Friday, December 30, 2011

Whoa, Glad That Wasn't Me...

When it comes right down to it, getting some Internet fame for a snow blower ad isn't all that bad.

For one thing, I wasn't in the picture that is associated with the viral phenomenon, and I assure you I was wearing underwear when I took it.  Also, all of the publicity that I got from it was generally very positive and has lead to some really great opportunities (I'm lookin' at you Mr. Fowler).  It's not like I, oh, insulted someone in writing, then lied about having a close personal relationship with several of the Lords of the Internet, then insulted one of those LOTI, directly, in writing.  Multiple times.

Such is the plight of Paul Christoforo.  

If you haven't yet heard or read the story of Mr. Christoforo and his one man campaign on customer service, I recommend reading the Internet.  Or you could start with Penny Arcade, where it all began.  Then a Google search will direct you to the hundreds of articles that have been written on it.

For my loyal fans that want to hear my take on this story/people that are too lazy to click on links or do Google searches, here's the basic premise of the story.

Dave orders two new controller add-ons for console back in November, with an arrival date of early December.  He writes the company in December to confirm that they are going to arrive before Christmas, as one of them is a present.  He's given a date of December 17th by Christoforo (literally, that's all he's given. "Dec 17" is the entirety of the email).  

It's not long after this that Christoforo starts down the path of crazy that ends up with him becoming a meme on the Internet.  And not in a cute, slightly irritating in a fascinating way like Piano Cat.  More like Gary Busey crazy.  

Dave, rightfully or not, responds with a very long email in which he points out the flaws in  Christoforo's customer service technique, and complain about the way that his order has been mucked about.  He also copies this email to Penny Arcade, Kotaku, and a few other news sites.

Christoforo, not rightfully, makes some pretty startling claims (all quotes are taken from Penny Arcade, all spelling and grammatical errors are pure Christoforo):
LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at CES .
You can probably guess where this is going, but in case you can't Paul continues to rant and rave, use very unprofessional language and attempts to browbeat and bully Dave into submission.  He caps it off with:
We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.
At this point, Mike from Penny Arcade steps in.
Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.
And what follows is pure, unadulterated revenge fantasy.  Christoforo tries the same policy of bullying and browbeating on Mike, without having any idea who he is or the foresight to use Google. Which is a bit odd, since Paul has marketed himself as a Social Media Marketing Company.  For those of you that aren't in the know, Mike Krahulik is the creator of Penny Arcade, a webcomic that has transcended webcomic-dom and become a force to be reckoned with. Also, the PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo.

To put this into perspective, this would be like if a high school bully decided to pick on the new kid even after the new kid explained that he was Bruce Lee, and perhaps he should choose his words better.  The bully says no and continues to push, so Bruce Lee proceeds to show him the error of his ways.

In this case, he was shown the error of his ways by the Internet.

Christoforo is a bit of an Internet celebrity now, only not in a good way.  All the people and companies that he says he was affiliated with have all publicly denounced him and/or have never heard of him, and he's been forced to admit that he doesn't have the connections he claimed (though apparently he does know the doorman at the convention center in Boston). His company, Ocean Marketing Inc, has now become synonymous with being out of your depth.

Christoforo has apologized profusely to all involved.  But not really.  He's said he's sorry because of who Mike Krahulik is, which basically comes down to he's sorry that he got caught.  The only lesson that he's learned is that if you're going to pick on someone, you should take their advice and Google them first.

Why am I giving this story any more publicity than it has already received?  Because this is a very good example of why I try to only write things that are positive.  Nothing dies on the Internet, and some of it comes back to haunt you.  Thank you, Internet People, for choosing to like something I created and not destroying me.

On the other hand, I found this article in the Montreal Gazette from December 24, written by Doug Camilli.  It is one of the Year in Review articles that we'll be hammered with all week, but it's different because it includes a reference to me and none of the others do.  Yet.  (All emphasis is by Mr. Camilli.)
Enough already: In the pub quizzes of 2021, this year will be famous for this dreadful crew: the Kardashians; Wendy Deng; Isaiah Mustafa; “Tiger moms”; “Tiger blood”; Michael Ignatieff; John Galliano; Ruby Rubacuori; Michele Bachmann; Justin Bieber; “Like a boss”; revolutions via Facebook; Aimi Eguchi; Conrad Murray; Muammar Ghadaff. Quadda. Gadd … Qadh … that Libyan creep; Rebecca Black; Tom Mulcair; the Rapture; the Raptors; “Wait. What?”; Jersey Shore; Dominique Strauss-Kahn; Tim Tebow; “Honey badger don’t care!”; Casey Anthony; Herman Cain; Ashton Kutcher; “first world problems”; Ruth Ellen Brosseau, MP; owling; planking; Anthony Weiner; the movie Bridesmaids as “The Hangover for women”; Scott Jones and Alex Thomas; Julian Assange; “bro”; Mildred Baena; pepper-spray cop; Glencore; Can’t Hug Every Cat; Brigitte DePape; and that snowblower ad (“an 11 HP Briggs and Stratton machine of snow doom that will cut a 29-inch path of pure ecstasy … ”).
Meanwhile poor Conrad Black is back in jail, while Barry Manilow walks free.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/2011+celebrities+year+childish+even+little+royal/5905630/story.html#ixzz1hsvMcqPr

Not being one to let such an opportunity go by, and perhaps spurred on by the tale of Christoforo, I sent him an email:

Well, I guess I'm glad I made the list somewhere...  But dreadful?  Really?

As the one person on the list that will probably take the time to write (although from what I hear about those Kardashians, I wouldn't be surprised if you don't get at least a tweet if not an episode), please allow me to personally apologize to you for any and all offense that you have taken from my not-so-humble advertisement for my snow blower.

Please understand that I in no way intended for it to be used in any way other than to A) get a laugh, and B) sell my snow blower.  If you neither laughed nor purchased my snow blower, I can only say that I failed in both regards.  To be included on a list with Michele Bachmann and Pepper Spray Cop, I can only assume that somebody close to you printed my ad out (entirely without my consent or endorsement, and wasting good paper in the process) and proceded to give you a paper cut facial.

Honestly, you deserve better.  I'm sure you probably had the same thing happened to you when everyone was getting Far Side Calendars.  You can only see a cartoon of a child pushing on a door that says "Pull" below a sign that says "School for the Gifted" before you snap.

Sorry, I had to stop there.  I was just remembering that School for the Gifted cartoon and then I had to go look it up again.  Man, Gary Larsen.  Now THAT guy was a genius.  But I digress.

In conclusion, I shall make it one of my 2012 resolutions that anything I do that should, or should not, go viral will do better on your list next year.  And hey, at least I'm not that guy from Ocean Marketing.  Ouch.

Happy Holidays!
Perhaps I have been underestimating the power of my words...  I've also discovered that Doug Camilli is a pseudonym for a writer that would prefer to be anonymous.  At least I have the guts to stand behind my snow blower!  (Because standing in front of it would be dangerous, that's why).

Happy New Year, Blognostifans.  I'll talk to you in 2012.

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