It's been a tough week for Paul Christoforo. The president of Ocean Marketing, which had represented gaming accessory maker N-Control, was booted as the company's customer service rep after an abusive e-mail exchange with a customer went viral once it was posted on Penny Arcade, a popular webcomic. In an exclusive interview with the IBTimes, Christoforo shares his side of the story.

I'm really trying to save face and I feel really bad about what happened, Christoforo said. I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had a bad day or had a bad experience with a customer.

Christoforo's bad day went like this: On Dec. 16, a customer known only as Dave began a series of e-mail exchanges with Christoforo, whose customer service operation served N-Control. Dave had pre-ordered a pair of Playstation 3 Avenger controllers, which are geared toward hardcore players and disabled gamers alike, but discovered that he would not get his Avengers in time for Christmas. He e-mailed Ocean Marketing and began an exchange with Christoforo, the company's PR rep. In his e-mails with Christoforo, Dave asked when his new controllers would come and why new Avenger Controller orders received $10 off, but he would get no such discount for pre-ordering the item.  Here is part of Paul's original response -- the spelling and grammar have not been altered:

You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don't complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else, Christoforo said. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I'll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

Even though the Ocean Marketing president blames his bad day, Christoforo, who originally attended Newbury College in Boston to study the culinary arts, doesn't believe customer service was his place to begin with.

I never did any PR for N-Control. It wasn't my job title; the customer service was a temporary position, Christoforo said. They didn't have a call center there, only maybe two or three people. They asked me if I could do them a favor.

After Christoforo sent out his curt reply, Dave fired back with a discourteous e-mail of his own, interminably listing Christoforo's shortcomings as a customer service rep.

I want my two n-controllers. I 1) PAID FOR THEM   2) WAITED   3) DEALT WITH YOUR UNHELPFUL ASS, Dave said. You show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who's quite established, AND an lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers. We're a demanding, vocal customer but the flip side is we're loyal and eager to spend. It's lucky for you that I really want this product because it seems really deliver on making the gaming experience more effective and enjoyable.

He signed his e-mail, DAVE with a V, and wrote, p.p.s. Welcome to the internet, b-tch.

Christoforo responded:

Really ... Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys b-lls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up, Christoforo said. Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don't have my controller so im gonna cry to the world ... Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you're the douchiest of them all J.

At this point, Dave forwarded the entire e-mail thread to Mike Krahulik, the creator of Penny Arcade and a showrunner for gaming festival PAX East, who sent a reply to both he and Christoforo: If this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it, he said.

Christoforo didn't believe him at first. He shot back at Krahulik:

OK Mike whatever you say lol, he said. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don't want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I'm born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it's a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I'm all over the place.

Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he's a customer unless you're his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful.

Christoforo says he would've acted differently if he knew who Krahulik was.

That would be like me going into a bar and picking a fight with someone who's an MMA fighter, or karate expert, Christoforo explained. The kid doesn't tell me he's a karate expert, but the next thing I know I'm in the hospital with a broken jaw and a broken leg.

Christoforo harbors resentment towards Krahulik for not representing himself well enough.

He didn't tell me he could ruin my life, Christoforo said. He didn't present himself in that kind of light. He's good in everybody's light and I'm the bad guy, and I'm getting all the hate mail. He knew very well that he could ruin me as an individual and he could use the people that he had behind him to use as a tool. That's almost premeditated and malicious, instead of just saying, 'Here's who I am, stop doing it or I'll ban you from PAX.'

Once Krahulik published the e-mail exchange for the world to see, the Internet collapsed around Christoforo. Prominent members of the gaming media, including IGN's executive editor Scott Lowe, asserted that they did not support Christoforo or Ocean Marketing in any way. Christoforo initially tried to fire back at each one of his detractors, but it soon became overwhelming. Krahulik had also released Christoforo's e-mail address, and the Ocean Marketing head was barraged by angry e-mails, which threatened him and the life of his family. He subsequently changed his Twitter handle twice, from @OceanMarketting to @OceanStrategy, and then finally cleaned up his spelling with @OceanDeepSea.

These people make me out to be the bad guy, and they're just ruthless, Christoforo said. I'm a piece of sh-t, I'm the worst person in the world, I should jump off a bridge, I should shoot myself and my family. I'm such a bad guy because I got into an argument. I said some inappropriate things that were uncalled for, but the people on the Internet are just 1,000 times worse than me. They're going after my wife's Facebook page, they're calling me a monster, they're trying to hurt other people.

One day after the incident made its way around the Internet via sites like Reddit, N-Control officially gave him the axe. Christoforo says that his wife supports him 1,005 percent, but most of his family doesn't know about the incident.

Half of my family don't even go on the computer, he said. They're never going to hear about this story.

He isn't rushing to tell his family, but Christoforo will make a round of media appearances, including Spike TV, MTV and a few radio shows, in the near future. Even though N-Control and Avenger Controller have cut their ties with Christoforo and Ocean Marketing, he still wants a chance to apologize to everyone.

I'm sorry, he said. I was out of line. The whole situation was just uncalled for, and it should've never happened.

Christoforo says he harbors no ill feelings towards the Avenger Controller team. In fact, he only had glowing words for David Kotke, the creator of the Avenger Controller, explaining that his incident has obscured how great the actual invention is and what it means for disabled gamers everywhere.

It's unfair to Kotke, he said.

Christoforo is currently seeking lawyers for a defamation suit, but did not say whom he would target. But besides possible litigation, Christoforo is looking ahead, focusing on his other careers such as Web site design, investing and doing a lot of sales and real estate. He refused to divulge the details of any of these pursuits in fear of the Internet slandering him and his work any further.

Overall, Christoforo doesn't believe that the incident will affect the trajectory of his career.

People are going to hire me based on my skill, not based on what somebody said on the Internet, he said. I'm not going to work taking customer service calls, I'll sell products to distributors or I'm going to open up a distribution company. It's not going to affect my life, that one person who said something and it went viral. If someone Googles me, they might ask me about all this stuff, but I'm a professional. I'm good at what I do. 

When asked what he learned from the incident with Dave, here's what he said:

Don't take customer service calls, Christoforo said, laughing. But just be patient and be nicer. Ultimately, genuinely, I want to take full responsibility for the actions of what put me where I am now. I want to apologize for everything that I did.

The FULL TEXT of the original e-mail exchange between Christoforo, Krahulik and Dave is provided below (courtesy of Penny Arcade):

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 16, 2011, at 1:34 PM

I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx-Nov 3, 2011). Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I'm not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of Early December be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays.

-Dave

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Dave 
Dec 16, 2011 2:45 PM

Dec 17

- Paul Christoforo

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 19, 2011, at 11:02 AM

Thanks for the reply Paul.  Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out?  I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information.

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Dave 
Dec 19, 2011 11:21 AM

They still haven't shipped yet on the way here from china

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 20, 2011 4:29 PM

So then delivery to customer doors by December 24th is no longer likely correct?  Do you have an estimated date of when units will arrive in California? Thanks.

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Dave 
Dec 20, 2011 5:11 PM

They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas.

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM

I noticed the updated info on the webpage, and I don't understand why there is absolutely no benefit given to those like me who have already ordered, and paid their money.  You've had my money interest free for nearly two months, yet now ANY new order will get $10 off....meaning I should just cancel my order for 2 controllers, get my money back, then re-order.

My other questions is regarding item compatibility.  Ocean Marketing seems to be involved with the Xtendplay controller holder, so I was wondering if the Avenger N-Controller can be used in conjunction with the Xtendplay (for both Xbox and PS3)?  Thanks

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Dave 
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM

Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.

Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don't complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I'll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

At this point Dave is (I think) understandably frustrated. His next email is sent to me as well as Kotaku and a few other news sites.

-Gabe

From: Dave 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011 12:11 PM

Then cancel my order if you want to.  I'm making a legitimate complaint about your poor communication and you're the one stooping to childish levels, a patronizing attitude, and threats.  Hell you can't even get the spelling of my name right.

And Gamespot pre-orders...wow what a terrible comparison.  Retailers take a couple dollars IF THAT for you to guarantee your game availability on the release date, whatever that is. That's the understanding and that's what you get.  Plus, I don't have to complain to Activision or Epic games about these issues because they're usually not missing the street dates for their AAA titles.

Now let's take YOUR situation: 
1) You've promised a new product based off the design for an existing, working product 
2) For the longest time, you've stated on your website (your failure to update regularly is another issue) the initial/special/limited batch of your new product by early December, obviously in time for the all-important holiday gift-giving season.  I and thousands of other customers GIVE YOU OUR MONEY, INTEREST FREE on the promises you made online.
3) I reach out to you, on Dec 16 (AFTER you have FAILED TO MEET YOUR ADVERTISED DEADLINE AND FAILED TO COMMUNICATE TO ANYONE WHAT THE SITUATION IS) obviously a little frustrated but more curious about when I and other customers can expect the product we paid for. 
4) Your reply to me is a cryptic Dec 17 with absolutely no explanation of what that means.  In the mean time you having been using funds from pre-paid customers to complete Research & Development, product redesigns, and manufacturing mis-steps. 
5) You force me to follow-up with an email asking for clarification about what Dec 17 means since the day has passed and I have yet to receive any new information about my order.  Now you instead of ANSWERING MY QUESTION OF WHAT THE NEW DELIVERY DATE IS, you tell me the goods have yet to leave China...  Why are you telling me this?  I'm not your employee I'm your goddamn customer!  TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS IN TERMS OF MY TIME AND WHEN I CAN EXPECT MY PRODUCT I PAID FOR. 
6) So great...I have to email you AGAIN trying to get a CLEAR answer from you whether a Dec 24th delivery date is possible and if not, what the new date is.  Rinse & repeat: You give me an update of the delivery process (wow, thanks...you haven't told me anything I don't know about the order of international shipping procedures) but instead say ...so its wither before or after Christmas.  WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?  GIVE ME A DATE!?  One that you're actually going to follow, because I already see late Nov to early Dec;  Dec 17; and now CHRISTMAS in my rear-view mirror. 
7) So I guess what's left for me to do but just wait?  Oh but what's this, you've updated your website...Ok at least you've clarified the dates more, I can expect my controller my latest first week of January.  But now as a token of our appreciation to all your loyal customers (you mean like customers who put up cash for you hold an use?) you're giving a $10 coupon.  Let me get this straight...so you held my money interest free for 2 months to help bring this product to market, and now some new customer can place an order and pay $10 less than what I paid?  You have financially penalized me in two ways for being a LOYAL CUSTOMER.

I'm SURE you're getting tons of other inquiries and I'm sure you're not enjoying the fact that your product is not out when you wanted it to be.  I and everyone else understands that sh*t happens, but if you want us to be understanding of that, then you need to keep us in the loop.  You've already set yourself up for failure by making explicit promises that aren't even likely given that the design and manufacturing are still be refined.  Then you make sure you're going to fail by actually taking all of our money, Not just a little bit....THE WHOLE F*CKIN BEEFALO.  Why wouldn't we trust that you're going to deliver our merchandise on time?  Besides...it's based off an existing product so how hard can it be?  Well as your youtube video shows, making any consumer device is hard and requires many iterations and improvements.  But I'm not going to apologize for holding your feet to the fire.  You created these expectations by acting like the release was already a done deal and by hiding the fact that it was faaaar from it.

I want my two n-controllers.  I 1) PAID FOR THEM   2) WAITED   3) DEALT WITH YOUR UNHELPFUL ASS.  I also didn't want to feel like my trust and loyalty as a customer was being abused and then actually punished in comparison to other customers.  But I guess we can't have it all... so right now I'll settle for getting my merchandise and hopefully never having to deal with you again.  I've spent enough time writing this email which I hope you gain some insight from.  If you actually do want to screw me over by not fulfilling my order, then I assure you be hearing more from me or people representing me.

You show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who's quite established, AND an lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers.  We're a demanding, vocal customer but the flip side is we're loyal and eager to spend.  It's lucky for you that I really want this product because it seems really deliver on making the gaming experience more effective and enjoyable.  Hell, I want to combine the aventer-controller with the xtend play to make the ugliest, most comfortable, most awesome controller ever.  And I'll still buy the xtend, so let that be a testament to your products, the rise above your poor representation.

-DAVE with a V

p.s. You look really douchy be having one youtube video complaining about the noise of traffic next to your home and then another video showing off your obnoxiously loud rice rocket (which is nice, I gotta hand it ya).

p.p.s. Welcome to the internet, bitch.  That's how I roll.

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Dave 
Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM

LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I'll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about.  Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention do you think you're the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf ... Really ... Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up.  Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don't have my controller so im gonna cry to the world ... Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you're the douchiest of them all J

To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ?

You just got told bitch ... welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don't forget to check Amazon, gamestop.com, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that's why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. 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.

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.

From: Dave 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Hey thanks Mike.  It's truly a shame because I think this device is great for gamers with disabilities and problems.  I think of Child's Play and if anyone's gonna need greater accessibility when using complicated gamepads...it's sick kids!  Shit man, I'm really gonna feel bad if I think that sick children may somewhere down the line have fewer avenger controllers because I got into a pissing match with a sad old man.  Please don't cancel their booth on my account.  As much as I hate this asshole, I still WANT his product and think it should be out there.  GAH, I wish I was in a position to make a competing product to really stick it to guy.

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 ?

From: Mike Krahulik 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I am mike krahulik, Pax is my show. Feel free to google me=) I can promise you that you will never have space at any future Pax event.

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM

OK Mike whatever you say lol , are you sure hour not in Boston I spoke to the person who ran the show in Boston last year. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don't want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I'm born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it's a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I'm all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can't team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can't get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 ,  Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that's all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do.  I'll see space where ever I want , with who I want when I want and where I want so many ways around you and so many connections in this industry its silly. Anyway , I have no issue with you Sean Buckley Engadget, Scott Lowe IGN and the list goes on and on. Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he's a customer unless you're his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful

From: Mike Krahulik 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It's kinda popular.

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Love penny Arcade !!

From: Mike Krahulik 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I'm glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Great !! Love PR

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Mike I'm not trying to fight with you I'm really not , you should give me the benefit of the doubt before judging over one person's bitching . Did I feed into his emails a little bit too much yeah ok . But it's one person dude for real. No disrespect intended for you , My name is good in this industry and I know a lot of people. I'll be at CES are you going ?

From: Mike Krahulik 
To: Ocean Marketing 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Please remove me from this mailing list

From: Ocean Marketing 
To: Mike Krahulik 
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Your spamming me you're not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch .  Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , 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 . Thanks again.