Update 3/22/2010: It seems that the situation has been clarified and Chris Mathews continues his work with Freedur, while the others have launched a new product.

Some time ago I have introduced Freedur, a hide IP tool that impressed me with its simplicity, speed, and effectiveness. Also, I interviewed Chris Mathews who presented himself as “a member of Freedur team”. Yesterday, while checking Freedur for new releases, I found out that the product is not available anymore and the team members are fighting against each other to gain control of the site, money they earned and the client database.

Here is an interview with Chris Mathews, one of the creators of Freedur.

Chris Mathews, Freedur founder

1. Please introduce yourself and let us know who is behind Freedur.
My name is Chris Mathews and I am part of the team that created Freedur.

2. When you started Freedur, what objects and motivations did you have?
The technology behind a proxy isn’t that complex but somehow most proxy services out there made proxies painful to use.  We thought we could make a proxy that is enjoyable to use and off we ran with that.

3. How has the response been to the release of Freedur?
People have been very happy with Freedur so far from what we can tell from blogs and twitter.  I think the time and attention we put into making Freedur easy and intuitive was really appreciated.

4. How would you describe Freedur in a few words?
Plug and play proxy.

5. What are the technologies behind Freedur? / How is Freedur hiding the IP address?
Secret 🙂

6. How is Freedur different from other hide IP tools?
It’s not ugly, it’s not clunky, and even people who are not computer savvy can use it with ease.

7. How many users do you have right now?
Several thousand users since we launched a month and a half ago.

8. What are your plans for future versions?
Support multiple languages as well as a Freedur VPN.

9. If there is anything thing else you would like to add about Freedur or if you have any advice for my readers …
Follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/freedur) to be updated on Freedur and our top-secret project in development!

Who is the Freedur owner?

Here is the chain of events. On the 18th of August, Freedur has announced one of the employees has sabotaged the service:

Just a week ago Chris Mathews sabotaged the service by redirecting www.freedur.com domain to his personal server and stole our customers database and web site scripts. Becasue Chris worked as accountant for us, he bought domain freedur.com for us, thus it was easy for him to sabotage the service. We have intervened and threatened to him with law suits, thus he restored domain back. We had full trust to Chris, we were considering him as a friend, but today we see who is Chris Mathews, an evil and greedy person trying to steal from and screw up his friends, business partners and customers.

Chris Mathews organized an attack to our servers today and destroyed our customers database and web site in an attempt to take over Freedur and run it by himself on his private servers. You can see his attempt to setup Freedur from stolen scripts and database on his server here – With help of his friends – Vincent Shen, a Chinese living in Shanghai, and Rick Olson, an American living in California, Chris is attempting to reverse engineer our Freedur application and use it on his web site.

To sum up, Freedur says that Chris ran off with all the money they earned the past three months and destroyed their database.

Chris Mathews responded to Obrad Grujic and Frank Kim accusations by posting a press release onto the Freedur website. Chris claims that be the sole owner of the business and that he registered Freedur registered in California. He says that he had outsourced the development of the Freedur app to the people who are now complaining about him stealing it from them.

The development of the Freedur application was outsourced to a group of independent developers led by Paul Hay, which included Obrad Grujic and Jovica Mizdrak. The business relationship began on April 2009 and the developers were responsible for the programming of the application and website while all design, concept & identity, and marketing was conducted in-house. Over the course of the cooperation, I became extremely dissatisfied with the work quality of Hay’s team as detrimental coding issues were found in the Freedur application.

I offered final compensation plus additional bonuses to Hay’s team and requested for them to turn over all work done including the source code of the application. In response, Hay’s team rejected our offer and responded with the following illegal actions …

I am currently taking all necessary action to restore service to our customers as quickly as possible. It is important all Freedur customers are aware that Hay’s team is attempting to create a cloned service of Freedur in an attempt to steal its customers. However, I am confident that while they can duplicate the code, they cannot duplicate Freedur’s design and intuitiveness.

I would urge our customers to not fall for their tactics by signing on to their new service, and please wait patiently as we re-launch Freedur.

Next, StackFile, a company which claims to own Freedur, writes on its blog:

Chris claims in the letter above that we (StackFile Corporation) have hijacked our own service and our own servers, that he just hired us (StackFile Corporation) to make a software for him. That is a blatant lie.

StackFile Corporation is not a programming firm and does not offer programming services. StackFile does file hosting, personal file storage and proxy service as part of its business.

Does Chris have some contracts signed with us which can confirm his lies that he has hired us as programming firm? Of course not. He is a blatant liar and a thief.

They say that they had launched Freedur as an experimental project that turned their main product, Transporter, into an easy to use hide IP tool for the Asian market. Chris Mathews was a friend who had some experience as a designer and was therefore asked to design all the images on the Freedur site and app.

Chris has stole our web scripts, database and money and afterward destroyed our site and backups in an attempt to, with a group of his friends, Vincent Shen, a Chinese programmer from Shnaghai, and Rick Olson, an American programmer, take over Freedur service and run it on his private servers.

Because our money is stolen, and Chris holds the money, we will ask this time all customers whose record is lost due to Chris sabotage, to fill a dispute on PayPal for a full refund (You can select reason: “I’m not satisfied by the product as it doesn’t provide all features it advertises on its declaration “).

Despite of this, after the money is refunded, we will be happy to provide free service to all damaged customers at our own expense in duration not shorter than 1 month.

That’s it for now. What’s next? Probably the press release war will continue and both parties will try to gain control of the site and product.

What is the future of Freedur?

Chris Mathews said he will launch a new version, Freedur 2.0, in less than a week. The other side, StackFile, offers Freedur for free until they get access to the site and to the client database back. Either way, it takes some time for any of them to get back to the point Freedur was. It is sad to see how a nice project loses its credibility. And trust is one of the key points in hiding IP/proxy business.

Are you a Freedur customer? What do you think about this dispute?

Are you one of the several thousand that have purchased Freedur in the last months? Is Freedur still working for you? Were you able to get your money back? What do you think about the Freedur owner?