How Artesian Builds destroyed their own business in one Twitch stream

noah katz star lord
Noah Katz, founder and CEO of Artesian Builds, via Linked In and Google

The latest online drama is a particularly juicy one, though you might not have heard about it (yet) if you’re not active on Twitter or Twitch. It involves a cocky CEO, broken promises, and a young Twitch streamer who didn’t back down.

Artesian Builds is a company that custom-builds computers, with an emphasis on products for gamers and online streamers on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Part of their strategy is their Ambassador program: in exchange for promoting their brand during their broadcasts and in their social media, creators can earn credits toward future purchases and an opportunity to win a brand new computer during monthly giveaway streams.

However, CEO Noah Katz (who has been nicknamed “StarLord” for the jacket he wore on air) apparently decided to change the rules during the last drawing, held on February 28. Claiming “If you want to be an Ambassador that wins you must have an active account, active followers, active streams. You gotta be doing something,” he decided to closely analyze (and criticize) the accounts of randomly-chosen Ambassadors to determine whether or not they would be “a valid winner” live on stream. He proceeded to disqualify several streamers who didn’t have what he termed “redeeming qualities.”

One of them decided she wouldn’t take the insult lying down. Kiapiaa, a 23 year old streamer who was passed over for the prize, took to Twitter and called them out in a thread:

This set off a firestorm of reactions. Thousands of Retweets and Quote Tweets blasted Artesian Builds for disrespecting Kiapiaa and not awarding her rightfully-earned prize. Dozens of Ambassadors publically announced they were breaking all ties with the company. Many Twitch and YouTube creators spoke out in solidarity and support, asking their communities to go to Kia’s channel to “show some love.” Quite a few PC builders have offered to give her merchandise, parts, or a new computer; JayzTwoCents, a fellow streamer, has already posted a video of the PC he’s assembled for her. As a result of the publicity, Kiapiaa’s audience has exploded. Her Twitch channel, which had approximately 2,000 followers before the incident, is close to (if not over) 12,000 followers, and her Twitter audience has grown to over 11,000 supporters.

If Kiapiaa’s star is on the rise, Artesian Builds and its CEO’s stars seem to be falling fast. Noah Katz has taken to social media three times in an attempt to do damage control, but his first (thread) and second responses have been criticized as the stereotypical “I’m sorry you felt that way” “non-pology.” He has since posted a video with a much humbler tone; only time will tell whether or not it will succeed in repairing the company’s damaged reputation. Artesian Builds also reached out to Kiapiaa to belatedly award her the prize; she declined.

Public humiliation might not be the only consequence Artesian Builds suffers. Questions have been raised on whether Katz’s disparaging on-air comments violated the Twitch terms of service. Channels guilty of TOS infractions can be suspended or banned from the platform, at Twitch’s discretion. But the company might also find themselves in legal trouble. Since Artesian Builds didn’t clearly state eligibility before the drawing, they may have violated contest regulations in their own home state, the streamer’s state, or both. (Please note: I am not a lawyer, but Richard Hoeg is, and he’s put together a fairly detailed analysis of the situation in this video, which addresses the legal matters far better than I can.)

While there’s no conclusion to the story just yet, it’s been encouraging to see so many streamers and communities rally around one of their own. And, with a little luck (and a lot of effort), a certain company might just learn treat their customers with more respect in future. Considering the drawing only took place a little over a day ago, there’s likely plenty more drama to come…


Drama’s fun and all, but ‘artesian’ and not ‘artisan’? I’ve only really heard ‘artesian’ used in terms of aquifers and wells that are under pressure. Well, I guess the name fits since the company is also now under pressure.



Before all this happened, I hadn’t heard much about the brand or how it got named. I’d noticed a streamer or two mention them during their broadcasts. One night, I got curious and took a look at their website; the machines look pretty, but they’re extremely pricey. Since they’re out of my price range, I forgot about them again until the story broke.


The plot thickens:

More detail here:

Schadentreude pie, anyone?

schadenfreude pie a la scalzi


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