In the slow news week between Christmas and New Year’s this year, the internet was captivated by the tale of the “rogue” PR agent that pissed off a customer, Penny Arcade, the internet at large- and became a meme, because everyone loves a big flaming web drama.
Paul Christoforo became internet-ionally famous with his string of obnoxious “customer service” emails regarding a gaming device called The Avenger, and it seemed yesterday that the now-famous PR dude couldn’t dig his grave any deeper. He even seemed chastened in an interview with Kotaku, telling the blog the incident “humbled” him a “little bit,” and expressing what seemed like remorse for his actions.
Or not- the new rep for N-Control, the company distributing The Avenger- says Christoforo attempted to extort the company, even claiming a PR coup after the embarrassing debacle that gained massive web infamy. Moisés Chiullan, the guy hired to clean up the mess, went over to Reddit to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) and dish the dirt on fixing Christoforo’s toxic work- and he had a hilariously awful update for curious Redditors. In one lengthy yet compelling reply, Chiullan says:
I’ve been trying to get him to give up the access to these things he’s been holding hostage (email accounts, Twitter, etc) by asking nicely for a couple of days. The gloves are off now.
Paul told me on the phone two hours ago that “Eight months ago, I locked down all this stuff so they wouldn’t be able to fuck with me. If they don’t give me what I want, it’s war.” His demands include a contract written on his terms and substantial compensation, both immediate and for as long as the company continues to exist. He flaunted the PR debacle he created as proof that he “made the company a success”, citing all the media and public attention as the “best thing that ever happened to Avenger”.
He didn’t count on the fact that I anticipated all of this and have been a computer hardware and web tech since I was 14.
The thing we did have is control over the AvengerController.com domain. It was transferred away from its original account, which Paul has complete control of. Because of how GoDaddy works, that old account retained all of the email addresses and their master control settings (forwarding and so on). He has continued to respond to customer emails from his personal GMail account and lied to me repeatedly about doing so.
I tried to play nice, and Paul played stupid, acting like he didn’t have access to this master account, blaming his “Indian outsourced tech team” being on vacation. I gave him two days to give over N-Control’s digital property.
He finally leveled with me tonight that he knew I wasn’t that stupid and that he was lying about his access to all these accounts. That’s when he issued the above-mentioned threat. He reiterated that he had the hosting, email, and everything on lockdown.
Unfortunately, since he doesn’t control the domain, he couldn’t be more wrong. “James”, a GoDaddy support rep and avid redditor, who knew exactly who I was, confirmed that I could do exactly what I wanted to…
Around a hour ago, I parked the domain and killed all the CNAME settings. All that email and the website may be sitting on servers he has access to, but he can’t log in to any of the mail or do anything to the website.
I’m getting on the phone with the hosting company to try to get help from them, now that we’re past the point of diplomacy.
Want to read the rest? Hop on over to Reddit (Chiullan’s out of context replies can be found here), where Chiullan has spent an extensive amount of time communicating with the community over the Christoforo debacle.