Seemingly out nowhere, Consumer Reports positioned itself at the center of the iPhone 4 antenna controversy when it removed its “Recommended” rating from the iPhone citing reception issues. Next, and seemingly as if Consumer Reports was a part of the biblical cannon, folks became even more enraged at Apple’s latest product, and Senator Charles Schumer of NY was inexplicably compelled to write a letter to Steve Jobs demanding Apple come up with a iPhone 4 fix.
So what’s the big deal? Isn’t that what Consumer Reports is supposed to do, test products and report their findings? Surely there’s nothing wrong with that.
And there isn’t, but over the past week or two, CR’s stance and articles on the iPhone 4 seemed solely directed at attracting more attention and driving more eyeballs to their website. And you know things are bad when even TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who’s an admitted Android fanboy, can see through the pageview generating tactics.
But suddenly Consumer Reports is crazy for the link bait. This iPhone 4 antenna problem has them going absolutely batshit crazy, and nearly every day they’re firing off a new set of recommendations, or demands, that conflict with the old recommendations and demands.
I would like to say this is just process journalism and applaud it. But they actually seem completely schizophrenic. It’s not a process, it’s chaos theory.
The best parts are the constant updates to all the old articles where they try to justify all of their conflicting justifications simultaneously.
July 2: “iPhone 4′s supposed signal woes aren’t unique, and may not be serious”
July 3: “iPhone 4 signal debate rages; we experience signal loss in some calls”
July 12: “Consumer Reports can’t recommend the iPhone 4,” adding “Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be pretty, but it works.”
July 13: “Why Apple—and not its customers—should fix the iPhone 4″ (what happened to the duct tape?)
July 14: Forget the duct tape! “Apple’s Bumper case alleviates the iPhone 4 signal-loss problem”
Those inconsistencies aside, CR’s entire ranking seems out of whack when the iPhone 4 doesn’t receive a “recommended” rating yet still checks in as CR’s highest rated smartphone out on the market.
And adding to the ridiculousness, Consumer Reports still can’t give the iPhone 4 a “recommended” rating even with Apple’s recent decision to hand out free Bumper cases to all iPhone 4 owners. That’s fine and all, but if CR’s standards are so high, why bother writing an article talking about how users should use duct tape to alleviate the issue? Why take the time to pen a piece about how Apple needs to fix this problem? Why take the time to write more than one article about the story when the iPhone 4 was never destined to receive a “recommended” rating from Consumer Reports in the first place? Page views, my friend. Page views. And sure, that ad money might be nice, but for a publication that millions of folks rely on for serious purchasing decisions, it’s a little disheartening to see them play the same sort of link-bait game typically employed by the likes of Gawker.