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Belkin's President Apologizes For Faked Reviews 137

Posted by kdawson
from the genuine-naugahyde dept.
remove office writes "After I wrote about how Belkin's Amazon.com sales rep Mike Bayard had been paying for fake reviews of his company's products using Mechanical Turk, hundreds of readers across the Web expressed their outrage. As a result of the online outcry, Belkin's president Mark Reynoso has issued a statement apologizing and saying that 'this is an isolated incident' and that 'Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this.' Amazon moved swiftly to remove several reviews on Belkin products it believed were fraudulent. But now fresh evidence of astroturfing has surfaced, by the same Belkin executive."
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Belkin's President Apologizes For Faked Reviews

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  • by Mr.Zuka (166632) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:15AM (#26527677)

    We've seen this over and over recently for companies and politics. Some underling gets caught doing underhanded stuff, the company/government hang them out to dry, then it comes to light they knew about it the whole time.
    Just remember this the next time your boss asks for something ethically questionable but says they will take full responsibility.

  • by SupremoMan (912191) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:18AM (#26527703)

    I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product: Nostromo SpeedPad n52 [belkin.com]

    And while Belkin does not pay me, I can say good things about it. I think it's their most popular product, as it's a big hit with the WoW crowd as well.

  • by thue (121682) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:36AM (#26527873) Homepage

    But Belkin has not even hung him dry. They have not fired the guy, as far as I can tell.

  • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:36AM (#26527875) Homepage Journal

    "Belkin does not participate in . . . unethical practices like this." paraphrase: We don't do what we just did.

    It's more "the guy that did this was breaking our rules".

    Of course I've heard that some companies set policies/targets that can't be realistically met without breaking the rules so they can shift blame from themselves to any individuals who fail to follow the 11th commandment ("thou shalt not get caught"), no idea if that might be the case here... probably only if this keeps happening, I guess.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:37AM (#26527883)

    After the whole spam router thing I stopped using your products for a few years

    I stopped buying their products back when their whole business model was charging 4x the going rate for common PC accessories.

  • Fraud charges? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:39AM (#26527899)
    Is the FTC looking into this? Who's the new head of the FTC in the Obama admin?
  • Why blame them ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:40AM (#26527905) Journal
    People believe what anonymous strangers say on internet about some products. Why does this surprise anyone that companies would put reviews of their own products ? It is not illegal and has the same morality as a regular advertisement IMHO. Read reviews from Ars Technica, from Joe's hardware, reputable sites, but how in heaven does this surprise people that companies do that ? Do you honestly think that Belkin is alone ? What do you think that people in marketing department spend their time on, while idling ?
  • To go with (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mycroft_514 (701676) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:03AM (#26528107) Journal

    Regular crappy products. I never entered them on my EVIL company list, because they were already on my "Products don't work as advertised" list.

    I had three products of theirs out of the first four I encountered that plain just didn't work as advertised. After that, I marked them "Don't buy".

  • by Cyner (267154) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:16AM (#26528219) Homepage

    My company will not tollerate unethical behavior and proactively prevents it. We don't just "not participate", I'd be instantly fired for something like this.

    Does not participate != Will not tollerate. That's a big difference!

  • by Rasit (967850) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:50AM (#26528605)

    When I got mine, I thought the LCD would be useless, but it turns out to be the best part in practice.

    Same thing here.

    When I broke my G15 I figured I might as well satisfy my do-it-myself itch it and build a detachable miniature lcd display with some basic winamp/media controls.

    Just being able to see my mail inbox count or the last lines from PuTTy (perfect during long scripts) while having a fullscreen app running is wonderful.

  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:59AM (#26528705) Homepage

    We really need some reward system for companies and government who follow good ethics, and stop bad ethics in their company early and deal with it responsibility

    That's easy... start an ethic certification process... similar to the ISO certifications...

    The company develops an ethics plan then pays you thousands to audit and certify them.

    If you play your cards right no one will want to be stuck doing business with a company that isn't certifiably ethical, nor will consumers want to buy from one... and you'll get rich in the process.

    Selling your approval... now THATS Capitalism.

  • by SuperTaro (1457337) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @12:38PM (#26530129)
    Fake reviews is a big problem and definitely not unique to Belkin. Beware of another type of dishonest practice: the retaining of good reviews and tossing of poor ones.

    I purchased an iRobot Scooba floor-cleaning robot for $450. Quite an investment, but the reviews were all great so I felt the investment was worthwhile. The unit worked well until shortly after the 1-year warranty expired. When I contacted customer service, I was offered a new unit for a $340 but no repair alternative whatsoever.

    So I posted a poor review - one which never showed up on their website....
  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:00PM (#26530463)

    We really need some reward system for companies and government who follow good ethics [...] Right now we only punish bad behavior so it makes it a case of lets not get caught. By putting a reward system in place then we can have people going out of their way to be good (and proving it)

    Keeping your job and getting the paycheck is the reward. If we really took punishing poor ethics seriously, we wouldn't have the problem. How can you seriously enforce that, though, when you have foxes guarding the henhouse? Can you seriously say you would trust the Congresscritters to be the guardians of good governmental ethics? Therefore, it is really up to us, the voters, and judging by who we send to the Capitol Hill, we're not up to the job.

  • Re: Quick Karma (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Douglas Goodall (992917) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:51AM (#26541987) Homepage
    I started to do some contracting work for a telecom startup in Rohnert Park. I showed up to find out what I needed to do and what tools I would have to buy to perform my job. They balked when I sounded like I expected them to purchase a license for my development system seat, and wanted to give me some CDRs instead. I declined and invested the first month's wages in my own licensed copy of the compiler involved.

    The next time I went in, they offered me a pirated copy of the latest update to QEMM. I said no thanks, went home, and my wife ordered me a copy of the software from Ingram Micro. Several days later I started to hear the bad news. The development manager had gone around the company and updated every desktop machine in the place with a single unprotected floppy. The next day, each machine as it was turned on started erasing all files on the hard disk, deltree c:\*.* /S style. This development manager couldn't quite believe what he was seeing so he went around and turned on each and every machine in the place and watched while they creamed themselves, one after the next.

    The moral of this story is obvious. I was working for the guy and he insisted that I take the QEMM floppy home with me. I admit I did, but I threw it away when I got home. He called me in a panic Saturday morning with a sad story and asked if I had used the software. I can not say whether he was happy for me or not when I said I had not and had just ordered a clean copy.

    So this is not about covering your ass with an email or a letter. It is about doing the right things for the right reasons and being able to see quickly thereafter the benefits of honesty. I cannot say who this company was because I signed an NDA, but you would recognize the name if I told you. I am not perfect. I have made mistakes. I have sinned in my life. But by this time I had learned some and was straight arrow about software licensing. I still am and have not to this day downloaded any MP3 music that violates copyrights. People don't understand my position about this, and I can only try to lead by example. But this story about the QEMM floppy that spread the virus and destroyed every desktop in the corporation is one hundred percent true, I swear it. On a Bible.

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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