Protest Erupts Over Belkin's Bogus Reviews

Dennis Faas's picture

Popular network hardware producer Belkin is facing some serious flak this week after an employee told the media that the company has often paid Amazon reviewers to post positive fan-fare for its products.

The outcry started this past weekend, when The Daily Background's Arlen Parsa reported the case of one Michael Bayard, who -- according to the Background -- had posted requests to Belkin's company website The Mechanical Turk searching for anyone willing to write a positive product review, regardless of whether or not they had actually tried out the device.

According to Parsa and the Background, Bayard was found saying things like, "Write as if you own the product and are using it," and "Thank the website for making you such a great deal. Mark any other negative reviews as 'not helpful' once you post yours."

Thankfully, crime doesn't seem to pay, at least, not much. Bayard offered about 65 cents for each falsified review, leading one to wonder why the heck anyone thought this was worth the hassle.

With tech sites like CrunchGear, Gizmodo, and Slashdot distributing the news, Parsa's story has created quite the uproar. So much so, that by Sunday Belkin president Mark Reynoso was concerned enough to recognize the slip-up and apologize for Bayard's behavior. He assured consumers that Belkin would "work earnestly to regain the trust we have lost." (Source:

However, although Reynoso did his best to convince readers that "Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this," an anonymous employee has suggested otherwise.

In a note to Gizmodo, the unnamed employee writes (among other things), "While never mentioned in an "official" policy, for years it has been pressed upon ALL Belkin employees to do whatever is needed to get good product reviews and good press. Everything from sending blog writers a device with custom firmware that hides known bugs yet claiming it to be official release firmware, faking hardware logo certifications (specifically Apple and MSFT), releasing blatantly inaccurate data from test results making our devices look superior to others, to placing "tailored" reviews of our products into places visible to consumers (as reported Amazon, etc), as well as writing poor reviews of competitors products." (Source:

As if a recession wasn't bad enough for business, it seems some companies remain intent on self-destruction.

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