The Poltercom Pico was built to make an affordable intelligent spirit box custom built to work like the larger Poltercom Spirit box. The larger Poltercom Spirit box, for those that don't know, is the first spirit box ever to do a motorized sweep, the original in ghost box robotics. Why is this important? With the use of an intelligent motor to control the channel sweeping, the radio tuning can be controlled by sensors that monitor the environment. For example internal sensors are integrated into the Poltercom so it will turn the dial based off the readings from the sensor. This takes the human element out of it and adds more of a sensor based sweep of the radio channels. I wish we could say the sensors are definitely controlled by a spirit, but unfortunately we can't. Since spirits have neither been proven or disproved, we have to look for the more intelligent responses from all spirit boxes. The Larger Poltercom is not only a wiz when it comes to the internal electronics, but it is absolutely beautifully designed. When someone purchases a Poltercom they are getting a very unique spirit box with years of designing into them. Well, enough about the Poltercom since this is about its Progeny... well not exactly, the Poltercom Progeny is the middle version of the Poltercom lineup, this is about the younger child the Pico.
With over 100 Poltercoms sold to date, we wanted to put out a version that everyone could afford and that would be not only easy to use, but beautiful as well. While tinkering around for a couple days in the lab, Jeromy Jones (Paranologies Owner and creator of all the designs) finally found a radio tuner that would achieve his goals. He found a very beautiful radio off of Amazon and added the Paranologies spin to it. He only used very few parts of the radio. The front bezel of the Amazon radio, as it has a nice look and uses real cherry wood, and the dial, which has a nice vintage style that matches the Paranologies lineup. Everything after this is the magic that makes the Poltercom Pico so successful. He could not use the same electronics that were in the Poltercom as he wanted it to be affordable so everyone can have a chance to use an intelligent sweeping spirit box. He first knew that he wanted it to be automatic and not hard to use. Before the Pico, Jeromy designed the Automocon, the first true Random sweeping spirit box. The Automocon gave such extraordinary results with the Random sweep, he wanted to put this in the Pico as well. It took over a year to write the code for the Random sweep on the Automocon, and it was already complete. Since the Random code was already completed, all Jeromy had to do is add a few tweaks for the Pico electronics so it would work. The Pico takes quite a bit of Electrical and Mechanical engineering to work. By adding a Servo motor to some custom built gears and custom built circuit boards the Pico came to life. All he had to do now is put a price on it and upload it to the website. The price on this device should be about $199 compared to other devices like it on the Paranologies website, but again, Jeromy wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the Pico so he reduced the price to $129.
Soon after the first version was built and sent to Ghost Adventures tech manager Justin Spurrier, they were added to the Paranologies lineup. Weeks after they hit the website they started flying out the door. Nothing but positive feedback was coming in about them and we knew we had a hit. Then December came around and the unexpected happened!
The Price of success:
In early December we got an order from Steve Huff. Steve is a regular customer of Paranologies and we have always had respect for him and his followers. Steve has never asked for a discount from us and always paid full price even though we offered to give him a discount. About a week after he received his Pico, he loved it so much that he made a video about it. This was not uncommon for Steve to do with our products as he has about 3-4 other Poltercom devices and made videos for those. This video though, became so popular that we sold 400 Picos from his video in about 4 days time. Jeromy's idea of an affordable custom spirit box has worked and he was super excited about people being able to enjoy such an awesome spirit box. Jeromy reached out to Steve and thanked him for allowing people to be able to experience the Pico and offered to give Steve a portion of the sales since it was only fair. Steve, as usual, declined for any monetary support and kept on doing videos. I thought, wow, what an awesome guy to allow me to enjoy the success and all the hard work I put into the Pico, I have to do something for him. Before we hit about 100 sales Jeromy gave Steve a discount code for his followers to be able to purchase the Pico even cheaper, somewhere around $115.00, what a deal. It was the least he could do since they were selling so well. Steve then did another video with the discount code and the Pico sales exploded from that point. It wasn't until about day 5 that Jeromy knew he had a problem.
Day 5 came around and Paranologies was up to about 400 Pico sales. Almost all the Products from Paranologies are hand built from the ground up by Jeromy alone. How would he ever be able to build all of these Picos in time. He quickly updated the website for any new sales explaining it would be months before they would ship and to make sure to read all the terms before purchasing any products. He also sent out emails to the customers that bought the 400 Picos explaining his predicament, saying he appreciated the sales and to email for updates. When the Picos first went up for sale there were two shipping options to choose from, Rush shipping, and estimated shipping. If the Rush shipping was chosen for an extra $10 and meant that it would ship within 2-5 business days. If the estimated shipping was chosen, the shipping was free, and it meant it would take up to and in most cases beyond 30 business days. Most people opted to do the free shipping, which was a relief to Jeromy so he could have time to build all of these and the other 40 products that Paranologies produces. Soon after the sales of the Pico's started tapering off, the update emails came in 20-50 a day. This was ok because he asked them to email for updates. Problem was, most of the customers didnt understand that the Pico was hand built and takes quite a bit of time to do so. Some, not all, customers wanted their money back when they didnt get the Pico delivered in the estimated 30 day time. Problem was when all of these sales came in, he immediately ordered the parts for every single one and there wasn't much money left. Remember he wanted the Pico to be affordable so the profit margin was low on this particular item. This is why Paranologies also has a very strict No refunds policy and has had this from the beginning. We don't offer refunds for any reason because the items are custom built, and the product is paid for right when the items are ordered. All of these terms were of coarse listed on the website during the purchase but might have been overlooked due to the excitement of getting one.
Shortly after getting a lot of emails we decided to go ahead and offer Rush shipping after the estimated shipping was purchased to those that may have overlooked it the first time around. This helped a lot as customers were ordering the newly added Rush shipping just for the Pico. This meant that now they could have their orders taken out of a long line of around 400 Picos and get it to them within weeks. Well more and more people opted to do the Rush shipping and Jeromy again started getting backed up so he removed the Rush shipping option to get caught up again. The emails were still flooding in with a few of them calling Jeromy a scammer and a thief etc, which is way blown out of proportion. Jeromy started Paranologies over 10 years ago and has never once kept anyone's money without them getting a product. The success of Paranologies requires product to be delivered obviously. Jeromy then put up a bulletin on the About us page for updates on the pico. Some weeks would have 200 left then down to 100 and now we are finally down to about 30 Picos left from Steve Huffs video in Dec.
What we have learned:
We also have learned a lot of lessons from this. Not to be blunt but mainly customers don't like to read, as we have had all the terms of our sales on the About us page since we started 10 years ago. Those terms have never changed. What we do now is actually put a warning that pops up when a customer adds a product to the cart, then they have to agree to this warning of how custom items take a while to build and we have a very strict No refunds policy. It has been working well and this whole experience of success has been great. We also learned to communicate better and added a contact us form on the front page. Most of our email issues were because we were very busy and could not reply in a timely manor. With the new form in place it answers a lot of the questions already and helps us identify orders faster.
We appreciate everyone that orders from us and understands that Paranologies strives in giving the customer a chance to use very unique creations for the world of the Paranormal. We love you all and will continue to bring you more creations all the time.
Above Photo by Steve Huff.
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