Suite101: Writer Warning Update

I received this note from the Editor-in-Chief of Suite101 today. I was quite content leaving it at my last post, b/c it was a simple solution to avoid the regular emails nagging me about why I was leaving. But apparently it wasn't enough. And since I'm under no contractual obligation to keep any such correspondence confidential as it was offered after my contract termination, I'm going to share it (and anything else coming from any representitive of the company) here. Other than that, I really don't care to talk much about Suite, and barring no further communication from their end, you won't see any further posts here regarding them. But for now, here ya go:

Jen: Please see your forwarded mail. Also, I am aware of your comments re Suite on other forums and am very disappointed you choose to vent unprofessionally rather than leave our private business where it belongs. I will review it with an eye to violations of your contract re confidentiality and certainly will keep this behaviour in mind should it ever come to a reference of your work.

And here's what I have to say about that:

Nothing I said in my previous post regarding Suite101 is anything that either a) any reader with two brain cells to rub together couldn't figure out by visiting the public end of the site (such as my comment regarding real blogs and forums) or that b) came from any internal knowledge obtained when I was under contract with the company. But hey... comments like that bit about remembering my "behaviour" make me sound more like a lap dog than an independent professional, now don't they? If you want respect, give it, and treat the professionals you hire independently (and who serve as the backbone of any content network model) as just that. Unless you're willing to pay them a nice full-time salary with benefits, you dont' have much room or right to be degrading on any level.

I'm certainly not under any contractual obligation not to discuss something mentioned to me privately by a third party after the cancellation of my contract. If Suite has a problem with that, they can either a) fix the problems instead of jumping to shoot the messenger, or b) go after the people actually discussing it in violation of their contract, which isn't me.

On another note, the information is quite frankly exactly where it belongs. My reputation with colleagues and friends brought a number of writers onto their network, as I very publicly defended and supported them in various communities and elsewhere. I went to bat on more than my fair share of occasions convincing writers that Suite wasn't half as bad as all of the horror stories floating around the Web from when the company was under old management (something you'll find in any number of public forum posts).

Later, after leaving, I get to hear stories about how certain folks in management are being insulting and condescending to those writers and others who were brought in on my trust (and that of others). That's unacceptable any way you cut it, especially when they're lacking any kind of regular pay structure or employee/employer relationship where you'd have more leniency and rights to be demanding (and before they want to jump on that tid bit, you can figure that much out for yourselves just by looking at the public areas of the site). So you're damn straight I'm going to denounce them publicly until they get their act together, so there's no mistaking that any former support under my name is null and void under current situations. And the lovely little thing about living in the US is that I can voice my opinions, which were the basis of my previous post to begin with, in any way I please.

As for a reference, I can't recall ever sending anyone directly to them for one, and I certainly have no need in my regular line of work.

While I'm disappointed by the response, I'm really not surprised. Take it for what it's worth.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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3 thoughts on “Suite101: Writer Warning Update”

  1. Like you need them for a reference! That’s way too comical! I’d be ashamed to have my name attached to them!!! LOL

  2. I wish more people had been able to hear from, and/or speak to the past contributors or read the many warnings about Suite101 that went around in 2005 after they fired everyone, breaking several stipulations in the then contract. I started there in ’99 and was fired (and then unceremoniously locked out of all functions – even editing my profile for a while) in ’05. I went so far as to be a Dean of their stupid “University”, a Senior Managing Editor, and Chief Copy Editor. I questioned the validity of their mass firing, among other things, so I was locked out.

    You could be in for quite the ride, Jenn. Some of my content is still on the site, although most has been removed after a less-than-friendly exchange of images in my courses. I still haven’t been paid for those last months the courses were up (and one of them was up there without a contract at all). One woman I know has never, ever been paid, and she had the most popular course for the longest time. They owed her into the hundreds.

    Suite writers have always been replaceable. Management never did, nor ever will, care about contracts, payment or the well being of their content providers. Only the trusted few will be within the paid circle. Check it out, see who was left on the management or higher ranked staff after the firings in 2005.

    I’m sorry you had to experience their version of “management” and contract ethics. Best of luck!

  3. It’s quite sad that you had to receive this email, but… well… anyone who’s been around a while with the Suite is unfortunately used to it. This round of Editorial snafus are especially humiliating and strange, I’ll be the first to admit, and only seem to be getting more dictatorial as time passes.

    Mud-slinging is the name of the game. I truly hope the higher powers that be can move past it, or even get ballsy and fire those with direct responsibility for creating such a hostile climate.


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