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Belkin Employee Offers Cash for Positive Reviews

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments

A recent report on the Daily Background suggests that a Belkin employee has been paying consumers for reviews on Amazon.com.

The Daily Background noticed a listing on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site looking for people to write 100 percent positive reviews for a Belkin router (which had been getting pretty crappy genuine reviews), give it 5/5 and mark other negative reviews as not helpful. The request was posted by a man named Mike Bayard, who also happens to be Business Development Rep at Belkin International and in charge of “Sales of Belkin products to major .com accounts such as Amazon.com." Oh dear.

Belkin released an official statement to the Daily Background saying it was an isolated incident and the company was very surprised ("great surprise and dismay") to hear an employee may have posted a number of ads on Mechanical Turk inviting users to post positive reviews of Belkin products in exchange for payment. President, Mark Reynoso, went on to say that Belkin does not participate in practices like that and has taken action removed any fake postings as well as all listings from Mechanical Turk. Amazon has also taken action to remove the postings.

Paying for reviews aside, The DB says it’s received an anonymous tip hinting Mr. Bayard might have multiple accounts on Amazon (including one under his own name) and be writing a few positive reviews of his own.

This is a story that’s getting a lot of attention from tech sites. When you’re reviewing a product, there’s nothing more annoying than someone suggesting you were paid off by the company’s PR team or the manufacturer. We’re also a little annoyed on behalf of Belkin. One look at the article listing on digg.com and you’ll see more than a few comments dissing the company itself, despite the fact that Belkin had no knowledge of the situation at all. Let’s hope Amazon and Belkin sort this mess out because paying for reviews is one of the dirtiest tricks in the book.

Check out The Daily Background for the full story.

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  • 0 Hide
    Silluete , January 19, 2009 6:59 PM
    what a dirty moves
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , January 19, 2009 8:59 PM
    Nearly all major companies do this. They buy reviews. It shouldn't really be a shock that they would try other methods to sway public opinion. I think most Americans have the common sense to know most review sites are paid for good reviews. This is actually a pretty creative way to promote your product.
  • 1 Hide
    curnel_D , January 19, 2009 9:16 PM
    Just another form of advertising. This isnt a rare thing. Notice how Belkin does ease everyone's minds by saying they'd taken action against the employee involved? This is because that's what he was ordered to do. No employee in their right mind is going to pay cash out of pocket to consumers so that their companies single product gets a good review.
  • 3 Hide
    cctchristensen , January 19, 2009 9:38 PM
    curnel_DNo employee in their right mind is going to pay cash out of pocket to consumers so that their companies single product gets a good review.


    If you're the Business Development Rep, it would motivate you to pay out of pocket to keep your job if your "legitimate" methods didn't work. Not saying what he did was right, but he just took his job home.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 19, 2009 10:33 PM
    happens all the time, and I agree with above reviews!

    Generally these guys are the reason that the salesmarket is all messed up,and people seldomly trust a salesperson anymore.

    People who abuse the system, only cause consumers to be more brand-aware.

    Maybe not the getting payed for good reviews, but the absurd reviews on major sales sites like newegg and Musiciansfriend,to name a few, happen all the time.
    Musiciansfriend actually goes a step beyond, and only posts reviews that can not harm/improve sales.
    Usually the negative points are either cut out, or left in if they know it doesn't affect a lot of people (like: "item arrived with scratches", "Item was in terrible shape"(knowing that one with little knowledge can fine-tune it in 5 minutes), or when it's about broken items that they know is a single case.

    If there's an item with serious flaws, musiciansfriend will not post negative review that describe true device issues or flaws in details.

    I've already passed many detailed reviews that where true, and that reflect how I experience certain items after 3 to 6 months use;which often differ from the first purchase impressions.

    usually upon release of a new item, the first 3 posts are either from a salesperson, or from a factory reviewer. Reviews like "Works 100%perfect", "great device,must have",and "I wished the powercord was 3ft instead of 5ft" are the most useless and often most overlooked by me.

    Either way; some 'DOA', or 'just a piece of crap'-reviews,without additional info are also pretty useless.

    Things like false reviews happen all the time; many times by people saying they tested the device in the store,or had a quick look at the box, but never really used one, or/and don't really own one.
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , January 19, 2009 11:08 PM
    Darn, I wrote a good review for a Bulkin power strip and didn't get paid.
  • 1 Hide
    ravenware , January 19, 2009 11:12 PM
    Well I generally jump to the bad reviews for a product anyway.

    If am interested in a product I don't really give a crap about someones positive opinion, I want to know what's wrong with it.

    Newegg has something that I thought was a pretty good idea, They let manufacturers reply to bad reviews. In addition to that they have have info displaying whether the reviewer purchased the item through newegg.com or not, makes it easier to tell if it is a genuine review and not someone blowing smoke.
  • 0 Hide
    garydale , January 20, 2009 6:28 PM
    Given my past experience with Belkin products, it doesn't surprise me that some people within their organization may find it necessary to resort to shady practises to push their products.