This occurred back in about 2006. I worked for a membership-driven organization as their in-house web developer.
A new PR Director was hired (the latest in a long line of short-lived PR Directors) and immediately wanted to change our website from a largely member-focused portal to a “billboard to entice new people to sign up.”
I made mention that we still need to provide our members their portal or we would get a good deal of complaints. I advised that at the time our site got about 15,000 of its members logging in per month. Most of our membership was older and less technically inclined, and very, very vocal when things didn’t go their way. I was shot down like I didn’t know my job and his plan was rammed through.
His plan focused on replacing our homepage with a Flash video-centric message and removing most of the links to support material our members used. I requested either additional training in Flash or permission to hire an outside consultant more versed in Flash than me. I got the consultant.
Over the course of the next six months, our editorial and video departments wrote, recorded, and edited a video, I spent several thousands of dollars to retool our website to rebuild our site in parallel to our existing site to be his vision. He was constantly demeaning and confrontational if I was unable to read his mind and on several occasions brought the CEO down to berate me in front of him as if I was stonewalling his efforts.
After about six or seven months we were ready to throw the switch and launch the new site, without ever mentioning a single word of it to our existing membership. So on Friday afternoon, I made one last backup of our existing site, stored it in several locations, threw the switch on the new site, turned my phone off, and went home for the weekend.
Monday morning was chaos as email boxes filled up with complaints, the phones never stopped ringing, and I just forwarded all the complaints I received to the new PR Director (BCCing the CEO on the particularly juicy ones, ie., major donors threading to quit, bomb threats – yes, we got a few – etc.)
By 10:30 that morning the CEO was in my office asking politely if I could put the old site back up as the PR Director stood wordlessly behind him looking like an eight-year-old that got caught playing with matches.
By lunchtime, I had the old site up and running again and I never saw that “PR Director” again.