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If you want the backstory on this, Mark Pesce’s purpose-built blog is a good place to start (most of the reviewers seem to be posting their reviews on blogs, but Mark has opened up a post specifically to garner reactions, so it’s worth looking at the comments), or search Twitter for the hashtag #telstradesire – I’m more interested in the apparent controversy about the reviewers collective reputations/integrity, and the whole “social media” experiment that Telstra is conducting.

In no particular order, my thoughts:

  • I think Telstra has come up with a very interesting way of getting attention and reviews, and demonstrates a maturing approach to social media – it’s not perfect but it is fairly well thought-out
  • I haven’t paid much attention to the hashtag on Twitter – i was actually surprised that some were complaining about the “torrent” of Tweets about it – I’m interested in Android devices, but not in Telstra 🙂
  • I know quite of a few of the reviewers (some of them in real life even!) and I don’t believe any of them will be anything but honest in their reviews, and I am capable of making my own “adjustments” for any perceived bias anyway
  • the deal would probably have been less controversial if the devices were to be given back at the end of the review period – any consideration of value gives rise to a suspicion of influence … again, this is a matter of perception rather than reality, but it is real nonetheless (and Mark Pesce is treating it seriously and sensibly, which is great)
  • IF (and I won’t be drawn into an argument about whether this will happen or not), IF there is any “reputational damage” to the reviewers then it is unlikely that it will be enough for me to lose any respect for them – it’s a misdemeanour at worst, not a crime 🙂
  • I AM paying attention to the reviews, because I’m seriously interested in the Android OS (and amused at the unfavourable comments about Telstra’s “customisations” to it)
  • personally (MY stance, which you don’t need to agree with): I didn’t enter the “competition”, and would have refused the review opportunity if it had been offered – maybe I feel my reputation isn’t as secure, maybe I’m over-sensitive … but that’s me