Former Jobster CEO in Feud With Citibank Over Gay Network

Update: Citibank issued a statement this afternoon apologizing for the blocking of fabulis, saying: “Citibank sincerely apologizes to Mr. Goldberg for this misunderstanding. This situation had nothing to do with the content of his web site and any comments by our staff to the contrary were incorrect; we are reviewing what happened. This was a technical issue about missing documentation that is required for new business accounts. Once we resolved the situation, we unblocked the account immediately.”

In our last episode Jason Goldberg, the erstwhile founder and CEO of what was once Jobster (now, had moved to Germany as chief product officer for Xing. The business-oriented social networking site bought Goldberg’s startup SocialMedian for $4 million at the end of 2008 and he went along.

To bring you up-to-date, the ever-restless Goldberg left Xing a year later after it was acquired. He moved back to New York to oversee the development and launch of yet another startup, fabulis, a social networking site for gays. His blog has the details.

Goldberg is now back in the news, blasting Citibank for freezing his company’s bank account.

He first posted about the situation the other day, writing:

“In a bit of strange and disturbing news, fabulis discovered today that someone(s) at Citibank had decided arbitrarily to block fabulis’ bank account due to what was described to us on the phone as “objectionable content” on our blog.”

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Today, with the situation escalating, Goldberg reported a Citibank manger told him a compliance review found the blog “content was not in compliance with Citibank’s standard policies.”

TechCrunch and GigaOm, among others, are picking up the story, suggesting Citibank is homophobic. In a comment on Hacker News, Goldberg discounts that.

Citibank has so far made no public comment. A person in the press office took my name, number, and email, and said someone would be in touch.

Incidentally, fabulis has some heavy-hitter investors who just last month put $625,000 in initial funds into the company. Among the investors, The Washington Post, Allen Morgan of the Mayfield Fund, and Don Baer, vice chair of international PR firm Burson Marsteller.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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