The brewing geek war between magnet magnates seems to be coming to a head. Buckyballs owner Jake Bronstein, who recently threatened Zen Magnets with an "army of lawyers" over their competing product, seems to have a new strategy: hiding.
For those unfamiliar with the magnetic brouhaha, the spat began when Zen Magnets started selling a comparison pack of both their product and a case of Buckyballs on eBay so that buyers could decide the superior sphere for themselves. Buckyballs head honcho Jake Bronstein immediately left a threatening voicemail with Zen Magnets. And this is where it gets weird.
Rather than either take Bronstein's [admittedly idiotic]message seriously and prepare a legal defence, or, perhaps more appropriately, tell him to shove off for being a ridiculous bully, a Zen Magnets rep released a bizarre video rebuttal. The YouTube refute exposes Bronstein's jerky voicemail - which we're all for, as bogus legal threats are best left to rot in the sun like the junk they are - but gradually descends into a strange mix of science and pettiness.
Zen Magnets' video aims to prove that their product is at least as good (if not better) than Buckyballs, and that Bronstein's claims of false advertising are bogus. Which, it seems, they were. But the whole thing is more middle school slapfight than laboratory dispute. The Zen Magnets video was briefly yanked off YouTube with a BS DMCA takedown, while the rest of us are wondered what the hell was going on.
For a little clarification, we contacted Zen Magnets, only to find that their number has been disconnected. Well! Perhaps they need to call Verizon before they call a lawyer.
When we tried turning to Bronstein for a comment, however, it became obvious how flimsy his voicemail legal tantrum really was. Our email was instead met with a reply from a colleague at Buckyballs, who informed us that Bronstein was out of the office and unavailable (although not too unavailable to read my email, ignore it, and forward it to some other guy). What followed was an inordinately lame attempt at self-deprecation, by way of forwarded email from Bronstein's Magnetic Fortress of Solitude:
Our office of 4 voted...my voicemail was off the Douche-o-Meter.
The Youtube video came down because, while my mum likes my photos, it didn't seem fair for Zen Magnets to use them to sell stuff.
Sorry world. It's not normally the way we roll.
Also attached was this photo of Bronstein posing with a photoshopped attempt at self-deprecation.
Well, then. That douche-o-meter appears to be properly calibrated.
When we asked what a better time to contact Bronstein for a quick chat might be, the same Buckyballs employee responded with the following:
I think what Jake wrote is our official statement.
Oh! OK. So your official statement is... essentially nothing. And it would appear your legal claim against Zen Magnets is about the same. In a battle between two varyingly annoying entities, there's no clear winner, but I might advise the team at Zen Magnets to not lose any sleep over Bronstein's impending assault - if he's unable to field a five minute phone call with us, he's probably not going to be commanding any armies anytime soon.