The president of Belkin has disavowed the actions of an employee who apparently offered to pay for positive user reviews of the company’s products-and for marking negative reviews as “unhelpful.”
“Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this,” Mark Reynoso wrote in a letter that appears on Belkin’s Web site.
Reynoso’s letter responded to a screenshot, which first appeared on a blog called The Daily Background, showing an offer on Amazon Mechanical Turk to pay for favorable user reviews and “unhelpful” ratings of negative reviews. (Mechanical Turk is a site where you can hire people to do menial computer grunt work that computers can’t do, like identifying alphanumeric codes to prove that you’re not a computer.) The offer came from one Mike Bayard, identified in his Linked In profile (also shown in a screenshot) as a Belkin business development representative.
Daily Background said it found “dozens” of these offers from Bayard.
Reynoso’s letter describes the series of offers as “an isolated incident” and says Belkin was working to remove the offers and any reviews that may have appeared in response to them. No word from Belkin on Bayard’s fate.
We’ve written about fake user reviews before, but I was struck by the part about paying to mark negative reviews as unhelpful. That’s really low.