Once again I point to John Scalzi's blog for a recap of what has happened at Random House as a result of the brouhaha over their new e-imprint line that contained what I personally considered an unethical contract. I want to say in all fairness that they seem to realize that they stumbled and stumbled badly, and now are addressing this stumble. Sclazi does a nice analysis of this new contract, and if you read further in his blog he comments on why he considers a no-advance contract problematic. Read further.
I can't speak for anyone else, but it's hard not to view this as a legitimate publisher who tried to cash in on their pretty damn respected legacy (I would be doing handsprings if I had a contract with them), using their name to establish a vanity press. And the masses have spoken and they have spoken back.
There were a couple of things that stood out for me during this, oh, let's call it an event. First of all, I do not have a contract with Random House, nor have I ever had any dealings with Random House. And yet when they announced their amended policies regarding the new e-imprint, I got an email from them announcing said amended policies. Interesting. Clearly someone did Google searches. Because let's face it. I'm obscure with a capital "O." How many people read this blog? Ten?
Second, although all the other major writing organizations in the country, Science Fiction Writers of America and Romance Writers of America to name two, commented publically in very strong language that this wasn't acceptable, I didn't see any comment from Mystery Writers of America. None.