SpinVox's super-blogger James Whatley really does jump ship this time

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James Whatley (@Whatleydude), SpinVox‘s head of digital and social media, has quit. Whatley’s job was to interact openly with the public and the industry about SpinVox, both on the SpinVox blog and on Twitter. His departure from the company suggests that he no longer feels able to do so, having recently crossed swords with the media a number of times.

SpinVox is currently facing a tsunami of allegations about the way the company has been run. The UK’s Sunday Times has seen a copy of the company’s unaudited 2008 accounts, which suggest that SpinVox’s losses widened by 30% that year. In addition, a six-page “dossier” is circulating that allegedly contains explosive claims about misappropriated resources.

Keen observers will have noticed that Whatley has been edging out of the door for some time. At the beginning of August, SpinVox’s Twitter feed suggested as much. On his personal blog, Whatley wrote today: “It’s become very clear to me that the shelf-life I predicted for this chapter of my career was accurate. It’s time to move on.”

TechCrunch Europe suspected this was coming some time ago. Indeed, we even wrote a pre-emptive story about it in anticipation of the news which was accidentally posted owing to a bug in the WordPress for BlackBerry software. (Naturally, we apologised to Whatley at the time.)

His resignation as head of digital and social media follows those of several other employees, including David Lindsay and Simon Mackintosh, whose last words about the company can be read in a number of ways.

SpinVox’s global head of PR, Jane Henry, was unavailable for comment when the news broke, but we’ve reached out to her and will update this post when she gets in touch.

  • http://evertb.wordpress.com Evert Bopp

    Looks like you guys were on the money a few weeks back….

  • Bob Andrew

    Are you sure this time? Not bullshit like the last time you hit publish on Whatley’s career?

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

      Yes, we’re sure Bob. Last time the “bullshit” as you put it was a half-cocked story that was never meant for publication. How many times do we have to repeat it?

  • CE

    Train wreck in slow motion.

    Where’s Julie now?

  • MAC

    So many blogs, what, michael jackson?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael_Arrington/500065899 Michael Arrington

    so is it for real this time or are you messing with us again?

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com/author/milo-yiannopoulos/ Milo Yiannopoulos

      No, we really mean it this time. It’s on SpinVox’s official blog and everything.

  • anon

    “Friendly blogger way out of his depth in vast financial scandal.”

    Corporate social media will change the face of business… er, no. Nice guy, easy reading, in with London’s mobile geeks. But that helped his employer how?

    Could have rewritten the rule book on using new media to tackle a crisis. Instead, wrote a halfhearted FAQ & skipped the country to video bungy jumps.

    Nothing to see here.

    • http://www.adfundal.com Alistair Crane

      You cannot be for real – If you can’t see how this guy helped his employer then you clearly have no grasp on the value of earned media Vs paid media.

      Then again, you don’t seem to get anything new media related… leaving a twatty comment anonymously demonstrates that perfectly, what a coward.

      I don’t know James particularly well but I do rate him massively as do many who have seen his contribution to Spinvox.

      Even if the guy was on an outrageous six figure salary, the value he provided to Spinvox in generating awareness and interest is huge – Name a mobile related blog, publication or event that he didn’t participate in some way with.

      As for the bungy jumping – Not a bad way to celebrate your leaving… and the best part is he’s being paid for it.

      Rock on Whatleydude.

      • pb

        “you don’t seem to get anything new media related”

        Well, we get that you’re a Grade A moron. And you have a crush on James, you poor puppy!

        “the value he provided to Spinvox in generating awareness and interest is huge”

        The awareness of SpinVox came from its huge marketing budget. Now we’re aware that it’s a fraud.

        The hour came and Whatley wasn’t up to the job.

      • http://www.twitter.com/julesmorgan Jules Morgan

        Wow. Ok, these are actually interesting points. And it’s ironic that a lot of the people who will read them in horror probably agree with the fundamental premise of them – that social media is the magical medium which can solve everything bad in the world.

        To argue whether James is good at his job is missing the point. The truth is that, despite what all those ‘social media consultants’ will have you believe, there’s only so much that it can achieve.

        It is NOT the modern day equivalent of the massive marketing & PR exercises that companies have used in the past as misdirection and spin to deal with massive controversies. Rather, it’s based on the principles of interaction and dialogue.

        To think that a company can deal with probing and persistent questions about both its core technology and financial situation via this type of interaction and dialogue is naive.

        Naive of them. Naive of you. And naive of a lot of the other people reading this who, deep down, actually think that too.

      • SpinVox Analyst

        All fur coat and no knickers…

        Spinvox or Social Media or both?

  • Adolf bin Streisand

    I know! Spinvox should just send the voice files to ChaCha with the question “What does this audio file say?”

    Problem solved.

    • Adolf bin Streisand

      And another thing. The gal heading this thing clearly is trying to make a name for herself by spending other people’s money. It’s like Boo.com all over again, except this time the chick heading the company isn’t hot.

      • Sam

        Best comment ever!! seriously.

  • http://www.michellesblog.net Michelle Greer

    Here was the problem w SpinVox:

    Hey sweetie, am waiting patiently at the sushi place.
    Hey sweatie, am hating patiently at the chuchi place.

    My ex used it and it drove me insane. This news is the last of their problems.

    • Adolf bin Streisand

      You broke up with someone because they used Spinvox? Wow…

  • SpinVox Analyst

    I wonder if WhatleyDude lost his recently acquired share options* for leaving before IPO/SellOut?

    *assuming that the recent shares for salary scheme was really share options for salary.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2009/08/whatley-quits-the-sinking-ship-that-is-spinvox.html Whatley quits the Sinking Ship that is SpinVox | Mobile Industry Review

    […] Milo covered James’ exit here. Yes, for a time, Whatley was frontpage news on […]

  • http://twitter.com/DominicTravers Dominic Travers

    heh, TechCrunch community shows it’s propensity to pontificate on matters they know very little about.
    Hope y’all enjoy life in your caves, Milo, good luck finding a decent plumber.

  • http://www.urbanfootonline.com Jordan Sneakers

    your that one guy that does all the work and then the credit goes to the corporation!!

  • mike shelly

    Is SpinVox falvour of the month !!

    Looks like TC is only blogging about them these days, so they had a few bad days…. shit happens..

    just leave them alone!

    This is getting really boring now!

    • http://www.ajgraham.com Alex

      “so they had a few bad days”

      Do you mean a few as in the entire life of the company?

      If Yes Then collect a cookie

      If No Then slap yourself

  • http://speechtotext.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/a-sinking-ship/ A Sinking Ship « Speech Recognition

    […] a company leaves, it is inevitable that the firm is in the last, death throes of its mobile life. TechCrunch has a nice summary of the whole Spinvox […]

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2009/12/14/spinvox-close-to-150-million-exit-to-nuance-not-so-fast/ Spinvox close to $150 million exit to Nuance? Not so fast

    […] on CEO Christina Domecq who paid staff in stock rather than cash over the summer. Although this didn’t work for all of them. Domecq told press in September that SpinVox would become cashflow and […]

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