The website for San Francisco’s popular gym, Fitness SF, was highjacked last Friday by a web designer seeking revenge.
Website designer Frank Jonen, who was hired by the company last year, hijacked the Fitness SF website and replaced usual content with a dramatic public rant after the company allegedly failed to pay him properly for his work.
Below is the full text of Jonen’s message:
Frank Jonen Fitness SF
Jonen claims Fitness SF failed to pay him for six months worth of design services. His efforts allegedly included the creation of logo renderings that accumulated more than 1,300 views per piece.
Fitness SF responded to the accusations on their Tumblr, claiming that Jonen had been paid in advance, but never completed the work promised. They also accused him of blackmailing the company.
The site no longer displays Jonen’s message but instead redirects users to an temporary alternate web address.
If Fitness SF hasn’t paid its dues then Jonen’s reaction is probably what they deserve. However, there are conflicting reports from both sides so it’s difficult to assess the situation.
In any case, as far as branding and PR is concerned, other companies should learn from this. No brand should put itself in such a position where an outsider has complete control of its website.