Microsoft and Nokia have been linked to the posting of astroturfing comments on a negative Nokia Lumia review.
The review of the Nokia Lumia 800, posted on the Indian Web site Moneylife.in, was based on the technical specifications rather than hands-on experience with the Windows Phone device. The review concluded that "Although Nokia sees its Lumia 800 to be a competitor to Apple iPhone [sic], it is nowhere near the niche product. In fact compared with iPhone, the Lumia 800 can be termed as 'noPhone'."
Many commenters were unhappy with the review. However, the tenor of the comments attracted the attention of Yogesh Sapkale, the review's author, who described what he saw as "orchestrated pile of comments."
The first comment came from someone named "Harish":
"What an crap review!! it's one of the best phone available, iphone is so dumb compared to this.... Guess some one is paying you lumpsum, congrats.."
Sapkale said the IP address associated with the comment was 22.214.171.124, which is assigned to Nokia.
Another comment, from someone named Aditya Agrawa, addresses a question of RAM:
"dude, gone are the times when actual consumers just use to care about the technical specificiations of mobiles. today, people want devices which are beauitful, fast and easy-to-use. for most of the consumers, it does not matter if the phone has 512mb or 1gb ram. if the 512mb performs better in real-life, that't the one customers are gonna prefer. just a small advice , go to a store and use windows phone 7.5 for 10 mins, the last thing you will care is whether the phone has a single or a dual core."
Sapkale said Agrawa's comment originated from 126.96.36.199, an IP address assigned to Microsoft.
Microsoft told CNET it was looking in to the matter.
"We encourage all employees to be transparent in online communications," a Microsoft representative said in a statement. "We are currently looking into the specifics of this situation."
Nokia representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Taken altogether, the whole episode is a disaster. Two companies are accused--by the author of a product review who never touched the device--of efforts to boost the profile of their product without acknowledging their association to it.
But more troubling is the fact that the author of the review thought so little of his readers' privacy that he looked up and published their e-mail and IP addresses to satisfy his own curiosity and need for vindication.
Who was more wrong?
Updated at 1:25 p.m. PT December 21 with Microsoft comment.
[Via The Guardian]