I was at a fundraiser last night, given to honor the late SL blues DJ Bear Rasmussen, when, on the other screen, an email notice popped up announcing a comment left on a blog post that’s nearly two years old!
Anyone remember “United Nations Citizen”? I would have forgotten, too… except that it was so much fun to rip that project up one side and down the other, as it well deserved. The concept (a virtual consumer’s paradise, complete with waitstaff) was so transparently insidious (a platform for data-mining), and the execution so lame, that about the only thing one could do is laugh at the total cluelessness.
Except… maybe… it may have been more a case of “clueless like a fox” (no insult intended to foxes; after all, I’ve been one ^.^ ) Here’s the comment, from “Anonymous” (no, probably not that Anonymous):
After seeing Loiacono’s involvement in a “virtual world” mentioned in the following story and searching until I found writeups on this UNC ridiculousness, you might want to update and add this as an addendum: Conservative Investors Sue Over Sham Tea Party TV Network
There’s a single line at the very end of the TPMMuckraker post:
Loiacono has previously been sued over a proposed ‘virtual reality online” project that also never materialized, News Channel 5 reports.
A little web searching (using Ixquick) coughed up a few more details, in an article from the Nashville Tennessean:
Loiacono also was sued last year by an investor who alleged similarly illegal and dishonest behavior such as breach of contract, fraud and promise without intent to perform. The case, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Diego, where Loiacono and his business are based, was brought by Ondre Seltzer.
Seltzer said he gave Loiacono $200,000 “for a virtual reality/three-dimensional online entertainment project” that never materialized. Seltzer said Loiacono refused to put in writing the loan terms he had agreed to with Seltzer orally and used his money “for purposes not related to any business purpose for which the loan was provided.”
A notice of settlement was filed in the case two weeks ago.
Interpretation #1: Loiacono is a genuine charlatan, with an ability to pull some trend-du-jour out of the air and sell it, like so much snake oil, to a certain class of people with more money than brains. Unfortunately for him, those people can also buy lawyers, and they don’t seem shy about using them.
(In the more recent case of the Tea Party, “more money than brains” goes without saying. After all, if certain of them are already notorious for not doing their history homework, can they be expected to look into the track record of this guy selling them a pig in an HD poke?)
Interpretation #2: Loiacono is even more clueless than I imagined. He pulls a trend-inspired idea out of his ass and sells it to himself, but has neither the mental wherewithal to follow the subsequent half-baked scheme through, nor the cash on hand to hire someone who can… or perhaps, an ego so huge that, despite repeated evidence to the contrary, he refuses to believe anyone can do it but him.
Well, guess what, Tony… you can’t. Regardless of your motive, that much is obvious.
Interpretation #3: I am reminded of the recent behavior of someone who successfully started up a virtual world (now in its tenth year) who subsequently walked away from it — twice! — and now seems to be denegrating it in the press. Perhaps Loiacono suffers from a similar attention deficit disorder, and just plain loses interest after too short a while… and, much like the above example, loses interest in the clients and users as well as the project itself.
Whether it’s a virtual world, a TV network, or whathaveyou, you cannot start up a platform for user-generated content and expect it to run itself, leaving you nothing to do but skim the proceeds. It’ll turn on you for your inattention (not to omit disdain); eventually, word will spread far enough that no one will trust you with their money.