How do most companies die? They continually shoot themselves in the foot. So ends the once prestigious Consumer Reports, the magazine for shoppers with an attitude. The Consumer Union publication lost its way and succumbed, not to the internet, or better publications, but to its own vanity and ill mannered, illogical, and factually deficient reviews.
Through the years, Consumer Reports has been a haven for seemingly unbiased, reasonable product reviews. In their quest for continued glory in the face of the faceless internet reviews by the millions, CR decided to seek publicity first, and deal with facts later (not even second).
My case in point started with Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 4 a couple of years ago. Remember Antennagate? Not many iPhone users remember the so-called antenna problems the iPhone was supposed to have, because the phone actually had better reception than most other phones.
Consumer Reports couldn’t recommend the iPhone 4 because of their belief that a reception problem existed when it really didn’t. They refused to apply the same standard to other phones and suffered loss of prestige and reputation.
The most popular smart phone in the history of mankind, Apple’s iPhone, couldn’t be recommended by Consumer Reports.
Along comes the new iPad. It’s warm. What does Consumer Reports say? The new iPad was hot. Hot I tell you. Or, rather, a little warm. You know, warmer than last year’s model.
Consumer Reports doesn’t stand as an island. They have competition, particularly from tech journals online. Other tests showed the new iPad to be a little warmer than the earlier iPad model, but cooler than many popular Android tablets.
Why did Consumer Reports jump out in front of Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna reception? Because the company sensed a wave of publicity. But it backfired. They shot themselves in the foot.
And they did it again with the new iPad. Hot? Or, merely incidentally warm, but a non-issue since every other device can get similarly warm? Consumer Reports failed to stick with the facts on Apple’s iPhone, and failed again with the iPad.
It’s sad to see Consumer Reports end like this; shouting like a crazed fool to anyone who will listen (or, read) to their noise about the sky falling in. It’s not. Except maybe for Consumer Reports.
UPDATE – Maybe we bloggers have more influence than we think. As of April 2nd, 2012, Consumer Reports has issued a recall on their initial iPad review. Now the new iPad is tops.
Where’s the retraction for the iPhone 4, CR?