An e-mail today from Bjarke Myrthu, CEO and founder of Storyplanet, announced the death of the service/site.
About a month ago, according to Myrthu, freelance developers claiming they were owed money took over the site and refused to reinstate it until they were paid.
Now, Myrthu says the site will not return. The cost of legal remedies would be prohibitive.
This is a pretty sad development, because the tool was a useful way to create multimedia stories, and there were several professional outlets already using the site to publish. I have also mentioned it in presentations as a tool that college media could adopt, and I exchanged e-mails with some of the developers and sat in on a training webinar. They were very helpful, and the software relatively easy to use.
Myrthu promises to come back in 2014 with another multimedia storytelling tool:
I realize that you might have live projects that will be affected, and that you might loose (sic) a lot of work, and I am truly sorry for putting you in this situation (if it’s any comfort I’ve personally lost years of work as well). But after a lot of thinking and soul searching I have come to the conclusion that I would rather offer you some perks and premiums on the next project, than try to help you restore something which will soon be a thing of the past in any case.
So what is the next big thing? I really cannot tell you yet, but since my decision of closing down Storyplanet’s creation platform I have gathered a new group of amazing people around me, and I see a project forming that will redefine publishing all together. If I’m right I will be back in a new way in 2014 with something incredibly powerful.
When/If Myrthu’s new project is available, I’ll update with details.
On a final note, if there is one crucial lesson to be learned from this for journalists, it’s that, as I wrote recently, some of the stuff on the Internet isn’t permanent.