“We’re not a major fraud!”
This was the last sentence to leave Brandon Reynolds’ lips as he admitted defeat and the falsification of his new app Sociabl to David Campbell on The Today Show this morning.
Earlier today I wrote an article about this app, Sociabl, after having also interviewed cofounder Brandon Reynolds. He was highly enthusiastic at the time, bragging about all the celebrities who had come on board, even including some washed out celebrities (hello, Bachelorette runner up Michael Turnbull) that were clearly just space fillers.
In theory, the new platform allows anyone around the world to connect with their biggest celebrities. It allows fans to face time chat their favourite idols, including Richard Branson, David Campbell, Jimmy Barnes and even Will.I.Am. It sounded like a great idea as half the money supposedly would go to charities like White Ribbon and the Red Cross. A fantastic feat for a 19 year old entrepreneur, but little did we know how green behind the ears he really was.
“According to Brandon you can pay $500 to talk to me through his app and $250 will go to a charity of my choice,” Campbell explained to viewers.
Sadly, however, David Campbell had never heard of his app and nor had his dad Jimmy Barnes. Sadder still, none of these charities were actually signed on.
“My name came up on the app,” questioned Campbell, which Reynolds responded to “100 percent and welcome!”
He’s welcoming David Campbell to Sociabl for the first time, along with Jimmy Barnes and even Will.I.Am, all of whom haven’t actually signed on. Reynolds is clearly using him as public advertising without permission and has been rightly called out on national tv, in one of the most awkward and cringe-worthy interviews ever.
“To be fair, I hadn’t signed on,” said Campbell.
After a gruelling five minute interview it was clear that Reynolds couldn’t keep up with his lies and crumbled. He argued that Sociabl wasn’t a “major fraud.” So does that mean he’s just a small time fraud? Nevertheless fraud is fraud.
This morning my article was somewhat critical as red flags were raised early on when I heard of a $9 million valuation ‘claim’ pre-launch with a $350,000 raise from private venture capitalists in Melbourne. The stars seemed a little sketchy and he was happy to plug all the small time players to me, and of course underline that it was for a good cause, and that good cause being charity.
However, the app’s launch party this morning suggested anything but. The media, myself included, politicians, and ‘celebrities’ were invited to a glitzy cruise around Sydney Harbour in a multi-million dollar yacht. Last week, having been informed that Chris Pyne, the Federal Minister for Innovation, along with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten would be in attendance, I sent my RSVP along with a request for some time with both Pyne and Shorten. Shortly after, I received a reply saying that Pyne would no longer be able to attend – as it turns out, Pyne and Shorten were apparently unaware of the app and the event.
Still, in theory, something that looks to give to charity might truly have its heart in the right place. Last week Reynolds said, “For us it meant that fifty cents of every dollar was going to the charities that the clients wanted to support. The fan obviously gets to see that they’re talking to their favourite idol, but also, they’re helping the idol support the cause they’re trying to raise awareness for and improve.”
Campbell countered, “So you’ve used a couple of people there as public advertising who didn’t really know anything about it?”
I wrote this morning that only time will tell if the $9 million valuation will hold and the app will live up to its high demanding expectations. Well, it took about a five minute interview for those demanding expectations and $9 million valuation to fall through.