UPDATE: Penny Arcade Smacks Down Shady PR Dude

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UPDATE: Penny Arcade Smacks Down Shady PR Dude

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After being verbally abusive to a customer, the man behind a new controller accessory threatened Gabe of Penny Arcade. Guess how well that went over.

The Avenger controller accessory was supposed to ship earlier this month, supposedly in time for those who'd pre-ordered the device to be using it by Christmas. But then it was delayed without notification. A concerned customer contacted the folks behind the accessory, asking for some updates, and that's when the trouble began.

The customer, Dave, initially ordered two PS3 Avengers back at the beginning of November. He happily paid the full price for both of them, assuming he'd have one to use and one to give out as a Christmas present. However, the "early December" ship date was missed and he asked for an update on December 16th. Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing responded to the inquiry with a nebulous message "Dec 17".

Things only went downhill from there. The follow-up emails between the two reveal an increasingly shady side of Christoforo, as well as the man's inability to grasp the English language. He becomes increasingly defensive - as well as verbally abusive - demonstrating terrible customer service, addressing Dave as "Dan" and accusing him of being a penniless teenager who doesn't understand the way the videogame industry works.

At this point, Dave emailed several news groups, as well as Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade, who decided to get involved. In one of his venomous (and borderline illegible) emails to Dave, Christoforo mentioned that the controller had been at PAX East, which caught Krahulik's attention, so he decided to get involved with the exchange:

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

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

Christoforo, naturally, responded with class and dignity, sounding like a mature adult (and not at all like a forum troll):

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 ?

After this, Christoforo kept shoveling with both hands, even going so far as to threaten Krahulik, saying, "Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am ."

You can read the entire exchange over at Penny Arcade, but the bottom line is that Christoforo clearly had no idea who Krahulik is or how big his influence is. From the sound of things, the PAX shows probably aren't the only ones that will be booting Ocean Marketing.

This isn't where the story ends, though. Examiner points out that Christoforo changed his twitter handle from @oceanmarketting (which is now run by someone dedicated to good causes and indie games) to @oceanstratagy in wake of the bad press. He even made a tweet that called Scott Lowe of IGN a "douchebag" before deleting it (though not before someone took a screenshot). It's been revealed that the Ocean Marketing blog plagiarized and posted articles from Forbes and BizReport as original pieces. Finally: Even though the Amazon page for the 360 version shows an average rating of two stars, the five star reviews are generally believed to be fakes, written by the same person.

We see stories about idiotic PR moves a few times each year, but this one is one of the most gob-smacking things I've ever written about. Somehow, I don't expect Mr. Christoforo will be involved in either the videogame or PR industries for too much longer.

UPDATE: Just after this story went live, Kotaku posted a new update on the story. It turns out that Christoforo was masquerading as Brandon Leidel of The Hand Media, pretending to be the man when writer Joel Johnston tried to clarify some facts in the story. The real Leidel contacted Kotaku, explaining that his company is no longer associated with the Avenger because "we fired N-Control as a client about 8 months ago due to constant shipping delays (which we had to deal with) and their association with Paul Cristoforo who is a street thug masquerading as a self proclaimed 'Marketing Professional.'"

UPDATE #2: It turns out that Christoforo has a history of terrible customer service and lying. (Thanks to The_root_of_all_evil and Sassafrass for the tips!)

UPDATE #3: Penny Arcade has another update. Christoforo has apologized for his actions, though he seems more sorry that he got caught than for what he actually did. Krahulik isn't terribly sympathetic. Admittedly, neither am I.

UPDATE #4: Eli Schwartz of N-Control has been saddled with the unenviable task of scrambling to do damage control. According to his Twitter account, Christoforo (and Ocean Marketing) are no longer employed by N-Control). He emailed me with the following statement:

We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing. We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm.
However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.

David Kotkin
Owner/Inventor
Avenger Controller

Source: Penny Arcade, Examiner

Permalink

I skimmed through that this morning on PA's news page before heading to work. This Christoforo fellow may not have known just how large a hornet's nest he kicked once Penny Arcade got involved... but I'm sure he's figured it out by now.

I wonder if he'll get his pink slip before Dave gets his controllers?

You know who the last person to threaten Penny Arcade was?

Jack Thompson.

Look what happened to him.

edit:
Just throwing this in here for those who use Firefox and heard of Web of Trust
http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/oceanmarketinginc.com
His website is currently blocked by it because of such negative ratings. Keep it up!

This story just seems unreal. It's like I'm watching the other side of a comedy.
I wonder how this will affect Avenger sales.

Fun fact: Even his "About Us" page is pasted from another site, down to every word. And even funnier that he can't spell strategy correctly.

Oh, just read this on Kotaku: http://kotaku.com/5871400/cut-paul-oceanmarketting-christoforo-a-breakhe-probably-just-has-roid-rage

The man seems to have had a pretty heavy history with steroid abuse, so that probably explains the excessive amount of brain damage that is shown in those mails..

And that's before the emails of him pretending to be the distributor of the product that had already fired him.

Or his now removed X-Box tag.

or his history of bad service

or the 'roid rage

or the Amazon bombs

(Thanks to everyone on this thread who's been keeping it updated)

BUT....The controllers are still quite good

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There's a lot of this on Kotaku right now, like crazy amounts of follow up...

Yeah, the Kotaku article is relevant to this. Also his Twitter handle was not

vansau:
Examiner points out that Christoforo changed his twitter handle from @oceanmarketing

but was instead @oceanmarketting (which I see in you have correct in the the html, just not visibly)

Ha, I love it when the guys at penny arcade get involved with stuff like this. Always makes good reading.

drakythe:
Yeah, the Kotaku article is relevant to this. Also his Twitter handle was not

vansau:
Examiner points out that Christoforo changed his twitter handle from @oceanmarketing

but was instead @oceanmarketting (which I see in you have correct in the the html, just not visibly)

to be fair, its hard to misspell some words consciously, so I can see why someone would have trouble typing out "marketting" when any basic spell check would smack you in the testes just for trying it.

Am I the only one who's wondering what the hell is up with that controller? Yeah? Okay then.

OT: Yeah, that dude fucked up. Not much else to say. I mean, it does seem unlikely comical that these series of events actually happened, but, to put it simply, he fucked up.

image

That's some seriously epic PR fail right there. Considering Penny Arcade have gotten involved, I'd be surprised if Christofro ever gets serious work in the gaming industry again.

cursedseishi:

drakythe:
Yeah, the Kotaku article is relevant to this. Also his Twitter handle was not

vansau:
Examiner points out that Christoforo changed his twitter handle from @oceanmarketing

but was instead @oceanmarketting (which I see in you have correct in the the html, just not visibly)

to be fair, its hard to misspell some words consciously, so I can see why someone would have trouble typing out "marketting" when any basic spell check would smack you in the testes just for trying it.

Fixed! Thanks, folks. And, yes, it's hard to consciously misspell stuff sometimes.

Amnestic:
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That's some seriously epic PR fail right there. Considering Penny Arcade have gotten involved, I'd be surprised if Christofro ever gets serious work in the gaming industry again.

Check out the topic in gaming on this for a lot more info that's been collected throughout the day.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.336067-Ocean-Marketing-vs-Penny-Arcade?page=5#13572063

Update on Penny Arcade.
Seems the douche realises how stupid he has been.
http://penny-arcade.com/2011/12/26/an-update1

War Penguin:
Am I the only one who's wondering what the hell is up with that controller? Yeah? Okay then.

It´s a controller made for people that got deformed hands(from my understanding). Gonna assume that was what you meant.

JenSeven:
Update on Penny Arcade.
Seems the douche realises how stupid he has been.
http://penny-arcade.com/2011/12/26/an-update1

HAHA, oh you´re sorry? Bullox, all you´re sorry about was that the customer didn't keep down how shitty you treated him.

JenSeven:
Update on Penny Arcade.
Seems the douche realises how stupid he has been.
http://penny-arcade.com/2011/12/26/an-update1

That was a most epic line near the end. Or rather paragraph... yeah, whole of that last chunk was epic.

But will they ever wwebsite as on the Internet?

When Geico starts using the meme you unintentionally created as a result of your own incompetence you know you've fucked up
image

cursedseishi:

JenSeven:
Update on Penny Arcade.
Seems the douche realises how stupid he has been.
http://penny-arcade.com/2011/12/26/an-update1

That was a most epic line near the end. Or rather paragraph... yeah, whole of that last chunk was epic.

Yup, I was literally laughing at my computer screen while reading that last bit. Good for him not backing down. Too many people are willing to accept a heartless apology that are made out of necessity, not sincerity.

The fact this Paul guy has been backtracking at whom he sees as necessary, while leashing out at others, shows how insincere he is. I really hope his family, his children, and his run-on sentences are dragged through the mud. It takes a special type of asshole to marry this man and I feel they are almost as responsible.

kebab4you:

War Penguin:
Am I the only one who's wondering what the hell is up with that controller? Yeah? Okay then.

It´s a controller made for people that got deformed hands(from my understanding). Gonna assume that was what you meant.

Sorta. Just confused about the shape and the weird attachments. Though if it's for deformed hands, then I'll assume that it makes sense.

vansau:
SNIP

Just a heads-up, that link I sent you might be someone trolling for the sake of it. If it is, that's my bad.

Sassafrass:

vansau:
SNIP

Just a heads-up, that link I sent you might be someone trolling for the sake of it. If it is, that's my bad.

It looks legit. If it turns out to be fake, I'll update accordingly.

vansau:

cursedseishi:

drakythe:
Yeah, the Kotaku article is relevant to this. Also his Twitter handle was not but was instead @oceanmarketting (which I see in you have correct in the the html, just not visibly)

to be fair, its hard to misspell some words consciously, so I can see why someone would have trouble typing out "marketting" when any basic spell check would smack you in the testes just for trying it.

Fixed! Thanks, folks. And, yes, it's hard to consciously misspell stuff sometimes.

Other things that he's done:

His website has been stolen from various others
The about us page came from here
The services page from here
The Social networking page from here
The search engine optimisation page from here

Openly posted links to pirated cds using the company twitter
image

Lots more in the thread in gaming.

And they've swapped twitters again to @oceanstretagy. Can this guy spell?

@JDawgMadden It's a god sturdy product that works. It lets you rule at pew pew shooters.

@DarkMorgado Black list? I'm not black. Look at my picture idiot.

Yeah....

The_root_of_all_evil:
And they've swapped twitters again to @oceanstretagy. Can this guy spell?

@JDawgMadden It's a god sturdy product that works. It lets you rule at pew pew shooters.

@DarkMorgado Black list? I'm not black. Look at my picture idiot.

Yeah....

That's one of the fake ones that's popped up. They're still at @oceanstratagy

I have got to say, despite everything that's happened, this is my favourite story this year. This fucker got what's coming to him and Mike managed to scare the fuck out of me while I agree with him completely. Seriously, I just love this far too much than I should.

Calumon: Is this a happy ending? I can't tell. :S

TheGuy(wantstobe):

The_root_of_all_evil:
And they've swapped twitters again to @oceanstretagy. Can this guy spell?

@JDawgMadden It's a god sturdy product that works. It lets you rule at pew pew shooters.

@DarkMorgado Black list? I'm not black. Look at my picture idiot.

Yeah....

That's one of the fake ones that's popped up. They're still at @oceanstratagy

Damn...they've got a good impersonator then. Stratagy hasn't posted for hours now. Are we sure it's not him?

(And the original thread is locked from overuse I think? Can't get into it.)

Jack and Calumon:

Calumon: Is this a happy ending? I can't tell. :S

It isn't a happy ending until the Christofor asks you to roll over onto your back after its all done...

The_root_of_all_evil:

TheGuy(wantstobe):

The_root_of_all_evil:
And they've swapped twitters again to @oceanstretagy. Can this guy spell?

Yeah....

That's one of the fake ones that's popped up. They're still at @oceanstratagy

Damn...they've got a good impersonator then. Stratagy hasn't posted for hours now. Are we sure it's not him?

I say who cares? Either way its bloody humorous, so I say revel in it. And give the man a cookie if its fake.

The_root_of_all_evil:

TheGuy(wantstobe):

The_root_of_all_evil:
And they've swapped twitters again to @oceanstretagy. Can this guy spell?

Yeah....

That's one of the fake ones that's popped up. They're still at @oceanstratagy

Damn...they've got a good impersonator then. Stratagy hasn't posted for hours now. Are we sure it's not him?

Pretty sure. If only because that account has 0 followers and none of the tweet history of stratagy. The fact that there is no space between the punctuation marks in that new twitter also gives it away as being a fake; see the fraudulent Brandon email and all of paul's emails from before to see what I mean.

TheGuy(wantstobe):

vansau:

cursedseishi:

to be fair, its hard to misspell some words consciously, so I can see why someone would have trouble typing out "marketting" when any basic spell check would smack you in the testes just for trying it.

Fixed! Thanks, folks. And, yes, it's hard to consciously misspell stuff sometimes.

Other things that he's done:

His website has been stolen from various others
The about us page came from here
The services page from here
The Social networking page from here
The search engine optimisation page from here

Openly posted links to pirated cds using the company twitter
image

Lots more in the thread in gaming.

So let me get this straight...

1. Terrible PR
2. Plagiarizing and copyright infringement
3. Steroids
4. Piracy
5. Lied about these "big connections" he had.
6. Failure to send products to the promised date and illegally charging the customers FULL before product is even shipped.

Have I got it down pretty much? Is it possible for this guy to get some serious jail time? In a span of a few hours or a day, this guy went from living the BS american dream to having his entire life ruined by the Internet.

TheGuy(wantstobe):

Pretty sure. If only because that account has 0 followers and none of the tweet history of stratagy. The fact that there is no space between the punctuation marks in that new twitter also gives it away as being a fake; see the fraudulent Brandon email and all of paul's emails from before to see what I mean.

Still say to give the Oceanmaketting (Mark Ett Ocean) dude and him a cookie though for maximum lulz.

Jove:

So let me get this straight...

1. Terrible PR
2. Plagiarizing and copyright infringement
3. Steroids
4. Piracy
5. Lied about these "big connections" he had.
6. Failure to send products to the promised date and illegally charging the customers FULL before product is even shipped.

Have I got it down pretty much?

I think you missed slander and murder of the English language.

Eh... it's a slow news day and Mike Krahulik is projecting like crazy in that follow up piece. Time to be the bigger man.

The guy sent some rude emails so now the vengeful internet will destroy his business and his life. Hopefully they'll back off before he ends up swinging from a ceiling beam somewhere, although I'm sure there are people out there who've blown this enough out of proportion that they'd think it was deserved.

The GoDaddy thing? That was good. That was the internet being a channel for a popular movement to take meaningful action directed at a big company that should have known better. This? This is just some poor schmuck being persecuted because the internet was bored and he is an easy target.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I think you missed slander and murder of the English language.

Oh man, Paul is screwed, he's REALLY freaking screwed. lol

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