Breaking News: Z-Cult SLG Message a Hoax!

Update: For the latest on this situation, please read this post.

I have just had it confirmed by Dan Vado, SLG Publishing head honcho, that the reported permission message allowing Z-Cult FM to torrent their comics is a hoax. From email, reprinted with permission:

NOBODY at SLG wrote that letter… There are only two people working full time on staff editorially at the company right now, me and Jennifer. Had her or I written the thing we would have signed our name to it.

Please note that the signature does not have my name on it but instead just says SLG Publishing, although whoever DID write it had some knowledge of what goes on here since he (or she) mentioned that the Disney Comics would still need to be excluded due to details of our contract. … So, somebody close to our situation is talking out of class and pretending to be me. Man, this is weird and disturbing on so many levels.

He’s posted his response (link no longer available) at Z-Cult as well.

While I am generally sympathetic to Z-Cult, I did not, nor did anyone associated with my company in an official capacity, write the letter that is being quoted very freely here and across the internet. …

I am posting this mainly to set the record straight on the post being attributed to me and not to comment on this sites current beef with Marvel or DC. I noticed that a few people have gone to our site and made purchases and traffic at Eyemelt has gone up quite a bit in the last couple of days, so maybe this can serve as example of how supporting a site like Z-cult can lead to positive results. However I do not like the idea of people spending money under false-pretenses. …

However, I am really angry about the lack of of due diligence on the part of the sites operator in regards to the posting. It casts everything being done here under a negative light.

Lots more at the site, including some ranting about the “poor excuse for journalism that exists in the comic book industry”. I can’t speak for any other sites, but I didn’t question the message because it sounded plausible and it fit in with the cool kinds of things I’ve seen SLG doing, so it didn’t trigger any “this is wrong” flags. There’s still a lot of trust online; perhaps we should all be more suspicious. I’m just glad I decided to ask Mr. Vado to elaborate on his motives, since that message apparently alerted him to what was going on.

So who would have the chutzpah to fake this, and why? And why did Z-Cult believe it? Should they have checked it out more diligently?


6 Responses to “Breaking News: Z-Cult SLG Message a Hoax!”

  1. Blog@Newsarama » Marvel & DC team up against BitTorrent site Says:

    [...] As Johanna from Comics Worth Reading points out, it turns out the SLG letter on the site is a hoax. (thanks, [...]

  2. Ray Cornwall Says:

    Wow. Good work, Johanna.

  3. Ray Cornwall Says:

    When asked on the Z-Cult board, “Serj”, the administrator, said the following:

    “…emailed guy and we are dealing with why someone from SLG is claiming to be issuing official statements from them using words like “official” and signing it “SLG Publishing” and owners have no idea about it.

    *Serj is losing faith and fed up

    Its just one thing after another.”

    And

    “If this does indeed prove to be a false issued SLG Publishers statement I will refund anyone who has made purchases to SLG Publishing last few days due to our news post and can provide the invoice.

    I’m waiting for an email back in response to my initial email to Dan.”

    Serj has always been a straight-shooter; I suspect he’s been duped, and honestly thought he had heard from Dan Vado. I know a lot of the people who torrent comics love SLG’s Eyemelt.com and want it to succeed. I’ll be really surprised if it turns out that anyone in Z-Cult faked the letter.

  4. from Z-Cult FM Says:

    In response to: http://comicsworthreading.com/2007/11/24/breaking-news-z-cult-slg-message-a-hoax/

    UPDATED 25th Nov 2007 – 02:21)

    In our first news post on this subject we posted the following statement from SLG Publishing:
    Quote:
    To the members of Z-Cult:

    SLG publishing would like to thank the moderators and forumers of Z-Cult for the respect they have shown in regards to our ban request. Obviously, our preference is to have each comic legally paid for, and the efforts undertaken to honor this desire have clearly shown that Z-Cult is not a forum overrun by those expecting a free ride. In return, we have decided to lift the ban from our independently published titles being distributed on Z-Cult. Of course, this is not an entirely selfless act – we hope that exposure to our large library of titles will help encourage support of our legal download site, http://www.eyemelt.com. It is our belief that there is a market for legally downloadable comic books, and
    we hope that we can prove this to the comics industry by showing success through our our digital distribution system.

    Unfortunately we cannot lift the ban on any SLG/Disney titles, for reasons that should be obvious. These titles are limited to: The Haunted Mansion, Tron, Gargoyles and Wonderland. Our apologies for being unable to allow sharing on these particular titles.

    For those of you who took the time and effort to report and remove our material, and particularly to those who undertook the process of re-uploading your torrents over and over without complaint, thank you.

    SLG Publishing

    We have just been in contact with Dan (Owner of SLG Publishing) who has said this statement DID NOT come from him and DID NOT come from his company.

    I have been in contact with Dan and SLG Publishing over this issue and the following is the reason behind this mix up.

    Many months ago someone on behalf of SLG Publishing contacted me requesting we removed SLG books from our website. As standard procedure we asked the e-mailer to verify who they said they were and their position in the company. The user provided proof they were speaking on behalf on SLG Publishing and so we removed the books. Dan has stated in his recent email to us that the user WAS requesting the removal of their books on behalf of himself. So my background research was 100% correct.

    When this same user emailed me the other day from same account with this statement from SLG Publisher it was taken to be 100% official and the user stated it was from the company as a whole. This was taken as official by myself due to our earlier contact with this user and email account. So much to my surprise tonight I was informed the owners did not issue this statement so we removed this post until we could verify it.

    I contacted Dan directly and informed him of everything I had gotten from the person claiming to be SLG publishing and this is the email issued in response by Dan from SLG Publishing.

    Quote:

    Hello Serj,

    [I HAVE REMOVED NAME] is a freelance writer. He did, with my knowledge, contact you in regards to having you take down SLG content from your site when we started EYEMELT.COM.

    However he is not in a position to make policies, especially in regard to something like this. We never asked him to make a statement about removing the ban. This being an American holiday I was unaware of any problems with your site and Marvel/DC since I was out of my office and not checking my email. I was not even aware of any statement on our behalf until I was contacted by a comics news site for additional comment.

    [SERJ REMOVED NAME] obviously wrote the statement himself. I’m not certain why he felt he had the right to make a statement on our company’s behalf without contacting me. I’m sorry if you came out looking bad on this as I do believe you were acting under the impression that [REMOVED NAME] was sending you something on our behalf. Again, why he thought he could issue a statement on my company’s behalf without contacting me is beyond explanation. [REMOVED NAME] is very devoted to the notion of digital comics and he must have felt he was acting in everyones best interests.

    I’ll be issuing an amended statement on our blog and news site and I will be sure to mention that you posted the SLG statement under the honest assumption it was from us. As for the lifting of the ban, just so you can come away from this with something, you can go ahead and make our stuff available for download. I am not certain what our digital plans are going to be in the coming year, so I may come back and ask you to drop them again.

    Dan Vado

    So there we go. I followed up this email asking if they wanted banners as stated in the “official” statement that turned out to be false and Dan said:

    Quote:
    As for the banners, go ahead and leave them up for now. Lets see if there is any jump in sales long term because of this.

    Sooo SLG comics still good to go and banners remain..

    I am sorry for any confusion this might have caused but seems a little mix up and confusion has taken place on both sides.

  5. Alan Coil Says:

    Note to other publishers:

    This is how you publicly handle a crisis. Both SLG and Z-Cult FM engaged in communication and came to an agreement.

    Nice work.

  6. Blog@Newsarama » Dan Vado apologizes to Z-Cult FM and, well, everyone Says:

    [...] Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Reading contacted SLG Publishing Dan Vado, and he said nobody at SLG wrote the letter. He also left a comment about it on the Z-Cult [...]




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