The Completely Gonzo Story of Ocean Marketing
Pull up a chair, dear reader. I’m about to weave you a tale of Internet trolling, email insults, pompous career suicide, and an inadvisable attack against Penny Arcade (not to mention the world’s worst grammar and punctuation)… that’s made all the more incredible because it’s true.
I may be a blogger by day, but I’m a storyteller at heart. (Seven novels and counting.) If I wrote something like this as fiction, no one would buy it. It’s just too bonkers.
Our story begins with a gamer named Dave, who pre-ordered two Avenger game controllers — those wacky-looking controllers that everyone raves about, with all the crazy extensions that turn thumb buttons into triggers — in early November, one of which was intended as a Christmas gift. He was promised delivery by “early December.” Early December came and went, followed by mid-December, and then Christmas. Still no controllers for Dave. He also noted that a new promotion was listed on the Avenger Controller website offering $10 off all orders — an offer that didn’t extend to pre-orders like Dave’s. So not only did he not receive his shipment when promised, but he had to pay full price for a very late product that other people could get faster, for $10 less.
So he contacted customer support at Ocean Marketing, which bills itself as a “social media marketing” agency, but which also handles marketing and customer support for the Avenger controller. What happened next defies description. Dave was replied to by Mr. Paul Christoforo, the central character of our sordid tale. Dave began the conversation cordially, but was given the runaround — and eventually some mind-bogglingly unprofessional insults — by Christoforo through a number of back-and-forth replies. Written so poorly it’s an insult to the human race, here’s an excerpt from one of Christoforo’s missives:
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.
Justifiably riled, Dave copied his next reply to several gaming news outlets, including Penny Arcade. This is where the plot thickens.
Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade read the email discourse between Dave and Christoforo, and noted that while boasting about all of the power and connections he supposedly possesses throughout the gaming industry, Christoforo bragged that he would be at the next PAX East, showing off the Avenger controller (along with several other trade shows, including E3 and CES). This part caught Krahulik’s eye, because he’s responsible for the popular PAX conventions that are held annually.
So Krahulik chimed in, stating that due to Christoforo’s abhorrent behavior towards one of its loyal customers, the Avenger controller would not be allowed to rent a booth at PAX East. From there, things got really ugly. So Krahulik decided to do what any good gamer would do, and take it to the Internet. This morning, he posted the entire conversation — beginning with Dave’s initial email to Ocean Marketing and ending with Krahulik and Christoforo’s final discourse — on Penny Arcade’s website.
Since then, the story has been exploding all over the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter. Numerous websites (including the one you’re reading now) have written about it, blacklisting Christoforo for his ignorance and arrogance. IGN head honcho Scott Lowe has publicly denounced Christoforo on Twitter, after Christoforo cited IGN as one of his many industry chums. Penny Arcade’s website is experiencing major server issues today, according to a statement by PA’s Robert Khoo, due to the massive influx of Internet readers.
Here’s one last bit of salt in the wound. Take a look at this snippet from Ocean Marketing’s mission statement, as found at Paul Christoforo’s very own LinkedIn profile:
…we believe in the power of great relationships, founded on honor, accountability and being responsible – and we value being there for people and their business — when it matters most
Hypocrisy at its absolute finest. All gamers are strongly advised to steer clear of the Avenger Controller (which by all accounts, is a fine product) until Christoforo is no longer a representative of it.