Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nirvanix has our data

John Hood posted a message on yesterday's blog entry: in which he said: "I think the only time we intentionally lied was when we denied being a customer of Nirvanix.... And yes, your files are at Nirvanix. It's now up to them to decide if they want to give you access to MediaMax." (The full message is below).

So they lied.

The Linkup is going offline on the 8 August. We have been told to download files before then. But they will still be on the servers of Nirvanix.

John said that there was a failure rate of 45% in transferring files from Mediamax to The Linkup. The files that have not been transferred are still there on the Nirvanix servers.

Perhaps those servers still have the millions of files that were deleted last year due to operator error.

John said previously: "Nirvanix and Mediamax (parent company of The Linkup) are separate companies that spun out of Streamload. Different investors, different employees, different management. There is no connection."

Well aside from it being a deliberate lie that there is no connection, it strikes me that those who signed up to Streamload have a strong case to require Nirvanix to give them access to their files.

Those that signed up to Mediamax also have a claim, I would imagine because our data is an asset and it surely cannot be held or destroyed by a third party without our permission. The fact that it was entrusted to Nirvanix by Mediamax should not change this fact. Legal advice on this point would be very useful.

It also occurs to me that data protection legislation may help. Under UK legislation you have a right to all data held by a third party in electronic form that relates to you. When I have used this act in the UK, I have been sent copies of materials that refer to me or have been sent to the organisation by me. Would it be possible to use the US Act to require Nirvanix to provide a copy of all data held in our accounts?

I don't have much data on Mediamax - I used it for hosting files for streaming, rather than for archiving or backup. But those with large amounts of data they want back might like to consider getting legal advice on the legal obligations of Nirvanix to return the data. Time is short because possibly they will destroy it after the 8 August deadline proposed by The Linkup expires.

Even without going for an injunction to prevent this, if people write to Nivanix saying they know they have their data and they expect it to be protected and returned it will strengthen the case should it be destroyed. The email address is

We can also try to get fees back from The Linkup. However, someone has posted to a previous blog a message they say was received from John Hood:

Thanks for writing. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been able to access your files. I wish I could give you a refund, but we simply have no money. In fact, the company is several hundred thousands of dollars in debt and will soon be filing for bankruptcy. I thnk you only recourse is to join the company's other creditors in bankruptcy court.


John Hood
Director, Customer Support
The Linkup

Here is his message about lying and news that he has left The Linkup:

--- from John Hood
Bash me all you want, but my apology was sincere. I didn't have to do it and I don't work for TLU anymore so I have no ulterior motive. I am not asking for any sympathy. And for the record I've never lied. I simply related what I was told by Engineering. Sometimes they weren't able to live up to their promises but that's true for every tech company. There was nothing nefarious going on. We're guilty of not living up to expectations for the service not of lying. I think the only time we intentionally lied was when we denied being a customer of Nirvanix. That was a Nirvanix demand. But I should also mention here that the companies were entirely separate. I always laughed when I saw Tom Bassett going on about how we were the same company. Not only was that not true, we had a contentious (and that's being polite)relationship with them from Day One.
And yes, your files are at Nirvanix. It's now up to them to decide if they want to give you access to MediaMax.
--- quote ends


Iceage said...

I too am of the opinion that TLU will resurface under another name. If not, then at least we will be more careful. Sad thing is most online storage companies TOS all state pretty much the same thing 'pay us all your money, and if we loose you data, tough'

Your agreement with TLU to host data is 3rd party to Nirvanix, no matter the relationship. John Hood posting here is hearsay I am afraid. Even a direct mail from him is hearsay, especially if he no longer works there.

I would be surprised if Nirvanix responds favourably. And I was under the impression the data was now currupt. Or at least the database at TLU.

Maybe they owe Nirvanix money.

Another lie. Read back in their blog and it's asked if they have old equipment and if that's the problem, and they say their servers are new and all is fine.

I would like to see data back too. But don't hold our for Nirvanix. Kinda like suing Coca Cola for puncturing your car tire when you drove over a broken bottle in Walmart property.

The most important thing is to watch out for new companies.

And list alternatives like humyo, which is based in the UK btw

Anonymous said...

from techcrunch. charlie jackson was chairman of streamload.

Lots of incorrect info posted here. One or two of the posts almost got it right about the history. Here’s an accurate summary:

The original entity was Streamload. The product name was changed to MediaMax and it was still the same service. Steve Iverson, the founder, was still CEO. Patrick Harr was brought in to be CEO and to help raise money, Iverson was moved to being CTO.

When a C round investor was found, Mission Ventures, this venture firm wanted nothing to do with the consumer service of MediaMax, only wanted to be in the back-end business. The C investor allowed a spin-out to be done, and the new company was allowed to take the name MediaMax and the consumer customers, but no software, no servers, no data. The front-end software was licensed to the spin-out, but for a limited time. Steve Iverson took over this company, while the existing company, with all the servers and data, was re-named Nirvanix. Virtually all the employees stayed with Nirvanix. Nirvanix is trying to compete with Amazon’s S-3 service.

Around the time this spin-out was happening, Nirvanix engineers screwed up royally and accidentally deleted half the files. Most were recovered over time, but it took months, and there was never 100% recovery (I never got some of files back).

MediaMax wrote new front-end software and recently changed its name to TheLinkup. Nirvanix wrote new back-end software, but had trouble migrating all the MediaMax files from its old software to its new software.

MediaMax/TheLinkup coudn’t make all its customers’ files available, ran out of money, and not having a viable business anymore, had to shut down (the C investors never put any money into the spin-out).

This is an abbreviated version, but more accurate than anything else that has been posted here.

Iceage said...

Interesting stuff. What's more interesting is that it conflicts with some of the comments posted by TeamTLU in their old blog about the relationship between all three companies.

Tom Bassett said...

I'm glad to read the illuminating comments from Charlie Jackson - it merely reaffirms what I'd concluded long ago, which is:

They knew the Mediamax ship was sinking, so they made a lifeboat called Nirvanix. Almost the whole company jumped into it, bringing their staff, computers, servers, etc. They left the sinking Mediamax ship, along with all their customers, to drown. Now they’re trying to make us believe that Nirvanix is not only a new ship, but a luxury cruise liner capable of competing with Amazon S3.

Anyone who has been following this story long enough knows that Nirvanix pressured Newsvine into censoring my articles on this topic. Now we find out that not only is Nirvanix essentially the same company, they are also the people who lost our data, and demanded that Mediamax LIE about it so they could attract new customers.

Nirvanix has proved, in their bullying Newsvine, that they're willing to play hardball. I don't care if they take me to court over this - I'll make sure everyone knows what dirty tricks they're pulling.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Jackson's post does not contradict what John Hood said.

MediaMax and Nirvanix were 100% separate companies (separate corporate entities) but they did have a customer relationship. John Hood did not say that explicitly because MediaMax/TLU was under NDA not to disclose the customer relationship.

I think we know now that they could not disclose that customer relationship because Nirvanix was planning all along to screw them and us with our files.

MediaMax did spin out and purchase all new servers for their web site. They did not purchase their own new storage because that stayed with with Nirvanix all along and was to be moved to their "new" system.

Iceage said...

Anonymous said...

Check back on this blog to where someone posted a link to the old TLU comments.

I don't know if it's on the link, but I specifically remember being asked this question and answering John Hood stating this"

The problem is not old servers We have purchased all new servers at TLU. The problem is not the equipment

Jabash said...

Check out the Techcrunch article, some of which has already been mentioned.

I tried online support at Nirvanix last night and although it said operators were online after I sent my message I was told no one was available.

I guess it is naive to think Nirvamax could put Mediamax back online for a short time to allow access to our files.

Anonymous said...

This situation is so laughable because due to how everything being terribly transparent, even though The Link Up team was trying its best to not show its cards. I feel I should have them all over to play a couple high stake hands of poker. But then again, would their chips have any value behind them? haha

After bankruptcy they can definitely resurface, and probably will. Like I mentioned on their official blog before my comment was deleted, that TheLinkUp site smelled of database data recovery. It would have been faster for them to just sort the data into back into some kind of REAL storage and not virtual storage. The fact that 45% of the data FAILED to move into the new site, shows how bad Nirvanix and TheLinkUp may be at data storage and data retrieval.

Those customer's in the US that want a refund will have to find a way to get to those bankruptcy hearings either in person or by legal representation. If they file bankruptcy, you won't get anything, no money or data. You might not be able to get money, but the judge could rule that you at least get your data if Nirvanix says its still there. Which of course is another whole can of worms in itself.

Good luck to you all in that endeavor!