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NetBloke.com - What happened to Sausage Software?

just a line

Publication Date: July 26th 2006
ISSN 1445-1360

In this issue you will read:
Editorial: July 26th 2006

Editorial: July 26th 2006

G'Day Blokes and Sheilas!

This issue I am breaking from the usual content to explain what happened to Sausage Software. The company from which so many of you know me. The company that started my IT career. The company the ultimately has been screwed up forever.

For those of you who don't know Sausage, it was one of the pioneer dot com companies in the world, based in Melbourne, Australia. It was the first company to have a great HTML editor, HotDog Professional. During the boom times it made quite a few people very wealthy. The founder, Steve Outtrim (aka Saus), had a great vision and great idea and was the first to take advantage of it online. Today Steve has an investment company that invests in environmentally friendly and sound businesses. Some are IT based others are as diverse as health foods.

Around 2001 I was given the opportunity with the current staff of the HotDog Team to purchase the product and Intellectual Property. At the time I thought the set up of having myself in the USA for marketing and business dealings was great, as this is where most of business derived from. In turn the rest of the team moved to small offices in suburban Melbourne.

That was our first mistake. Although not a horrible one, it lead to slow development time to a well planned and documented rewrite of the software, which in turn would lead to a new core editor that was faster, and enabled for plugins.

With slipping sales and a programming team not meeting goals, I attempted to sort out some minor investment to fast track development. When we originally purchased the company I had lunch with Steve and my friend Matthew and he offered to help if I ever got in to trouble. I thought this was the easy way out and regrettably choose another path.

Through my dealings with Lockergnome, I met a character called Harry Hayes (aka Harry M Hayes or Harry Hayes Jr, at least thats what I think his name is). I knew him for over a year before the possibility of investment even came up. He promised access to his development team, with a small cash injection. Then through a combination of events, including an unfortunate divorce, and unsupportive programming staff, Harry weaved his web of lies and gained control of the company.

I have spent the last two years with an extremely good Intellectual Property lawyer, spent a lot of my money, and generally stressed myself out. I have met many other people nickel and dimed by Harry, along with bigger companies like Xara and Coffeecup (yes Sausage's old competitor). Programmers who were never paid, Companies never paid, and others who say they were ripped off by the guy.

In the past month I decided it wasn't worth it any more. With the stress it was causing me, and the fact that most of the facts in my case are hard to substantiate (in others there are formal broken contracts), I didn't have a good enough chance to spend more money or time. My lawyer told me to write it off as experience.

As you know I have a new marriage now, a thriving Bed & Breakfast and I do not want either of those to suffer.

I am currently working on another project that blends my IT experience and new found hospitality skills. I had plans to take Sausage open source (ala Firefox and the like) if I could at least obtain the lost domains.

To be honest I am really sad that Sausage has basically died. It was a great company, it spawned many other great companies from past employees through to customers who used our software.

Hopefully if you are looking at doing business with Sausage Software or Harry Hayes you will see it is not worth it. If you are customer and get no support, as I know from your emails, I would file complaints with the State Attorneys office. Although I have literally spoken to every level of law enforcement from local police to the FBI Special Task Force on Internet Fraud, none had the resources, or the amounts in question were not enough to warrant investigation.

It has been a very expensive lesson for me. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, good friends, and the trust that was established with Sausage Customers.

I will keep on writing NetBloke issues, and put all of my energy into other projects. Who knows one day I might be wealthy enough to reclaim and rebuild, but for now I cannot devote any more time, energy or money in to it.

Nathan Allan

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