Every so often the online gamer community turns its wrath towards a deserving company/ PR firm that has treated customers above and beyond poorly.
This holiday season an encounter of grievous proportions unfolded over customer service in a small console controller company. I don't know if I ever, in my years of online purchases and working in retail, have seen its equal.
An Xbox game controller owner purchased a pre-order of the Here's the Avenger Avenger controller, which at the time had an online delivery date of "early December."
He wrote to the company about a more exact delivery date since it was December 16 and there had been none. The back and forth e-mails are posted at Penny Arcade's site right here.
They show an unprecedented lack of customer service via e-mail from the chief of Ocean Marketing, the PR group for the controller company. The customer started his e-mails politely, but obviously annoyed, since one of the controllers was a gift for Christmas.
Paul Christoforo, head of Ocean Marketing, then attacks the customer via name calling, threats, and name dropping of editors at sites such as IGN, Kotaku, G4, and, of course, Penny Arcade.
Even after Mike Krahulik, writer of Penny Arcade, steps in via e-mail, Christoforo doesn't back down. He insults Krahulik's gamer convention PAX, which is often regarded as the largest gathering of gamers in North America. He threatens to never attend the "small" convention again.
The back and forth caused many editors who previously endorsed the controller to back away quickly from the company and to speak out against Christoforo. At this writing, Christoforo brought the fight to Twitter and slightly changed the company name to Ocean Strategy.
Christoforo has also already set up the front of "this will all blow over," perhaps thinking that gamers have short term memory.
Christoforo may be right. The controller has been endorsed on the website and there's been no fault in the hardware. Anyone that happens on the site looking for a controller would not know about the horrid customer service they might get.
I hope that the internet hive-mind backlash would be strong enough to keep Christoforo out of the PR/ customer service industry for good, or at the very least get him to realize that even gamers care about being treated well when it comes to online purchases. -- Sarah Arnold
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This blew up because it's a slow time. It is between Christmas and New Year's, and you can't play Modern Warfare forever. The whole thing with this debacle is that the guy is not sorry he was impolite, he's sorry he got caught. And he's sorry that he's been spanked in public.
When MSNBC interviewed him right here, he blamed Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik for not being polite to him and not introducing himself.
When dropped like a Jar Jar action figure by the Avenger Controllers, Christoforo held hostage the company's email addresses.
Now Christoforo has painted himself as a victim, about threats made against his wife and child. This guy called his wife his girlfriend and also his fiance in interviews. Who knows if she and the kid even exist? He has conveniently forgotten threats that he made. In his mind it's all about how everyone is picking on him. As someone who teaches 13 and 14 year olds, trust me, this is how bullies talk. Krahulik said he was bullied as a kid, and he wouldn't stand by while this happened. Neither would the rest of the Internet. -- Deanna Toxopeus
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The Avenger controller makers issued this press release.
The new consultant says "There isn't a bus big enough" for him to throw Christoforo under.
All that drama over this:
Today, Atari joysticks cost about 10 bucks. Just to keep things in perspective.
The lesson we learn here is that if you stir gamers with a stick, they will climb up the stick and bite you. And that will leave nasty welts, which will impair your ability to play video games. So no one is happy. -- Joe Crowe, master of the analogy