watchgeeks.nyet

July 15, 2014

I’ve been peripherally following the milestones and hiccups in the world of TV horology and was aware that Invicta’s primary propaganda tool, watchgeeks.net, had been down for some time.

On a whim, I checked in today and saw this message from Invicta Watch Company CEO, Eyal Lalo:

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The explanation jumps right out at me:

“We were not supplied with the required codes necessary to serve the site and the existing content was blocked from our access.”

“In this past week, we then discovered, that the entire database had been intentionally erased this destroying the platform we worked so hard to diligently preserve for you to enjoy.”

The page auto-directs uses to Invicta’s Facebook page.

THIS statement seems to imply that someone maliciously took down watchgeeks and the inference to be made is that former Technical Brand Perception Manager, Michael Davis, would be the culprit. He was the administrator of the website and he publicly rage quit back in April.

In Davis’ Facebook post from June 21st, he makes mention of the neglect of the site:

“I tuned over the daily administration and maintenance of WatchGeeks to Invicta about a month ago when they would not come to terms with me over the ongoing work needed to keep it running. “

BUT interestingly, he seemed to still have enough access to state that “…(Invicta) have done absolutely no maintenance or work on the site (which is the reason why there is 3,000 membership requests sitting in queue that have not been processed).”

He went on to say that “…sooner or later that site will come crashing down.”

While I do think he’s a shithead, evidenced by his proclivity to use the ban hammer while at geeks and that threatening website directed at Koi over at watchlords; his malicious act of sabotaging watchgeeks?

Nope.

In reading through Davis’ Facebook posts, it’s clear that he just had enough of ShopHQ and Invicta.

Why?

Maybe because they send Invicta rep, and former model, Ryan Johnson to all of the remotes in sunny tropical locations while Davis stews in the Minnesota studio like Bumble the Yeti at 3:30am.

Was he tired of the constant attacks and references to his past? Maybe the guy that called in live to a Davis and Temple show and claimed he robbed bowling ally to support his Invicta addiction was the straw that broke the camels back.

I think the site was deliberately left to rot. Maybe that mail I got back in 2010 about a supposed watchgeeks social network on ning really was a strategy and not a hoax?

Watchgeeks turned into a means to an end for Invicta. A place where dissent could be squashed through deliberate and calculated attacks on character and fellow members were whipped into a frenzy to belittle and run off ‘negative’ posters. It was used to marginalized and ostracize critics. It became a point of control. And the artifacts and proof posted by pissed off consumers could easily be deleted.

But times changed. Social media changed. What once was possible to control was not as people took to social media and messageboards and eviscerated Invicta for their poor quality and misrepresented products. Hardcore Invictards abandoned the brand and nearly all of the folks that used to routinely threaten and attack me on this blog were either kicked off of watchgeeks as they were no longer useful and disappeared or they have become vocal Invicta critics because they saw the light.

As new leadership takes the reins at ShopHQ, I wonder how much longer Invicta will air on the network. It’s the same product, over and over. How many different color combinations can you put on a Bolt and act excited about?

A new social media strategy may be exactly what Invicta needs to again become relevant in a genre crowded with the addition of micro brands. In killing off watchgeeks they can further distance themselves from all of the bad karma that geeks generated. In suggesting that it was taken down maliciously, they attempt to create animus toward Davis and his ‘solopreneur’ endeavors for the remaining diehards obsessed with post counts.

The death of watchgeeks could be the clean break and reboot that the Invicta watch company needs.

I think it’s too late.

//smt/

PENNSYLVANIA was blessed this past election cycle to choose between two real winners for governor. One guy created a county wide poured drink tax to fund mass transit. A transit system that spent over $500 million on a 1.2 mile subway tunnel under the Allegheny river, 80% of that money from you and me as Federal taxpayers.

The other guy, while State AG, actually filled a subpoena against Twitter for the identity of two critics who were vocal regarding the money spent on his Bonusgate corruption trial of Pa State Democrats.

There wasn’t even a lesser of two evils. The choice was between Dumb and Dumber.

THE Republican won, swept into office because of anti-party incumbency as Pennsylvanians were tired of district pet projects and fed up with the corruption and self serving politicians that make up our bloated legislation.

As expected, he’s put a budget forward that cuts everything, including money for grants to higher education. If this were for profit schools, the Democrats would be cheering about sticking it to the man, correctly pointing out that most of the degrees that people earn from schools like The Art Institute, rarely result in making more money than a Walmartian worker but saddled with tens of thousands of student loan debt that they’ll be lucky to ever pay back. All while ignoring the no pay jobs that degrees from these public, state sponsored colleges offer like women’s studies, labor history and social work. These graduates end up with double the debt.

“He wants to shut the door of opportunity on thousands of young Pennsylvanians who just want to better themselves through education,” Phil LaRue, 22, a senior, said. “We will not let this happen.”

It’s a common refrain from students and schools as the yearly tuition costs continually climb.

But why are the ‘public schools’ increasing their tuition every year? It’s not like your average college professor or TA is seeing any of that money. These folks have been giving concessions for years. Most do it for the love of knowledge. So where is the money going?

THE dirty little secret of these “not for profit schools” is how much money the top earners actually make; the dirtier secret is who these faculty members are.

Since Phil LaRue is a student at the University of Pittsburgh, I wonder if he knows that according to the universities latest tax filing for fiscal year 2010, that men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon was paid $1,389,951 and fired football coach Dave Wannstedt made $1,010,873? The Athletic Director, Steven Pederson, draws a salary of $448,421, which is more than the associate vice chancellor for global health and graduate school of public health dean. And they typically see yearly increases. Is this what’s driving the cost of secondary education ever higher? It’s worth looking at.

Before these kids protest the state cuts, they need to turn inward and demand changes within their own university if their really concerned about access to higher education. With just these salaries, it’s clear that the priorities of the schools are all wrong and one has to wonder where else money is being misappropriated when it should be used to keep the costs down.

IN an interesting move, ShopNBC has tapped Bill McGrath as VP of Quality Assurance, a 20 year veteran who most recently served as Vice President Global Sourcing Operations and Finance at QVC. In the first paragraph of the press release, they mention their Anywhere initiative, which includes ShopNBC”s presence on social media sites as well as their iPhone app and website. Upon first reading, it sounds as if Mr. McGrath is going to lead this project. But if you read it closely, you’ll see that this is not the case. When you read through the press release, Mike Murray, ShopNBC Senior Vice President of Operations detail Mr. McGrath’s various duties while at QVC:

“Bill brings a wealth of product quality experience and supply chain expertise — from vendor manufacturing through custom consumer packaging — that spans all our product categories and beyond. His commitment to excellence and building strong partnerships will benefit our vendors, product offerings, and customers. We look forward to his impact on our efforts to continue lowering transactional costs while improving the customer experience.”

This seems like a bait and switch; McGrath’s expertise is the supply chain continuum and the quality of products down to the packaging. A quick Google search of “Invicta QC issue” yields 156,000 returns and if you read some of the comments here as well as around the various watch messageboards, poor quality control seems to be inseparable from the ShopNBC / Invicta experience. I’ve also read quite a few complaints of Renato quality issues.

This move comes on the heels of ShopNBC’s dismissal of two popular hosts, Charla Rines and Mike Davidson.

UPDATE 01/19/2009: Something interesting is occuring over at watchgeeks.net – dissent! The vocal complaints from customers center around the Subaqua Noma III Ocean Quest and a design flaw involving screws that easily crossthread and break and while Jim Skelton (In Cognito) himself has weighed in with a rather terse and forcefull response, the debate rages on. It is comical to read him defend what is a bad design while the watch has been crossthreaded live on the air more than once. It’s really telling to see senior posters atempt ro intimidate and silence this debate as Mr. Skelton partially owns the watchgeeks forum along with Technical Brabd Manager Michael Davis. This is the coming of the perfect storm I alluded to in my blog, Jim Skelton Out at ShopNBC. The blurred lines between Invicta, Skelton and ShopNBC are on display for anyone to see if they create an account on the now password only site. One wonders what Mr. McGrath’s response would be to Mr. Skelton’s less than humble reply?