Menshn.com, the sleepy chatroom-blogging thing co-founded by former Tory MP Louise Mensch, has closed following a falling out between its two principals.
Mensch and the site's co-founder Luke Bozier, a one-time Labour party flack who defected to the Conservatives last year, are no longer on speaking terms, prompting a decision to pull the plug on their site.
The pair had tried to differentiate Menshn.com from other discussion websites by allowing its users to create chat rooms specifically for each topic they wished to natter about.
But the site was the target of a barrage of criticism from web developers and security experts when it launched in the UK last June. Soon after its arrival, Menshn.com started using a secure server to process logins and applied a filter to thwart basic cross-site scripting attacks. But curious probers warned of other problems, such as a cross-site request forgery security hole that could leak punters' passwords.
The decision to axe the site appears unrelated to the security-related teething troubles nor its overall business plan.
Bozier resigned as a director of Menshn.com on 17 January. He continued to hold a 50 per cent stake in MenschBozier Ltd, the holding firm behind the website, but this arrangement broke down rather acrimoniously.
"Louise and I no longer have anything resembling a working relationship, and she no longer wishes to run a company in which I own shares," Bozier explained in a blog post.
"Alas, I am forced to agree that we don’t have a basis for a working relationship, and frankly no longer wish to hold shares in a company she runs. I had a great time building and launching menshn, despite the mountain-sized buckets of cyber-shit I got for my association with Louise."
Bozier maintained that the central idea of menshn.com – "Twitter for topics" – is a "sound one and will be done very successfully by somebody else one day". Chick-lit writer Mensch, who quit her parliamentary seat to move to the US with her family, added in a post on Menshn.com that "the core idea" of "real debate in depth" was worthwhile.
The Daily Telegraph has more on the background of the site closure here. ®