Huawei’s trading Mate 10 Pros for reviews that shouldn’t even exist

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Sarah Tew/CNET
Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro goes on sale in the US this Sunday, and it’s already getting rave reviews from customers over on Best Buy’s site. Wait, what?The company in a private Facebook group offered people the opportunity to “beta test” the premium Mate 10 Pro in exchange for five-star reviews on Best Buy, reports 9 to 5 Google.Screenshots from Facebook, shared by the publication, show Huawei Mobile telling the page’s 60,000 members to “Tell us how to why [sic] you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy retail page” in exchange for an opportunity to get the device early. The phone currently has 108 customer reviews on Best Buy, with an average score of 4.9/5.A “smart” review.
Screenshot by Jennifer Bisset/CNET
The reviews mostly speculated on the phone’s quality, rather than confirming it, since, y’know, it’s not been released in the US yet. “Can’t wait to have this phone,” one review read, “this is the one I’ve been waiting for… and my favorite feature us [sic] the new Leica co-engineered dual camera that will make all your family and friends jealous.”

A followup screenshot showed nine members of the group announced as becoming official participants of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s “user tests.” “We believe there is confusion around a recent social media post reaching out to recruit new beta testers,” a Huawei spokesperson said. “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.”

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It may be a tactic borne out of desperation: This time last month, Huawei was expected to announce at CES that the Mate 10 Pro would be sold through AT&T. This would be big for Huawei — a company that’s selling well in China and Europe, but has yet to find success in the US — as 90 percent of phone purchases in the US come through carriers. But it wasn’t to be: AT&T pulled out of the deal before CES. Later in January, it was revealed that Verizon put the kibosh on a similar deal out of political pressure.Huawei and Best Buy have been contacted for comment.

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