Why K Bean is no Longer a CS Sponsor
Paul here again. After 10 years and 3000 posts on one of Australia’s coffee forums (lets use the acronym CS) as firstly a CS member, and then secondly as a CS sponsor, I have a story to tell …and here it is.
About the Forum
The heart and soul of the CS forum is a handful of “salt of the earth” hobbyists who are there to help others with fantastic advice. I really admire these members. There are members who buy coffee equipment on a budget and with the help of the community they find ways to brew magnificent coffee without that second mortgage. There are people who join up to just to say a quick hello and to share their experiences. There are also gear freaks who love trying out the latest coffee machines and other toys. And yes, before I started up the K Bean Coffee Machines business I was a well known gear freak on CS.
Of course there are the commercial players and the usual forum trolls as well but as a hobbyist they are very easy to ignore. I really enjoyed the CS forum as a member.
Becoming a Sponsor
When K Bean Coffee Machines became a new CS forum sponsor things really changed.
As a new sponsor I was harassed by a couple of other sponsors along with a few core forum members who seemed hell bent on seeing me fail. The most hurtful attacks were the personal ones. I wasn’t in it alone though, with members rallying to help me out and encouraging me to “hang in there” when threads started heating up. This encouragement really got my chin off of the ground some days.
CS Admin was a disappointment as I called out many times for support and was either brushed off or completely ignored. I felt like I was in a school yard being kicked by bullies and getting the classic “just ignore it” response. I recall one time when I was accused of “BS” by another sponsor and the advice from the Admin truly was just these words “Don’t Respond.” How could I not respond to personal attacks and attacks on my business? It was just so frustrating.
One major conflict occurred when a controversial new machine arrived from Italy and I was targeted for selling it. Again, Admin ignored my pleas and responded with something along the lines of “we build the sandpit, you to play in it.” Play? OK, time to play then …I set up an Angel account to give myself an extra voice in the sandpit so that I could defend myself, defend my business and call out forum bullies. It was so great to have a “free” account that enjoyed the same anonymity as other keyboard combatants.
Another major conflict occurred when another CS sponsor left the forum but kept on posting with a new account where he posed as a regular member. With this account the ex sponsor continued to attack from the shadows with his normal anti-K Bean catch phrases including “bean K beaned” and various references to “BS.” BS was a favorite acronym of this ex sponsor. After more complaints to Admin without response or action I set up another Angel account, again to fight back. Running multiple CS accounts was not something I did lightly but with my back up against the wall I pulled out all stops. The 24/7 harassment was so just difficult to cope with and it really took a huge emotional toll.
A Sponsor no More
It all came to a head in 2017 when instead of helping me out with a conflict, Admin cancelled my CS sponsorship. He did not let me say farewell and he deleted my 3000 posts as well as some entire threads with many hundreds of posts from numerous members. A huge amount of knowledge, debating, testing of theories, etc, was wiped out. By deleting my own posts Admin had wiped out not only my online content, they had wiped out my CS identity as well.
The Battle Continues
After I left the forum defamation of my business continued. I quickly moved to set up new CS accounts. With my main account I built a new online me. I used it to keep an eye on the forum, to defend K Bean and yes, to promote my business interests as well. I don’t feel great about this but after 10+ years, 3000 posts and an horrific sponsorship experience I felt that this move was justifiable.
Hanging up the Gloves
As a CS forum veteran and ex CS forum sponsor I am bitterly disappointed in the way that this all worked out. However, I have now hung up my gloves and departed CS completely. Admin will be happy considering that in their final email to me they requested that I f*#@ off. This request says a lot about the underbelly of the forum. It also says a lot about the crude attitude of the forum’s Admin.
Back to the Happy Stuff
That’s enough of my little rant. I’m happy to say that, with the CS forum nightmare set aside, K Bean Coffee Machines has bean a dream come true. Please move on to read about my happy trek from coffee hobbyist to Italian espresso machine retailer by taking a look at my K Bean Journey blog by clicking here