their accountant/personally make sure their books reflect outstanding payment in their yearly P&L.

    Sucks, but that’s the downside of being a small business owner, you have to put up with back end shenanigans.

    • Ja'Crispy

      There’s a lot of nopes on most of these comments and I’m very curious to know why, since the legal jargon is over my head. Nopers come forward and explain yourselves!

  2. tootiredtoshower

    Oh interesting. Mode did the advertising for my site so I could grab a few extra bucks to make back my server fees. For awhile I was doing paid posts for their wannabe-Pinterest site until they started being more editorially demanding without offering more $ and I was like, deuces. I’m glad I didn’t give them more than the tiniest shit I had.

    • ExModeWriter

      EDITORIALLY DEMANDING, yes. I once pitched 10 titles and they responded with “We don’t like those, 10 more please.” No feedback, no timeline, just “more pitches.” They suck.

  3. ExModeWriter

    I signed on to write for Mode at the beginning of the year. After two or three months I hadn’t been paid. I let them know I wouldn’t be writing any more articles until they were caught up. It took them months to pay me (which they finally did in full–this was back in March/April), so even after they caught up I said I wasn’t interested in writing more as they were obviously unable to pay their writers. I’m not at all surprised this is happening and I’m so glad I quit when I did. That really, really sucks for the bloggers who are owed months of payment. I’m surprised they kept going for so long without payment. Also…their “top stories” every month are ridiculous, vapid, dumb content. I’m so happy to not have my name tied to them any more.

  4. KAS

    Any GOMI targets on their client list?

    • Meow.

      Chic Street Style says on Twitter she’s one of their bloggers… But who knows if that’s true

    • Deep Blush

      Birdalamode wrote a post about it

  5. I'm A Real Blogger

    Mode has been a disaster for a long time, they’ve seldom paid on time.

    I wonder if those bloggers could join forces and become a single debtor? Since there are 365 of them right now that’s a solid amount of money and might put them in front of some other small businesses. It’s unlikely that any of them will get paid individually.

    • I'm A Real Blogger

      They have no recourse. They’ll have to get in line with much larger debtors and wait for the bankruptcy courts to figure it out. though I’m noticing that it’s not a US based company so that makes it even weirder.

      • Exploding Crayon Factory School of Design

        Why weirder? There are lots of non-US blogs and lots of non-US companies. Like, most of the world is non-US. I don’t think I understand your comment properly.

        It will mean they have to follow Australian bankruptcy laws though.

        • Stuck in the South

          They’re headquartered in Bisbane, California. So they’re US based. However, they did work with many Canadian and UK based bloggers.

  6. side-ing all the eyes

    This tweet made my jaw drop:

    @ModeMedia still owes us $70K and we were supposed to put an offer in on our first house today! #ModeOwesBloggers”

    How in seven hells do you work for someone who owes you 70 large? After like the 1st unpaid job I’d be screaming for back pay, who crests five digits of debt owed and just…lets it get to $70,000?

    • glutenfreeloader

      Generally yes agree with this, though in all fields this doesn’t work as well in practical terms. For example, in lolyer land, sometimes the court won’t let you get out of the case in time and you are stuck going to trial, which can easily rack up thousands of dollars in fees in just a week or so. Then you have a client who owes you money and it’s basically over. Or sometimes you just like the client and believe them when they say they are going to pay. I still think your point is correct, why would a freelance blogger do this, but just can think of a couple scenarios when this isn’t all that shocking. But yea if I was planning to make a downpayment on a house I sure as shit wouldn’t be doing shit without payment. So dumb.

    • yada yada yada

      When I was with Mode (formerly Glam) they pay advertising revenue 90 days after it is earned. So the amount they are talking about is for at least three months, plus any other months that could have been late. It was the norm to get your March payment in June, so say a company folds and hadn’t been paying, now you’re looking at a good chunk of monthly revenue that has added up.

      Before they were bought by Meredith, the Martha’s Circle/Martha Stewart ad network was behind payments for 8-10 months’ worth of ads for myself and many, many other bloggers. (I know at one point ABM was a member and ran their ads.) Many of us were owed tens of thousands of dollars. We were paid over time, but only if we noticed and pestered them with invoices. After that experience, I noped away from their network.

  7. Wait...What?

    Is this the group that made all though 100 years of videos? I really liked those.