I got an email today that suggested I go visit the official Mobipocket support forums, and what I found there was a little disheartening and disappointing.
Mobipocket’s official forums are over run with spam. it looks like over 90% of the traffic for the past 6 months has been spambots, not people. And I do mean 6 months; there are vast quantities of spam posts from March that are still there today, 12 August.
A little while back I reported on the death of Augen, the nobody ereader and tablet maker. I came up with a rule of thumb that when I can’t see any sign that the company is still performing basic maintenance on their website then it is safe to call them deceased.
Technically the company may still be functioning, but if they have declined to the point of no longer doing basic maintenance then it’s not safe to do business with them anymore. Think of the rule as the “dirty toilet” theory.
Is it a valid theory? It works for me, so I’m sticking with it.
And it certainly seems to be true in this case. The state of the Mobipocket forums suggests that no one cares about Mobipocket anymore. Heck, even the staff of Mobipocket don’t care about the company anymore. If they did they would do something about the spam. TBF, the staff might be so reduced that they don’t have time to maintain the forums. But if that is true then they should close the forums.
And before you conclude that I’m reading too much into it, there was a second part to the email. It seems that Mobipocket forgot to make the most recent payment to publishers and other ebook suppliers.
The statement for the most recent quarter went out in July, and the payment should have followed a few days later. According to my source it still hasn’t arrived, and it’s been almost a month.
This suggests to me that Mobipocket are so short-staffed that not only did they not notice that the payment didn’t go through, no one has noticed if any supplier complained about the missing payments.
Then again, at this point I have just the one source who said he didn’t get paid. If you’re still doing business with Mobipocket then I’d love to hear from you. Are you still waiting to be paid for last quarter?
If you have any new data to add, please leave a comment.
P.S. If you don’t know who Mobipocket are, that’s okay. They’re not really all that important anymore. The company launched in 2000 as an early ebook pioneer.They were bought by Amazon in 2005 so Amazon could use the Mobipocket ebook format as the source of Kindle ebooks. Since about 2008, Amazon have been slowly snuffing the life out of the company. It’s a pity; some of the older Mobipocket tools are still useful.
image by jcbwalsh