PR man to find out if what they say about "any publicity" is true

After weeks of promises, a game controller company failed to deliver a long-placed order in time for Christmas. The customer complained, carbon- copying his email to industry bloggers and luminaries. The company's representative not only threw abuse back at the customer, calling him a "bitch", but boasted abut his relationships with the CCd editors of Kotaku, IGN, Penny Arcade, and so on. Can you guess how that worked out for him?


  1. Someone kicked a beehive. Scott Lowe of IGN already denounced this guy on Twitter and asked to never be name dropped again.

  2. Caught this in the PA feed, glad it showed up on BoingBoing because I really wanted to comment. SO. MUCH. SCHADENFREUDE.

    You get to see how people really are in a crisis. Some rise above and spin gold out of straw. Some, like this guy, melt down on everyone around them, including the people giving them money.

    Although, not for long. They’re going to see a lot of that $500k disappear overnight as people cancel orders. (I feel bad for the customers, though, for another reason: a person like this will probably take his sweet time refunding the orders, or refuse altogether.)

  3. some of @oceanmarketting’ s (yes, with 2 Ts) greatest twitter hits: 

    I liked a YouTube video — PAX 2011 East: The Avenger Controller Enhancer

    @charliesheen I AM WINNING

    #winning Charlie Sheen ….. Love him … hilarious !!!!

  4. I saw this on Penny Arcade this AM. This guy has dragged himself and his company into some sh*t. I love it 

  5. Great, this little hubahaloo has blown penny arcade off the internet.

    It amuses me that they “let” Krahulik (aka Gabe) get involved in it. There’s few people on the internet better at stirring up shit than him, and he’s got a bigger soapbox than most to do it from.

  6. I can’t help but wonder whether the rhetorical title of this article might be a valid point.  After all, I and no doubt millions of other internet dwellers had never heard of the Avenger controller, but now it is in the forefront of public consciousness.  I’d be interested in seeing how a debacle like this actually impacted their sales.  The cynic in me says that the old adage will hold true, and they really will sell more of them.

      1. You may be right.  He didn’t kick the /b/hive.  That’s the truly dangerous one to kick.  He may end up netting more sales from this.

        Personally I hope he is ruined.  That entire email chain could have been handled with either:
        a) I’m sorry, you are right that seems bad to give new customers $10 off and not you.  Here is your $10.
        b) I’m sorry, you are right that it isn’t fair but unfortunately we can’t offer the discount retroactively due to system constraints.  Note some of the folks ordering now for $10 less may not get their controllers for some time as we are in backorder.  You can cancel and reorder but you will end up at the back of the line for fulfillment with the other new orders.

        1. I was actually thinking as I read this “There’s a chance he’s stepped on a /b/rother, and that would be a truly glorious thing to see.  I may check in on those guys later.

    1. I am now aware that they exist and have a product.

      I am not the audience for the product nor would I give this company money if I were but I love watching jerks get roasted publicly.

      So I’d say this controversy is awesome in all the right ways from my perspective.

    2. It might not be bad for the company IF they can separate themselves from this PR dude. That he’s driven a lot of names through the mud is not going to ingratiate himself to anyone, which is a pretty big blow for a PR guy whose connections are really his only asset.

      1. He named dropped going to Pax, then had no idea who Mike was, then talked about Pax sucking.
        I’m pretty sure he has no connections, as everyone walks quickly away from the event horizon.

        1. Well, he doesn’t anymore.  He has a job for some reason, though, and it’s certainly not his writing skills. That psychotic overconfidence goes a long way in the corporate world, though … at least until it implodes.

          1. Well right now he is sure this is just going to blow over, and several companies have seen the great press and have talked about hiring him to represent them.
            Its not his fault he did this, its not his regular job… except hes been doing it for months…

            Everyone wave buhbye to the bad man…

  7. Wow, serious case of Internet Tough-Guy Syndrome going on there. Reminds me a lot of some of the douchebags who hang around the art scene, you know – “I’m big in this f**king town – better watch it!”

    Um, yeah.

    I’ve had people do that at me before, and I *encouraged* them to try and “destroy my art career”. Good luck doing that – I don’t do gallery shows, and you’re not a burner. Your butthurt only makes me stronger.

  8. An interesting update from the Examiner — Ocean Marketing are plagiarists as well:

    Update 1: It seems the plot has thickened a bit further. Apparently, as pointed out by @williambgoss on twitter,
    Ocean Marketing has been lifting articles from across the web for their blog with little to no attribution of sources whatsoever. An article published on Forbes is clearly posted wholesale on the Ocean Marketing blog with no sourcing roughly two weeks after initially hitting the web. Moreover, the same is done with a BizReport article, appearing as Ocean Marketing’s “original work” no less than two days later.  

  9. The product in question is getting slated on Amazon – shame, as the product apparently works well. They just chose the wrong marketing agency!

    1. I am pretty sure it is much worse than that.
      They list the PR guys phone number on the website, he is their ONLY contact with the world.
      Oh and their website can;t decide who owns the copyright over the code…
      Kotkin Enterprises, LLC or iControl Enterprises, LLC
      It changes as you wander thru the site.

    2. I’d be surprised to learn that this illiterate hump is a real PR guy.  I’ll bet he’s the CEO of a little mud pie of an outfit, acting as his own big time PR rep. Dollars to donuts.  You have to be able to, for example, differentiate between “your” and “you’re” to actually make a living in PR.

  10. My thought…the guy is an idiot.

    Second, they are trying to, like most controller companies, put out the “YOU WILL BE PWN’N NEWBS WITH THIS!” vibe like it matters.

    If they REALLY wanted to get out there, they’d convince one of the pro gamers in MLG or whatnot to sign on and use it. The catch being, no one in the pro-gaming circuit uses these stupid attachments in legitimate competition so it’s pointless. You don’t see those amazing South Korean kids coming over to Blizzcon with their G15 keyboards loaded up with macros out the whazoo to destroy in Starcraft 2 do ya?

    This PR guy did do one thing right in his emails. He showed that he’s great and doing PR to the exact demographic who would buy his hentai-influenced contraption. The 13-year-old shittalking males on Xbox Live.

    Good game you bag of douche.

  11. Hoping he turns full internet super-villain(I’m thinking Snowflame) and begins shouting arrogant tweets.




    [edit] this fake account is an excellent approximation:!/oceanstretagy

  12. Mr. Christoforo has just changed his Twitter handle from @OceanMarketting:twitter to @OceanStratagy:twitter.

    1. Christ what an asshole…. can’t he use Google like the rest of us to figure out how to spell words?!

  13. Ammaaazzzing. Where do these people spawn from? If you haven’t already read: 
    e by Matthew Beaumont and you found this dialog fun then you should read it.

    1. Aww so sad… he pulled down the video where he was trying to bully the realtor into putting in sound proof windows.

  14. The motto on the oceans marketting website: “Your Brand is no stronger than your reputation – and will increasingly depend on what comes up when you are Googled.”

    Google them.  It’s hilarious.

  15. This is really a shame, but not surprising.  My friends and I had a similar experience with them when the xbox controllers were released.

    My friends ordered their controllers during the preorder phase.  I was still thinking about it, but when they dropped the price by $10 I was sold.  Needless to say my friends were pissed.  Then they were doubly pissed when my controller arrived 3 weeks before their pre orders arrived.  They were subsequently told off by N-Controller at that time.

    These are also very VERY poorly made.  The x arm on my controller broke the first day that I got it.  I asked the company if I could order a new arm or get a new controller because of the poor quality.  They told me that I couldn’t get a refund or an exchange because I was too rough with my controller.  Admittedly, I’m something of an ogre.  But this time all I had done was to position the arm to the recommended position and it snapped off at the base.  It should be an easy fix to sell me a new x arm.  They are held in place with a pin and are easily removable.  They could have even charged me a couple of bucks.  Alas, that was not to be.  I have since then replaced two of the arms with copper pipe / compression fittings.  It’s better than the crap ware they sent me.   

    1. I found this there…

      It seems they have a long history of “delays” after they get paid, and really horrible customer service in paul.

      While it is sad that this controller addon was made because of a child who had a birth defect, now is the moment for the people in charge to shine and do the right thing.  I think step one should be to get all of the emails and reach out to each and every person this moron had contact with. 
      Having seen 2 horrible exchanges now I doubt it is a fluke but how he does business.  He promotes himself as the angryX (where X is random word to be cool), I think he just needs a hug… from someone with a taser.

  16. You know, I’m starting to get worried for the guy’s wife and kid – someone needs to get some counseling up in there for this guy before he, well, commits suicide. I mean, staring down the internet hate machine, even if the /b/hive doesn’t seem to have awoken yet; that can pretty much destroy any human being.

    1. but honestly, how much more damage could /b/ do to him?
      The self inflicted wounds are pretty much terminal already, some black faxes and pizza deliveries are nothing compared to this genius ending his PR career in a blaze of asshattery.

  17. I’m pretty sure it was the customer that called the PR guy a bitch (and made a racist remark about his bike).

    1. Because its not like they took his money and hadn’t delivered anything they promised, and didn’t respect him as a customer enough to let him know there were issues.  Its not like they refused to spell his name correctly, or were being asshats.

      So yeah calling him a bitch TOTALLY makes what the PR guy did correct, and the racist remark about the bike, sadly is commentary about our society in general.  While it might be insulting, these are the terms used to describe things, and there was something poetic about the PR guy complaining about the traffic outside his home while owning/operating a vehicle that makes much more noise than it needs to.

      Now go back and read the OTHER emails before that one, and explain how you would have calmly and rationally emailed this sad excuse for a PR Exec when you reached your boiling point.

      1/10 – Blame the Op, you should try the home game for more practice.

      1. I was just pointing out an error. You seem to be reading a bit too much into it.

        Being a racist misogynist isn’t ok just because you haven’t got your XBox controller on time.

        1. Reading is fundamental.
          This is a phrase made popular in the culture, and while it is offensive to some people – this is a term that is frequently used, even by some Asian people, who ride those kinds of bikes.

          Could he have chosen a different word?  Most likely, but then rappers could opt to stop using the N word in their lyrics.

          Not saying it was Daves shining hour, but given how frustrated he was I’m not going to demand he make his rant completely PC, using free range cruelty free words.

          As to the charge of misogynist I am guessing they both have penises and as such no women were harmed in this email exchange.

          If you want to give out guff on this make sure you have never in anger said you wanted to kill someone, because that means your a murder supporter.

          1. How is that vehicle’s race insulted? 
            The drivers race? 

            A rice burner (rice machine, rice rocket, rice grinder) is a derogatory term for a cosmetically souped-up vehicle built in Japan. 

            While the term, making a connection between the vehicle’s country of manufacture and that country’s staple food, is lame, it is in no way racist. 
            Race is not being mentioned. 

            The Japanese are not a race, but a nation. 

          2. While the term, making a connection between the vehicle’s country of manufacture and that country’s staple food, is lame, it is in no way racist.

            Dude, really? One word: watermelon.

          3. This is supposed to be a reply to Antinous but for whatever reason the reply button is missing from any comments at this level in the thread (just a fluke or more disqus BS?)

            I like watermelon! And Palestine is still Fried Chicken (because it sure as hell isn’t a nation-state).

            The racism is all in the context. As for ‘rice burners’ I would have to say that in this context it is not racist. Now when some harley rider sneers at you and says ‘nice rice burner’ it could be construed as racist but you would still have to construe that. It’s not as if anybody said it like ‘fuckin, *****, ***, *****-***, rice burner’ where the asterisks represent actual racist terms.

            More to the point, where you say ‘watermelon’ should be conflated as a racist remark (against black people?) I would have to say ‘cheese and wine’ should be conflated as a homophobic remark. Do you see how silly it is to call out words that actually are things that exist in their own right, are not inherently racist and are only contextually connected to X-ism.

            In contrast saying that all black people like watermelon IS racist because it is used in a stereotypical or prejudicial context not because watermelon is involved.

  18. I am sorely tempted to add a few new entries to and encyclopedia dramatica for this guy.

    1. Roid rage? If the shirtless picture of him that comes up via GIS is any indicator, the ‘roid’ is short for ‘hemorrhoid’.

  19. certainly a round-about way to try to get harlan ellison to buy a gamepad. :-) i don’t think it’ll work.

  20. Gabe just posted an update to the PA site. OM guy begging for forgiveness. Mike’s reply is…  there is no other term for it but Classic Mike.

    Choice quote:

    I think there is a big difference between being sorry and being sorry you got caught. I have a real problem with bullies. I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of everyplace I landed. I feel like Paul is a bully and maybe that’s why I have no sympathy here. Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case.  It’s the same thing that happened with Jack Thompson. It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a shit about that. 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.


    1. I thought the guy was married and had a child. According to this he has never been married and doesn’t have children. Wierd… If he’s married he’s a douche at home as well…

      1. Well the site claimed he hadn’t logged in in over a month.
        Many dating websites stop counting at a certain point, to appear to have more users and fewer abandoned accounts.
        I am more concerned about the sort of women who sees the username TheAngryPimp and says cut me off a slice of that douche daddy!

  21. his threat re the CCs, um that’s rather criminal isn’t it?  man, this guy needs to lay off the substances…

    1. Turns out that was the troll doppelganger… not him…
      it is hard to tell as they pretty much spell the same

  22. Ugh. Don’t think that PA has the high ground here either, though; Mike has basically admitted that he’s just being a bigger bully.

    1. Eh.  By simply showing his readership the email chain, practically without editorial comment?

      Christofaro swung his dick at a good-faith customer’s expense.  Mike just gave it a larger audience, and then only after Christofaro swung his dick at him.

      Christofaro is hoist entirely by his own petard.  Do you really think PA should’ve just clammed up and not done a thing when this guy is using their good name to show just how connected and powerful he is?

      They didn’t ruin Christofaro’s good name.  He did that all by himself.  The megaphone they handed him may have skewed the perspective somewhat, but then bullies don’t expect to play on a level field anyway, do they?

  23. I looked at their website and I’m really puzzled by this device. I guess it makes the buttons react more quickly?

    There isn’t a description of what it is and what it does and why you want it, other than “it will make you better at xbox”.

    I’m quite familiar with game controllers. I’m not a hardcore gamer and I’m sure I’m not their target market, but I can’t imagine most people in their target market understanding what it is either. I’m guessing that reviews from other sites explain it better, but that’s pretty lame. They basically had the professional writers and reviewers from other sites do their marketing for them (and no surprise considering how inept at least some of the people working for the company are).

    1. I think it started as a project for a father or someone who cared about a disabled child not having the same experiences because they were unable to work the controller like everyone else.
      Other people discovered it shaved microseconds off of them clicking buttons and the newest bestest addon in the world was marketed.

      The big thing to remember is the guy who made the device, the company that sells it, and this PR douche are not all the same people.  The company took action to remove the PR guy, some might think a little to slowly but only reading every email he ever wrote to their customers will clean up that stain.
      So this is a story about what happens when someone with a “good idea” gets placed in charge with no checks and balances.  The company will have alot of work ahead of them fixing their name, it seems they have been unable to meet any delivery dates and were not providing timely updates.  There is also a question if they violated the CC rules by charging for items well in advance of delivery, and this might have violated some state laws.

      So hate the PR douche for being a douche, but give the manufacturer time to try and recover.

  24. This guy was like “I’m really big, bigger than you, and I know all these other big guys”, then when it went south he was like “Sorry big guys, I didn’t realize how big you were, I really respect you for being big”. Someone on Kotaku called him a “Jersey Shore reject” which was pretty much what I was already thinking. The real problem is the status anxiety which he probably picked up in high school. It all comes down to fear.

  25. The thing I can’t figure out is how on Earth do you get into marketing on the Internet to video gamers without ever hearing at some point about Penny Arcade?

    1. He had heard of it, unlike reddit it seems.  He just thought it was one of Dave’s friends pretending to be a big man to impress him, much like how PR douche operated in several examples.  Only once he figured out Gabe isn’t actually named Gabe, a little light went on… sadly that light said keep attacking they will back down.
      And for all of his “skills” he thought that PA could actually put a stop to all of this… welcome to the internet, rule 1… if its out there, its out there FOREVER.
      (This is not to be confused with the other rules of the internet and my personal favorite rule 34.)

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