It’s kind of amazing – and scary – just how much of an effect social media can have on your business. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next, you’re in a pile of rubble. And it’s even crazier when you think that all of that could be avoided by overcoming one crucial mistake.
We’re talking about Artesian Builds, a company that specialized in making custom PC’s for consumers. The company found itself in hot water when it refused to give a free PC to a Twitch streamer that had met all their terms, noting that her follower count was low. What followed was a complete shellacking by the company, followed by what appears to be a suspension and, ultimately, closure of Artesian just over a week later.
The company recently posted this notice on its Twitter account: “We are sad to announce that, effective now, we are freezing/suspending all activities. Ongoing is analysis by outside counsel for reorg. to ensure fair treatment of clients, creditors, and employees. We expect more info by month’s end. We are open to assistance/investment.”
Artesian, based in San Francisco, created a heavily controversial situation from refusing to give the streamer, Kiapiaa, the PC that she had rightfully won. In fact, they seemed kind of cocky about it.
After announcing she had won, the CEO of Artesian, Noah Katz, instead pulled it away from her after taking a closer look at her Twitch and social media numbers, criticizing her for barely pulling in an audience and not getting “a single click” from her ambassadorship. You can take a closer look at that clip here, but it’s not pretty to watch.
Kiapiaa took her case on Twitter, along with the clip of Katz, to argue her point. “The reason…LIKE WHAT?” she said. “Sorry not everyone has money for a PC. ITS EXPENSIVE! So condescending. @artesianbuilds do better.”
Her claims got the attention of thousands of people on Twitter. Endorsement deals for Artesian fell apart. Intel stepped in and questioned their professionalism. Eventually, Katz opted for an apology to make things right, but it was poorly delivered and didn’t do much convincing. Artesian would eventually offer the computer to Kiapiaa, but she refused and went with MetaPCs offer for one instead.
"I am not supporting a company that doesn’t support small streamers AKA THE backbone of their company," she said at the time. "My email back to them was a simple two sentence reply. No ty. Take me off your ambassador list."
Now, as a result, Kiapiaa has a PC sponsor of some kind, along with thousands of new followers on Twitter. As for Artesian, well, they appear to be no more, with as many as 40-50 employees losing their job as a result. All because Katz had to play the arrogant game and refuse this streamer the computer she had rightfully earned, even with “not one click.”
This is a lesson, folks. A lesson on how not to do business. If you’re supposed to be meeting the terms of a giveaway and you legally announce someone as winning that giveaway, you need to follow through. Without that, and pulling the prize away due to a personal, condescending reason, could not only cost you viewers, but also potential business. And that’s going to hurt Artesian more than they could ever prepare.
We do wish the employees at Artesian the best of luck landing somewhere else, hopefully as far away from Katz as possible. There is a lesson to be learned here, and as harsh as it is, it’s necessary to survive in the gaming world. Don’t mistreat your audience. You will pay the price.
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