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Tag Archives | Belkin
More scuttlebutt continues to emerge in the case of the glowing reviews for Belkin products that turned out to be written by a glowing-review mill set up by a Belkin employee. The Daily Background, which broke the story in the first place, has found evidence that the Belkin staffer who was apparently behind the scam was also publishing favorable reviews under multiple accounts. And Gizmodo has published an incendiary e-mail, supposedly from an ex-Belkin employee, that charges the company with making crummy products and then engaging in an array of sleazy practices, including posting negative reviews of competitors’ products, engaging in rigged demos at trade shows, supplying bloggers with products that sported custom, non-standard firmware, and paying off magazines to publish favorable reviews.
I have no information on whether any or all of the charges in the Gizmodo letter are true, but my instinct is to be skeptical about the notion of Belkin (or any company) paying magazines for positive coverage. When I worked at PC World, Belkin networking equipment sometimes performed well in our tests; I hope it goes without saying that we said we liked it because we did like it.
Much of the coverage I’ve seen of Belkingate, including comments here on Technologizer, has been from jaded folks who have said that lots of companies game user-review systems, and therefore user reviews simply don’t provide reliable advice. (Speaking of PC World, here’s a story it published after I left investigating the issue.) Time for a quick T-Poll–feel free to leave further thoughts in comments:
Belkin president Mark Reynoso has issued a statement in response to the discovery yesterday that one of its employees was paying people sixty-five cents to post fraudelent favorable user reviews on Amazon.com, Buy.com, and Newegg. The gist of the statement: Belkin didn’t know it was happening, it’s sorry it happened, it’s undoing the damage, and it won’t happen again. It’s appropriately humble, but you’d hope that Belkin is doing one more thing, whether it chooses to disclose so or not: Terminating the staffer who came up with this brilliant idea. I think most every consumer would agree that you don’t want other employees at other companies thinking it’s possible to play these sorts of games and get away with it…
This is still a story in progress, but it looks just horrible: The Daily Background is reporting that a Belkin employee has been using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk piecework service to pay people to post fake positive reviews of Belkin products on Amazon, Newegg, and Buy.com for the princely sum of sixty-five cents per review. (From appearances, the gent behind the scheme isn’t too bright, since anyone who rummaged around in Mechanical Turk could uncover his plotting.) Belkin hasn’t yet responded; maybe there’s more here than meets the eye, and it’s certainly possible that the Belkin staffer in question is a renegade who’s violating corporate policy.
Assuming that the situation is as it appears to be, you gotta hope that Belkin will go to extraordinary means to make clear that what’s going on is profoundly unacceptable. And that it’s humiliated to such a degree that other companies that do this or contemplate doing this–and there are surely more than a few–get scared enough that they steer clear of lying to their customers in order to drum up business.