GirlsGoneVengeful: The Farrah Ashline Affair
I received a tip a few months back about a site called GirlsGoingOut.com that seemed to be closing up. Alas, by the time I got there the site had been removed, but good copies have been preserved at The Internet Archive. See:
GirlsGoingOut.com's purpose was summed up in a December, 2002 story in the Washington Post "a new matchmaker for gals looking to make platonic pals". An article in Forbes entitled "No Boys Allowed" provided similar high-visibility coverage in that same month.
GirlsGoOut.com charged a subscription fee of $60 a year for women to join, and its CEO, Farrah Ashline, who the Washington Post likened to "a young Gloria Steinem" claimed at one point to have gotten 4,000 subscribers to have paid its one-time $60 "processing" fee.
Unfortunately, the glossy front end of GirlsGoingOut.com appears to have concealed some allegedly dirty dealings in the back-office. Numerous ex-employees have claimed that they were never paid by Ms. Ashline, members have alleged that they never received services for their payment, and others allege that Ms. Ashline has a shady past. The result of these grievances have been a series of sites erected for the sole purpose of getting even with GirlsGoingOut's CEO.
One such site is www.farrahashline.com/, an "an unofficial resource site for information related to Paidia Linefar, aka Farrah Ashline, Creator and CEO of Washington DC's GirlsGoingOut.com and WOMagazine.com. This page is being brought to you by a collective of web designers, artists, illustrators, writers, and other ex-employees of Ms.Ashline who have (allegedly) yet to be paid for their work." The site SpecialAgency.Net hosts a page that similarly brims with information about Ms. Ashline at http://www.specialagency.net/arc/000101.html.
A third site, karma.fnord.net, does something very interesting: it uses The Internet Archive to actually document what his alleged to be the high staff turnover rate at GirlsGoOut.com, the first known use of the Archive in an employee-employer dispute.
Once again, the Net has proved that it is a unique organizing medium for the aggrieved. On the above sites, information is disseminated, tips are traded, links are posted, and bile is emptied. The advent of these sites prompted even Washington Post, whose first article about GirlsGoingOut was laudatory, to launch into an angry series of exposes that made Farrah Ashline, in the newspaper's words "The Most Unpopular Girl in Town."
There is very little left of the original GirlsGoOut.com, aside from pages preserved at the Internet Archive, which don't appear to go many levels deep, but I was able to find what appears to be a fully-functional copy of GirlsGoOut at the following URL:
www.boston.ggo.test.janmedia.com/about/index.xml This development site features a number of interesting artifacts, including many pictures of Farrah, and yes - an invitation soliciting writers to join GirlsGoOut.com.
In the meantime, if the Farrah-tracking sites are right, Farrah (who has now apparently reinvented herself as "Paidia Linefar", now runs a PR company and event-planning company which is about to embark on a multi-city series of workshops that, in exchange for $399, will instruction people how to get into the "event-planning" business.
On the side, someone named "Padia" with the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org" continues to advertise solicitations for "Affordable Psychotherapy, Massage with Yoga" services on sites such as CraigsList.
It remains to be seen whether "Padia's" past will ever really catch up with her.