Things Are Looking Bad For Artesian Builds

A once up-and-coming custom PC boutique seems to be closing up shop after becoming embroiled in a controversy associated with its Twitch streamer ambassador program. Artesian Builds — which gained a following by putting together its custom PC orders live on stream — has abruptly announced that it's entering reorganization after the company was called out by a small streamer who was denied a PC she won in a giveaway.

It's something of a convoluted story, but there are plenty of twists and turns throughout. Over a little more than a week, Artesian Builds went from putting together orders live on Twitch to crumbling so severely that it's now entering reorganization and is apparently looking for new owners. While some dots still need to be connected and there's some important context missing from the rise and fall of Artesian Builds, here's what we know so far about how the company found itself in this position.

Artesian Builds and the ill-fated giveaway

This whole saga begins with a nearly 14-hour Artesian Builds stream on February 28, 2022. In addition to its regular PC building content, Artesian Builds CEO Noah Katz spent some time on stream to host a giveaway specifically for the company's ambassadors. The prizes offered in the giveaway included Artesian Builds merchandise, PC accessories like mice and keyboards, and a pair of PCs to be given away to two separate ambassadors.

Checking the Artesian Builds website, the company has rather low requirements for joining its ambassador program, as it states that potential ambassadors only need to satisfy one of a variety of different metrics. Qualifications include drawing a consistent 12 CCV (concurrent viewers) on Twitch, or "at least 6 CCV AND 40 monthly hours consistently streamed." Users can qualify as an ambassador by satisfying metrics on other websites, such as having 1,000 followers on Facebook or 1,500 subscribers on YouTube.

At around 5 hours and 7 minutes into the livestream (the full VOD is still available on Twitch at the time of this writing), Katz prepares to begin the PC giveaway and gives a brief rundown of what's required to win. "We'll be looking for multiple thousands following, consistent activity across meaningful streaming platforms, probably honestly past referrals... probably past referrals or at least good click rates," Katz said, referring to the Artesian Builds panel the company gives ambassadors to put in their Twitch descriptions.

Shortly before the drawing begins, Katz says "about 10 to 25 percent of our current ambassador crew does qualify," for the PC giveaway. Katz then says that the company is "debating if using the code is required, but clicks are definitely required," suggesting that the rules regarding what it would take for an ambassador to qualify for a PC are somewhat poorly defined.

Artesian Builds rejects Twitch streamer kiapiaa

The first ambassador drawn for this PC giveaway was kiapiaa, who was ultimately rejected by Katz for not having enough followers and generating enough clicks with the panel in her Twitch description. Early the next morning, on March 1, 2022, kiapiaa took to Twitter to challenge the decision to purge her from the winners list and draw someone else. In doing so, she shared a trio of clips showing Katz determining whether or not Artesian Builds would follow through and award her the PC she was drawn for.

"If you haven't heard @ArtesianBuilds do not care about their small streamer ambassadors," kiapiaa wrote to begin the thread. "They have monthly PC giveaways for their ambassadors, great, right? Expect [sic] they don't care for small streamers. I got chosen and they changed their rules last minute."

That tweet and the subsequent thread kiapiaa posted went viral, with the initial tweet garnering more than 32,000 likes at the time of this writing and nearly 6,000 retweets. She even managed to attract other companies like Cooler Master and ST Customs — the latter being another custom PC boutique — as well as thousands of new Twitter followers with her call out of Artesian Builds and Katz himself.

Here's where things get weird with Artesian Builds

In the days that followed the live stream and the intense blowback generated by kiapiaa, Artesian Builds became increasingly weird online. On March 2, Katz published a lengthy Twitter apology in which he said he took "full accountability" for hurting kiapiaa "as a viewer and participant in supporting Artesian." He also said that he would be working on new guidelines for these giveaways that would "allow everyone to participate." Strangely, that apology has since been deleted, but it can be viewed via the Internet Archive.

In place of that apology are two rather cryptic tweets that seem to signal the end of Artesian Builds. On March 5, Artesian Builds published a tweet that said "'At this point we are examining a potential employee-led buy-out of the company. Thank you for your support.'" After a few days of silence, Artesian Builds published another tweet on March 8 that read, "We are sad to announce that, effective now, we are freezing/suspending all activities. Ongoing is analysis by outside counsel for reorg. to ensure fair treatment of clients, creditors, and employees. We expect more info by month's end. We are open to assistance/investment."

At this point, it's unknown why Artesian Builds has to enter reorganization and what prompted its March 5 tweet about exploring an employee buyout. One has to assume that the blowback was intense given the attention kiapiaa's tweets garnered, but is that enough to sink a company that seemed successful otherwise basically overnight? For now, there's plenty of mystery to unravel, but it sounds like we won't learn more about this until we're closer to the end of the month.