PC builder that drew fury of small Twitch streamers shuts do
Custom PC builder Artesian Builds got demolished on Twitter last week after a small streamer complained that the company denied her a sweepstakes prize based on the size of her Twitch following. Giveaway sponsor Intel was displeased with Artesian, as was a considerable portion of the internet: The streamer's complaint was retweeted over 8,000 times. Artesian's CEO later apologized, but the company may nevertheless have sold its last PC.
A few days ago, Artesian said it was looking into a "potential employee-led buy-out of the company." Now it's shutting down indefinitely.
"We are sad to announce that, effective now, we are freezing/suspending all activities," Artesian wrote on Twitter. "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 is based in San Francisco, and stands out from other custom PC builders for its commitment to building every order live on Twitch. The company also runs an "ambassador" program which pays streamers for referrals and grants them entry into ambassador-only PC giveaways, which also take place live on Twitch. It was one of those giveaways that led to Artesian's undoing last week.
Before a giveaway drawing, Artesian CEO Noah Katz warned that not every member of the ambassador program would be eligible to win, saying that the winner would have to meet "strict" criteria.
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.March 9, 2022
"This is an ambassador giveaway," he said. "This is not for people that aren't taking streaming seriously. We need you to be promoting, frankly, yourself and us, if we're giving you a free computer."
Katz said that he would look for a streaming and social media following in the "multiple thousands," and also consider how much business the ambassador was sending Artesian's way. Streamers whose Artesian links weren't at least being clicked weren't fulfilling their "part of the bargain," and would not be eligible to win the PC, he said.
The first name that came up was streamer Kiapiaa, and Katz immediately went to work vetting her based on the criteria he'd just laid out. Because she had fewer than 5,000 followers and hadn't generated any clicks in her three months as an ambassador, Katz denied her the prize.
If you haven't heard @ArtesianBuilds do not care about their small streamer ambassadors. They have monthly PC giveaways for their ambassadors, great, right? Expect they don't care for small streamers. I got chosen and they changed their rules last minute (cont.) pic.twitter.com/CzDiq7VTZPMarch 1, 2022
Kiapiaa said that she had not previously been aware of any results-based eligibility criteria for ambassadors selected in prize drawings. She was a legitimate member of the program, and said she felt "belittled" by Katz's live investigation into her social media following.
Intel, which sponsored the giveaway, sided with Kiapiaa, as did most of those reacting to her tweets. Katz issued an apology, but has since deleted it. Kiapiaa says she was offered the prize in the end, but turned it down.
It isn't immediately clear what the reorganization of Artesian will entail, or whether it still has any employees or plans to continue under new ownership. I've attempted to contact the business and will update this article if I learn more.