Readers typically balk at vendor-sponsored content thinking that it will be automatically partial to the company backing it or it'll have that play-it-safe sterile feel to it that takes away more than it gives. Such is not the case with TheFeature, a site sponsored by Nokia making sense of the fast and complex world of mobile technologies and trends. Nokia's hands-off relationship with the site's content gives the editors complete autonomy. Among the site's members is Douglas Rushkoff, who recently wrote:
As a writer for TheFeature, I have to say I've been impressed by Nokia's hands-off relationship with the content of this site. We've all written quite negatively about certain aspects of the industry, and even Nokia itself, and never heard negative feedback from anyone at Nokia - or even been subjected to any censorship. On the other hand, I've had stories altered and killed because they have spoken against the corporate interests behind supposedly credible and disinterested publications from Time magazine and NBC to the New York Times.
How does TheFeature pay back Nokia? I suppose it's only in the long run. By creating and supporting a critical and informed wireless culture, Nokia creates and expands its own market. By making TheFeature an authoritative source of wireless industry information, Nokia establishes itself as the home for solutions to complex problems.
But, most of all, by funding a project such as this and then standing back - and I mean all the way back - Nokia demonstrates that they have faith in their own ability to stand up to the test of time and of truth. It's actually a rather daring project - not a cynical marketing ploy at all.