Gumroad faces backlash over alleged NFT ambitions

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Just as many of the ugliest online battles have begun these days, Eisner Award-winning illustrator and cartoonist Brian “Box” Brown has sent something that looks harmless at first glance. Tweet.. In part, “My previous regular freelance employer informed me that they would … accept NFTs 🙃 so … we say goodbye. It had to be. ”Gumroad, an unnamed business at the time, counterattacked the next day, pinned. response Denied plans to enter the controversial crypto collection space, and since then alienated growing parts of the artist community that attacked the injured from corporate accounts, provided inconsistent information, and provided services. Did. Why did it get so bad?

Gumroad is a digital product sales platform that hosts everything from art to ebooks to self-help courses for the unfamiliar. It was built in 2011 by then 19-year-old CEO Sahil Lavinglia. Sahil Lavinglia is probably the only consistent person in the company. After a growing season, Rubbingria had to dismiss staff in 2016 after failing to raise funds. The company has survived, but now it’s structured, so Gumroad is anomalous. According to the CEO’s blog post, the number of full-time employees is “none, not even me,” and he hopes to maintain the contractor’s workforce. We also choose to publish our product roadmap and board of directors in favor of a fundamentally transparent version.

The image of a completely remote workplace with no deadlines or meetings does not seem like a somewhat unplanned business. Some ex-workers do not seem to have signed any contracts other than the basic tax return. Some contract work was indemnified through Venmo. At least one of the contracts Brown signed in connection with the royalties and intellectual property rights of the illustrations, with one Kun Wu Yu as the main party, assuming that the address looks like a cancer research center in Taiwan. It was listed. (When asked about this, he first clearly replied that “cancer research is an important cause,” and later stated that he did not remember the contract.) Rubbingria is not a particularly cautious founder. It may be a conservative expression to say. “It doesn’t seem to be an ideal workplace culture,” according to a former contractor who admitted anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Brown was among the perm lancers filling Gumroad’s rank by all the signs, and was busy with it. “In the last two years, it hasn’t slowed down,” he told Engadget from “more than 20 hours a week” to “most of my day-to-day work” and donated about $ 2,000. Said. His monthly income. Then in January, he claims, Lavingia stopped communicating. In my 15 years of freelance, I’ve never experienced a situation where regular gigs suddenly disappeared for such a long time and I didn’t even get an email saying “We’re going to let you go.” He refuses to be involved in the company’s NFT ambitions and believes his work is no longer assigned.

As the disagreements between Lavinglia and Brown became openly hostile, that tendency towards transparency turned into a club. Both parties began posting screenshots from Slack, which Brown claims to have been subsequently removed. This is mercifully reflected, even though Gumroad has deleted many of these tweets.

For one, after Gumroad ghosts him, Brown asks if there are any illustrations available. “Unfortunately, one of the ideas I have is the NFT project 😔,” says Lavinglia. “You seem to need someone who is crazy [NFTs] “From now on,” says Brown. “Yeah, maybe,” replies Rubbingria.

According to Brown, what’s missing here is the context in which the NFT subject has recurred over the past six months. Brown refused every time, but he was more clever than others. (In another tweet screenshot Back in September, Lavinglia touted the NFT as an option, and Brown accused his readership of “cancelling” him by claiming involvement in such a plan. )

“In my understanding, Gumroad was planning to enter the NFT at some point in 2022/2023,” the anonymous former contractor told Engadget. Gumroad is in the midst of a site redesign, which seems to maintain the services of a strong brand manager and former Google design director Karin Soukup. In an email introducing Soukup to Brown, Lavinglia sent an email with the subject “Gumroad’s rebranding illustration (+ NFT …?)” Last October. (When asked via Twitter DM, Lavinglia wrote, “Yes, don’t remember, but the parentheses and? Look pretty clear.”

In his personal position, Lavinglia was generally a minor booster for NFTs and crypto. He created an NFT for his Twitter avatar and sold it on OpenSea. It was sold to Unacademy founder Guarav Munjal for about US $ 3,000 and promised to split his earnings between himself and the artist (my wife) in 50/50. He said, “NFT ownership is much more accessible than stock ownership.” Tweet Last September, the statement became strange only with the knowledge that Gumroad itself was partially funded by equity crowdfunding.

It’s unclear how any of these screenshots give confidence to Lavinglia’s position that the company isn’t pursuing NFTs. Conversely, if Brown agrees to the project, Gumroad will probably enter the crypto space.He tried with his personal account Distinguish Between “Run NFT Collection” and “Pivot to NFT” — Later State “We may have an NFT collection in the future, but we have no plans.”

Abundant evidence suggests that Gumroad isn’t completely transparent about how much it’s investing in some NFT play, but it’s also entirely due to the loss of Brown’s stable gigs to Digital Tulip Mania. It’s not clear. According to the same anonymous prime contractor, there have been some similar cases in the last few months. “Most of the marketing teams have recently been released, and that was a surprise to all of us,” they write. Others confirmed that they were no longer working at Gumroad, but refused to go into details about the nature of their departure. It’s unclear why many companies are downgrading again, and Lavinglia declined to comment on the issue. Gumroad’s job page states that the company has been frozen for hiring until April.

Employees aren’t the only ones leaving Gumroad — at least they’re trying to do so. Some people who dislike NFTs have found the company’s public place with Brown to be inadequate. Pledge To Leave platform.But many of them, including Brown, found themselves can not To erase Their account. “We have found a bug related to deletion and are currently working on fixing it. The problem is that all of these users are making money on Gumroad but haven’t paid yet (for example, connecting a bank account). (Because we haven’t), ”says Lavinglia. “I’m working on removing it if I want to,” he told Engadget.The bug seems to be at least influencing 1 creator There is no unpaid financial balance on the platform.

Lavinglia, like previous illustrators, has been clever with the angry users of the site. At one point, it cross-referenced the email address of the account with the user information on the site, apparently in violation of California privacy law. “I’ve never used Gumroad, I’ve never used it,” tweeted Jacob van Loon. Gumroad replied, “According to your biography email address, you already have one.” The response was deleted in a hurry. VanLoon keeps it No such account has been created..

Cryptographic opposition has been the cause of recent conflicts for many companies. The creators of the various stripes were furious when they learned that Kickstarter was pouring into blockchain technology. Comic artist Spike Trotman recently launched his own crowdfunding initiative to avoid getting involved in crypto space. The chat app Discord returned to plans for crypto integration with NFTs last November in response to user backlash, but Electronic Arts has softened its own bullish outlook for technology for similar reasons. While more and more artists are generally expressing concern about NFTs as a mediator of theft, the entire market for these digital products seems to be, at best, terribly bloated and full of villains. These incidents were also an opportunity for some companies to be handed over to skeptical creators such as the shy indie game market Itch.io.

But customers aren’t the only ones companies are in a position to lose as they step into this area. Brown claims that until recently working at Gumroad was a great gig, well paid and given enough freedom, but consider working for the company again in a context other than NFT. When asked if he answered with an emphasized “hell”. no. “He sees the whole case as a breach of trust.” I’m married, have two children, have a mortgage, and have all sorts of bills. […] So I need to plan it. You can’t suddenly lose a regular gig and they won’t tell me. They lost all my trust there, “he said. I have no relationship of trust with them. It doesn’t matter if they are actually making NFTs. Because they didn’t want me to work on it, they already took action against NFTs by letting me leave the company. ”

Have you worked at Gumroad to some extent? I look forward to hearing from you.Download signal messenger iOS also Android And please send me a text message confidentially with 646 9839846.

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