Updated 10:30 AM ET: Shortly after allegations of fake reviews for the Mate 10 Pro started to pop-up, Huawei responded with the following comment — "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."
Huawei's Mate 10 Pro is slated to make its debut in the U.S. sometime later this month, with the phone currently up for pre-order at Best Buy for $799 (with all purchases coming with a $150 Best Buy gift card).
That's a decent price for what is a great phone in its own right, but Huawei isn't doing itself any favors with its latest marketing tactic. The company asked potential "beta testers" on Facebook to contribute reviews on the Mate 10 Pro's Best Buy listing, asking them to "tell us why you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Beat Buy retail page."
To put things into context, an unreleased phone has an overall customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 on the retailer, with 95% of "customers" recommending the product. The contest ran from January 31 to february 9, and most of the 108 "reviews" of the device are from that time period.
As Alex noted in his review, the Mate 10 Pro has a lot going for it — including class-leading battery life and an excellent camera — so there's really no reason for Huawei to solicit fake reviews in the first place. Some of the fake reviews even feature replies from Huawei's customer care account, which include quotes like, "Thank you for your nice comments on the marvelous Mate 10 Pro."
By soliciting fake reviews, Huawei violated Best Buy's guidelines, as the retailer prohibits "advertisements, "spam" content, or references to other products, offers, or websites." The reviews submitted during the contest window reference all of the above, so it's likely Best Buy will scrub the fake endorsements from its listing.