One more fundable update

About once a week I get an email from someone hoping I can help them contact and get a response from them.  So far, no luck on that front.  The most recent one was from a woman who had raised $400 to help a wounded dog.  I was grabbing a link for her and accidentally wound up on the BoingBoing page about my very bad experience with

Lo and behold. A new comment by Mr. Pratt. I am sharing it with you because… well, I’ll let him speak for himself.  (The emphasis is mine.)

What happened in this article was a result of me covering for glitches in Fundable’s payment system.

I admit this.

However, I because did not write the payment backend that caused these glitches and I could not get my business partner to fix them, I have taken moves to close Fundable against his wishes, even though the site was making money.

Frankly, the content on the site was disgusting to me. I don’t want to run a site helping people fund surgeries for their nearly-dead pets when there are plenty of people suffering from hideous diseases who are more conscious of their pain than animals.

This Boing Boing article was thankfully the moment I saw clearly that my business partner is a sloppy programmer who has no drive for excellence.

I make plenty of business mistakes but I try to own up to them, even if it is embarrassing in public.

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20 Responses

  1. Amy Sisson

    Wow. I guess he can read animals’ minds, since he seems to know without a doubt that animals are less conscious of their pain than humans.

    Sounds like a bad business all around, in more ways than he himself enumerated.

  2. Kate Baker


    Too bad Fundable isn’t still around. I’d raise funds to pay for surgery to repair the brain injury I received in trying to make ANY sense of his statement.

  3. James A. Owen

    What. A. Jackass.

    So now he wants to dictate what people use his service FOR? It’s not enough to raise funds, but now it has to be for causes they deem worthy?

    Render unto me a frigging break.

  4. Daniel Abraham

    Yes. Yes, the problem here is that his business partner has no drive for excellence. Yup. Spot on. Good to know that his basic problem is somebody else.

    As far as be willing to embarrass himself in public . . . . Well, I’m starting to think he’s not coming here for the hunting.

  5. tobias buckell

    Wait a second, a couple weeks ago their website had a big notice all over it written by some dude saying the other partner ran off with all the money and that people should touch base with him, but now it looks like its up and running again? Weird.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Ah yes. Well… It looks like it is up and running, but according to folks who have emailed me, you can set up a fundraiser but no one can make pledges.

      The screen you saw was written by John Pratt. I took screenshots in case anyone is wondering.

      I also had reports from one of my commenters that he’d gotten an email follow-up from A guy at metafilter got the same email, but I have no idea if there’s been any action since then.

      Dear Fundable Customer,

      I apologize for this situation. A criminal has hijacked and frozen access to our PayPal account in an attempt to extort money from the company.

      I will be refunding your payments or sending you payments as appropriate as soon as we regain control from the criminal who has done this. We are working with PayPal and the FBI to bring this matter to a speedy resolution.

      Thank you for your patience.

      Louie Helm

      Online Fundraising

      1. Chris Billett

        That’s quite funny wording. They’ve got the FBI on the case? I’m not sure who’ll be more devastated.

        Mulder: “Ok, we’ve got to find a guy who programmed a website badly and… wait for it, Scully… he *redirected a domain name*.”
        Scully: “Remember when we used to have a TV show, Mulder? Remember when we used to chase aliens?”
        Mulder: “That was the nineties, Scully. Everyone chased aliens in the nineties. Now we’ve got a guy with a mild case of animal hat… animal not-being-keen-on-supporting to catch.”

  6. Martha Wells

    A criminal has hijacked and frozen access to our PayPal account in an attempt to extort money from the company.

    That’s sort of sadly hilarious. You have to wonder what excuse they’ll come up with next.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Although Mr. Pratt cc’d me on some correspondence (for no readily explicable reason) that he had with Mr. Helms, I’ve not had any direct contact with the latter. I have my own interpretation of what happened, but have been trying to avoid speculation.

  7. JoSelle

    I usually stand by the adage that one shouldn’t say anything if one can’t be polite.

    But when it comes to animals, all bets are off.

    Fuck this guy. People like him are the reason I prefer animals to 99 percent of humans.

    And it’s nice to hear that he’s actually spent time as a dog and therefore has intimate knowledge of just how “conscious” they are of things like pain and mortality.

  8. Julia

    As one of those people who suffers from a “hideous disease” and is conscious of her pain every single second of every single day…

    …Mr. Pratt, for your sake I hope your charmed life never runs up against something like this. That pain never touches you the way it does me. Why? It will destroy you.

    And to think, that if my beloved pets, who give me some of the greatest joy I find in life (even when they’re horribly naughty little beasts), fell very ill and I, overwhelmed by my own medical bills, asked for help with theirs, you would begrudge me that, sir. You would think ill of me for trying to save my companions unless I confessed my own conditions, clearly. How do you know that the woman’s dog isn’t her service animal? Her lifeline? Her sanity in a world with people like you in it?

    You are a sad, sick little person, Mr. Pratt. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  9. ctrl-s

    It seems possible that John Pratt might not have written the comment you quote here, Mary. Look closely at the BoingBoing thread — all the other comments from Pratt were posted under the name “jprattiii” and were at least coherent, while the last one was posted by “jpratt” and is just inexplicably bizarre. Could it be a sock puppet, like, oh, say, Helm, trying to make Pratt look worse? Very odd.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Possible, but it is consistent with other things I’ve seen him write and since he has responded to other items on my blog in both comments and email, I’m inclined to think that if it weren’t him I’d have heard about it by now.

  10. vintermann

    I’m pretty sure what Pratt wanted fundable to be was something like, only with the occasional birthday present or collective purchase as well. It turned out to be a site 99% about begging.
    Fundable wasn’t designed for that. It had virtually no means of verification, the closest thing was that you could link to your ebay profile, showing that you hadn’t cheated anyone there!
    For an artist, this would not be a problem: they aren’t anonymous, and will be held accountable – ideally – by their reputation if they fail to deliver. But if I were to feel pity for a random dog in America, how would I even know the money went for that cause? Most of the sick dog / shelter rescue fundraisers on fundable – and Lord, there were many! – didn’t have so much as a link. And most ended with $0 raised, so I wonder how many of them were really just optimistic attempts to swindle some soft-hearted animal lover in some other part of the world. I mean, if you were to exploit people’s sympathy, could youcome up with a better headline than “Mixed lab puppies going blind! Please help!!”? The latter day fundable was a sad sight. Both because of all the poor people who out of kindness, loneliness or both had taken on animals they couldn’t support, and all the scammers posing as them – in some unknown combination.
    I didn’t know about before I heard of it through Pratt’s recommendation. I’m glad I know now, then at least one of the things fundable could do will remain possible. But the birthday present chip-ins will have to find elsewhere to go, as will the animal rescue activists with their sisyphean task. The latter were a very bad fit for fundable right from the start.