So is there freedom of speech in the venture capital world? Or is the pending demise of TheFunded proof that anonymous critical comments are libelous, slanderous and harmful?

Only Adeo Ressi, founder of the controversial Website that allowed entrepreneurs and others seeking cash, and whoever apparently has sued him know at this point. What is known is this: According to TheFunded, it is ceasing reviews as of April 2.

In fact, the notice itself reads like an apology: “Conclusion: Investors are Great.”

Such subservience to the money class was certainly not the purpose of Rather, as a forum it offered critical and positive reviews of venture firms while promising to protect the identity of posters. Something obviously has gone wrong because in the past Ressi has defended the site and the negative posts.

A section of the site included “banned VCs” for firms that were suspected of “(1) suspicious reviews, (2) not making new investments, or (3) threatening Members or TheFunded.com with litigation.”

According to TheFunded, users had submitted 17,000 reviews, more than 4,800 VC fund reviews and another 8,000 VC partner reviews.

Website VentureBeat, which follows TheFunded closely, is puzzled by Ressi’s notice.

“The message on the site [is] somewhat looney — saying that “investors are great” — but maybe it’s founder Adeo Ressi’s way of begging forgiveness from the investor trying to sue him,” asks VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi.

Here’s the note:

"Conclusion: Investors are Great

"On Friday, March 27th, TheFunded, Incorporated (‘TheFunded’ or ‘we’ or ‘the Company’), in conjunction with counsel has concluded that venture financing and the purchase of preferred equity, herein referred to as ‘investing’ or ‘investment’ or ‘investors’, is both broadly and generally good for companies worldwide.

TheFunded will officially cease reviews on April 2nd, 2009, which, from time to time, reflect negatively on the many innumerable benefits of investors or investment or investing. We encourage companies to consider seriously taking investment, and we apologize for the following statement made in haste:

"investing is predatory", "over 75% of investors are bad", "avoid banned investors."

The Company further apologizes for making any other statements and causing questions to be raised regarding the ethics and the good reputation of investors. Further updates are forthcoming Wednesday, and we encourage every Member to take an investment and then post feedback on the positive and rewarding experiences in Thank you."