Belkin caught soliciting paid product reviews, apologizes | iLounge News

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Belkin caught soliciting paid product reviews, apologizes

Mike Bayard, a Business Development Representative for Belkin, was revealed to have solicited paid positive reviews for the company’s products on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site, prompting a public apology from president Mark Reynoso. The original Amazon posting, which has since been removed—along with all possibly fraudulent reviews—promised $0.65 for each review. The reviews were to give as high a rating as possible, with instructions to “write as if you own the product and are using it,” and mark any negative reviews as “not helpful.” Following a Daily Background story exposing the Mechanical Turk posting, Belkin posted this response from Reynoso:

“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”

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Comments

1

oops! 

I’m sure this happens all the time though, on all the online sites where reviews are posted.

Posted by jeff on January 19, 2009 at 5:03 PM (CST)

2

This article is not at all helpful. Ehem. I said this article is not helpful! Belkin?!

Posted by John on January 19, 2009 at 5:21 PM (CST)

3

If Belkin is so appalled at this isolated incident and had no knowledge of this then they should have immediately fired Mr. Bayard for his actions. Not dismissing the very person responsible for this does not exactly “re-install my trust” in this company.

Posted by Surya on January 19, 2009 at 5:39 PM (CST)

4

Surya,

We don’t know what actions Belkin took towards their employee and frankly it is none of your business!  What was important was that Belkin addressed and acted on this issue and they did. Is it necessary to have a public hanging to satisfy you hunger for blood? The fact that their CEO made a public statement stating their corporate policy towards these type of actions and how they will deal with them should be enough to answer the publics questions.

Posted by Jim on January 19, 2009 at 8:13 PM (CST)

5

i found comment number #4 quite unhelpful. can i have 65 cents please?

/of course it is our business
//this comment is fraudulent

Posted by mike in boston or toronto on January 19, 2009 at 8:19 PM (CST)

6

And in related news, Belkin today announced the appointment of Dick Cheney as Vice President in Charge of Marketing.

Posted by zyzyzyzyzyzyx on January 20, 2009 at 12:30 AM (CST)

7

Jim,

You must be joking, are you serious? It’s none of my business? If I’m a customer of Belkin’s then it’s LITERALLY MY BUSINESS!!!!!!

This is not a “hunger for blood”. Let’s not exaggerate please. Anyone that goes to work for a company is made to read, understand and sign a code of conduct for said business. Just like you can’t sexually harrass someone at work, I’d imagine that at Belkin you’d be fired for stealing, lying, disclosing confidential information, etc.

Besides, it doesn’t mean the job is lost forever. It opens up the job for someone else so there’s no need for bloodshed, if you’re so worried about that.

Posted by Surya on January 20, 2009 at 7:30 AM (CST)

8

While you think it is your business, Surya, whether or not this guy was fired is a private human resources matter. I imagine he probably was fired and for the reasons you stated. However, Belkin would not be able to publicly comment on this unless there was an agreement between them allowing such comment. The guy apparently wasn’t a high level executive, maybe a misguided minion and he probably wouldn’t agree to such a public statement…though the damage has already been done. His name is out there for all future employers to see.

Posted by Kathy on January 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM (CST)

9

Once a company’s employee engages in an act that seriously violates the public’s trust, the public has an interest in knowing the fate of that employee—namely, that the person will no longer be involved in the company’s communications activities. Belkin may be required to treat this as a private matter, however, you can’t blame people for wanting to know whether the company has stopped the person and all related policies from doing further harm.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM (CST)

10

To posters 4 and 8 - I actually work in human resources and I can tell you that there should be no issue informing the public whether they fired this guy. There are many arbitration-proven actions under which an employee can be immediately dismissed, and engaging in fraudulent activities that could seriously undermine a companys reputation is one of them. It would go a long way toward restoring the public’s confidence in Belkin if they made it known to all that they do not tolerate such behaviour.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2009 at 9:52 PM (CST)

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