Last fall I was contacted by Andy Abramson to see if I was interested in checking out a new Nokia Nseries Symbian Series 60 smartphone. Andy is the founder of
the Comunicano PR agency (they do much more than PR and are an asymmetrical marketing company) and also a daily podcaster and co-host of the World Tech Roundup daily show. Andy said that he was starting up a new Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations program where they would be sending out Nseries devices to about 50 bloggers for evaluation. The program was quite unique in that there the devices were sent to the bloggers with a return FedEx label and desire that the bloggers would give the units an honest evaluation and talk about the devices, but no review was required. This was actually quite a risky plan since gadget freaks like me generally push the limits of mobile devices and are very honest about features, bugs, strengths and shortfalls and if the devices sucked then we would all let the world know about it. As it happens, the Nseries devices are actually quite amazing and powerful devices and the missing features, like the vibration mode of the Nokia N90, were quickly pointed out in reviews like mine where I actually did not award a Geek.com pick to the device just because they sent me one to evaluate. Strengths and other features are also emphasized in blog postings. I personally have found some extremely valuable tips in the different blog sites. For example, I found out how to sync the Nokia N90 with my Mac and also how to use the new Nokia music syncing application.
A website for each device was setup by Comunicano and there are now sites for the Nokia N90, Nokia N70, and Nokia N91. As you can read on each of these blogs there is some great honest feedback that is posted on the devices, which I think gives potential buyers all they need to make educated purchases. There are also many thoughts on how the devices can be used in the real world. This new approach to distributing products to small enthusiast blogs seems to have paid off as discussed in a recent Washington Post article that states the Nseries Blogger Relations program helped contribute to a 43 percent profit boost for Nokia last quarter. I think potential buyers like the fact that they can read some honest reviews on devices that cut to the chase and didn't just give a positive review to keep relations good between Nokia and the blogger. Even though bloggers detailed issues with the devices, Nokia kept sending new Nseries devices out to the blogger for evaluation purposes in hopes that the device would be talked about. The buzz created by bloggers can have an incredible impact in the community and I am sure we'll see more use of this method in the future.