3rd June 2006
Now THIS is how you royally fuck up in the Customer Service department. Enjoy! (also, it is worthy to mention this article, since posted, has pretty much broken penny arcade's site lol)
I got an incredible email today from a Penny Arcade reader. Dave shared with me an email chain between him and Ocean Marketing (the folks behind the Avenger controller) Trust me when I tell you that this is one wild ride. I’m serious, Mr. Toad would look at this ride and just give a slow clap while shaking his head. I have tried to arrange this as best I can in chronological order. I’ve also removed email addresses and other private information. So let’s just jump right in, here is Dave’s first mail to Ocean Marketing: [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]From: Dave To: Ocean Marketing Dec 16, 2011, at 1:34 PM [/COLOR] I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx—Nov 3, 2011). Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I’m not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of “Early December” be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays. -Dave [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Dave Dec 16, 2011 2:45 PM [/COLOR] Dec 17 - Paul Christoforo [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]From: Dave To: Ocean Marketing Dec 19, 2011, at 11:02 AM [/COLOR] Thanks for the reply Paul. Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out? I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Dave Dec 19, 2011 11:21 AM [/COLOR] They still haven’t shipped yet on the way here from china [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]From: Dave To: Ocean Marketing Dec 20, 2011 4:29 PM [/COLOR] So then delivery to customer doors by December 24th is no longer likely correct? Do you have an estimated date of when units will arrive in California? Thanks. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Dave Dec 20, 2011 5:11 PM [/COLOR] They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas. [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]From: Dave To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM [/COLOR] I noticed the updated info on the webpage, and I don’t understand why there is absolutely no benefit given to those like me who have already ordered, and paid their money. You’ve had my money interest free for nearly two months, yet now ANY new order will get $10 off….meaning I should just cancel my order for 2 controllers, get my money back, then re-order.
My other questions is regarding item compatibility. Ocean Marketing seems to be involved with the Xtendplay controller holder, so I was wondering if the Avenger N-Controller can be used in conjunction with the Xtendplay (for both Xbox and PS3)? Thanks [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Dave Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM [/COLOR] Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.
Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.
At this point Dave is (I think) understandably frustrated. His next email is sent to me as well as Kotaku and a few other news sites. -Gabe [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue] From: Dave To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 12:11 PM [/COLOR] Then cancel my order if you want to. I’m making a legitimate complaint about your poor communication and you’re the one stooping to childish levels, a patronizing attitude, and threats. Hell you can’t even get the spelling of my name right.
And Gamespot pre-orders…wow what a terrible comparison. Retailers take a couple dollars IF THAT for you to guarantee your game availability on the release date, whatever that is. That’s the understanding and that’s what you get. Plus, I don’t have to complain to Activision or Epic games about these issues because they’re usually not missing the street dates for their AAA titles.
Now let’s take YOUR situation: 1) You’ve promised a new product based off the design for an existing, working product 2) For the longest time, you’ve stated on your website (your failure to update regularly is another issue) the initial/special/limited batch of your new product by early December, obviously in time for the all-important holiday gift-giving season. I and thousands of other customers GIVE YOU OUR MONEY, INTEREST FREE on the promises you made online. 3) I reach out to you, on Dec 16 (AFTER you have FAILED TO MEET YOUR ADVERTISED DEADLINE AND FAILED TO COMMUNICATE TO ANYONE WHAT THE SITUATION IS) obviously a little frustrated but more curious about when I and other customers can expect the product we paid for. 4) Your reply to me is a cryptic “Dec 17” with absolutely no explanation of what that means. In the mean time you having been using funds from pre-paid customers to complete Research & Development, product redesigns, and manufacturing mis-steps. 5) You force me to follow-up with an email asking for clarification about what “Dec 17” means since the day has passed and I have yet to receive any new information about my order. Now you instead of ANSWERING MY QUESTION OF WHAT THE NEW DELIVERY DATE IS, you tell me the goods have yet to leave China… Why are you telling me this? I’m not your employee I’m your goddamn customer! TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS IN TERMS OF MY TIME AND WHEN I CAN EXPECT MY PRODUCT I PAID FOR. 6) So great…I have to email you AGAIN trying to get a CLEAR answer from you whether a Dec 24th delivery date is possible and if not, what the new date is. Rinse & repeat: You give me an update of the delivery process (wow, thanks…you haven’t told me anything I don’t know about the order of international shipping procedures) but instead say “...so its wither before or after Christmas.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? GIVE ME A DATE!? One that you’re actually going to follow, because I already see “late Nov to early Dec”; “Dec 17”; and now “CHRISTMAS” in my rear-view mirror. 7) So I guess what’s left for me to do but just wait? Oh but what’s this, you’ve updated your website…Ok at least you’ve clarified the dates more, I can expect my controller my latest first week of January. But now as a “token of our appreciation” to all your “loyal customers” (you mean like customers who put up cash for you hold an use?) you’re giving a $10 coupon. Let me get this straight…so you held my money interest free for 2 months to help bring this product to market, and now some new customer can place an order and pay $10 less than what I paid? You have financially penalized me in two ways for being a “LOYAL CUSTOMER.”
I’m SURE you’re getting tons of other inquiries and I’m sure you’re not enjoying the fact that your product is not out when you wanted it to be. I and everyone else understands that “sh*t happens,” but if you want us to be understanding of that, then you need to keep us in the loop. You’ve already set yourself up for failure by making explicit promises that aren’t even “likely” given that the design and manufacturing are still be refined. Then you make sure you’re going to fail by actually taking all of our money, Not just a little bit….THE WHOLE F*CKIN BEEFALO. Why wouldn’t we trust that you’re going to deliver our merchandise on time? Besides…it’s based off an existing product so how hard can it be? Well as your youtube video shows, making any consumer device is hard and requires many iterations and improvements. But I’m not going to apologize for holding your feet to the fire. You created these expectations by acting like the release was already a done deal and by hiding the fact that it was faaaar from it. I want my two n-controllers. I 1) PAID FOR THEM 2) WAITED 3) DEALT WITH YOUR UNHELPFUL ASS. I also didn’t want to feel like my trust and loyalty as a customer was being abused and then actually punished in comparison to other customers. But I guess we can’t have it all… so right now I’ll settle for getting my merchandise and hopefully never having to deal with you again. I’ve spent enough time writing this email which I hope you gain some insight from. If you actually do want to screw me over by not fulfilling my order, then I assure you be hearing more from me or people representing me.
You show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who’s quite established, AND an lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers. We’re a demanding, vocal customer but the flip side is we’re loyal and eager to spend. It’s lucky for you that I really want this product because it seems really deliver on making the gaming experience more effective and enjoyable. Hell, I want to combine the aventer-controller with the xtend play to make the ugliest, most comfortable, most awesome controller ever. And I’ll still buy the xtend, so let that be a testament to your products, the rise above your poor representation. -DAVE with a V
p.s. You look really douchy be having one youtube video complaining about the noise of traffic next to your home and then another video showing off your obnoxiously loud rice rocket (which is nice, I gotta hand it ya). p.p.s. Welcome to the internet, bitch. That’s how I roll. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Dave Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM [/COLOR] LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about. Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention do you think you’re the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf … Really ... Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up. Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world … Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you’re the douchiest of them all J
To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ? You just got told bitch … welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon, gamestop.com, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.
The Pax East comment gets my attention and I decide to engage. I tend to have a calming effect on these sorts of arguments. -Gabe
[COLOR=Orange]From: Mike Krahulik To: Dave, Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM [/COLOR] Holy shit this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.
[COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]From: Dave To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM [/COLOR] Hey thanks Mike. It’s truly a shame because I think this device is great for gamers with disabilities and problems. I think of Child’s Play and if anyone’s gonna need greater accessibility when using complicated gamepads…it’s sick kids! Shit man, I’m really gonna feel bad if I think that sick children may somewhere down the line have fewer avenger controllers because I got into a pissing match with a sad old man. Please don’t cancel their booth on my account. As much as I hate this asshole, I still WANT his product and think it should be out there. GAH, I wish I was in a position to make a competing product to really stick it to guy. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM [/COLOR] Hey Mikey, We’re not renting a booth at pax east this year , bigger and better shows to be at we got nothing from the show . Oh so you know this guy has sold over 500 thousand dollars of product in Dec and is my main distribution arm landing us in GameStop , fry’s , Myers , Best buy , Activision , MLG , play N trade and a lot more . Were in 6 countries and you’re not going to take my money for a booth that’s a crock I can guarantee I’ll get a booth if I want one money buys a lot and connections go even further. He’s a native Bostonian from Little Italy . Who are you again ? Oh Teh Noes! -Gabe [COLOR=Orange]From: Mike Krahulik To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM [/COLOR] I am mike krahulik, Pax is my show. Feel free to Google me =) I can promise you that you will never have space at any future PAX event. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM [/COLOR] OK Mike whatever you say lol , are you sure hour not in Boston I spoke to the person who ran the show in Boston last year. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don’t want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I’m born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it’s a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I’m all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can’t team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can’t get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 , Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that’s all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do. I’ll see space where ever I want , with who I want when I want and where I want so many ways around you and so many connections in this industry its silly. Anyway , I have no issue with you Sean Buckley Engadget, Scott Lowe IGN and the list goes on and on. Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he’s a customer unless you’re his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful [COLOR=Orange]From: Mike Krahulik To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM [/COLOR] I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular. [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM [/COLOR] Love penny Arcade !! [COLOR=Orange]From: Mike Krahulik To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM [/COLOR] I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:) [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM [/COLOR] Great !! Love PR [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM [/COLOR] Mike I’m not trying to fight with you I’m really not , you should give me the benefit of the doubt before judging over one person’s bitching . Did I feed into his emails a little bit too much yeah ok . But it’s one person dude for real. No disrespect intended for you , My name is good in this industry and I know a lot of people. I’ll be at CES are you going ? [COLOR=Orange]From: Mike Krahulik To: Ocean Marketing Dec 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM [/COLOR] Please remove me from this mailing list [COLOR=Magenta]From: Ocean Marketing To: Mike Krahulik Dec 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM [/COLOR] Your spamming me you’re not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch . Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am . Thanks again I can’t wait for the Penny Arcade smear campaign! Oh and I’ll just leave this here: -Gabe out [EMAIL="firstname.lastname@example.org"]email@example.com[/EMAIL] Ocean Marketing Paul Christoforo on Twitter - @OceanMarketting 800-492-5455
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Notice the two "T's" in marketing. +1
Snipes With Artillery
22nd March 2005
Wow. That's the least professional service in the history of the written word. A text-based middle finger would have been a better response. I also like the delusions of grandeur, that's a nice touch.
3rd June 2006
Many of the so-called “connections” Christoforo named in support of him are commenting back. Scott Lowe quickly moved to disavow any IGN support of Christoforo or Ocean Marketing. Kevin Kelly of G4 and Kotaku’s Brian Crecente additionally did the same. Ocean Marketing’s quick witted response, further demonstrating their professional business acumen was to respond by calling Lowe a douchebag.
Update 1: It seems the plot has thickened a bit further. Apparently, as pointed out by @williambgoss on twitter, Ocean Marketing has been lifting articles from across the web for their blog with little to no attribution of sources whatsoever. An article published on Forbes is clearly posted wholesale on the Ocean Marketing blog with no sourcing roughly two weeks after initially hitting the web. Moreover, the same is done with a BizReport article, appearing as Ocean Marketing's "original work" no less than two days later.
As if the plagiarism couldn't be bad enough, it raises additional questions about what Ocean Marketing really is and who exactly they represent as a PR firm. If their About Us page claiming, "We tell it like it is -- our open book approach is based on honesty, integrity and a straightforward expertise that will drive the best possible new potential clients to your website", proves any less true than it already has, it could be exceedingly damaging for any company working with OM. Advertisement
Thanks to George for the tip.
Update 2: Ocean Marketing has changed their twitter account name from @OceanMarketting to @OceanStratagy in the wake of the bad press. Still no officially coherent response otherwise from Paul Christoforo who has since removed his last name from the twitter account.
Thanks to twitter user @Mcslanty.
Update 3: Mr. Christoforo has since deleted his tweet in which he calls Scott Lowe a douchebag. Link has been updated with a screen capture.
And, not even with a new Twitter name, grammar fails Mr Christoforo.
27th July 2004
WOW what an idiot -_- And good for Mike Krahulik, He's a wonderful guy in person, I vote gamer boycott of Ocean Marketing on behalf of Christoforo. I hope they go bankrupt.
As Morgan W. of the gaming blog Somnambulant Gamer I formally state that we will not provide any financial support whatsoever to this particular company.
EDIT: The hyperlink leads to the latest blog post, and Wesleigh H. has just posted a very complete update on reddit's findings. This guy certainly dun goof'd!
Sorry, I don't mean to be advertising, just sharing what I have where we have it :)
I didn't make it!
I like this new style of marketing, PR, and customer support. They should teach this "behaving like a coke-head" method at business schools.
The guy deserves to be fired. The Reddit creeps wouldn't be happy unless his wife divorces him and he commits suicide though. People shouldn't wish ruin upon his entire life.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
"I didn't know who that guy at Penny Arcade was," [Christoforo] admitted. "If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better. PAX is a great show. What he does is what I've been idlolizing since I was a kid. It's admirable he's put that together. He has a lot of connections, ones I want too."
Mike's reply on his @cwgabriel Twitter account is priceless, if not apropos, "He [Christoforo] is sorry that he didn't know who I was, not that he was a douche. And he admires my "contacts". I think he might be insane." Speaks volumes.
Update 20: On top of the alleged steroid use, Paul Christoforo also has domestic violence in his past as well. There exists a police report filed in San Diego country against Christoforo by a Ms. Catherine P. Sherman on 11.18.2008. The case type listed is domestic violence.
Update 22: While left out of the MSNBC interview, the author revealed that apparently Christoforo blames the blatant plagiarism present across his entire Ocean Marketing website on Indian freelances. Yes, you read that right.
The smartest thing this guy could do would be to go to ground right now me thinks. Anything he says to defend himself just makes him look guiltier.
Caffiene Fuelled Ravings of an undiagnosed Sociopath.
13th June 2008
guy got trolled by the internet.
Mikey - GameFront.com - Lead Developer
[Insert User Title Here]
15th March 2005
Hey thanks for the update, Internet Friends. I will make sure I don't accidentally buy any of their products.
3rd June 2006
By far, this is the best example of how one ill-handled customer service issue can spiral out of control. We should thank Paul for this lesson.
3rd June 2006