Nokia, stop 'reviewing' your own phones

Today, Nokia posted a glowing "review" of the Lumia 620 on its long-running Conversations blog. "Compact, vibrant, and lots of fun," reads the headline. Skimming through, I'm hard pressed to find a single negative comment. "You'd be mistaken in thinking that because a device has 512MB of RAM, it would run slowly and you'd experience a certain amount of lag. However, this isn't the case," claims author Adam Fraser.

Of course you're not going to find any negative comments — the Lumia 620 is made by Nokia.

This isn't the first time Nokia has "reviewed" its own products, nor is it unique within the consumer tech industry: AT&T, Microsoft, and many others post "exclusive hands-ons" and the like of their own products before consumers or members of the media have a chance to use them. They do it because they want to control the message, hand-guide the sentiment around a new product as it comes to market.

And to some degree, they've succeeded. Here's what happens on Google if you search "nokia 620 review" at the time of writing:

Nokia-620-review-google

It's the very first link a would-be buyer, looking for opinions on a phone he or she is considering, is going to see. Even if you think the Lumia 620 is one of the best smartphones ever made — it may very well be, I haven't personally used it — you deserve to hear it and see it from someone who doesn't have a vested interest in seeing it succeed.

Make no mistake, companies have every right to promote their products, cast them in an undyingly positive light, and do what they can to try to get consumers and journalists on board. In fact, if they don't, their marketing and communications teams aren't doing their jobs. Even a self-directed "unboxing" or "hands-on" is fine. But to "review" your own product — to pretend as though you can give a phone of your own creation a fair shake — is a violation of trust with consumers and a gross misuse of the term "review." Indeed, marketing and advertising are fundamentally incompatible with the notion of a review. Don't get me wrong, the Lumia 620 might be great... but that's for you to decide, not Nokia.

Optimally, Google would consider filtering these articles out of Google News altogether, seeing how they're really ads in disguise. Stick to making the best phones and press releases you can, Nokia — but leave the reviewing to us and to your customers.