Belkin president - Mark Reynoso has apologized for paying users to post positive reviews of Belkin products. In his letter below, which was posted on the Belkin website over the weekend, Reynoso seeks to regain the trust that Belkin has lost:
Belkin has always held itself to the highest standards of corporate ethics and its employees to the highest standards of personal integrity. Similarly, we support our online user community in discussion and reviews of our products, whether the commentary is good or bad. So, it was with great surprise and dismay when we discovered that one of our employees may have posted a number of queries on the Amazon Mechanical Turk website inviting users to post positive reviews of Belkin products in exchange for payment. Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this. We know that people look to online user reviews for unbiased opinions from fellow users and instances like this challenge the implicit trust that is placed in this interaction. We regard our responsibility to our user community as sacred, and we are extremely sorry that this happened. We want to stress that this is an isolated incident and to re-instill trust with you, we have taken the following courses of action: - We've acted swiftly to remove all associated postings from the Mechanical Turk system. - We're working closely with our online channel partners to ensure that any reviews that may have been placed due to these postings have been removed. It's also important to recognize that our retail partners had no knowledge of, or participation in, these postings. Once again, we apologize for this occurrence, and we will work earnestly to regain the trust we have lost. Sincerely, Mark Reynoso President, Belkin
Chicago documentary film student - Arlen Parsa, broke the Belkin fake product review story in his political blog - The Daily Background, late Friday evening, January 16th. According to Parsa: "I know I usually don’t write about consumer advocacy stuff, but I came across this just recently and it’s pretty beyond the pale and I couldn’t let it go without blogging about it. Here’s the scoop. "Amazon.com runs a side business called Mechanical Turk. It’s a site where people can go, register, and get paid to do little tasks that computers can’t do (like help image filtering software identify graphic search results for example). Users can do any one of thousands of tasks provided by requesters, who pay them a small amount of money in return (usually anywhere between one cent and a couple dollars per task). "I was checking out this website the other day and I made a few bucks by hand-transcribing a few videos. But then I came across this:" "Users are paid 65 cents for every positive review they leave. There are dozens of these requests from this Mike Bayard guy on Mechanical Turk. "Sounds like somebody reallllllllly wants this item to get high ratings. So what is the product? The link is to an Amazon.com listing for a Belkin router which has consistently gotten bad reviews in the past from users who say that the product is loaded with Bugs, goes on & off whenever it feels like, and comes at a hefty price. "So, who is this Mike Baynard guy, and why is he willing to pay people to rate up these apparently poor quality Belkin routers? I’ll give you just one guess:" Belkin website: Update on Fake Belkin Product Reviews Read more updates regarding the Belkin pay for positive reviews story: Another tech company gets caught astroturfing reviews Quick update on the Belkin story Another anonymous person, claiming to be a former Belkin employee, weighs in Additional coverage of the Belkin product reviews story Second High Level Belkin Employee Implicated in Wide-Ranging Review Fraud Belkin Whistleblower Alleges Systemic Wrongdoing: "This Only Scratches the Surface" Fresh evidence suggests Belkin’s Amazon sales Rep was engaged in more unethical activities Belkin’s President Responds to The Daily Background Report About Faked Product Reviews I’m waiting for an official comment from Belkin Exclusive: Belkin’s Development Rep is Hiring People to Write Fake Positive Amazon Reviews Related stories: Belkin fake reviews case raises broad questions about peer ratings Belkin President Disavows Fake User Review Offers
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