Amanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom. Or was she fired? Andrew Baron, 51% owner of Rocketboom, claims Congdon was leaving for other opportunities in LA. Amanda, 49% owner of Rocketboom, claims she was moving to LA to work on Rocketboom and is now stuck living in her parents' home in Connecticut. And there is fighting over whether or not Amanda owns that 49%. At the heart of it all seems to be who is in control of the actual production of Rocketboom. Watch Amanda Congdon's farewell video. The New York Times writes about it all.
Whether or not you like Rocketboom, it was a leading pioneer in the video blogging space with 250,000 daily readers, a partnership with TiVo (the very first TiVoCast), and a creative business model that sold ads on eBay for as much as $40,000 (and more recently reported ad deals of $80,000). They also were pioneers of the medium, honing an HD editing setup that reportedly only cost them $20 an episode and utilitizing features of QuickTime like chapters and links to create a more Web-like feel to the video. They weren't inventors of the space: much like the content of their show they were part of an overall experimentation within the space that learned from each other, but they were pioneers.
Baron claims to be continuing Rocketboom (sans-Congdon) starting next week, but this seems to me to be a fatal misunderstanding of the medium by Baron -- odd given how much he helped shape it. Rocketboom is not like NBC Nightly News, where you hand over the anchor position. It's more like Larry King Live without a CNN, because stick Amanda Congdon in front of a camera, post the result anywhere online, and you have the next Rocketboom. There is much that goes on behind the camera, but to Internet viewers who have no trouble updating their browser links, the brand goes where Congdon goes, even if the production and nascent business development do not. Jason Calcanis of Weblogs Inc has already offered Congdon a position at Netscape for whatever salary she wants whereever she wants, and there are certainly plenty of other offers eager to pickup Rocketboom's 250,000 strong audience.