Rakuten’s (JSD:4755) Kobo e-reader launched in Japan back on July 19th, and even though pre-orders went very well, the initial week or so has not really been a good one for the company. We got in touch with the company to clarify what exactly the problems are, and they passed along this statement from Ted Homma, executive office of the company’s digital content promotion office:
Following the launch of Kobo Touch in Japan we saw a tremendous consumer response. Unfortunately, some users were able to gain access to the system before our official launch timing of 15:00 on July 19th. Users began writing reviews and comments about the service that was not yet ready for public release. We then launched on schedule, but considering the review board had been populated by feedback not relevant to the actual service we decided to temporarily suspend the review board feature, which we felt was not fully reflective of the service at launch time and was misinforming consumers.
However, we understand that we did not meet the high expectations of our loyal customers. We have been listening to their feedback through our customer support center and having been working around the clock to resolve all outstanding issues.
So what can we make of this? It’s hard not to interpret this as being a sort of good news and bad news explanation from the company. First, it’s reassuring that the Kobo is ostensibly back on track, and with a decent explanation of why early users were running into problems. But on the other hand disappearing all those previous user reviews (see Google cache here) into oblivion without any explanation or asterisk on the current Kobo page/site is not going to win the company any transparency awards.
The company points out that this situation is, in a way, unprecedented in that it is dealing with its own product. And if the early reviews were indeed ‘misinforming customers,’ I guess there is a case to be made for doing something about those reviews. In my opinion, however, users do deserve an explanation for what happened to the reviews they submitted.
The post Rakuten Speaks Out About A Difficult Week for Kobo appeared first on Tech in Asia.
Link to full article