H ell hath no fury like a web developer scorned

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Sean McGoey Feb 20, 2013

If there is one thing the internet is adept at spreading, it’s drama. A good story from an unsatisfied customer can go viral if it hits a nerve, and that’s a hard hit to come back from. But what happens when it’s business vs. business?

Recently, Fitness SF (a San Francisco-based chain of gyms) woke to an unpleasant surprise: its website had been replaced with an angry open letter by web developer Frank Jonen, alleging he had not been paid for work completed on their website. He provided links to his portfolio work on the company’s logo as evidence, and urged Fitness SF customers to make a ruckus through social media. Check out the full screenshot below:


At first glance, it might be difficult not to root for the guy – especially for those who have ever had a client simply refuse to pay. But as the truism goes, there are two sides to every story, and Fitness SF responded on Tumblr with their own:

“Frank was hired on May 16th, 2012 to develop a functional website for our brand. A $5,000 payment was made to him on the same date. In his proposal, he stated that the website would take 10 weeks to complete. He missed numerous deadlines including our brand launch in September. In December, he voluntarily passed the incomplete and non functioning website to our new design firm.”

So then, who’s to be believed? In a case like this, as everything devolves into “he said, she said,” there’s no real way to tell. Neither business walks away looking very attractive to new or existing clients, especially when developing or growing a brand.

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