If you've been following me on social media or my blog then you'll know I'm very excited about the release of a new ghost hunting device called GhostArk but in the last few week's before shipping, many of the product's backers have shifted from excitement to disdain.
GhostArk feels like it's been a long time coming, but in reality it's only been about a year from the initial announcement of the product until today, the week it ships.
Customers were invited to pre-order the product eight months ago. As an impatient person, I can understand how an eight month wait for something you've paid for can be frustrating, especially as I am so eager to get my hands on the finished device.
Now we're just days away from getting our devices through the post and I'm amazed to see that some of GhostArk's first customers, those who pre-ordered the device, have gone from being excited to paranoid.
As the shipping date edged ever closer, the company has become the victim of a backlash from some of its customers. A mixture of impatience and fear mongering has brought a handful of customers to the conclusion that GhostArk is a scam. Despite the fact that they've followed the progress of the device being built through blog posts, seen it's components stripped bare in videos and seen photos of the finished product being packaged ready for shipping, some say the product doesn't exist.
If you know me then you'll know I'm a massive skeptic, I don't actually believe in ghosts so you may think it's odd that I'm buying a GhostArk at all... but, I don't have to believe to be able to pick up the same readings as a full fledged, believing, ghost hunter. The only difference is, to me the flashing light on my ghost detector will be the result of something which can be explained whereas the believer will be convinced it's a ghost. Which is fine, we can all believe what we want.
So, these customer with an issue, who are they? Well, they are believers, they are ghost hunters who believe in the paranormal. There's never been any conclusive proof that ghosts exist. Not one irrefutable photograph of a spirit.... ever, yet these people strongly believe in the existence of ghosts.
What I find odd is that these people are able to make the massive leap of faith to conclude that ghosts are real yet they doubt the existence of a product which they have clearly seen in photographs and videos. They know the name of the company in China who is making them, they've even been given a tracking code for their package and seen pictures of the boxes ready to ship.
To start with I thought it was odd that these people who tend to default on the side of belief would refuse to believe in this product which they once supported, but then I realised that the mindset of these people is that of the conspiracy theorist. They look for ghosts because they believe there is more than meets the eye and they apply that same logic to GhostArk. They over analyse every comment or update put out by the company and jot down every detail in their little ghost spotter's book and then cross-reference it with the next update.
For example, I was forwarded an email from the Chinese manufacturer. It was written in poor pigeon English and said...
"We need to say GhostArk are working very hard on this project. And due to the Chinese New Year holidays. The production are Hold, and when we back from CNY holidays we will start the fabrication more production ASAP. We need to say GhostArk have placed all quantity they they get, and we well send the production to each customers ASAP."
Now, to my non-conspiratorial mind, I read that as "GhostArk are working very hard on this project, however due to the Chinese New Year production will be put on hold (from this weekend, February 6/7th) but once we re-open production will resume and we'll continue to ship the products to customers."
However, I read someone else's interpretation of that email on GhostArk's Facebook page. This is what he had to say, "nothing has been built. You guys didn't believe me before. Now see this, direct from the REAL manufacturer. GhostArk has nothing to do with building anything. 'The production are hold until we get back from CNY holidays.' Typical manufacturers in China take a few weeks off for Chinese New Year. So, customers won't be seeing anything for several weeks. My educated guess is you'll never see a product... ever."
See what I mean, a totally different interpretation, he hasn't understood it to mean that the plant are going to be taking a break over the holidays, he's read it as they haven't even started making anything yet, let alone shipped anything.
He goes on to say "notice GhostArk has gone silent too? Have you put two and two together yet?"
To his conspiratorial mind he may feel GhostArk are neglecting their customers, but the truth is they've posted on Facebook several times over the last few days, including today when they confirmed that "the first 200 devices have already been shipped, as communicated by our manufacturing company. The others will be shipped soon, any delay which may occur is due to the spring festival in China." which is of course how I interpreted the email above.
GhostArk haven't gone quiet at all, they've replied to people's concerns on Facebook too and according to their profile, Facebook says GhostArk "typically replies within an hour" to private messages, I'd say that's pretty good customer service.
I can understand if they don't want to wade into the debate on their Facebook page, often the best way to deal with negative criticism on social media as company is to pull back. A segment of backers have become such an angry mob that no matter what GhostArk say they'll be picked apart, they just can't win.
At the end of the day, GhostArk don't need to defend themselves. To any rational person it's clear that this product has been built and is being shipped to customers. It may have taken a bit longer than they would have liked but you have to be a little forgiving, we all knew we were backing a new product that wasn't even in production yet when we coughed up our cash. GhostArk have never manufactured a product before and I can only imagine how difficult corresponding with a Chinese production house and arranging worldwide shipping must be, of course there is going to be bumps in the road but I think they've done a great job to go from blueprint to consumers in just a year.
I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on my GhostArk and I'll be telling you all about it when I do, starting with an unboxing video the day it arrives.