138 Comments

Summary:

Pulver Media, the New York-based company well known for VON, the trade shows for the VoIP industry and a magazine with the same name might be shutting down, joining the dot.gone club, according to sources. The rumors of the shutdown of Pulver Media first started to […]

Pulver Media, the New York-based company well known for VON, the trade shows for the VoIP industry and a magazine with the same name might be shutting down, joining the dot.gone club, according to sources.

The rumors of the shutdown of Pulver Media first started to show up on some VoIP blogs like that of our good pal, Andy Abramson. I am still waiting to hear back from Jeff Pulver, the founder of Pulver Media. Meanwhile, I spent some time trying to nail down specifics of what exactly went down and have been able to find some details.

According to my sources, earlier this month when the Pulver Media executives were in San Jose, Calif. For the Spring VON, their investors, TICC Capital Group pulled the rug from under Pulver Media, and shut down the company. They also seized control of the bank accounts. As a result many folks saw their checks bounced.

TICC Capital Group, a Greenwich, CT-based investment group that trades publicly on the NASDAQ stock exchange had invested $11 million in Pulver Media in June 2007. The investment was senior secured notes with warrants, i.e. debt.

In a filing with the SEC earlier this month, TICC said

During the first quarter of 2008, Pulvermedia indicated that it was projecting a sudden and dramatic decline in projected revenues and earnings for the coming year … Based upon the review of the company’s financial projections and operating cashflow forecasts, we determined that the debt investment warranted a complete write-down, $10.3 million, and the warrants were written-off as well, in the amount of $300,000. The investment was assigned a credit rating of Grade 5, and was placed on non-accrual status as of December 31, 2007.”

It seems Jeff and his team are trying hard to save the company and might pull a last minute miracle. This is a very sad development for the VoIP industry. Not only this puts one of the big VoIP trade shows at risk, it also is a setback for Pulver, an industry icon and a constant tinker. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Disclosure: Our columnist Daniel Berninger is a long time business associate of Jeff Pulver.

  1. Sad news…
    This makes us all part of the x.VON community…

    Share
  2. [...] Update March 28th, 2008 | Category: Voip News Om Malik posts and postulates about what’s the latest at PulverMedia. He pulled SEC filings that give an indication of what [...]

    Share
  3. Great admirer of Jeff’s visions. Another reminder that ideas, even the best ones, don’t pay the bills.

    Share
  4. frank davison Saturday, March 29, 2008

    perhaps being an industry visionary and running profitable and successful businesses are incompatible! or perhaps as others have said VON didn’t change the nature of its conferences fast enough–too much “trade show” and not enough idea exchange?

    Share
  5. I think you meant “constant tinkerer”

    Share
  6. I just had the opportunity to meet Jeff at his breakfast in Baltimore this past Tuesday. He seemed like a really good guy and offered some great feedback to some friends and I. I wish him the best and that everything/everyone lands on its feet.

    Share
  7. Actually, the first thing that came to mind was “thinker”. Haha. Maybe it’s meant as a cross between that….”thinker” and “tinkerer” =D.

    Share
  8. [...] the future of VON Conferences. I don’t want to tell the story again, just have a look here or here for further [...]

    Share
  9. Jeff’s conference used to be a “brains to play” one — a networking event showcasing the best and brightest business and technical people in the VoIP world. That format worked very well, bringing money in as a logical byproduct.

    In 2005 the former CEO of Softbank Comdex (a failed show itself) was brought in (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/03-30-2005/0003291383&EDATE= ) and started turning the conference into a “pay to play” exhibit. Companies were alienated by exorbitant greed (even Cisco pulled out), and interesting startups were forced out (Jeff was known for helping several smart companies start by providing them free exposure, a favor they reciprocated as they grew). The conference content increasingly was for sale, its quality suffering for it, and the new organizers made major blunders such as scheduling in conflict with an IETF meeting, which deprived the conference of the technology luminaries speakers whose presence attracted attendees.

    All of this as the industry was in transition from VoIP to Unified Communications and from carriers to the enterprise, a wave that they missed as they were busy squeezing money out of the legacy exhibitors. No wonder that the latest basic scheduling blunder, going head-to-head with VoiceCon, did them in. By some accounts VoiceCon had 80% share of traffic, and VON attendance was significantly below even the most pessimistic forecasts.

    I wish Jeff all the best. Him and Carl Ford are masters at building communities and have enviable Rolodexes; they could easily put together a very successful “brains to play” conference any day — a profitable one for them and all involved, even if of more modest scale.

    Share
  10. wow. really? – i’m blown away.

    Share
  11. Om

    I did three + shows with Pulver, and can add to the testimony of Jeff as a good and generous guy. Dozens of people will join in.

    What I'd like to add is that VON itself is still a first rate show, and the underlying economics very favorable. I can easily see how the very expensive marketing apparatus they built in Boston may have dragged down the company.
    
    Unless corporate issues make things crazy, the VON show itself will survive and Jeff Pulver will be the natural lead. Carl Ford, the genius behind the VON schedule, should also be part, unless he finds an even better spot.
    

    Dave Burstein
    Editor, DSL Prime
    Chair, Fast Net Futures (with Pulver) and Web Video Summit (with Meckler)

    Share
  12. @ Dave,

    From your keyboard to god’s ears, I hope the rescue works and the show survives. I am a big fan, and despite the large size of VON, i find it the bes way to stay connected with friends.

    Share
  13. I’m a big fan of Jeff’s, he’s a brilliant, kind and inspiring guy. I hope VON survives and prospers. Jeff will succeed no matter what.

    Share
  14. Jeff Pulver is a Mensch and has proven time and again to be an enthusiastic supporter of both start-up companies and individual content producers alike. The VON Conference in San Jose, California that Jeff invited our national PBS television and on-line series to present at was absolutely one of the best conferences we’ve ever attended. To bring a variety of disparate high-tech and creative communities together under one roof is no small undertaking, and to get these varied groups to find common ground and discover exciting new business opportunities with each other, well this is what makes the VON conference one of the best in the business!

    Share
  15. First of all, I wouldn’t worry about Jeff specifically. He’s invested in a dozen startups, and had a number of successful exits over time, including an exit (and re-entry) to the VON conference group. Jeff is still an accomplished entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

    The truth is that trade shows do well when there is a lot of money washing around, but not as well during a downturn. You don’t need to be a prophet to know it’s going to hit hard by the fall, when the next round of VONs are scheduled.

    VON has a strong networking (as opposed to hard sales) element, and is primarily enterprise-oriented. Jeff pulls in a lot of startups as well. By the fall, I expect there to be suddenly a lot fewer of them as venture capital starts to dry up.

    No surprises there. It’s insightful to pull the plug before the crash. It would be foolish to wait until revenues go down and then do it. Quit while you’re ahead. Jeff’s done that more than once himself.

    Share
  16. What did the Pulvermedia CEO and CFO do for the last 6 months to blow through millions of dollars???

    Share
  17. James Snapsh Sunday, March 30, 2008

    Over the last few years the Pulver group has launched shows all over the world… Europe, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Israel, Italy, Australia, etc. In virtually every case these events failed. Even in China, where VoIP is booming, the company had to cancel not one but two events!

    My company had the unfortunate luck of paying for exhibit space at some of these events, showing up and finding that there were no potential customers at any of them.

    Sadly, during these past years, hundreds of companies whose main marketing vehicle was the von conferences got screwed by events that were terrible. The von conferences were responsible for millions of dollars of wasted marketing expenses in the telecom space these past years.

    Even worse is Pulver’s launching of Vonage — the company that many refer to as the worst IPO in recent history. How much value did this man take out of the IP communications industry by helping this sad excuse for a company go public?

    Companies like Mitel and others had to cancel IPO plans because of the crap that Pulver and Citron peddled to Wall Street. It is disgusting really. Our own valuation was cut in half as a result of this “serial entrepreneur’s” missteps.

    Now that they are gone, the industry can get back to basics and start focusing not on personality but on making money.

    Endlessly repeating how excited you are about disruption and launching dozens of failed companies does not pay anyone’s bills.

    Let’s just hope this “serial entrepreneur” doesn’t destroy the social networking market next.

    Share
  18. If I’m not mistaken, Jeff no longer holds any active role in Pulver Media for quite some time now, except being on the board. In addition,I know of several investments in startups he made and I don’t think there is a reason to worry about him.

    All in all, as a person who meets him in events quite regularly, Jeff is a wonderful, friendly, approachable, intelligent, fun guy. As the comments on this page hints, even if he’ll have problems at any point in time, there are tons of people who will be ready to be there for him. Me included.

    Share
  19. Andy Abramson Sunday, March 30, 2008

    First, we’re all pulling for Jeff to find that lightning can strike twice.

    Second, by the time Vonage was even heading into their S1 SEC filing it had been years since Jeff Pulver had any say at Vonage. Yes he cofounded it, but he was out by the second round if not the first Series A as the other Jeff (Citron) was clearly in charge. One of the problems with comments is the facts never seem to get in the way of a good comment. So be it.

    Those of us who know, really do know.

    Share
  20. [...] Om Malik has written a post suggesting that Pulver Media is going up in smoke. See the coverage here).  Still checking with Pulver for [...]

    Share
  21. Blaming Jeff for VONAGE’s IPO is like blaming Barbara Bush for the second Irag war. Jeff didn’t have much to do with managing Vonage, as Andy says, after Series A financing and as far as I know didn’t even have a significant financial interest in the launch.

    Having been in the back seat with Jeff for a number of years I know that his energy and enthusiasm for nextgen communications is not going anywhere. My prediction is that his core team will likely hold together and the loftily unrealistic, greedy team that brought in the financing and attempted to milk the industry during a key point in its transition, thus diluting the value of the core show, will leave the sinking ship and move on to the next deal. Jeff has been through this before.

    VON’s mission — to shift VoIP from an obscure tool used by nerdy kids in their parents’ basements and well into the mainstream — is largely fulfilled. VON might be gone, but Jeff will always find himself at the centre of disruptive changes in the communications industry… and via Jeff we entrepreneurs and enthusiasts will always be able find one another.

    Conferences are not a business which are eminently fundable by VCs. Exit opportunities are rare and therefore what was really problematic were the expectations.

    Share
  22. Whatever problems Pulvermedia may have, that doesn’t take away from Jeff as a person.

    Besides being a smart person, always bubbling with new ideas, Jeff is a real mensch and very generous. So maybe he wasn’t the greatest manager, does that take away from all his other positive virtues??

    I have no doubt that he will continue to be a thought leader and disruptor, as he has been for many years, with or without Pulvermedia

    Share
  23. Last October when O’Reilly shelved ETel, I took a quick look at VON as a replacement conference as I need a meeting space – i.e. a get together of communication enthusiasts. A five second look at the event home page made me yawn; it was five year+ old hum drum. Quite frankly it was boring and appeared just to be a commercial monster milking things left right and centre. So with no other meeting space to go to, I felt the only option was to create something as a follow up to ETel.

    I unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) had to spend 2100 hours of my own time (free gratis and when I had lots of well paid work sitting on the table) and took a big financial risk to put together the Emerging Communications conference (eComm) a few weeks back. It was very successful so much so that I have apparently no option but to hold a 2009. We were worrying the night before that if all registrants came on the Monday morning there would be no space (in a 7000SQM room). Luckily 58 people did not collect their badge on Monday morning but even then, there was no space so the photographer had to setup outside.

    Details of 2008 are still up but later on 2009 details will be put up at http://www.eCommMedia.com

    Regards

    Lee

    PS There is some show discussion here: http://saunderslog.com/2008/03/26/squawk-box-march-26-guests-jon-arnold-and-marc-robins/

    Share
  24. Douglas Arrison Monday, March 31, 2008

    I know I speak for the thousands of entrepreneurs out there that have worked with Jeff. He has always been extremely generous with his time, his ideas and his money. That’s the lifeblood of the entrepreneur and it is truly appreciated.

    Share
  25. No one is making any money in VoIP and Pulver biting the dust is just the final nail in the coffin of this oversold industry.

    Share
  26. Comments on James Bruni “No one is making any money in VoIP and Pulver biting the dust is just the final nail in the coffin of this oversold industry.” – exactly. VoIP is a race to zero hence my near complete disinterest in it – only engineers get excited about transmission means but why would a user care when TDM prices are so low? My only interest in transmission over IP of voice is to allow voice to become democratised and thru democratised innovation combined into other realms/applications which will/do make money. Standalone VoIP was a 90s hyped surge of interest thing, so I was amazed to see VON running for so long.

    Share
  27. Lots of misperceptions here – some due to language.

    First off – most people here are using the term VoIP as a proxy for all communications made over IP = very different from pure VoIP.

    Second – it would be great if Jeff can rescue VON and pulvermedia – but it won’t matter all that much in the long run. There are already new shows (Lee Drysburgh’s comments about Ecomm are NOT self-serving – it was a fantastic debut show with energy and lots of intriguing discussions of the FUTURE). There are successful VoIP media companies – as Om mentions there is TMC.net – and there is my publication, VoIP-News, which is growing extremely rapidly. The industry – in terms of phone systems and enterprise telephony – IS very mature – but it is healthy. Companies like Cisco, Nortel, Mitel, Avaya, Shoretel and hundreds more are doing very well.

    Third – the real excitement in this area – as Lee and others mentioned – is in the next phase – doing things with voice as an application – or other communication tools. Putting IP, the internet, voice, IM, chat, data, and more together in ways that make life and business easier.

    Share
  28. Maybe James Snapsh erred in bringing up Vonage, but there is one factor he mentioned that Jeff could have played some role in stopping or slowing — the Pulvermedia effort to expand trade shows to multiple nations in a round-the-clock-and-calendar barrage. This is a rerun of what DSLcon did several years ago, and what several market analysis firms have done with various wireless and consumer-electronics markets. The market originally calls for a “XXX East” in the spring and a “XXX West” in the fall, expands to support a “XXX Europe,” and suddenly the marketing suits think that a dozen conferences in locations like Bangalore and Prague can be sustained. Exhibitors have to be foolish to buy into this concept. No matter how big your publishing or market-analysis firm is, no matter how hot your topic is, the world cannot support ten or more conferences per year in your vertical market area. And a good CEO or CTO should tell the marketeers that it is an inherently stupid idea.

    Share
  29. Unofficial Mayor Monday, March 31, 2008

    What are you guys talking about? Pulvermedia is alive and kicking. There’s an industry slowdown in general which is effected by macro factors that are happening all around you – don’t you guys live in this world? Don’t you read financial newspapers?

    Where is all this venom from? Be positive. Pulver sure is…

    Share
  30. northernlights Monday, March 31, 2008

    Here are the facts:

    1.All employees of pulvermedia no longer have jobs as of Friday (rumor true), many of them were very good people who had been with Jeff for years.

    2.A second wave of “experts” (former CEO of Comdex explains it all with the too many shows, lost community, questionable value) came in a few years back and the world began to change.

    3.Jeff is a passionate person who will put his heart and soul into anything he feels “pulver” about to the nth degree. Jeff meant well in trying to bring in an “expert”; what he didn’t know at the time as he had the most vision of all.

    1. It is shameful how the brand was used and abused by “the experts” who failed to listen to paying customers who questioned taking the brand to too many places.

    5.By now, everyone should know that when Jeff is less involved, it means less passionate and nobody can replicate his formula. Jeff can’t be in the backseat, plain and simple. He can’t share the driver’s seat either.

    6.Some folks at pulvermedia worked incredibly hard over the years so don’t blame them for a current bad driver. Some truly great people who deserve to be recognized for their efforts in helping to create VON.

    7.Jeff would do incredible things for a company he believed in, even when they had no money. Jeff would take a risk where nobody else would to help these companies develop what became VoIP.

    1. Jeff was very success with this philosophy and deserved the rewards that came with his efforts.

    2. It is a very sad situation but lessons learned; never deviate from your vision. Never expect others to tell your story for you…it just doesn’t work.

    Share
  31. BeenThere, DidIt Monday, March 31, 2008

    I’m just beginning to compose my thoughts. But I’ve been around VON since 2000, so I have some views here. Jeff has his virtues, but he made more money on VoIP than most vendors and ‘saved’ more money than most enterprises or service providers that tried to exploit the technology. Meanwhile, he started businesses that competed with the very copanies he tried to embrace (err, tried to sell exhibit space to) and he demeaned many of these potential vendors (specifically service providers). And I’d say he wasn’t the saint to start-ups that some portray (extortion is not enrolling). Lastly, his fascination with Facebook was a far greater train wreck than the ‘experts’ brought in to professionalize VON. I hate to see people fail, but Jeff was his worse enemy in many many regards.

    Share
  32. Confirmation: VON offices offically shuts down this Wednesday.

    Share
  33. [...] Om wrote a story about the potential demise of Pulvermedia (creator of VON), taking lead from Andy and Marc Robins. [...]

    Share
  34. Om,

    I am not at liberty to speak. But I would love to understand the blogosphere self promotion crowd.

    Certain people chase ambulances for a living. Others think they are undertakers. I don’t think I would offer the blogosphere the chance to do my eulogy. And no one here should be writings Jeffs.

    I am available for IM to friends. All my email accounts in pulverwhatever.com work Feel free to talk to me.

    Kind Regards,

    Carl

    PS One more comment. I would offer a replay of Gordon Cooks email list on Etels demise.

    Share
  35. Carl,

    I can’t understand your cryptic comment regarding ETel and Cook list – it was me who started the thread on Cook’s list that ETel was cancelled and that the community had a chance to bring about something better as a replacement in the shape of eComm (5 minutes after cancellation this was decided and made public so there was no cancellation just a change of hands from O’Reilly to myself and community – and an opportunity to expand things to be more inclusive than just telephony).

    I searched my mail box and checked, the only thing Gordon said in relation to ETel on that thread was “what made it attractive to me was how very leading edge it was “.

    Anyhow feel free to email me. Regards, Lee

    Share
  36. Jeff is the king and if you know anything about him you know he would never let something silly like money come between him and VON. He IS VOIP and if he goes away you can bet there will be nobody with enough balls to stand in front of Congress to tell them to sod off and tax something else. I have a call into him now but I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that this is bollocks and Jeff will be back strong with Fall VON. If not you can file in the same can as the “Bear Stearns liquidity is fine” crowd.

    Love Chris

    Share
  37. OK, now that I have read every posting I have a few comments:

    1) There is much to be said for the brain play but there is also nothing wrong with trying to monetize the IP (no pun) by bringing in someone assumed to be a heavy hitter, Jason, in the industry. Perhaps the growth into BRIC markets and other areas stretched the VON concept too thin, too soon, but in 5 years people will be screaming for vision in these markets and VON was there on the ground floor and should stay.

    2) I love Ian Bell and that crazy canuck should get into Jersey so we can have another great steak dinner. Ask yourself, between Pulver and Citron who was banned from Wall Street and why??? After you answer that go shoot yourself for blaming Pulver for the Vonage debacle. Having said that, it is Citron’s leadership that has gotten them thru the patent litigation, and other internal struggles, and you can bet he will make the stockholders some cash when he finds the right buyer.

    3) There is no way a VC understands how to make money in this model. I am a bit surprised at the level of investment that was allowed to take place. Knowing some of the people at senior management levels on the Pulver side you can bet that the issue here lays firmly in the expectation of the INVESTORS not in the performance of the company.

    Outside of that when you know and love Jeff Pulver, when you see that he CREATED an industry, when you see the charitable work he and his family do you know that God is on his side and VON is going nowhere. Hey anybody who can say he thought up Vonage and Skype (FWD) and chose to work on Vonage (and let Nikki take Skype)you know the man is a force to be reckoned with.

    Share
  38. What ever comes of VON, it has been a good ride. It does seem that the focus of Jeff’s vision and PulverMedia executives has been diverging for some time. Frankly, they both messed up.

    I tip my hat to those that worked long days, spent untold hours behind the scenes and made all those events since 1997 come together. You always amazed me with the ability to “make it happen”.

    I just wonder what The Herding Cats are going to do for a living?

    Share
  39. sure he invented the industry and worked with gore to invent the internet. Sadly, the facts get lost in the pr shuffle. i worked for vocaltec and jeff pulver was nowhere to be seen when my company invented the first voip softphone and gateway.

    yes, jeff is nice, gives to charity and helps old ladies cross the street. saying he invented the industry is just plain crazy.

    if he invented the voip industry then alan meckler invented the internet industry. Sorry al gore, we have to give the credit where it is due.

    Share
  40. Let’s not forget the President and CEO of Pulvermedia Jason Chudnofsky
    Pulvermedia’s CFO and COO Scott Kargman

    For the great work they have done.

    Share
  41. Pulver has been trying to sell his company (again) since 2005. I was helping out a small investment group a couple of years back in identifying possible acquisitions for their clients and stumbled upon someone there who was actively seeking a buyer for VON shows. Again! I don’t understand Pulver’s motivation to sell something that has been his bread and butter and the only success he has had so far.

    http://www.ilocus.com/2008/04/will_the_nice_guy_save_his_von.html

    Share
  42. The most ridiculous thing I’ve read in terms of comments in the
    past year was the comment above that Jeff P. invented Skype! Jeff had
    nothing to do with the invention of Skype.

    In fact Skype was a thorn in the side of the VON because VON remained
    locked to the SIP multi-modality view – i.e. that SIP will take over
    the world. Even ten years on they have clung to that vision.
    I guess it makes sense for them since the operators and particularly
    the vendors got great (albeit hot air in the long run) marketing
    material from SIP. Whereas the modern reality is that ten years on SIP
    is being relegated either to digital POTS replacement apps (yawn and
    no consumer traction) or simple trunking applications.

    I recall ten years ago holding SS7 classes and students asking what
    the point of learning it was since they claimed SIP would replace it
    within a few years along with VoIP replacing TDM. Ten years on, SS7 is
    still used in 99% of networks worldwide, just the same as ten years
    back. It always amazes me the difference between hype and reality.

    When Skype appeared it was chastised and heavily put down by the VON
    lot. Within a year they began to realise they would have to accept it
    and within two years embraced it although they never dropped the SIP
    religion; I suspect because SIP gave marketing ammunition for vendors and
    carriers who paid to exhibit at VON. Even today you get bitter comments made by the VON lot towards Skype and amazingly still, many still try to push FWD.

    Vonage is just digital POTs and it seems some folks are still getting
    excited about cheaper calling. The world sure is a diverse place.

    Skype was another league from Vonage as it made the original SIP
    vision of a multi-modality client a reality for around half a billion
    people (have a listen to
    http://ecommmedia.com/blog/2008/02/jonathan-christensen-skype.html).
    Skype was in another league as 1) it just worked without the user
    needing a manual and a prayer to configure 2) it traversed
    firewalls/NATs 3) the GIPS Codec was wideband and built for the public
    Internet 4) it used P2P techniques for the signalling.

    Skype was seen as a danger as it did not need all the SIP boxes in the
    network and no boxes means no vendors which means no tradeshow which
    means no VON.

    PS Was FWD invented by Thomas Anglero?

    Share
  43. Let’s not forget about the great job that Jason Chudnofsky, President and CEO of Pulvermedia and
    Pulvermedia’s CFO/COO Scott Kargman did.

    Share
  44. wake_up_bloggers_ Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Wake up people….and think about who is most severly effected in situations like this – the employees.

    The people we shouldn’t be forgeting about are the great employees of Pulvermedia (many of who we know) as they have been treated very unfairly in this situation. They are the people that made VON happen behind the scenes and now they are forgotten and fed to wolves to seek employment from the standoint of not having a job and in a tough economy.

    The investors, Jeff Pulver, the CEO and the CFO all have plenty of money to move forward and will be fine believe me. The employees got screwed as they no have no income, no severance, and won’t even have health insurance or be eligibile for Cobra if the company shuts down completely.
    This situation happened because the $11 million dollar investment that went into the company in 2007 went to pay off Jeff’s lavish lifesytle of debt and travel expenses and no investments or management moves were made to protect the company (Jeff’s lifesyle hasn’t changed – look at his blog – he has not missed a beat in his travel schedule while everyone in his company was losing their jobs at the hand of the bank)
    If Jeff’s last three VON keynotes weren’t talking about Facebook, social networking, and internet TV then maybe the show would not have lost focus and wouldn’t be in this situation. Conferences must remain relevant to survive, they need to be sexy and some of this is not Jeff’s fault becuase VOIP is not sexy. But then you can ask – how come Voicecon is growing? Because they remained relevant and turned it into a UC enterprise show which is where industry is growing right now.

    The situation is simple, the company was never in the situation to be able to make those huge debt payments and when the industry starting declining the correct strategic management decisions were not made. So basically if Jeff and the C-level Pulver management hadn’t put the company in huge debt and were properly planning for the future like upper management is supposed to do then they would not be in this situation – period end of story. This is also the second time that huge investments have been made in Pulvermedia to pay off Jeff’s debt, sounds like a good plan to me. I wish I could find some investors to write off millions of dollars of my debt and move along only to do it again five years later.

    It is really sad that in a country like the U.S. that all laws are created by the rich to protect the rich and in situations like this the hard working employees that need protection the most are forgotten about just like they have been on this blog – that is what is sad – not poor rich Jeff Pulver and his filthy rich c-level management.

    We should be offering those employees jobs where we can…. and yes I have been helping a few of them already so I am practicing what I preach…

    Share
  45. (http://www.tradeshowexecutive.com/news_online_main.asp?id=529)
    Pulvermedia Reorganizing & Downsizing

    By Hil Anderson, senior editor

    Melville, NY – Pulvermedia, Inc. is undergoing a restructuring that included some layoffs March 31; however company officials denied rumors the company had been shut down or was about to be acquired.

    Jason Chudnofsky, CEO of the company’s Events Group, told Trade Show Executive that Pulvermedia was in a “silent period” during which there would be no public discussion of the details of the reorganization. He said, “Right now, it’s business as usual with some reorganizing taking place” and that the company remained “focused on our upcoming events.”

    Pulvermedia organizes the VON events that serve the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry.

    “We are restructuring our financing and organization and, yes, had layoffs to deal with the economy and what we felt could be challenging times for the industry,” Chudnofsky said. “Unfortunately, all this came at one time and created the rumors that we are all reading.”

    The rumor mill originated among blogs dedicated to the high-tech and VoIP industries. They pointed to unconfirmed reports that Pulvermedia was having difficulties with its financial backers.

    In the March 13 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, TICC Capital Corp. cited a $10.6 million loss in its investment in Pulvermedia. The document said the losses from Pulvermedia and two other portfolio companies was “in part attributable to worsening economic conditions in the industries in which those portfolio companies operate.”

    The filing said specifically that Pulvermedia had been hurt by consolidation within the telecommunications industry and was “projecting a substantial reduction in its business.”

    “In addition, the likelihood of a recession is also having a dramatic impact on the number of attendees at the company’s shows,” the document continued. “The company is attempting to raise additional equity and exploring other strategic options.”

    Reach Jason Chudnofsky at (631) 961-1100 or Jason@pulvermedia.com

    Share
  46. Figures, Jason would call one of his bitches in the trade show industry to put something out while they scramble for VC/Jeff money.

    Please note Hil Anderson didn’t talk to someone at TICC.

    Please also note that “business as usual” is a patent LIE. If you fire your sales force, how can you take orders? If you fire your If you fire your editorial and marketing staff, you don’t put out the daily newsletters; when’s the last time anyone has seen a piece of e-mail out of pulvermedia plugging one of their events alleged to be moving forward?

    This is just bullshit.

    Share
  47. Mr Dryburgh,
    Please show some class. I remember you spammed the IETF SIP mailing list a few months ago with a discussion just geared towards your hosted conference agenda. And now you are captializing this situation by slamming VoN, and at the same time advertising your own links in every post in this list.

    Share
  48. Hmm. Pulvermedia and CEO Jason blame the company’s problems on the economy, while VoiceCon and other shows kicked their ass in terms of enthusiasm and buzz.

    While burning through $12 million without a consistent strategy for expanding their events portfolio other than “add, execute, drop,” no web strategy; they have the same crappy vonmag.com website as they did a year ago.

    I suppose it would be too much for any of the executive management team involved with the current fiasco — leave Jeff out of it, because he was simply the party host/figurehead — to stand up and accept responsibility for their actions?

    No, easier to blame it on the economy than accept the fact they couldn’t build a diversified portfolio of events and other products to save their lives when they had they had the cash.

    I suppose TICC is willing to go along with it, since otherwise they’d have to admit they got suckered.

    Share
  49. The senior management team certainly is not going to step up and take responsibility for their poor strategy, plain and simple. Jason, the king of the Comdex era, never took any responsibility for poor management decisions at that time either.

    Remember, alot of the “recent” hires, are all x-Key3media folks cut from the same used car sales cloth. That is the cloth of maximize a brand, maximize the customer spend and water down a solid brand.

    Two plus years ago customers were questions the “global” vision and it was ignored. Too many cities, too much expense, too small a VON team to support so many events at once and therefor a diluted effort.

    The core VON team (those that were with Jeff during the ups and downs) are the folks that are the most burned right now. They have put their lives into Jeff, VON, the company and the vision.

    There is no question about these issues being attributed to the top, not necessarily the economics. Jason’s complaints about the economy is because in his mind, the revenue was not nearly enough to meet the expectations of the story he told the investors. That in itself is the problem.

    Jeff simply trusted the wrong people to run his brand.

    Share
  50. Anonymous (5:10pm, 3rd April) – next time provide your name.

    I take your comments as offense from someone who will not reveal their identity and was therefore just going to ignore it. But just for the record – the “spam” which you relate to was an act of courtesy towards the hard working SIP community. In short I’d considered including SIP in a negative write-up of the VoIP vision as part of the event (eComm) material; because I see a number of dark clouds that are only getting bigger with time over the protocol.

    Since I know the SIP lot and some of the authors on a friendship basis I put my text to the SIP community and asked if anyone could put me off. As it happens Dan York provided (off list) arguments strong enough to deter what I planned – so no negative SIP comments got included in published materials. So job done.

    So in no way was it “spam” by any measurement and rather it was an act of courtesy towards the SIP WG (and with a favourable outcome had I not posted it). The problem with the SIP religion is many have cult mentality and can not take any criticism and only come back with offense. I’d suggest your in that latter camp. Get out the 90s and move on, get help for your Stockholm Standards Syndrome [1]. VON was a place where you could practice your religion without question and against reality unfolding in the market year after year – so I understand your loss. There is hope some people are prepared to ask questions [2][3].

    Anyhow since you know the list posting, you know my email so fire me a direct email if you want to discuss the SIP issue further.

    [1]http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0198-256271/S-sup-4-the-System.html
    [2] http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-kaplan-sip-four-oh-00.txt
    [3] http://ss7.net/resources/sip-concerns/sip-future-waclawsky.pdf

    Share
  51. Anonymous (5:10pm, 3rd April) – next time provide your name.

    I take your comments as offense from someone who will not reveal their identity and was therefore just going to ignore it. But just for the record – the “spam” which you relate to was an act of courtesy towards the hard working SIP community. In short I’d considered including SIP in a negative write-up of the VoIP vision as part of the event (eComm) material; because I see a number of dark clouds that are only getting bigger with time over the protocol.

    Since I know the SIP lot and some of the authors on a friendship basis I put my text to the SIP community and asked if anyone could put me off. As it happens Dan York provided (off list) arguments strong enough to deter what I planned – so no negative SIP comments got included in published materials. So job done.

    So in no way was it “spam” by any measurement and rather it was an act of courtesy towards the SIP WG (and with a favourable outcome had I not posted it). The problem with the SIP religion is many have cult mentality and can not take any criticism and only come back with offense. I’d suggest your in that latter camp. Get out the 90s and move on, get help for your Stockholm Standards Syndrome [1]. VON was a place where you could practice your religion without question and against reality unfolding in the market year after year – so I understand your loss. There is hope some people are prepared to ask questions [2][3].

    [1] http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0198-256271/S-sup-4-the-System.html
    [2] http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-kaplan-sip-four-oh-00.txt
    [3] http://ss7.net/resources/sip-concerns/sip-future-waclawsky.pdf

    Share
  52. Yes, but will Jeff be able to reclaim his brand and get rid of the schmucks in Boston?

    Jeff hasn’t blogged word one on his back room negoiations, nor of the implosion of pulvermedia. Very telling.

    I wonder if Chundofsky can even spell GigaOm.

    Magic 8-ball says “Outcome in doubt; try again later”

    Share
  53. We have been regular participants in Spring/Fall VON’s since 2001 (even during the recession) and echo many of the sentiments expressed above. During 2001-5 the VON show was “the” show for VoIP and we found it a great event. Since 2006 we found Pulver Media more difficult to work with, overly “commercial”, lacking in vision and over-confident (e.g. the proliferation of VON’s). Pulver Media missed the boat on (Telco) IPTV and lost this opportunity to TelcoTV and IPTV World Forum – hence with the maturing of the VoIP industry attendance at VON has been declining.

    We have enjoyed working with some of the VON/Pulver people, notably Carl, and we wish them well and hope that Pulver Media is able to re-emerge.

    Alan

    Share
  54. I’d like to echo positive sentiments for VON as well. Every company has its ups and downs. I have been exhibiting and/or speaking at VON for several years now. Interestingly, I have found the VON folks to be be good to work with, especially Carl Ford. There used to be a time, in my previous company, where we used to pay for exhibit booths, and as our company grew, so did our booths, which meant more revenue for VON. Subsequently, I moved to a different company, where our business model did not warrant us to exhibit at VON. Even so, Carl Ford, Stephanie and folks helped with the initial exposure. I also remember, during the down turn, Jeff Pulver gave away many free passes to people who wanted to visit VON just for job prospecting (I know this because a couple of people I knew were in this unfortunate situation and explicitly told me so). On the other side, theirs is a business. There has to be pros and cons. Many comments in this thread seem to have taken a very harsh tone, which is unfortunate.

    What happens to PulverMedia is another story. The problem however is that PulverMedia is closely associated to individuals who I think are good people. As long as we are able to differentiate between the person and the business, I think thats fair.

    regds
    Arjun Roychowdhury

    Share
  55. I am sorry, but this show was going downhill before Jeff ever left. For a time this show was the biggest event, however it failed in one huge regard. It never brought potential customers. Yes, every industry personality was there, but never any customers. They never brought in attendees from the enterprise space and forget about trying to build your channel program there. It was a great place to find partners and chat about the future. However partners and chatting don’t add up to $$$! Without giving exhibitors the chance to grow revenues and build market share, sooner or later they either go bust, sell, or stop comming.

    I am sorry, but listening to all this boo hooing over Jeff is tiring. There used to be a running joke that the only person in VoIP making money is Pulver. Feel free to blame all of the “outsiders” that brought Von down, but please remember that Jeff sold this property twice and made a ton of money both times. He saw the writting on the wall on his event and left. Jeff left because he knew the show was shrinking and things were drying up for an event that seems to have been more important to the self-indulgent blogger crowd and others who’s companies are parasites on trade shows.

    Share
  56. Jeanne,

    Interesting comments. I disagree with many of them. I have heard the customer complaint before. I think its often used when sales does not work well. I have heard some brillant pitches and some pretty bad ones.
    And I have missed the boat on some trends.

    Since VON started we have had the boom of the 1996 CLEC strategy, the need for arbitrage practically erased, the consolidation of the telco industry worldwide. Its hard to point to new customers when so many are converging. We had that on the floor as well, with in some cases 3 companies becoming one in a matter of a year.

    VON Gave birth to some companies, advanced some protocols and made some VCs happy. VON is the place where Cisco’s VoIP strategy got formed and the End of Life for Circuit Switch became clear.

    imho Its given a better insight into the horizon then most shows and Jeff has a knack for trend spotting.

    With the cost of voice still heading toward 0, the people who came to VON to sell based on previous models were in trouble, as were people who embraced the 0 and did not have a business model.

    Today the story about what is filling the pipes is segmented like the colors of the WDM. By the way the best discussion of this was at VON Europe two years ago.

    Share
  57. Carl, the trooper until the bitter end, even though he has a 10 foot long shaft from the leadership (Not including Jeff) ….

    Share
  58. What Carl doesn’t talk about is the fact VoiceCon seems to have captured the market that VON wanted to be.

    His fault? Not really.

    But for Chundonfsky to blame “the economy” for Pulvermedia’s problems when even people like Tehrani can manage to keep his doors open .. and even hire some of the guys who got stiffed by pulvermedia, like Bob Emmerson. That says something.

    How can Rich Tehrani turn out to be a better business/cashflow manager than Chundofsky and company?

    Share
  59. THE SIMPLE ANSWER TO THE LAST COMMENT IS:

    TEHRANI DIDN’T HAVE JEFF PULVER GOING AROUND BEEN SPENDING ALL HIS PROFITS ON:
    JEFF PULVER’s OWN LAVISH LIFESTYLE OF WORLDWIDE TRAVEL AND BREAKFASTS AND PARTIES, ZEPPELIN CONCERTS (even though that is cool and worth it), A TRAVELING BAND, OVER PRICED ROCK HEAD BULLY C-LEVEL MANAGEMENT, THREE OFFICES WITH FIVE PEOPLE IN EACH, AND THE LIST CAN GO OWN FOREVER…..

    HEY-LET’s FACE IT – IF ALL OF US COULD FIND A WAY TO GET INVESTORS TO PURCHASE YOU OR LEND YOU 45 MILLION TO SPEND ON THE ABOVE IN FIVE YEARS AND THEN WRITE THE INVESTMENTS OFF WE WOULD PROBABLY DO IT. WHAT A COUNTRY…

    I’M SURE JEFF AND THE C-LEVELS SQUIRRELED AWAY A FEW MILLION FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES… THEY’RE NOT STRUGGLING LIKE THE EMPLOYEES THAT THEY PUT ON THE STREET – UNLESS YOU’RE BASED IN MELVILLE OF COURSE – RUMOR HAS IT THAT THAT OFFICE IS STILL OPERATING AND HAVING PIPEDREAMS OF KEEPING THE COMPANY GOING (WAKE UP AND GET CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO GET A NEW JOB…MOVE ON)…IT’S TOO LATE (NO FORMAL COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENTS OR SHOW MUST GO ON ANNOUNCEMENTS IS A COMPLETE MIS-MANAGEMENT JOKE)

    Share
  60. Jeff looks real upset about what is going on in this pic – smoke another one….
    http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008125.html

    Wouldn’t a guy who is trying to save his company really be out there trying to save his company and not spending time playing on trampolines and in sand boxes – what a joke is right. Chundofsky, Kargman, Ford, and Erb are probably standing in line or below him with a safety net.

    I think someone needs to grow up.

    Share
  61. Paying for offices in Melville, New York, Norwood, MA and Beverly, MA.? Well, that explains a bit about their burn rate.

    I wonder why TICC and pulvermedia’s board of directors didn’t “correct” that before the money ran out. Especially considering they kept the offices open even after they inflicted pay cuts at the beginning of 2008.

    Share
  62. When will someone schedule an intervention for Carl Ford?

    I know he needs the money, but I really wish he’d break away from the party line once and for all.

    C’mon Carl, we know you’ve been looking for a new job for a while. And we hope you find one soon.

    Share
  63. I registerd (and paid $2,500) for VON.X Europe in Amsterdam during early June and have just had an email from the company managing hotels for the event saying that my room has been cancelled as VON.X is not going ahead now.

    This is the first that I’ve heard of it – no other communication.

    Can anyone confirm and if so, will I get a refund or has pulvermedia gone bust?

    Thanks.

    Share
  64. We sponsored VON Amsterdam. After the San Jose show we became concerned about audience numbers and sent emails to Pulver Media. These were not returned. So we sent emails seeking a form of refund. This was 2 weeks ago and we’ve had no reply.

    I was told that both VON.X Amsterdam and the Video on the Net (NYC) has been canceled. Certainly if you now try to register for either you can’t.

    We are both very unhappy and concerned. Pulver Media makes public comments that all is normal but fails to tell people events are canceled let alone refund attendees or sponsors!

    I hope something gets sorted out.

    Share
  65. What about the poor sap vendors like me who do honorable business with what we hope would be honorable firms. Looks like a little guy like me is about to be hosed out of $16k from my own personal pocket and to read some of these comments about the lifestyle and spending habits of Jeff Pulver is hard to stomach. Takes quite a bit of unethical nerve to order goods and services knowing you probably will never be able to or have the intention to pay. Hope Pulver has the good conscience to realize there are real people behind his accounts payable responsibilities that have families to feed and bills to pay. Do the right thing Jeff. Pay your vendor bills and refund those that have paid deposits to you.

    Share
  66. Jeff has made his tens of millions from VoIP. He sold Pulver on because he knew the industry was done. Jeff’s too busy taking first class flights to host breakfasts in order to talk about Facebook, QIK and how meeting people in real-life is so much cooler than on the Internet. In fact he said on Blog Talk Radio recently that he had invented meeting people in real-life (yes and Al Gore invented the Internet) and was going to write a book on that “new” application he had “invented”.

    So if you want Jeff to cough up some money, attend his breakfast and get ready to stick avery labels on him. He’s not interested in anything else let alone pesky VoIP sponsors/attendees.

    Share
  67. There was a comment here that came from Jeff or one that purported to come from Jeff and it has gone. The plot thickens. The time has come for some kind of official statement from pulvermedia.

    Share
  68. Mark–

    You’re confusing the man with the business.

    Jeff Pulver sold out most of his interest in pulvermedia last June, leaving the company in the supposedly capable hands of President and CEO Jason Chudnofsky and CFO/COO Scott Kargman. Asking Jeff to give you your money back makes as about much sense as getting stiffed buying a Ford car and asking a member of the Ford family for a refund… rather than taking it out on the dealership.

    If you want to file a complaint, you can supposedly get a hold of Chundofsky at (631) 961-1100 or Jason@pulvermedia.com. (See posting above) If the phones still work. You’re a customer, call him up. You have a right to understand what is going on because you handed them money.

    If that doesn’t work, call TICC directly. They are currently the majority shareholder in pulvermedia. Ask THEM what is going on.

    If you don’t get an answer/they don’t return your call, then call the analysts who cover TICC and ask THEM what is going on. If nothing else, they’ll call TICC and ask questions on the next conference call. Or write a report that calls for shorting the stock.

    Share
  69. I made the comment about Jeff standing up and saying something because (a) he founded the company, (b) he still has a sizable shareholding and (b) he is out there blogging away. All one hears from the CEO and CFO/COO is the sound of silence. I won’t get an answer by contacting any of the people you mention but one has to presume that something will appear, either from TICC or the analysts.

    Share
  70. The posts are correct that when Jeff allowed Jason (a supposed father type figure to Jeff), Jason would sell his mother’s soul before he would be honest about his plans (or lack of), his manipulative ways (ask both the customers and the employees) and his self serving agenda. The reaons there is nobody answering the phones or replying to emails is because he is NOT being straight, plain and simple). Jason loves to talk about his charity work, his great life accomplishments and COMDEX and you wonder why VON is in this mess????

    In fact, the funny thing is that while this supposed “business as usual” period, Jason has moved a few of his more favored x pulver employees over to the favorite registration vendor (one can speculate on his equity position in that company) and out of the pulvermedia camp. A skeleton crew of employees are collecting their unemployment now while they supposedly help Jason get the house in order.

    Jeff may enjoy a lavish lifesytle, but he has worked hard and has the right to spend the money if he wants to do so. He also allowed many companies to get their feet on the ground for no charge exchanging stock for boothspace at times when he believed in their story. He did put skin in the game and certainly gave at times where some may not know it. You can certainly only respect that as Jeff did put his money where his mouth is.

    He also spend much of his own money funding alot of the VON experience (including petitioning the FCC, paying for the parties we all know many of you thoroughly enjoyed, etc). Maybe Jeff does not always use the best judgement, but his passion for VoIP made a difference in this industry. His mistake was teaming up with the biggest con artist in the industry and not staying close to the camp.

    The ultimate in misfortune is their is a core group of people who have been involved in VON from the start who Jason has successfully screwed over! There is nothing wrong with the industry other than the wrong guy leading the charge.

    Share
  71. The comment from “sadbuttrue sums” it up perfectly. But where are the lawyers? Surely somebody is doing something? A class action?

    Share
  72. A class action suit against who? For what?

    Pulvermedia is not a publicly traded company.

    The best you can hope for is that TICC would file suit against Kargman and Chunofsky for gross mismanagement. Certainly, pissing through $11 million in under a year qualifies. And there’s some skeletons in the closet when it comes to HR issues, but TICC has sucked at doing due diligence so far, so I doubt they will find them before they get rid of the company.

    Share
  73. Rumor on the street has it that a PulverMedia employee who had been let go last month approached both the VoiceCon and EComm organizers to sell a marketing list or some other type of VON data that he took with him. Somehow word got back and Jason to head this off put him into a salaried position at Exgenex to stop any more data going outwards. The understanding was that the employee black mailed Jason into keeping him employed. That person was not Carl who I think also has been moved over to Exgenex.

    I don’t know how others are saying Jeff is innocent. He is the largest single majority shareholder. If he was nothing to do with VON then why the hell is he the figure head and why is he not speaking out?!?! He fronted and pimped it. Lets put it this way; last time he sold it, it was for 65 million and he bought it back 2 years later for 5 million. This time he sold it again say for ~11 million and expect a buy back within the next 45 days. The buy back will happen, it will be rebranded “VON.SuperX – The Money Grabbing Continuum” but nobody who paid for VON.x will see any money back and Jason plus the COO will take the wrap in the news. You can’t have it both ways, either Jeff is VON or he is not. If he is not VON, then he should be making statements on his blog and answering emails to people requesting money back. The way his cult followers make it, he can cut it both ways, i.e. have his cake and eat it.

    If PulverMedia is so clean then why did it reinstate credit card processing recently for Video on the Net in 3 weeks time? Some companies are automatically buying tickets now for their employees yet there is no way it can go ahead as they only have 4 speakers! So right as we speak they have taken action to get credit card processing working again for something they can not fulfill. And you think Jeff could not stop this? All he has to do is to put on his blog that Video on The Net is not going ahead!

    Share
  74. If TICC had done due dilgence in relation to some PulverMedia hires as suggested we would not have been landed in the position we are in today. Instead the honest PulverMedia staff have been screwed. Other Pulver staff are singing praises for Jeff because they have hopes that he will ride in and save the show. Face up to the situation and who was behind it.

    Share
  75. Don’t waste time chasing Jason intead contact Stephen who can fill you in on VON details:

    Stephen Saber
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    ssaber@exgenex.com
    Phone 781-821-6604

    Share
  76. Any do a http://www.vonmag.com?

    Looks like the site broke and there’s nobody around to fix it.

    Share
  77. Blackmailed? I guess there’s nobody around to enforce a non-compete/NDA.

    Ain’t that embarassin’ I guess Jason is afraid to get TICC involved because the level of ineptness would be revealed.

    But then again, I think Jason caved for people on a number of occasions. So I’ve heard. Whine loud enough and he’ll cut rather than stand up I think Andy Abramson managed to weasel a couple of companies into “VON Awards” by that tactic.

    Share
  78. Beware, Stephen Saber is closely joined at the hip to Jason so I would not invest much there.

    I guarantee that whatever deal is being worked on and is expected to be announced shortly, there is no way Jason will take a hit in any way.

    Share
  79. sadbuttrue, Stephen was very candid on the topic. Maybe he was just off balance for a bit and back with a tie on today he will be less candid.

    We seem to have a case where Jason is calling Jeff an a** for not doing enough to promote the shows (even Jason according to Stephen was bitching about Jeff’s obsession with Avery labels, QIK and Facebook). It was hilarious as it was hardcore “how the fu** can you sell a voice fu***** show if you only want to talk about fuing Facebook all the time and your ambition is to be a fuing poker player).

    From the tiny part I know on the Jeff side, Jeff is playing all his astute cards to get VON back at the right price under the right deal. It may even be the case that bad PR Etc. helps Jeff as it drives down any brand value Jason has.

    War of the Titans is on. Who can play referee? Carl can be jester. Stuck between the two are the people who have paid for Voice on The Net next month and also VON.x Amsterdam. It’s a shame that no matter which Titan wins, I doubt the vendors to Von.x San Jose will see any cash – i.e. all those who got a bounced check will have to live with it. Personally if it was me who got a bounced check I’d call Stephen.

    Share
  80. Voice on the Net? Or Video on The Net? Thought Video on the Net was Jeff’s baby, then it became a joint Jeff-pulvermedia production since Jason wanted to book some revenues.

    What about that Virtual Trade Show? I heard one vendor was told the virtual show was “on hold” rather than to be executing.

    Jeff not doing enough to promote the shows? This comes from Jason, who 1) Paid Jeff to go away and didn’t want his input in the shows 2) Spent money on a CMO who was more interested in high-level stuff than getting his hands dirty on day-to-day ops then 3) Thought he could run marketing after the CMO left, between golf games and charity functions.

    Share
  81. The supposed “VPO of Sales” and “CMO” was the king of pay for play in pushing deals that gave vendors big speaker roles for large fees. He loves his “big deals” (and Jason loved him for that), and did an excellent job of driving revenues with no long term vision or value regardless what damage it did to the core community.

    The customers then start to question the investment, the decline occurs and we have VON as we see it today ala TICC.

    Yes, the marketing is another great part of the story…..in case you did not know, there had been no CMO in the job for probably close to a year, but being Chris also feels he is a marketing guru, he took that one on. Great job delivering the numbers (or lack of)…half-ass marketing delivers half-ass results. Less people means less exhibitors, less exhibitors means less revenue. You get the picture.

    Share
  82. For all those posting anonymously…nice job…if you feel so strongly and are willing to put names and blames…put you own name up there so when the time come for those to defend themselves and their actions….so will you!

    Share
  83. Their actions are indefensible and there are reasons for being anonymous. Individuals with billions in the bank can hire big legal guns.

    Share
  84. Bee, please feel me in on what Stephen Saber’s role is here again, why would he be contacted – what did I miss. Also, I think the only people working for Exgenex is Rich Erb – who else works there?

    Share
  85. pulvermedicated Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Cross Technology Group, runs Exgenex and the ITEC shows, seems to have picked up a couple of people out of the Boston offices. Someone forwarded along an e-mail from Bill Sell.

    Anyone smell a pool here?

    Share
  86. I’ve heard that next week (probably Monday 28th) there will be a PR release in relation to PulverMedia. Aside from that little is known except Video On the Net is off, VON.X Amsterdam is off and Jeff plans to work with TICC in some amicable fashion to carry on in the form of a new brand or a significant rebrand. It’s my guess that amongst other things they plan to try and take what was best from other shows that were not asleep at the wheel (like VoiceCon and EComm) and roll it into the new brand along with Jeff’s interests other than VoIP. Jeff and Jason have already cut a financial deal and settlement.

    Share
  87. SOMETHING_SMELLS_FUNNY_OR_ILLEGAL Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Why would Jeff and Jason need to cut a deal – who was owed what? Wouldn’t Jeff and Jason both be on the same team trying to cut a deal with the TICC – the TICC is the one that obviously wanted out.

    Why all this talk about Cross Tech media? Just because they hired some people from Pulvermedia doesn’t mean that Cross Tech/Exgenex has anything to do with the future of VON does it? Jason and Stephen are friends and Jason probably just got some of his cronies jobs because he felt guilty about their hungry families. All the “favorites” and teachers pets like Chris Erb, Kargman,Sell,Agranat,Ford, (the joke management team that choked)etc..will get placed by Jason or Jeff- rumors has it that some have all been working on “special projects” all along while the others told to go fend for themselves. I was also told that the employees have been waiting for a final announcement since the offices closed a month ago and that the closing was handled in the most un professional illegal way possible – Cobra was not even offered.
    How can that happen in this country to working people while the execs and/or the investors will end with a name brand for pennies on the dollar. Granted the brand name might not be worth anything due to the way this ordeal was handled but still.

    Share
  88. sidelinewatcher Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Carl Ford has put out a post entitled Defending My Honor here http://carlscorner.pulver.com/

    I really thought he had went and got a chastity belt fitted but actually it is a response to some of the comments above on this site. He states-

    I am not at liberty to discuss anything, but for all who want to complain to me. I will listen.

    So there you have it; if you paid up for sponsorship or attending future VON events, received a bounced check from Pulver or you got pink slipped last month just contact Carl not befrienders.org

    carl@pulver.com
    carl.ford@gmail.com
    631-961-8955

    Let us all know if Carl solves your problems and keeps his honor intact?

    Share
  89. The following people want to hear from PulverMedia ASAP

    Ross Sampson, InterTalk
    Chalan Aras, PolyCom
    Matteo Gatta or Alan Johnston, Belgacom
    Hugh Goldstein, XConnect

    Jason pref. if not then Carl.

    Share
  90. pulvermedicated Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Man, there are some bitter people on here :)

    Crack-based speculation: Jeff might want to buy Jason’s stock and/or employment contract out because 1) Jeff doesn’t want to have to deal with Jason as a minority shareholder and 2) Jason is a serious liability when it comes to negoiating any deal with TICC.

    Jason was the front man for the $11 million in TICC notes (which, oh-by-the-way kicked Jeff to the curb in a buyout), and Jason was the guy asleep at the steering wheel when the company stopped paying interest on its notes and ran out of cash.

    Share
  91. “there’s something goin’ on…”

    http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008157.html

    What exactly, is another story.

    Share
  92. Jason is too busy scheduling his next round of golf to call any of Pulvermedia’s (former, shunned, ignored) customers.

    Share
  93. There was talk about 3.75 million between Jeff and Jason.What it relates to, I don’t know.It could have been anything.What we do know is that Jeff resigned from PulverMedia and Jeff has no interest in running a VoIP show.I doubt anybody knows much more!

    Share
  94. [...] was being shut down. TICC Capitol Group, which invested $11 million in Pulvermedia last summer, had expressed concern over its financial state and seized control the company’s bank accounts. It was believed that Pulvermedia and senior management was trying to make moves to stabilize the [...]

    Share
  95. pulvermedicated Thursday, April 24, 2008

    $3.75 million? I think there’s a decimal place that needs to move to the left by one.

    Allegedly/supposedly, Jason put in $1 million of his own cash during the TICC investment in order to become a shareholder; TICC wanted him to have skin in the game.

    Soooo, $375,000 for stock that was worth pennies per share still sounds like a lot of money, unless Jeff needed to collect the stock and proxies for dealing with TICC on a clean basis. Probably means that Jason had to resign as well as a part of the settlement.

    Share
  96. [...] Malik, and others covering the VoIP space, noted the concerns of TICC Capitol Group over the financial state of PulverMedia when they invested $11 million in the company last summer. [...]

    Share
  97. [...] Malik, and others covering the VoIP space, noted the concerns of TICC Capitol Group over the financial state of PulverMedia when they invested $11 million in the company last summer. [...]

    Share
  98. So this is what the VON blur is all about eh?

    Share
  99. The comments are drying up. Maybe everybody is waiting for Monday’s announcement. Maybe we’ll go on waiting but at some time they must put up (find money and pay the creditors: unlikely) or shut up (announce that pulvermedia is bankrupt). The fact that creditors are not being paid would indicate that the de facto situation is bankruptcy. At some time lawyers are going to get into the act: they always do and they always get paid.

    Share
  100. I paid $2,500 of my own money to attend VON.x in Amsterdam. I feel really let down and I do not understand why it it is taking so long to find out what is actually going on. I emailed Carl as he invited on his blog and still no information or reply.

    There’s a nasty smell around all this; folks making or made money and others owed quite a bit.

    Don’t get me wrong. Businesses do fail, for reaons beyond folks control, but if money is taken when the people in control know that there is a serious problem, then that is something else……..

    -David.

    Share
  101. Their assets were frozen by the investor. We are also trying to figure out if anyone who paid for attending, exhibiting or sponsoring is lef like it appears you were. Good luck. TICC is the investor, so maybe gt hold of them.

    Share
  102. If you have paid with credit card, you can certainly dispute the credit card charge with your credit card company. I suspect pulvermedia will not have a leg to stand with failure to deliver. I would encourage anyone who used a card to take this approach to recover your lost $$.

    The saddest part of all of this is a number of key Pulvermedia folks were required to sign a 3 year contract when TICC funded this initiative. Essentially certain folks were locked into a job to find out the powers that be who locked you in stabbed you in the back when you weren’t looking (or were they stabbed by Jason, it is so hard to tell?). If they had opted to go look for another job prior to this situation, it would have been a violation of the agreement.

    Maybe it is time to publish Jason’s cell phone number …..

    Share
  103. I got in touch with TICC on the weekend since I am owed money, i.e. I am a creditor. If I get a response (unlikely) I’ll let everybody know.

    Share
  104. Last night I put a comment about people being owed out of pocket on Jeff Pulver’s Blog; the entry about his Pulvermedia resignation. Needless to say it was removed by this morning. Only positive comments are allowed it seems……

    Any news on a public statement about the cancelled events?

    From what I read about TICC and share price performance, they don’t seem to be doing that well either…..

    -David.

    Share
  105. The fact that Pulvermedia is in receivership by its creditors comes as a shock, as a former employee of a company who exhibited at VON, I know for a fact they are/were a tight ship–with an eye on the dollar. They charged outrageous fees to exhibit at their shows too and refused to negotiate with me! Maybe that’s why, my former employer Verso Technologies (Nasdaq: VRSO) http://www.Verso.com, went bankrupt last Friday after burning through over $320 Million! I left Verso a few years ago after one of their many re-structuring. This company was so bloated and had no idea of how to manage their money. But that was not the case with Pulver…this is a shocker.

    Share
  106. great insight Saturday, May 3, 2008

    http://andyabramson.blogs.com/voipwatch/2006/11/good_question_t.html?no_prefetch=1

    Good Question, Ted!!

    Ted Walingford raised a very good point about VON Enterprise and the lack of promotion it seems to be getting from Jeff Pulver.

    I’m not sure why this is is the case, but I do know that Jeff has taken a much more involved role in Spring VON and most of what I’m seeing and hearing already is making me think it will be a great event.

    Maybe, just maybe, Jeff is trying to send a message to other show organizers that his shows do well without added hype…..do you think?

    Share
  107. those who know, really do know.

    Share
  108. It is over…

    Pulvermedia emails are now returning as non-deliverable and the skeleton crew that Jeff was paying to stay on finished up yesterday. The hope was to keep the staff until new funding put into place.

    Unfortunately TICC did not want to discuss any alternative plans with a potential group of ivestors who Jeff brought to the table.

    See Carl’s blog as well…it is no more.

    Share
  109. If it is over for me,
    I don’t think that can be said for the event.
    TICC is supposedly in negotiation with others.
    We will see what happens.

    Right now I have no plans for going to Amsterdam or Boston.

    Share
  110. [...] those who have been following the situation closely may have guessed, I am no longer doing active duty as editor in chief of VON [...]

    Share
  111. I read somewhere that when TICC foreclosed they grabbed back a million and a bit. Pulvermedia was therefore solvent at the time and TICC effectively forced them into bankrupcy. Does that mean that TICC become responsible for the outstanding bills. I’m not a lawyer. Does anybody know?

    Share
  112. You can listen to results of TICC’s first quarter by doing the following:

    A recorded playback of the conference call will be available by calling 877-344-7529, 412-317-0088 from outside the United States). Replay Passcode – 419244.

    There are a few mentions of Pulvermedia in the call….

    Share
  113. [...] goodbye messages from Carl Ford, dis-avowals from Jeff Pulver, and stories from Andy Abramson and Om Malik. Shoot, I even called an end to the show a year ago, but I came back because of [...]

    Share
  114. pulvermedia once called the VON events their flagship – now it seems the flagship is sinking, captain and crew have left in haste, and the passengers are left behind whithout anyone telling them what’s happening!
    very poor communication from those people who were once believed to be at the forefront of a new age of communication!
    ps: i wonder if the “x” which was recently added to “VON” was a rather cynic hint that we should all cross out the VON events from our calendars …

    Share
  115. [...] Om wrote a story about the potential demise of Pulvermedia (creator of VON), taking lead from Andy and Marc Robins. [...]

    Share
  116. [...] Rumors are that VON has no more money left after the VC backed out of them. This means VON Europe, the 10th year will be canceled. One vendor I spoke with had just gotten a single call saying “the show is off” and others are just hearing rumors. VON is a great meeting place for the VoIP business and I was planning going there myself. Om Malik has more details about the rumour. [...]

    Share
  117. updateforyou Monday, May 19, 2008

    The main phone number at Pulvermedia staff is “disconnected” so I would say “it is over”.

    Share
  118. The Amsterdam event bears a striking similarity to the dead budgie in the Monty Python sketch.

    Share
  119. Well, VON.x Amsteram should have started today……but of course it didn’t.

    Can anyone point me to an official source that my credit card company would accept as proof of Pulvermedia having closed down and it all being over?

    There seems to be hardly anything out there and their web site is still up and running……

    I wonder why there isn’t there more traffic on the web about this?

    Thanks,

    David.

    Share
  120. I wonder why nobody from (ex-) Pulver Media was concerned enough to inform the pre-registered visitors that the VON.x Amsterdam would not take place… reveals a telling lack of esteem and an absolutely unfair attitude towards their (ex-) business contacts respectively.

    Having flown to Amsterdam, my colleague and I were not very amused to find out right outside the fairgrounds´ doors that the event was cancelled. At least we were not the only ones but met other people from several European countries who got stuck there as well.

    Share
  121. Too bad. A friend of mine has paid for the Amsterdam show well in advance to get the best spot. Good fact that a CC was used – I think they were able to get the money back.

    David – I think this is just enough to present the fact that the services or goods were not delivered in that case (Amsterdam 2-5 June) for a CC company.

    Share
  122. contact the TICC Capital Corp based in CT for answers – they are the owners of what is left.

    Is the services were not delivered that money is owed to you, I would think you could also go after damages if you traveled there and were not notified of a cancellation…

    If all un happy parties start contacting the TICC they are eventually going to have to respond

    Share
  123. Dave W,

    Send me a note to my gmail account.

    Kind Regards,

    Carl

    Share
  124. Take Jeff out of the picture for now, although one can speculate he knew everything going on while going firstclass to Rock&Roll shows, poker events, Isreal and Mets games. Where is CFO Scott Kargman in all this? While he was the CFO, money was literally (stolen) from unsuspecting customers under a false pretense of ongoing shows and they not happenning. He knew the exact condition of the company yet allowed promotion of new events and took payments? That is blatant criminal FRAUD! That is a criminal act and he can go to jail. All those burned by this have a right to sue him and the company or it’s next owners. Who does one get involved to sue or criminally go after this?

    Share
  125. [...] go East. Probably didn’t hurt that VON Europe, scheduled to occur in Amsterdam in early June, disappeared.  Rarely does one launch a trade show in under four months; VoiceCon Amsterdam is happening [...]

    Share
  126. TICC took control of all bank accounts and all the assets of VON while the pulvermedia team was onsite for Spring VON in San Jose. Once that took place, the execs at pulvermedia no longer controlled the company or the assets.

    TICC would not allow pulvermedia staff to do even the most basic things while there was that period of sorting out a plan B. That includes even basic things like getting an email out to the community regarding Spring VON.

    If you take the time to call TICC, you will find there is no accountability or anyone you can speak to on staff. The receptionist points you right back to pulvermedia (who’s phone number no longer works.

    If TICC took five minutes to think through a smart exit plan, they could have opted to sell their investment or phase out. Instead they shut the company down, paralyzed the events and made the brand worthless.

    Kevin, grow up! Scott Kargman is not to blame on an individual basis.
    If you want to “blame” someone, blame the folks at the top (Jason) and TICC.

    Share
  127. FYI - counterattact Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    FYI – you should wake up. All pulver email was working and the execs and staff could have done anything they want with sending an email – that is such bullshit – the reason it wasn’t done is that everybody packed up and left but a small group of favorites that continued there employment with a prayer Jeff would save it. Also, Kargman was at the top with Jason and the TICC and was responsible for controlling all funds as the CFO. If Pulver was unable to make payments or convenants Kargamn should have been the one looking for a solvency solution.

    I do agree with you on aspect – the TICC is a joke who has not taken responsibilty and can’t be very smart investors as they now have lost everything.

    Share
  128. [...] from TMC that all VON events has been canceled, Pulver Media no longer exist and nasty things are happening . I recommend reading the comments above. We were so close to go to VON Europe in Amsterdam!! So, [...]

    Share
  129. Grow-up? Yea, that’s a good one. Kargman was CFO at PULVERMEDIA and the one who banked unknowing customers checks while Rome was burning. Blame the investors, yea sure, they got burned too. As I said before, who and how are people going after this blatant act of theft and fraud? There must be an agency investigating this. Anybody know or seen anything? Please point us to it.

    Share
  130. KEVIN – YOU ARE DEAD ON. The person that told you to grow up was probably Kargman or Chudnofsky or one of thier wifes.

    I have come to find out that they also broke the law when they did not offer Cobra or distribute any information on unemployment to the employees when they shut down which is also a serious offense. Federal law states that you must offer Cobra if you have more than 20 employees.

    I would hire a lawyer to investigate a class action suit or go after Pulver executives and/or the TICC if I had damages.

    The attorney general in both MA and NYC city would be how you would find out if someone is investigating or to start an investigation.

    Share
  131. Hey…whats the scoop on the crook Kargman? He go too jail yet?

    Share
  132. I’ve heard a rumor that Virgo Publishing has purchased the databases, trademarks, and some of the other assets of pulvermedia and plans to start a show plus a magazine…

    Anyone else heard anything?

    Share
  133. [...] 2, 2008 With the demise of the VON Show, the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (aka ITEXPO) is now regarded as the biggest and [...]

    Share
  134. [...] I have some recent history and past history working with Scott and Carl (before everything went kablooie) I can’t wait to see how Sidecut Reports might participate, at the very least as an active [...]

    Share
  135. [...] PulverMedia, which spurred the VoIP crowd and rode its financial crest, shut its doors amid a swirl of controversy. As of this writing, Sonus Networks, once a high flier at $95 per share [...]

    Share
  136. Jeffie Pluver Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Looks they are trying to restart VON in a crippled down market where NO one has travel money. Now we have to wonder if they will refund money if it closes before it even starts like the last VON dissappointment.

    Share
  137. [...] have been recently informed by our former account manager at VON.x organizer that the numerous rumors about Pulvermedia ’s financial problems, total staff lay-offs, and inability to continue running [...]

    Share
  138. Thanks for the absorbing read! Alright playtime is over and back to school work.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post