Belkin Busted For Buying Bogus Reviews [UPDATED X2]

I’m sure you’ve all seen customer reviews on various shopping sites on the web such as Best Buy. I’ve always approached them with some amount of suspicion because I’ve always wondered how real they are. Thanks to The Daily Background, I have come to the conclusion that these reviews can’t be trusted.

The story goes something like this. Belkin Business Development Representative Michael Bayard apparently publicly posted to Mechanical Turk that his company would pay 65 cents for every positive review customers left on Bayard also urged those same users to then mark any negative Amazon reviews as “unhelpful.”

If this were the 1950’s this would be a payola scheme, and would be very much illegal. In this case, it’s not illegal but makes Belkin look really, really bad. Perhaps after this incident it should be illegal to post bogus reviews?

Belkin has since issued an apology, but that doesn’t make the bad taste in my mouth go away. It’s bad enough that I can’t trust the user reviews on shopping websites. But now I will second guess any desire to purchase Belkin product as they are now considered to be suspect in my mind after reading this. After all, a good product shouldn’t need the help of a scheme like this to sell like hotcakes.

Does anyone else feel that way?

UPDATE: There appears to be evidence that this practise is more widespread than previously thought. If I wasn’t going to avoid Belkin products before, I will now.

UPDATE #2: A unnamed Belkin employee is spilling the beans on Belkin’s shady activities.

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