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Disgruntled Consumer Vs. Obnoxious PR In This Morning's Nugget From The Net

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Posted December 27, 2011 - By Adam Rosenberg

Avenger Controller

I realize that our Nuggets from the Net tend to come in the form of videos. Hopefully you'll forgive me for doing things a little differently this morning.

Let me set the scene: Dave, a Penny Arcade reader, contacted Ocean Marketing, the PR firm that handles peripheral maker N-Control, about an as-yet-unfulfilled order placed in early November for the company's Avenger controller attachment. The series of e-mails that unfolded from there eventually came to include Mike Krahulik, of Penny Arcade and PAX fame. Mike was kind enough to post the entire exchange on PA for all of you to see. There's a long excerpt of it under the "Read More" tag, as I'm afraid Penny-Arcade's site will crash, now that every gamer on the entire planet rushing to read the amazingly douchey exchange.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 12:11 PM


...
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).

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM


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

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Dave, Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM


Holy sh*t this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.

From: Dave
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM


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.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM


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

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM


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.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM


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

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM


I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM


Love penny Arcade !!

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM


I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)

Check out the full exchange right here.

Gamer consumers are frequently cast in the role of "loud and obnoxious troll," not because it's true for the bulk of people, but rather because the small minority is such a vocal one. I think most will agree that Dave was the cool-headed one here, or at least the one who maintained his civility the longest. It wasn't until Ocean Marketing's Paul Christoforo berated and patronized *the customer* that things got ugly.

By all reports, the Avenger is a perfectly functional piece of tech. Dave's continued insistence in the e-mail chain on supporting the product in spite of Christoforo's disgraceful behavior is a testament to that fact. That behavior didn't stop with the e-mail chain either. Rather than taking a lesson from the exchange after it was posted, Christoforo, against all odds, stuck to his guns.

He was called out publicly on Twitter by IGN's Scott Lowe -- name-dropped in the e-mails, you might remember -- who said "Paul Christoforo's claims that he has my and @IGN's support are UNFOUNDED. I worked with him briefly and he was completely unprofessional." Lowe then directed Christoforo to refrain from bragging about having IGN's support. "You do not have it," Scott wrote.

The reply? Christoforo, writing from his @oceanmarketting Twitter account (yes, we can all note the misspelled company name --proceeded to somehow call Scott a "douchebag" AND "the unprofessional one" in the same breath. He's apparently forgotten that denigrating someone's character in a public forum actually DOES qualify as unprofessional.

Update: Ocean "Marketting" has a new twitter handle. It's now "@Ocean Stratagy." No, I did not make that up, as as far as I know, it is not a troll.

I'll admit, some of this is probably a little too "industry insider" to be interesting. Let's break it back down to the basic facts then, just so we're all clear on how insane this situation is:

Customer orders product in early November, contacts manufacturer in mid-December wondering where missing product is. The replies from the manufacturer, via PR, are first unhelpful before eventually evolving into shockingly rude and condescending. That is not how you pimp out a company that is in the business of selling products to consumers.

PR & Marketing 101, folks. 

Source: Penny Arcade

Disgruntled Consumer Vs. Obnoxious PR In This Morning's Nugget From The Net
http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/719455/disgruntled-consumer-vs-obnoxious-pr-in-this-mornings-nugget-from-the-net/
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