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Telstra signs up 25 ‘everyday Aussies’ for smartphone review

Telstra has embarked on a social media experiment with the selection of 25 consumers to review the new HTC desire handset.

After it launched the call for reviewers of the Google Android-based smartphone at the start of this month, more than 2000 people responded.  

In the call, the company made clear that it was not expecting only positive reviews of the device, for which it currently has exclusive network rights. Saying it was seeking “everyday people”, it said:

“We are not looking for “yes people” – you don’t have to say nice things about the handset or Telstra to be selected. We are looking for honest reviewers who are happy to participate in robust discussions about their HTC Desire Telstra Next G network experience.”

The project, which focused on those active within social media, was led by Telstra’s Head of Online and Social Media Kristen Boschma and social media adviser Mike Hickinbotham.

Telstra HTC desire Mumbrella

Hickinbotham told Mumbrella: “We thought that 500 responses would be great but we got 2,248 applicants.

“I’ve always thought that traditional blogger outreach programs can have mixed results – treating a blogger like you would a journalist so we wanted to take a different approach.”

Instead they looked to the example of Ford in the US, which lent 100 Festiva cars to socially savvy consumers and asked them to write about them

Boschma added: “We’ve been doing a lot of listening and customer help, but wanted to do something more.”

She said: “We see this as an experiment. There is an element of risk in it but we are prepared to take that risk.”

She said she would be prepared to share what Telstra learns from the project with other Australian companies. She said: “We’re documenting every phase of this program and we are hoping to establish a program we can use for other handsets.”

As well as the interest already generated in the handset, the project has already seen a spike in traffic to Telstra’s Exchange blog.

The project is being careried out in parallel with a more conventional PR canmpaign which sees handsets being given to journalists for review.

After checking out the social media credentials of the applicants, Telstra today named its 25 reviewers.

They are:

Buzz Moody  http://twitter.com/Ausdroid
Elly Hart http://www.twitter.com/ellyhart
Damian Danjanovski http://www.refinedgeek.com
Michael Konarzewski http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/user/202351
Susan Moore http://www.twitter.com/susan_m
Helen Perris http://www.twitter.com/helenperris
Daniel Vuckovic http://www.vooks.net/
Arnold Aranez http://www.twitter.com/mr_gadget
Chelsea Woods http://twitter.com/awhisper
Monique Kleine http://www.vanillasilence.com
David Jackmanson http://twitter.com/djackmanson
Jacky Fan http://twitter.com/JackyAV
Andrew Gillett http://www.twitter.com/digitalbirdy
Sameer Cooshna http://www.twitter.com/zigiprimo
David Olsen http://www.twitter.com/DDsD
Mark Pesce http://twitter.com/mpesce
Jason Jordan http://www.jasonjordan.com.au
Kat Mayo http://www.twitter.com/BookThingo
Casey Glass http://twitter.com/caseyg_
Chris Rowland http://www.twitter.com/rowlch
Stephen Collins http://twitter.com/trib
Wolf Cocklin http://wolfcat.com.au/randomrants
Michael Wheatland http://blog.wheatland.com.au
Stilgherrian http://twitter.com/stilgherrian
Xavier Ho  http://xavierho.com

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