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World's Worst PR Guy Gives His Side 576

Posted by samzenpus
from the silence-is-golden dept.
First time accepted submitter Narnie writes "Follow up to Tuesday's story of a PR rep's lack of professionalism. Kyle Orland provides a follow up interview with Paul Christoforo after a simple email chain escalated into internet infamy. N-Control official response to Paul Chrostoforo's actions can be found here. Kotaku.com even has a whole section devoted to covering the entire ordeal. I for one found myself caught following the news releases and in awe of the combined load forced on penny-arcade's servers from Slashdot, Reddit, Digg, Kotaku, and other news sites covering the story."
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World's Worst PR Guy Gives His Side

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  • by InterestingFella (2537066) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:13PM (#38526786)

    "If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better."
    Referring to the email thread that started the whole mess, Christoforo said that he didn't know who he was talking to in his initial, flippant response to Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik.

    "I didn't know who that guy at Penny Arcade was," he 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 idolizing since I was a kid. It's admirable he's put that together. He has a lot of connections, ones I want too."

    He just doesn't get it. You should treat people, especially your customers, good no matter who they are. He still isn't sorry for what happened, he is "sorry" because someone famous caught him.

    And he wasn't caught at bad time either like he says now. There's many similar stories about how he treated customers for a long time.

    • by Bardwick (696376) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:17PM (#38526854)
      I never would have stolen that car if I knew I was going to get caught so it's not really my fault.
      • by sheehaje (240093) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:55PM (#38527488)

        I wouldn't compare him to a car thief. A dick, yes, but not exactly a criminal.

        Actually, I thought a lot about this. My first thoughts when I read the penny arcade e-mail chain was this guy needs to be strung. And I even had some of his rationale of "you don't know who you're fucking with!"

        Then it hit me. As much as this guy is being a douche and is on a very high ego trip, the mob mentality of the Internet is going to ruin him.. For nothing more than having a very bad day. It's something that should be looked at.. I'm all for putting someone in their place, and this guy should be fired. On the other hand, the press this gets means this guys life is over. At least his online life... Has the Internet Mob Mentality become the modern day witch hunt?

        In any case, the customer reigns high and mighty, and any response to them needs to be very carefully weighed, cause the internet hath fury.

        • by InterestingFella (2537066) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:02PM (#38527592)
          It wasn't a bad day. There's been numerous blog posts dating back to beginning of 2011 on how he treated customers and they are equal to this case. Just in this case it finally got picked up and spread. Hell, the guy still isn't sorry for how he threated customers, he is sorry for the fact he got caught.

          And no, his life isn't over. Nor IRL or online. It's just how you handle the backlash. At the moment he isn't doing very well, but only because he cannot stop his ego trip and humble down.
          • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @03:10PM (#38529314)
            He's a typical douche that decided to go into marketing because he wanted to feel important for only knowing people and not actually doing anything of real importance. Marketing people are more often than not total tools, but this guy gets the dick badge for taking his over inflated ego out on a customer.
          • by LrdDimwit (1133419) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @03:52PM (#38529858)
            A semester's worth of ab-psych and wikipedia do not a diagnosis make - but he quite likely has Narcissistic Personality Disorder [wikipedia.org].

            He completely flew off the handle when the customer complained about being treated badly (Reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation), doesn't seem to care about or even really understand why the customer is pissed off (Obsessed with oneself and Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others) ... And finally, unrealistic fantasies of ... power speaks for itself, as does [exaggerates] own importance, achievements, and talents
            .

            "People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined ... In cases where [the afflicted] feels a lack of admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation, he/she may also manifest a desire to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

            Although individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the individual's self-perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.

            The entire thing describes him almost to the letter.

        • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:04PM (#38527616)

          "the mob mentality of the Internet is going to ruin him.. For nothing more than having a very bad day"

          Several days really, if you see the email chain, and a repeating pattern shown on a few other sites.

          this guy should be fired. On the other hand, the press this gets means this guys life is over. At least his online life... Has the Internet Mob Mentality become the modern day witch hunt?

          He runs a one-man PR firm, and has shown himself utterly unsuited for such a task. I'm sure he's not the only one, but ruining that firm is really not a bad thing. He'll have to find something else to do.

          And it's not a witch hunt because you have the evidence right in front of you. A witch hunt is where you don't have any and you look for scapegoats anyway, surely?

          Also I get the feeling this would go away a lot faster if he had actually admitted he had been a jerk, instead of repeatedly blaming anyone and everyone around himself.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:07PM (#38527658)

          To an extent I agree with you conceptually, but not really in this particular situation. The mob mentality of the internet definitely has a tendency to crucify people before the facts have even been established which is definitely a problem. But here, the guy brought this on himself. He can claim it was "just a bad day" but previous examples of poor behavior combined with his non-apology point to that not really being the case. More likely, he's just an asshole.

          But more to the point, saying his "life is over" is definitely an exaggeration. The internet never forgets, but people forget pretty quickly. Yea, he'll likely never work in PR again, but the fact is that's because his actions show that he has no business working in that industry. Yea, he'll suffer a lot this week, and be dealing with the fallout for at least a year or two, but, well, actions have consequences, and sometimes we have put on our big boy hats and deal with that. But he'll get another job, and if he works hard and acts like something vaguely resembling a human being he can definitely bounce back. If he doesn't, it will be because he's learned nothing from this whole ordeal (and his non-apology suggests this may very well be the case) and continues to treat people like shit whenever he thinks he can get away with it. And if he does that, he was going to fail at life whether all this happened or not.

          • by dmbasso (1052166) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @02:04PM (#38528402)

            If he doesn't, it will be because he's learned nothing from this whole ordeal (and his non-apology suggests this may very well be the case) and continues to treat people like shit whenever he thinks he can get away with it. And if he does that, he was going to fail at life whether all this happened or not.

            And he said:
            "I could have nipped this all in the bud by being a little nicer. You never know who knows who, and lesson learned."

            Lesson definitely not learned. It is his character, he'll be an asshole for life. Sad thing is his son have a good chance of following his father's footsteps, joining the uncountable assholes of the world. That's life...

            • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @02:28PM (#38528768) Journal
              Given his reasoning in favor of ethical behavior "must be nice to people, because they might have friends more powerful than me and mine", he's an ethical lost cause. You Just Don't turn your back on somebody who thinks that the only reason not to stab you is because they might be punished.

              The best we can hope for is that this unexpected blowup will inspire a degree of caution verging on paranoia, and he'll be rendered relatively innocuous by fear of possible punishment. Ideally, somebody should introduce him to a particularly nasty fire-and-brimstone religion. If somebody is actually so depraved that they act only through fear of power, the notion that power that could crush them like a bug is watching at all times can be quite useful....

              I, for one, can only wonder how he managed to get married and spawn.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:12PM (#38527720)

          As a professional, you're not entitled to having bad days. Get a day off, or stuff yourself with round pink pills that make you not care, or go shout in the toilet, whatever. It's your fucking job, deal with it.

          Imagine an automechanic who's having a bad day, so he fucks his client's car over with a wrench. Whoopsie, the client is a big automotive dealer, poor automechanic is SoL and has to learn a new profession as there's noone who wants to work with him now.

          It doesn't really take internet to get your career ruined, internet just makes it easier, faster and more profound.

          Morale is: don't be a dick. Even any fast-food manager could teach him that proper response would have been "We're terribly sorry. You know what, as you're our valuable customer we'll throw in a free extra to compensate" and everything would be alright. But he didn't get even over the burger-flipper "Meh, I'll spit in his meal" level.

        • by g0bshiTe (596213)
          If you read the emails then you should realize this wasn't a witch hunt and if it were, there was actually a witch to hunt.

          Had the emails he sent to Dave been kept to the subject at hand IE when the orders will ship, why it's taking so long and the like, he'd still have his career bad day or not. No matter how bad your day is, you can not afford to piss off one customer by treating people like this. No matter if it was done to whom it was, or if it were some random 12 year old.

          A professional doesn't cond
        • by ImprovOmega (744717) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:46PM (#38528192)
          Sociopaths cannot be given second chances. They only get better at getting away with it and are practically impossible to reform. They must be utterly ground into dust as early as possible in their sociopathic little lives (preferably at first offense) to purge society as a whole of their pestilence.
          • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:58PM (#38528346) Homepage

            I wouldn't go quite that far. But like many people (perhaps even more so), a sociopath has to be allowed to hit rock bottom in order to build back up. That's the only way to get the message across: when the ego becomes too big of a barrier to get around, the alternative is to smash it.

            Infinite second chances are often thought of as the compassionate thing to do, the way to enable people to break out of the cycles that are destroying them. Sometimes this is even correct. Quite often, however, it's an enabler only in a much darker sense: the thing that lets people stay in their destructive cycles, rather than the thing that lets them break out.

            In any case, this is not going to ruin his life. It may precipitate some major changes, including some that in his current state he would rather not happen, but that's not ruin: a grand inconvenience, but nothing fatal.

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:59PM (#38528358) Homepage

          There was a story a while back about a guy who was pretending to be a girl on Craigslist, trolling for sex, getting guys to send their names and pictures, and then posting them online. That sucks. That has the potential to ruin lives.

          This guy? Meh. He was a dick, and now his bad behavior has been publicly exposed. This will hurt his career, but his career deserves to be hurt. The Internet will be vicious with him, but the Internet has a short attention span. I bet there won't be much harassment 6 months from now. If I had to place bets, I'd bet that his guy will even land on his feet and still have a career in PR after this. There are lots of stupid people to hire him, and incompetence doesn't stop companies from hiring people into very high positions.

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @02:16PM (#38528574) Homepage Journal

          This guy's life isn't over because he had a bad day, his life is over because he can no longer hide from how big of a douche he is... If you are having a bad day you can a) ignore emails and calls, b) reply tersely to emails and calls, or c) reply with hubris and hostility to emails and calls. He chose C, and not many people who aren't huge douchey assholes would do the same. Now, everyone knows his rap and I have to say that in this case (but not every case) the "mob" on the internet did the world a favor. This guy deserves to have a very very shitty reputation, as he had many MANY opportunities to not be a complete dick but chose instead, to be a complete dick.

          His "bad day" was the one where he got caught, called out, and summarily e-persecuted for it.

        • by SecurityTheatre (2427858) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @04:29PM (#38530270)

          I just looked at his twitter....

          Holy crap, it was not just a bad day...

          @tonycline How does it fel to be a ginger that no one loves or wants.

          OK ENOUGH! Just fuck off already u god damn fucking gaming cunts. Boo Hoo I yelled at a customer big deal. Ge over it

          @TrafficKidPT I don't need a degree I'm just naturally smart.

          Look at all these gamers. Bunch of fucking losers, everyone in the biz makes fun of you fucks. All the sites you like laugh at yuo.

          Penny Arcade is for autsitic preteens that can handle good entertianment. I'm suprised you can even read at all.

          @threetimestrue Bullshit, I'm a hot commodity. Everyone will pay to have my services after this. Because I'm a survivor.

          @IamPter Don't make me come over there and smack the dick out of your mouth sunshine.

          @ChibiUFO No Pax = Penis Addiction Experts. Cause they love dick

          That's all from just TODAY.

          Riiiight.. bad day.

          • by Gumbercules!! (1158841) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:47PM (#38534864)
            That's not his Twitter account - that's from OceanStretagy (note swapping of e and a), a parody account set up and by now, well documented as such. His own account went from OceanMarketting( yes, spelling error included) to OceanStratagy (yes, another spelling error, unbelievably) to OceanDeepSea. Not that his genuine account didn't have a continuation of his abusive mannerisms - just nothing as blatantly aggressive as this stuff.
    • by Telecommando (513768) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:20PM (#38526910)

      Basically his stance is, "I'm sorry I was a d!ck to someone important. I thought he was just another nobody I could abuse at will."

      • by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:27PM (#38527028)

        Yet despite all the drama, Christoforo said he hasn't lost any of his other accounts, aside from Avenger.

        So could someone please dig up the names of his other clients and post them?

        • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:02PM (#38527590)

          I'm sure these "other clients" are similar to the Mayor of Boston. This guy has a major superiority complex and narcissism to spare. He's that guy you knew that could do no wrong. He was always a smooth talker (or thought he was) and went into business for himself. Even though his kid could make a better wwebsite his looks like it was slapped together (and it was plagiarized from numerous sources).

          No matter what he does he's always the victim. Look at all of his postings even when he realized who Mike (Gabe) was. He thinks that all PR is good PR and probably thinks he won the lottery. "Forbes, MSNBC, AND Slashdot want an interview!". Anyone that has basic skills of google will never hire him again. Unfortunately other MBAs most likely don't, they'll meet him on the golf course or in the bar and he'll be the smooth talker and get another job that way. Having not learned a thing from this.

          But IANAP (I am not a Psychologist).

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:37PM (#38527162) Journal
        It's the Christian message: be nice to people, because the father of the person you just crucified might turn out to be God...
    • by plover (150551) *

      At least we know he's honest at least this one time. "I'm sorry I got caught" is obviously true. "I'm sorry for being a hostile, juvenile dickweed who never learned English grammar, spelling, manners, customer service skills, the Golden Rule, or basic human communication skills" is expected, but is impossible to figure out if it's true or not.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:27PM (#38527014) Homepage Journal

      >>He still isn't sorry for what happened, he is "sorry" because someone famous caught him.

      Right. He's like a bully who is "sorry" after some kid he was picking on turns out to be a jiu-jitsu black belt, and chokes him unconscious.

      Sorry. Replace 'like' with 'is'. He IS a bully shedding alligator tears after being exposed for who he really is.

      To me, the hilariously painful bit of the story was the bully's poor command of the English language. TFA has a typo, his company is not "Ocean Marketing". It's "Ocean Marketting". ;) Two t's - at least that's how he he codified it on Twitter.

      I honestly love it when the Internet does this kind of stuff. I remember the great exposés back in the day over how hard it was to cancel AOL and so forth.

    • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:34PM (#38527102)

      He just doesn't get it. You should treat people, especially your customers, good no matter who they are. He still isn't sorry for what happened, he is "sorry" because someone famous caught him.

      What's fascinating to me is that most people who are really only sorry to have been caught know better than to tell everyone that's why they're sorry. You know, they're smart enough to fake having learned a lesson.

      He honestly believes the reason everyone is pissed off at him is because he mistreated Mike Krahulik, not the customer. I actually feel sorry for the guy, who truly believes somebody's worth is dictated by how much power they have. He says, "I want to have connections Mike has, I want to have the power to destroy people like he destroyed me. Look Mike, I respect your power, I know my place is beneath you, and I'd never have overstepped my bounds had I known who you were. You don't need to be angry at me, I know my place, honestly. I was just putting that nobody in HIS place, you have to agree he's beneath me."

      • He's a sociopath (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:44PM (#38528168)

        He cannot empathize with other people, as such his feelings are the only ones that matter. So he sees himself as the victim here, because he is the only one who got hurt in his worldview.

        It is how people like that act. They hurt others freely because to them it doesn't matter, other people don't have feelings like they do. However when they are hurt they go off the rails with the victim thing because it is so unfair.

        They don't behave themselves, obey laws, do right by others, or any of that because of any sort of moral or human understanding. They do it because they don't want to get in trouble. If they think they can get away with it, they will.

    • by Xeno man (1614779) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:41PM (#38527242)

      "He has a lot of connections, ones I want too." - Paul Christoforo referring to Mike Krahulik

      Yup, still a big asshole. Paul still considers your worth by who you know. Thinks Mike helped make Pax by knowing a lot of high up people. Doesn't think your important unless you know someone else who is. Anyone who still has business relations with this guy really need to seriously evaluate what he's doing for you.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:17PM (#38527810) Journal
      He's sort of an interesting case: He has a boorish disregard for others, and a sense of grandiosity bordering on full-fledged delusion; but he shows none of the low, animal cunning that one would expect from somebody who has managed to worm their way into an actual position of responsiblity and contact with the public....

      The world is full of boors, narcissists, assholes, and general scum; but the ones that make it to positions of visibility usually have some sort of compensatory traits(many of them also vices; but still). This guy doesn't seem to. No glib lying, no superficial charm, just some really hollow name-dropping and chest thumping about unit sales, in an email exchange prompted by the fact that their supply chain is sucking right now...

      That is what befuddles me. Does this guy have charisma indistinguishable from magic in person? Was he 'roid raging when he wrote those emails? Are the standards of freelance PR flacks so pitifully low that they can't even afford unemployed English majors who have at least mastered sentence construction?

      It doesn't surprise me that he is a bad person, that is quite common, especially among marketing weasels. What confounds me is that he is so utterly bad at being a bad person. This situation seems like it would have been smooth-talk 101 to walk away from at, at most, the cost of a $10 credit to an enthusiastic customer. Instead, he managed to score frontpage mockery on the who's-who of gaming websites, make some n00b mistakes on twitter, sockpuppet from an email address linked to some hilarious posts about his attempts at muscle building, and generally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the jaws of the bystanders, and anywhere else it could be found. Where do they get people like that?
  • by jholder (22001) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:19PM (#38526892) Homepage Journal
    "Looking back, Christoforo is still a little shocked that what he thought would remain a private email conversation got blown into an Internet event the way it did." This show a blinding misunderstanding of the Internet. I always act/write/post/upload and assume anything i send to anyone could end up in the faces of the planet. To not do so invites this kind of idiocy. The measure of the man is that he acted the way he did because he thought he was acting 'in secret'. People who act this way are not the kind of people I trust to work with me reliably.
  • Keep digging Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd (12902) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:20PM (#38526904) Homepage

    Every time this guy opens his mouth to try to defend himself, he makes it worse. He needs to just stop. We all get that he thinks his mistake was not knowing who Mike was and that it would have been perfectly ok to treat him like crap if he was nobody.

    His apology can be summed up as "Normally I pride myself on knowing who I need to blow and who I can spit on, I made a mistake Mike (points to zipper), may I?"

    (analogy seen on reddit)

    • Re:Keep digging Paul (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bfandreas (603438) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:12PM (#38527724)
      Funny thing is he was at PAX this year and presented the Avenger. There is a Youtube video of him being totally inept. If you get asked if the thing you are selling will be available for PS3 then you don't talk about entering that market. When you talk to customers or interested parties you don't talk to them as you would do to your business account representatives or marketing chums. He comes over barely prepared and unable to stress the good points of the thing he is supposed to sell. Christoforo represents only Christoforo.
      Also attending PAX and not knowing who Gabe is is barely competent. Finding out who he is and saying "He has a lot of connections, ones I want too." is a clear indicator that reality burns up on entry of the atmosphere of planet Christoforo.
      I deal with sales critters on a professional basis. The best ones are the ones who honestly want to do right by their customers. Which requires a bit of empathy. I watched a sales rep of my company giving a potential customer the phone number of the competitions sales rep because they will do better by them. A sales critter at my local electronics shop told me I don't want a G15 if all I want is a good keyboard. Sold me a generic Cherry keyboard for 20 bucks. Both did build a bond with their customer and both generated huge repeat business.
      A masive ego only impresses for the first few moments and needs to be followed up by substance. That substance better not be warm, stinky and brown.
  • FTG. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Corf (145778) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:20PM (#38526916) Journal
    Seriously, ftg. His fifteen minutes are up. He deserves nothing more than to be ignored and live in perpetual ignominy until somebody requires a textbook example of how not to treat anybody.
    • Re:FTG. (Score:5, Funny)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:42PM (#38528148)

      I dunno, maybe they'll name a psychological disorder after the guy.

      Christoforo's Syndrome - a psychological disorder characterized by pathological lying, shallow affect, a noted lack of empathy and consistent abusive behavior. It is distinguished from Antisocial Personality Disorder chiefly by poor spelling and grammar.

  • Notable excerpt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bwintx (813768) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:21PM (#38526926)

    "If this didn't get escalated to Penny Arcade, it would have never gone viral like it did," he said. "Ultimately, if I was able to control the customer, it never would have happened..."

    [Emphasis added.]

    • Re:Customer service (Score:5, Interesting)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:51PM (#38527392)

      You've not been in customer service, have you? "Call control" is a frequent feedback point when calls start to run long, and I assume that's what he was talking about here.

      Keep the customer focused on the issue, don't let them blabber and complain, instead get the problem fixed and the customer back to their day. Some people don't really want the problem solved, they want people to hear about it and point out all of the problems, an "I told you so" kind of rant, or "when I worked for a company like yours this would never have happened" or "I used to respect your brand, now you've let it go into the crapper". They think they are talking to someone who has the power to change something. And you can't let those people tie you up.

      Yes it sounds bad phrased like that, but anyone who does any kind of support or customer contact should have been coached on controlling the customer. He realizes that he could have phrased things differently and not pissed this guy off, that's "controlling the customer". What he doesn't realize is that his natural personality is quite dick-ish and won't allow him to do that. Especially when you have piles of people asking the same thing, and are afraid to give some bad news that stuff won't be under the Christmas tree as promised, and you're too arrogant to apologise.

    • by dougmc (70836)

      "Ultimately, if I was able to control the customer, it never would have happened..."

      [Emphasis added.]

      From the point of view of a PR person, this isn't exactly wrong. Setting expectations and such is a key part of doing customer support, and if the customer gets incorrect ideas about what's going to happen, the support person should attempt to bring them around (i.e. control the situation, which is to some degree controlling the customer.) It doesn't always work, but after doing support for a while you get a feel for how to take control of things that are going bad and fix them. Good customer support pe

  • Schadenfreude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:26PM (#38527006)
    Its great, because this guy is getting MASSIVELY screwed right now. I would feel bad for the guy, except that he's a gigantic asshole, and isn't even sincerely apologetic.

    Even then though, I start to feel like maybe this all just got out of hand...

    Then you read the part where Ocean Marketing's website was DIRECTLY PLAGIARIZED from websites like forbes.com.
    Thats it, no more excuses. This man is A CON ARTIST. He has been running a SCAM. He has this coming 100%

    Oh, the lulz.
    • What people fail to realize here is that this is fairly normal. This is the way marketing people think about the customers of their clients. It's really a job requirement.

      • Its how they think of them certainly, but usually the have the professionalism (or the fear of being fired) enough to at least FEIGN interest in the customer while dealing with them. Its just after you finish the call or email, you turn around and tell your co-worker what an idiot that customer was. To tell the customer himself that he is an idiot, a customer who is not being belligerent or violent, is absolutely unacceptable, even in this crazy day and age of so little customer service and human decency.
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:26PM (#38527008)

    This guy still diesn't get it. He blames everyone else, they were "being a bully" or acting like a "punk or jerk".

    Then there's this gem: "Ultimately, if I was able to control the customer, it never would have happened. I've dealt with thousands and thousands of customers with similar complaints, they were all asking the same question." Control the customer? When has anyone been able to "control the customer"? Where the hell did he learn to provide customer service? Even in Fast Food they're trained better than that...

    How fucking clueless can someone be? It boggles the mind that this guy actually worked as a professional in any industry, let alone one that focuses on these sort of interactions.

    What an idiot...

    • Re:Typical... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hjf (703092) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:05PM (#38527620) Homepage

      You don't know shit.

      He's just being politically incorrect. He shouldn't have said "control the customer", because it sounds bad. But believe me, there are ways to do it.

      You have no idea the jedi tricks these people can pull on you, and you don't even notice and fall right into their trap. How do you think "social engineering" works?

      Let me teach you a little bit:

      B is the caller, let's say a bank. C is the customer ("victim" if you want a politically incorrect term).

      B: Hello?
      C: Good day sir, is this John Doe?
      B: Yes, who's this? --"yes" #1
      C: This is X from Bank Y, do you have a minute? -- it's more than a minute, but if i say "a minute" i'm more likely to get your attention
      B: Um...okay? --didn't say yes, try again
      C: Excuse me? I can't hear you?
      B: Yes, I have a minute --- "yes" #2
      C: Oh very good. Just a minute, I'll check the computer...ohh it's slow today, it's one of those days, how is your day? -- fake slow day to get him into small talk
      B: I'm doing fine
      C: Oh it's so good to hear you're having a good day, it's been crazy here! --show him how good he is, and how bad you are, so he'll feel sorry for you
      B: Oh i see, yes, it's been good --great, you got him on a positive mood!
      C: OK, here we are.. let me check, are you John F. Doe, yes? - ask with yes, not "right". you want him to say "yes", not "right
      B: Right -- try again
      C: Excuse me? I can't hear you
      B: Yes, I'm John F. Doe
      C: Oh ok, and your address is 123 Fake St.?
      B: Yes. --good
      C: And your date of birth is 12/23/55?
      B: Yes ---ooh man, we're on a roll!
      C: Oh OK, everything sounds right. So, let me tell you about the deal we got for you: because you've been a great customer to us, we're offering a new *whatever* blah blah blah

      then you explain how much he's gaining from this "deal", why he wants it, etc.

      Why did i make such an emphasis on getting a YES answer? Because ultimately you're going to ask him if he wants, say, a new credit card. You want him to say "yes", not "right", "uh-huh", "OK". You need a "yes". So you ask him a lot of questions that will get him saying "yes", so he's more willing to say "yes" later on.

      THAT's how it works. THAT's what "controlling" a customer is. When you get a call from some sales person you say "I'm not interested" and hang up right away. The moment you let them speak, they get into your head. They have all sorts of tricks to get even the most "uninterested" person in buying things they don't want or need. This has been true for decades. They have teams of psychologysts to understand people, and millions of hours of conversations to learn from.

  • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:27PM (#38527018) Homepage

    Not to be clinical here but a thousand times as many people now know about the Avenger then before.
    If the product dose what it is design to, most of its target market (including Dave) won't be put off by a 1 month delay or a poor choice of PR firm. The whole fiasco is almost certainly a net positive for the product's sales.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:11PM (#38527714)

      And the company ended up having to give everyone on pre-order a $10 discount. How does the joke go? "I know this widget costs $10 to make and we sell it for $5, but we'll make it up in volume!"

      This is a huge fiasco for the company that is going to cost them dearly. Yes, brand recognition might be up, but if it costs them more to clean up that recognition"than they make from sales (and I bet you that their margins aren't that awesome to begin with), this is a net loss.

      So the current "marketting" so far has cost the company $10 on every controller ordered so far, a one-star review on Amazon, required the revamp of their marketing department, their CS methods and another PR campaign to put out the message "Sorry about that". These are real costs that I'm pretty sure aren't covered by the exposure. Not to mention that now everyone also knows about the shitty delivery time frames.

    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      The whole fiasco is almost certainly a net positive for the product's sales.

      Except, of course, the fire bombing of it's ratings on Amazon. I doubt something like 300 1-star reviews will do it much good.

  • by Torqued (91619) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:30PM (#38527060) Journal

    Someone needs to tell this guy about the First Law of Holes: "When you find yourself in one, stop digging!!"

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I think he's going for the "or dig really, really far and you'll come out on the other side" alternative. Which works even less in the abstract sense than the literal one.

  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:37PM (#38527148) Homepage
    Just looked up recalcitrant in the dictionary, there was a little picture of this grinning douchebag in shades and a bandana.
  • 'Roid Rage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sporkinum (655143) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:39PM (#38527190)

    They connected him to a user id, TheAngryPimp, on a steroid board. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/12/cut-paul-oceanmarketting-christoforo-a-breakhe-might-just-have-roid-rage/ [kotaku.com.au]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:46PM (#38527316)

    If this hadn't gone viral, who knows where this guy would have gone. Can you imagine this guy in public office? Or leading a real company, or worse yet,being YOUR boss? I wonder if his linked in profile has been updated to indicate he is the biggest DB on the web?

  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:51PM (#38527410)

    He still comes across as a jerk, contrite only to try to get people to stop harassing him. Seems like he can't shut up because his ego just won't let go.

    This concise explanation / apology (and say nothing else) would have gone a long way, and it might even be somewhat true:

    Right or wrong (and Dave was right), no customer deserves to be treated the way I treated Dave. My lashing out at others in the gaming industry was just as bad. I apologize unconditionally to each and all of them.

    Between running a company and raising an infant, sleep has eluded me. Sleep deprivation can have profound effects on people. Some of you who have raised children might understand. This in no way excuses my behavior: I'm only saying it to let people know what propelled me down such a terrible path.

    Add another line or two about how he hopes his behavior won't kill such a great gamer product, and done.

  • Very sad indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Muse011 (1826134) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:52PM (#38527420)
    Does anyone else find it ironic that he's been receiving DEATH THREATS aimed at him, his wife, and their 2 month old son, because of this? And he's the bad guy. What is wrong with this planet..
  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:58PM (#38527532)

    Is this his LinkedIn [linkedin.com] presence? I wonder if people will rush to disassociate from him now...

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:58PM (#38527540) Journal

    "They've pretty much ruined me in the past 24 hours," Christoforo said.

    No, he did it all by himself. All they did was give him the publicity he so badly wanted. . .

    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.

  • Give it time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:07PM (#38527652)

    Yet despite all the drama, Christoforo said he hasn't lost any of his other accounts, aside from Avenger. "It hasn't affected my business yet," he said. "Clients have brought it up, but they've mainly laughed about it. I haven't lost any clients."

    That's because most of the people who have the authority to sever ties with you are on vacation. Next week's gonna be a pile of suck.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:11PM (#38527716) Homepage Journal
    Early on in my career I worked the tech support lines at IBM. In their training they said lots of stuff like "It's much easier to lose a customer than to gain one" and "Every unsatisfied customer is going to tell an average of 10 of his friends about his experience with your company." And also the priorities of the company when I was working there "The customers, the employees and the shareholders, in that order." Making sure that the people who are giving you money get what they want and have a good experience with your company is how you make a company the size of IBM, and make it last.

    If you want to make one fail, do what this guy did. I don't know how you make it to your late 30s without learning that lesson. It actually doesn't seem to me like he's learned it now. He seems like the kind of person who will blame anyone else for his failure when his last customer deserts him and his business lies in ruins.

    The best move, from his company's perspective, would be to fire him and go "under new management." I don't know if anyone's ever been fired from running the company they own, but that might just do the trick. They could get an Australian guy in, since "Yeah, we got rid of that last guy, he was a cunt," sounds so much better with that accent. I think they'd be back on top in no time!

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:19PM (#38527858) Journal

      The best move, from his company's perspective, would be to fire him and go "under new management."

      Did you read the response from N-Control? They are trying to put as much distance between that guy and the company as they can.

      I wonder if this Paul Cristoforo has pioneered a new PR strategy for startups though. . . hire him, or someone like him, to stir up a big pot of controversy, publicly fire him saying you had NO IDEA he was going to abuse his position, and release press releases talking about how great your products are for disabled people/kids/other sympathetic group, etc. Get the public to view your company as another victim of his abuse and try to get them to feel bad for you and good about your products, while transferring their rage to the "rogue employee/consultant".

      Sort of Good Cop/Bad Cop for startups.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:30PM (#38527980) Homepage

    This power is only going to grow.

    The internet stopped the AT&T buyout of T-Mobile. Nearly every other public presentation of the story was favorable to AT&T and their empty promises. The internet and its users were unrelenting and got the information out there. It took a LOT of work by people with a sense of urgency.

    The internet *IS* the 99%. The 1% still thinks the internet is a digital sales leaflet.

    Efforts out there are working. They will only get stronger and more effective as more and more people of the 99% and the 1% are taking more notice. The 1% is actively trying to limit and control the internet at every turn. While the 99% still have control over the internet and while they are not yet listed as "terrorists" action and enthusiasm need to increase. Don't let them take our internet. Don't even let them try.

    I know I have been vocal in sending out contacts to various politicians letting them know "we are watching" and that even though the establishment has the old media locked down and in their pockets, the "new media" is still a wild west which no one controls 100% and the information can, will and does get out there. We are watching. And we are TRACKING. The internet's memory is a LOT longer than that of the average individual consumer. They can't lie and get away with it any longer.

    I thank all of those who have made similar efforts out there. THEY WORKED. And to those who have been sitting on the side lines to see what would happen or who would win? You have your answer. It's time for you to join in and solidify your support for your own interests. I'm not saying you should stand up for what you believe in. I'm saying SIT DOWN and DON'T BE MOVED. This is your life. Your internet. Your ability to exist in the world. KEEP IT.

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:36PM (#38528072) Homepage Journal

    I'm REALLY liking the mindset of the new PR guy for N-Control.

    “I can’t worry about the fact that there isn’t a bus big enough for me to throw Paul Christoforo under. The internet did that for me. I think they set him on fire too."

    I'm just glad I didn't have a soda to my mouth.

    Nice, blunt honesty in the situation with a schadenfreude-funny quote goes a long way. Kudos Moisés!

  • Insane (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:41PM (#38528140) Homepage

    The guy's clearly got some real psychological problems. He's plagiarizing and using stolen identities. Notice in the MSNBC interview he's still constantly using obscenities, "f***" and "s***" all over the place. And this theme:

    "He has a lot of connections, ones I want too.... I know a lot of people who own clubs. I know some influential people, like the guy who runs the door at the convention center... When is it big enough that it hits the news? When it hits Penny Arcade, when it hits a guy who has the biggest affiliations in the industry."

    I've never heard of such an uncontrollable obsession with "connections" (whether real or fake; and this runs through all the original emails, too). As a total amateur, I'd guess something like borderline personality or sociopathy or whatever.

  • Steroids (Score:4, Informative)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:46PM (#38528196)
    Just FYI, this guy does steriods [kotaku.com]. I'd imagine this accounts for 80% of his actions (the other 20% attributed to him being a dumb fuck).

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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