That guy makes me picture Denzel Washington's character from Training Day.
That guy makes me picture Denzel Washington's character from Training Day.
Both Gabe and the Bloggess pointed their gun and pulled the trigger. Hell, the Bloggess was even more direct than Gabe when she said she wanted her fans to give the guy some shit. The difference is that the Bloggess (and I am an occasional reader) has a fanbase slightly different than Gabe's. To continue my colorful allusion, the Bloggess has a gun filled with confetti and Etsy merchandise while Gabe's gun is filled with rabid dogs bred on DGH and PCP. Gabe never directed his minions to tear the guy's life apart, but rabid dogs don't roll over.
The only thing Gabe's done that's made me roll my eyes was his ridiculous tweet about burning down his house or whatever. "AND WHEN PAUL CHRISTOPHORO HAS HAD ENOUGH OF DOG RAPE HE WILL LOOK UP AND SHOUT MIKE YOU HAVE THE POWER AND I WILL WHISPER NO!"
Hell it doesn't even sound like Jose "What a Fucking Bitch" lost his job, just got reprimanded. Plus I doubt she has the following of Penny Arcade. What she didn't wasn't all that different and given that the "PR Firm" was actually "Paul and nobody else" anything that referenced them would lead directly to Paul and his name and the rest of it.
What Mike did wasn't much different than what she did, he just has a bigger following and Paul is a one man company, whereas Jose actually was part of a bigger organization. And Jose wasn't as much of a prick or as clueless about his industry.
"i have that dvd"
Offering the discount to people that hadn't pre-ordered was also a terrible idea, especially considering that the pre-orders were already running late. A competent PR firm would have advised them not to do that.
Based just on Dave's e-mail chain and the other that has been linked to, it also looks like Ocean/N-Control had a (very) bad habit of billing people before shipping. In the case of the other linked thread, months before shipping.
The only reason I don't feel that bad for N-Control in this situation is that a year after the other linked person's experience was made public, they still had Ocean handling PR and distribution. Even as Brandon (earlier referenced as Josh, oops) Liebman (Leiderman? Whatever) was saying that his PR company would no longer be doing business with N-Control due to Paul Christophoro's attitude, N-Control still stuck with him.
*checks review scores*
"Oh. Well, maybe someone will make a better version of it!"
Not to mention this is how Popehat refers to the controller:
Yes that will have it flying off the shelves! As will being banned from every major tech expo on Earth.a ludicrous-looking X-Box 360 controller
Last edited by Bill Dungsroman; 12-28-2011 at 09:11 AM.
Marketing and customer service are industries which require patience and the ability to not take things personally. You need to be both firm and yet charismatic enough that you can defuse ugly situations while finding solutions that benefit both your customers and your client/company. It's extremely difficult to find people with this talent. Unfortunately Maketing and Customer Service tend to attract just the opposite, as this Paul Christoforo idiot exemplifies all too well.
This comment from his Twitter page borders on criminally liable :
Dear Paul, you are not Charlie Sheen. You've already ruined whatever reputation you might have been able to salvage in the Marketing industry, and now you've set yourself up to be criminally responsible should even a single customers credit card information be misused in some way. Way to go champ.Originally Posted by Paul Christoforo via Twitter
I suspect the small company behind the Avenger controller will suffer for their association with Mr. Christoforo, and that is a shame. Chances are he was all smiles and charm when pitching his one-man Marketing firm for the job of representing N-Control, and they had no way of knowing how completely unprepared and unsuitable he was for the job. The controller looks like something that could bring a lot of benefits to disabled gamers (in addition to be a great custom controller for hard core FPS enthusiasts) and they shouldn't have to suffer because they were misled into hiring Mr. Christoforo's "firm" to represent them.
Last edited by Slainte Mhath; 12-28-2011 at 09:41 AM.
I think that was from the parody twitter account.
Capitalism is cut hroat doge at dog.
Words to live by. I'd hate to have my hroat cut by a dodging dog.
What's weird is that the thing was apparently created to help disabled kids play games, but all their webpage talks about is how it makes you way radder at Call of Duty.
I would have to assume that the decision to market it that way was made by the decent marketing firm N-Control had on retainer prior to engaging Mr. Christoforo.
Personally I don't think PA took this too far at all. This guy was a complete prick to a customer who had already paid money for a product he wasn't receiving. In addition, he'd already been publically called out for being a dick on a previous occasion. Maybe N-Control should share some blame, as apparently they knew they had a one-man marketing firm handling all customer inquiries, which is a pretty dumb move no matter how you look at it. The end result was a marketing and PR fiasco, which then went viral when it was inevitably brought to the attention of the internet.
PA isn't destroying this guys life. Angry PA readers are certainly making social media life difficult for the guy right now, and chances are that the fallout from this will completely destroy any career in PR and Marketing this guy might have had (assuming clients know how to use Google), but hey, he brought that on himself, good riddance to someone who gives the entire industry a very public bad name. It's not like he can't change his cell number, wait about a month for all this to be forgotten, then re-register on social media and post pics of his new job selling supplements at GNC. Maybe in the end Mr. Christoforo will learn a lesson from all of this, but it's highly doubtful.
Last edited by Slainte Mhath; 12-28-2011 at 10:10 AM.
By the way, the representative of N-Control Eli Schwartz, who is supposed to be the guy who hired Ocean Marketing (rather, Paul, despite his claims to have over 100 employees), who says he fired Paul and is righting this ship, might also be Paul from OceanMarketing:
From updates to an Examiner article about this fiasco:
Delving into the credibility of Eli Schwartz came back a bit suspiciously as his Twitter account has only been in service since May 16th of this year and seems to only have been created solely as a shell account to push The Avenger product.
Furthermore, Schwartz lists his profession as DJ
Worse, the creator of the thing, Kotkin, apparently has no problem playing the ol' Amazon review rigging bit:
I discovered that on Amazon David Kotkin was on a bit of uneven footing not that long ago on 11.24.11, prior to yesterday's events with Paul Christoforo and Ocean Marketing. Scrolling down beyond the 1-star review reveals comments from David Kotkin's Gaming Pro Amazon user profile to other users. Notably, according to user C. K. Ahlstrom, "There's a review on your account saying that you bought one of these things (and loved it). Now your posting with an email account from avengercontroller.com and offering support for it? You also posted the same negative review for three of your competitors products.
The final dot connecting (beyond Schwartz' FB and G+ page, which I am not linking to but the Examiner article does and is rife with typos similar to the ones Paul makes) is an Amazon review of the controller from Schwartz:
You ask me, Paul is still alive and well and a part of N-Control under his sockpuppet, Eli Schwartz, or at worst not actually fired. If you read Eli's FB page he isn't even bothering to hide that he is sorry Paul did what he did. Also none of his friends are over the age of 30 and most are high schoolers. This means that nothing has changed in regards to who is employed at or by N-Control. They don't give a shit about anything they've done, in fact Paul (and Eli, if they are different people) is proud of it, in true last refuge of an internet scoundrel fashion.Best accessory you can buy for your Xbox or PS3, other than the controller itself. COD PLAYS AMAZING WITH THIS! This thing took my KDR from 0.76 to 2.95 in 2 weeks. If your an average kid who would rather be on top than the middle, problem solved. If your a pro, Mt. Dew guzzling, clan leader, well, i'm sure your good, this'll make you better. This isn't cheating, this just optimises the controller for your hand. You almost never take you thumbs off the sticks, and you reload faster than you can blink. How does that sound? Sounds like nothing... cuz everyones re-spawning. xD
Everyone should totally throw money at this product. The fact that it was originally created for people/kids with disabilities sickens me.
Last edited by Bill Dungsroman; 12-28-2011 at 10:49 AM.
Wow. If he really is still contracted/employed by N-Control than they are idiots.
This type strikes me as a common element of society. Basically, a grifter. I wouldn't be surprised if he was one of those types of people who has a string of "entrepreneurial" enterprises where shoddy product are typically delivered (if at all), and whenever too many questions were asked, the response is a patter of abuse/disclaimers. When people look closer, they realize it was a bit of a sham/shell, but by that point, the guy is gone and off to the next get rich scheme.
There are so many people in the world like that; full of self-confidence and braggadocio, shooting from the hip because they're comfortable they'll always be able to talk/squirm out of whatever the hell they say or promise.
Last edited by SlyFrog; 12-28-2011 at 11:28 AM.
Given time to reflect on the situation, this is the best he could do:
"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."Gabe went a little crazy with this but he was right on this aspect: "I think there is a big difference between being sorry and being sorry you got caught.""I don't know the mayor of Boston," he admitted. "That was taken totally out of context, I was just joking around. I am from Boston, though, and 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.
"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. I've dealt with thousands and thousands of customers with similar complaints, they were all asking the same question. 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."
"You never know who knows who, and lesson learned."
It's amazing that he's so broken that he can't even forge a halfway convincing apology. Not even through e-mail. He obviously still doesn't understand what he did wrong, which is sort of a requirement.
I'm not saying that Penny Arcade has done the right thing in all cases, only that I agree with the attitude of doing what you believe is right, regardless of the consequences. Regarding the whole "dickwolves" fiasco, I think the whole thing was blown way out of proportion, but that is another discussion altogether.
That Amazon review was also on Gamestop's page for the Avenger controller, where you could put in an order, billed as being produced by Visco Entertainment.Best accessory you can buy for your Xbox or PS3, other than the controller itself. COD PLAYS AMAZING WITH THIS! This thing took my KDR from 0.76 to 2.95 in 2 weeks. If your an average kid who would rather be on top than the middle, problem solved. If your a pro, Mt. Dew guzzling, clan leader, well, i'm sure your good, this'll make you better. This isn't cheating, this just optimises the controller for your hand. You almost never take you thumbs off the sticks, and you reload faster than you can blink. How does that sound? Sounds like nothing... cuz everyones re-spawning. xD
That page has since been eliminated. Gamestop features no mentions of the Avenger at all, now. Good work, Paul, you got the product removed from the biggest brick and mortar game store around.
Cached version, while it lasts.
Twitter account, another Eli, and some sockpuppeting on the CoD Official Forums.
Apparently, Eli is 15.
Last edited by ZekeDMS; 12-28-2011 at 03:01 PM. Reason: More informations!
Pasted from the SA thread about DeepStarSixMarketing:
I just got off the phone with Paul, and he had some vaguely interesting stuff to tell me about his relationship with David.
Firstly, they met in January this year, at CES, and they have worked on various things (such as Afternoon Artists, which they incorporated around August 2011), so the story that Paul was hired by David without him having any idea of his competence seems pretty unlikely.
He also said:
* The kid with the disability was the inspiration for the controller, according to David
* His friendship with David is "on the rocks right now but we are friends"
* He wasn't hired by David to deal with the marketing for the controller as much as he was "helping him in a limited capacity taking those customer service calls."
* He has no idea about the Amazon reviews - what they were or who wrote them. "I don't know what he does day-to-day - I'm in California and he's in Miami."
He really has no idea how badly he fucked up here, either. He's got interviews for Spike TV and Forbes lined up, and he's going to tell them the same stuff he told MSNBC, and that he told me - he had a bad day, and he figured that Penny Arcade/PAX wasn't really a big deal, so he felt justified in telling this guy to go fuck himself.
Right now he says he is in damage control mode - I made sure he'd got his girlfriend to set her facebook account to private for the time being - but he really doesn't understand why anybody thinks he's an idiot, and as long as that remains the case he's going to continue hurting himself. In a similar vein he was obviously upset that his criminal record had been posted but seemingly more concerned with it being posted than having people know what he had done: "people are vicious, they'll use anything to make you look evil."
I asked him how he felt about David and the other guys distancing themselves from him, and making him seem like he was just a bad hire. He said that he doesn't exactly feel like he's been hung out to dry, and that he is hopeful that the press release that is going to be put out ("they're going to put out a press release soon; I just got off the phone with them") will put him in a more positive light.
I would imagine that, given how David Kotkin has played it so far, he is completely hanging Paul out to dry, but I guess we'll see, if that press release ever surfaces.
So we can now say there IS an Eli Schwartz, and he's totally 15.
And now, a press release.
AVENGER CONTROLLER DISMISSES MARKETING CONSULTANT,
TAKES BACK MARKETING AND SALES OPERATIONS
Miami, FL--- Wednesday, December 28, 2011--- N-Control, makers of the Avenger Controller accessory, have categorically dismissed third party contractor Paul Christoforo and his marketing operation, known alternately as Ocean Distribution or Ocean Marketing. This separation from Mr. Christoforo extends to all business interests of N-Control, its founders, and its officers. Mr. Christoforo does not and never did own, in whole or in part, a stake in N-Control LLC nor its affiliated companies (Kotkin Enterprises, iControl LLC).
Following the publication of an email chain between Mr. Christoforo and one of N-Control’s customers, punctuated by Mr. Christoforo’s acknowledgement of his conduct, N-Control immediately proceeded to extricate Mr. Christoforo’s access to their email and social media accounts, a process that is still ongoing. In the interim, a Gmail address and Twitter account ([email protected] and @AvengerDefender, respectively) have been set up for press inquiries and customer service needs.
David Kotkin, the inventor and founder of the Avenger Controller, created the product to help one of his students who had a physical disability. The student wanted to play games the way that everyone else could. The Avenger evolved from a homemade solution for a deserving child into an even more sophisticated controller accessory, capable of enhancing even the most skilled gamer’s performance.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of the gaming community in a fun, positive way.” said David Kotkin, Avenger founder. “I created the Avenger to make people happy. I deeply regret that so many people have any negative feelings toward it as a result of what has happened, especially since I’ve seen first-hand what an impact it can have on gameplay.”
Kotkin continued, “What I’m most concerned about is doing right by our customers. We have dropped the ball by giving them delivery estimates that did not come through as expected. We didn’t expect that the demand would be so great, and we should have done a better job communicating that. Our new team is taking all necessary action to correct that going forward. I hope that people will give us a chance to earn back the faith they may have lost.”
All existing orders will be honored, and PS3 Avenger pre-order customers will all be extended the same $10 discount that some have already received. To clarify, customers who have already received $10 off their pre-order are not eligible for an additional discount. N-Control agrees with “Customer Dave” that all of our PS3 early adopters deserve to be rewarded for their trust in the Avenger.
N-Control would like to publicly apologize to existing and potential customers, as well as the gaming community at large, for allowing Mr. Christoforo to abuse his power so unforgivably. The Avenger was invented to provide greater accessibility to disabled gamers, and bullying tactics are the last thing that should be associated with this product.
In the effort to dispel various misconceptions that have been forwarded via news reports and social media, N-Control is offering the following clarifications on a variety of subjects:
N-Control has hired an independent consultant, Austin, Texas-based Moisés Chiullan (@moiseschiu), to field press inquiries and oversee sales and marketing operations going forward. They ask that customers and the press alike bear with them as they field the tens of thousands of emails and other messages that N-Control has received. It is his intent that N-Control should respond personally to everyone who has emailed [email protected] address regarding this situation.
“We have to move forward and take care of Avenger’s customers,” Chiullan said. “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.” He continued, “I just hope that people will have the common decency to leave his wife and child out of all this. They didn’t send those emails, Paul did.”
All PS3 Avenger pre-orders are currently slated to ship by January 15th at the latest. Some orders will ship in advance of January 15th. In consideration of the events of the past two days, N-Control ask their customers to bear with them as they sort out updating individual order estimates. General updates regarding shipping will be regularly delivered to customers starting next week.
At no time during his tenure with N-Control did Mr. Christoforo have direct access to customer credit card information. N-Control does not retain any customer credit card data for online orders, which are all processed via Google Checkout or Paypal.
Ocean Marketing aka Paul Christoforo owns no stake in the Avenger Controller nor N-Control, and does not stand to profit from further sales of the device either through N-Control or authorized resellers.
Contrary to how Mr. Christoforo may have presented events (in public or private), N-Control never directly endorsed nor had knowledge of his communication with customers in the manner found in his correspondence with “Customer Dave”, who still wants his Avengers, despite everything that has transpired.
Steps have been taken to ensure that all future customer communication is transparently visible to management at N-Control. N-Control regrets sincerely that the trust they placed in Mr. Christoforo was so abused and betrayed and, as a result, may have tainted their reputation with existing and potential customers and partners.
Regarding “Afternoon Artists”, a company registered with the Florida Division of Corporations that lists Paul Christoforo as Treasurer, N-Control has the following statement: “This secondary business has never so much as opened a bank account, much less operated in any form outside of paperwork being filed. It was originally intended that Mr. Christoforo would serve as an investor in this company, which, again, has never operated in any capacity, nor will it in the future.”
N-Control employs Eli Schwartz as a part-time Social Media Consultant. He is an enthusiastic high school student who became one of the Avenger’s earliest super fans, meeting the founder at a trade show. Mr. Kotkin is proud to encourage the development of a bright, enthusiastic young person like Eli.
Eli Schwartz is not, however, in charge of Marketing or PR for N-Control. Previous news reports have credited him as Marketing Manager, a title Mr. Schwartz gave himself without the consent or advance knowledge or N-Control management. This occurred during the period of greatest upheaval following Mr. Christoforo’s dismissal, and N-Control regrets that this mixed messaging reached the public. All press inquiries and media requests should instead be directed to Moisés Chiullan at the [email protected] address.
Contrary to rumors and speculation, Eli Schwartz’s Twitter account is his own and not controlled by Paul Christoforo. Mr. Schwartz is a minor, and consequently, N-Control would appreciate the press and the public’s discretion in their dealings with him.
For the foreseeable future, N-Control’s official Twitter account will be “@AvengerControl”, as N-Control does not have access to “@NControlAvenger”. N-Control is not responsible for the content of any Twitter feeds associated with Paul Christoforo.
For the foreseeable future, N-Control requests that customers discontinue use of the toll-free phone number displayed on the AvengerController.com website, as well as any other means of contact found there. Instead, customers should direct communication to [email protected]. They ask for patience due to the events of the last two days. Keep an eye on @AvengerControl on Twitter for updates.
For more details regarding N-Control and Avenger Controller, contact press agent Moisés Chiullan, at [email protected].
For more information, follow Avenger Controllers on Twitter: @AvengerControl
Haha, January 15th. These things were supposed to show up at the beginning of December.
Those things were supposed to show up in APRIL, the first time around.
Hopefully Eli takes a lesson from all this, and when school starts back up he just cops to it. No hiding it, no bullshit, just "Yeah, I posted that stuff. I dig the controller and they were paying me to advertise." It'll pass much faster and much easier with that kind of up front admission and a laugh about the way it all went down. Everyone does things they'd rather hide, but once it's out it's better to just NOT make it a big deal by trying to cover it up, lest it go all Nancy Grace nipslip on you.
Doing that from the beginning, of course, would have prevented every bit of this fiasco.All existing orders will be honored, and PS3 Avenger pre-order customers will all be extended the same $10 discount that some have already received. To clarify, customers who have already received $10 off their pre-order are not eligible for an additional discount. N-Control agrees with “Customer Dave” that all of our PS3 early adopters deserve to be rewarded for their trust in the Avenger.
Last edited by ZekeDMS; 12-28-2011 at 06:23 PM.
That's a pretty good press release under the circumstances. I particularly like the way they reassure everyone that Paul Christoforo does not have access to credit card numbers - a nice way to say without saying that they find him to be an unreliable freak.
Meanwhile, Christoforo continues to make things worse every time he opens his mouth. No doubt he will continue to do so. His regret is the regret of a career purse snatcher who knocks down the local mafioso's elderly mother -- he's not sorry he snatches purses, he's just sorry he got caught doing it to the wrong person.