It’s so typical; no sooner do we finally publish our review of the Mate 10 Pro praising it for its epic battery life, fantastic dual camera setup and refined design than Huawei gets outed for some ill-advised marketing practices involving the posting of faux reviews on the phones listing on Best Buy. Despite the fact that the Mate 10 Pro is only up for pre-order at Best Buy, there were, at the time when it was first discovered, 108 reviews on the retailer’s site giving the handset a 5-star rating. While some of them were genuine reviews from people who already owned the phone, most are by people who simply wanted to beta-test the Mate 10 Pro.
The issue began when Huawei asked a private Facebook group with up to 60,000 members to ‘Tell us why you want to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy retail page‘, followed by the requisite links. The post has since been deleted, but 9to5Google managed to take a screenshot of the offending post before it disappeared. The post requested these fake reviews despite the fact that they contravene Best Buy’s guidelines, which will likely result in the retailer removing the vast majority of them. As for the reviewers, up to nine individuals were chosen to receive Mate 10 Pro handsets based on the reviews they posted on Best Buy that managed to garner a 4.8 out of 5 rating.
According to AndroidAuthority, Huawei has issued the following statement:
“Huawei’s first priority is always the consumer and we encourage our customers to share their experiences with our devices in their own voice and through authentic conversation. We believe there is confusion around a recent social media post reaching out to recruit new beta testers. While there are reviews from beta testers with extensive knowledge of the product, they were in no way given monetary benefits for providing their honest opinions of the product. However, we are working to remove posts by beta testers where it isn’t disclosed they participated in the review program.”
Basically, Huawei has stated that it was an honest mistake on the part of the social media manager who mixed up two separate campaigns. Whether its true or just damage limitation, it’s unfortunate that this happened. This is by no means a crisis, and is pretty much a storm in a teacup, although there’s a couple of blogs that would have you believe that this incident is of similar status to Watergate. But it’s still worrying all the same.
The sad thing is that the Mate 10 Pro doesn’t need to be propped up by fake reviews or ill-advised marketing practices; the phone is strong enough to stand by itself unaided. This is something we might have expected from OnePlus when it was still brash and immature, not the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. Hopefully, Huawei will learn its lesson from this.