Paul Christoforo is just some schmuck at the contracted marketing company, because the product was put together by an art teacher trying to make small-quantity disability aids and not someone trying to launch a major business.
Due diligence regarding fact-checking has apparently slipped below the threshold of "punch it into Google."
If and when the manufacturer dumps these guys and issues a public apology for their behavior, we certainly should forgive them. But it's still justifiable to place part of the responsibility on them for what happened.
Should Kotkin be penalized for his friends behaviour? Probably not, but he should be more careful about hiring buds in the future.
Another point towards "trust but check" policy towards your employees.
The website  lists "Paul@OceanMarketingInc.com" as the only email address, and the bio for the Twitter account "oceanmarketting" has his name and picture as avatar.
"2:45 am. Created a Twitter account just so i could Tweet a comment and link to Mr Paul Christoforo at Ocean Marketing.
@OceanMarketting - Am i still one little person out of Millions sir?"
The new account for the original is https://twitter.com/#!/oceanstratagy
I'm all for doing the whole "CC your formal complaint letter to several outlets in hopes that someone will take notice" approach; My brother taught me about doing this when I was a little kid. He would write letters (this was before the advent of the internet) and note on the bottom that they had been CCd to various local news outlets, as well as the better business bureau (regardless of whether or not he actually sent those additional letters). And almost always, it worked.
But I would be absolutely embarrassed to have my name attached to his complaint that got sent around. He is understandably, and in some cases justifiably, upset by the companies lack of communication and flippant nature, but this is no time to get into a pissing match. He chose to stoop to the guys level with name calling and taunting: Welcome to the internet bitch? Thats how I roll? It sounds like something you'd see on a meme, not something you want to end a complaint letter with.
That said, the guy on Oceans end is clearly the winner when it comes to idiotic behavior, as he further digs his own grave down the line. I just can't cut the customer any slack on stooping to Oceans level, however. He comes off sounding like almost as big of an idiot as the guy at Ocean.
Just my 2 cents, I'm sure others will see it differently
In this case the "customer service" is non-existent and devolves into a string of personal insults. Granted, the customer responded poorly to that but should customers be expected to respond well in such situations?
Edit: There really aren't any situations where the correct customer service response involves typo riddled malformed sentences packed with personal insults.
My point was, this customer could have cooled off, collected himself, and written a much more intelligent complaint letter. He came off sounding like a hurt child, and then trumpeted how he was taking this to the internet, as though the internet was his domain, where he would prevail (and he most likely will - and should, considering how much of a shmuck this PR guy is).
I just don't think either one of them came out looking very intelligent, or like they handled themselves like an adult. In this case, his complaint is a legitimate one, and he should be entitled to proper recourse.
All I'm saying is, I'd be embarrassed to let that particular email be my letter to the world.
He dropped the ball big time
Admittedly, I genuinely try and avoid getting into pissing contents. Nobody wins, and you both get wet.
In this case, though, the guy at Ocean seems to think that he's far more important than anybody else at the table, including his customers.
As a business owner, this is not only a horrible attitude to take, but very dangerous. It's exactly like being the toughest kid in the neighborhood, which is great, until you meet the tougher kid from the next block over.
I just can't excuse either side when it devolves into 2 children kicking sand on each other. Someone needs to be the bigger man, or else you both end up looking like fools; Even if one fool is the bigger fool.
(not directly linking to actually help those guys, but the company lists 'Reputation Management' as service)
"We help you to displace or remove the negative search engine results and listings about your organization or company. We use an effective lineup of techniques to dilute and eliminate the search engine results about you that are negative."
I guess that sums up what this company is about.
I recognise that many people working in customer support roles have lousy jobs with lousy wages and are treated like dirt by customers and by bosses.
So my first approach is a nice, short, letter explaining the problem and asking for help. People like to help, and they like to help nice people. If I get help I always follow up with thanks to them, and if possible I find a manager to write to saying how pleased I am that a problem was sorted out by $NAME.
I agree that having your name attached to some childish ranting is not a good approach at all.
The initial interactions with customer service directly (which was to always be polite and professional) had failed, and you felt you were still in the right
They had been rude or dismissive toward your complaints, or offered no feedback whatsoever.
You never open with that, as you then have nothing to escalate to when things don't turn out well
I dealt with angry people just about every second of every day. The job has huge turnover for a reason. Please remember you're dealing with your fellow man, and even if you're angry, it's not (yet) his or her fault that you are.
I've done stupid things when angry as well, so I shouldn't judge.
Edit: the link didn't work for me, had to go to the main Penny Arcade site.
Yup. Think before you speak. Or in this case, before you write.
Mark Twain iirc
"When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."
Sigh. This whole thing is depressing in its entirety. Yes, Ocean Marketing is the main culprit there - but nobody in that fiasco comes out smelling roses.
You know, the usual internet complaints.
Instead, the customer made his order, was charged for the product, and then received nothing. The customer at this point is rightfully wondering if the vendor is legit, or if it's a criminal scam.
The marketer's responses are more characteristic of a criminal scam than a legit vendor, so it's not surprising that the customer gets bent out of shape. That kind of attitude is what I'd expect from a guy selling bootleg DVDs on the sidewalk, when a customer gets upset when their new DVD's case turns out to be devoid of any DVD.
There's a second documented encounter with the guy from 6 months ago: http://www.natesnetwork.com/Poor-customer-service
Maybe he should take the advice on (his) Ocean Marketing's front page: "Your brand is no stronger than your reputation - and will increasingly depend on what comes up when you are Googled."
I wonder what will come up after all this is over.
.@OceanMarketting Please refrain from referring to me or IGN as support for you, your company or your clients. You do not have it.
The fella making the complaint was hardly better, but seeing as the guy he was talking to was being unprofessional (at the very least) right off the bat, his only fault is letting his frustration get the better of him.
This goes back to the earliest days of protection racketeering on the island, and is taken extremely seriously even today.
I'm not sure if the Campania/Napolitani families follow the same tradition, but it's a pretty good bet that if someone even so much as implies that they're "connected" to an Italian syndicate, they're not.
Also, if you think pretending to be a cop is a bad idea, try pretending to be affiliated with gangsters...
Interestingly, all the press releases up until march 2011 for iNcontrol were done by a florida operation called The HAND Media who seem slightly more legit than Ocean Marketing.
Ocean marketing seems to be mainly interested in promoting his ebay auctions on Twitter.
Someone needs to get in touch with Kotkin and let him know the situation, that his marketing firm seems to have fallen down on the job.
I worked with a really terrible marketing and pr firm myself when I was working for a small startup years ago. We were featured in the NYT, but our PR firm misrepresented us in such an insane way we could only conclude the firm didn't even know what we were doing. It turned what should have been a coup for us into a massive blow to our business.
I think in context the quoted line is more about how Gabe feels about bullies.
I had never heard of this controller until this story. It looks really cool. How other many people is that true for?
edit/update: this story is #2 on the vanilla reddit front page.
"I'll be a complete internet jerkwad, and get you in front of thousands of people. Disassociate yourself from me when the shit hits the fan."
As long as you're careful about not letting the internet detectives dig too deeply, you could probably re-invent yourself and do this repeatedly.
However, I'm a little unsure how many people would be willing to work with you on this. Great tin-foil hat material though.
And then someone else registered @OceanStrategy with the correct spelling:
He is in marketing, and didn't know someone like that?
And this whole thing could have just been avoided with a measly $10 coupon.
So the company was even offering that measly $10 coupon that the pre-order customer wanted!
If it is true, and it makes this guy's products even more popular, then I fear for fate of humanity.
But then goes off on one when Mike posts a slightly glib "take me off this mailing list"!
I agree with FuzzyDunlop, definitely been watching waaay too much Sopranos.
EDIT: The dude seriously needs to learn to punctuate sentences better, some of those could definitely use some commas!
It doesn't help that Christoforo is selling the controllers off his ebay account, which says they are shipping from Massachusetts, while his 'company' claims to be in California.
So a paid order isn't filled on time, but this guy has controllers to sell on ebay?
Makes me wonder if he's been diverting the controllers, i.e. stealing them, and selling them out from under the company.
1. Customer makes a $50 purchase.
2. Merchant gets over his head with new business, makes some mistakes.
3. Customer flips out on second email to merchant, tries to create problems for him with Visa.
4. Customer proceeds into a "principle" (aka ego) driven exchange with merchant that goes nowhere, turns into some kind of a pissing contest.
Thought it's mostly just another idiot on the internet, there are lots of those. The grandiose clams he made about his connections and sales are probably false. The shock value is in the fact that he _might_ be connected and powerful and is acting as such, though connected powerful people don't do such a thing (over email, at least).