Collusion responds to Fairfax article: “What was written was misleading, blatantly false reporting”

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The maker of the Collusion Pen have called an article written by Fairfax Media’s Asher Moses that called their product unusable as “misleading [and] blatantly false”, and said that Moses’ article painted them as “villainous fraudsters” that has damaged their reputation.

Collusion’s Robert Yearsley wrote in a blog post that the company could take legal action against Fairfax after “the article cost us a substantial investor”; but based on the article, it appears they are not going to launch a lawsuit.

In the article, Moses interviewed Stuart Ryan, a backer of the Kickstarter project and who described it as “completely unusable”. Ryan is quoted in the article saying, “Essentially they delivered an unusable product, a piece of software that they actually removed features out of prior to release – from what they were [demonstrating] to us.”

However, Yearsley wrote that the backers all knew it was a beta and not the final product as suggested in the Fairfax piece, and as such there are going to be “incomplete” when they release the first beta release.

“The first Beta release of Collusion that we distributed to our backers is very usable, but incomplete compared to what we plan to deliver to our backers on public release – this is typical for the early stages of a Beta program,” Yearsley wrote. “A bug in a private beta product and lax community relations on our part landed us on the front page of the newspapers of Australia’s biggest publishing house.”

So what happened? Here’s Collusion’s take:

2 of our 912 backers wanted refunds. One because she believed Kickstarter was a store, and the other [Stuart Ryan] because he either mistook the beta as a final product or he wanted personal publicity at our expense (he refers to himself as an investor and is wearing a shirt with his name and likeness of his face embroidered on it – no we’re not kidding). […]

Stuart – you backed a creative project clearly labeled as a Beta program, the RESULT of which is a complete product that is ready for public launch. This process is taking longer than expected, as is the case when you innovate. Between your day job as a programmer and your night job as a tech blogger, we are mystified as to how you could misunderstand and misrepresent not only the scope of the problem we are solving but also the development process. We communicated that we are working hard and will get it done in your avalanche of emails to us.

To the other person who was quoted as having a “horrible – just horrible” customer service experience – From the tone of your quote, I think you are the backer who made a racist jibe towards a Collusion team member after I called you out for hyperbole and making some pretty wild accusations about me to my professional colleagues. I took umbrage. You took offence and demanded a refund. And in the end we gave you one, after having gone out of our way to help you when you got your email address wrong when you signed up to Kickstarter, and were thus not receiving any updates (which is something outside our control). With your permission, as you are keen to air the issue in public I am more than happy to publish the email chain regarding your support experience to set the record straight.

“At the end of the day, as we can attest of this last week the haters are gonna hate. Accept it, get over it and get back to work making something great,” Yearsley concluded.