RV Industry News announced Friday (March 20) that it must go offline for a while, effective immediately.
The decision affects the website at www.rvindustrynews.com as well as the publication of its daily e-newsletter.
Unlike other businesses in the RV industry forced to close, the decision is not due to financial concerns, but rather legal issues, said Editor Greg Gerber in a website posting.
RV Industry News was founded Nov. 26, 2007, as a bimonthly magazine and website owned by Milo Media, in Barrington, Ill. In January of this year, Milo Media decided to discontinue publication of the magazine, opting to grow the brand around the website instead, Gerber.
However, in late February, a series of unexpected events forced Milo Media to withdraw its support of the website effective Feb. 28. So Gerber, who founded RV Industry News with Wolfgang Neuwirth, sought to purchase the brand from Milo.
“We had agreed upon a price and other terms regarding the sale, and we had lawyers draw up the formal sales agreement,” he explained. “Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Milo’s owners would not sign the document nor provide a timeline explaining when the transition could take place.”
That put Gerber in a difficult situation, he explained. “I am no longer a Milo employee, so I legally cannot work on ‘their’ website,” he said. “I continued operation of ‘my’ site for a few weeks hoping the sale would go through and we would experience a seamless transition.”
Because Gerber does not have a legal right to operate the website he founded, the only alternative is to take it offline, his lawyers advised. Although the website will remain “live” in that people can still view it online, Gerber will not be posting any additional stories until the legal issues can be worked out, or a new website developed, he said.
“It is an extremely disappointing situation because the website has become immensely popular with the RV industry,” Gerber said. “But shutting down is the only legally safe alternative we have. In the worst case scenario, I would hope to be back in operation one way or the other under a different ownership structure by April 1.”
Gerber explained more in his blog post.
“Our competitors are likely gleeful regarding this unexpected gift,” he said. “But, I love the RV industry too much to simply walk away forever. There is a definite need in our industry for an independent news source that isn’t controlled by corporate moguls or designed as a house organ for a vast empire of related companies.”