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Source: "The Consumerist [consumerist.com]"
("The Consumerist's parent company, Consumer Media LLC, is a subsidiary of Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports..." - About Us [consumermediallc.org])
Belkin Caught Paying For Positive Reviews
Jan. 18, 2009
"Belkin Business Development Representative Michael Bayard has been caught offering to pay anyone willing to leave perfect reviews of Belkin products on Amazon, Buy.com, and Newegg. Even worse, the highly unethical strategy seems to have worked—almost fifteen pages worth of Belkin products on Amazon have perfect five-star ratings.
"Bayard brazenly hosted the fraud using Amazon's own Mechanical Turk...
I've long heard rumors of faux-positive reviews on Amazon.com but never gave them much credence because I (mistakenly, apparently) thought reviewers actually had to buy that product through Amazon.com before they could post a review about it. So I've routinely evaluated products by their reviews. Until now.
Methinks I'll skip that Belkin surge protector I was just eyeballing, with its whopping 102 5-star (out of 121 total) "perfect reviews" ...
As it stands, I've never been disappointed in any Belkin product I've purchased in the past, so I'll probably go on buying their stuff if I need it. (And no, I wasn't paid to say that! ;) )
A certain UK consumer magazine (no names no pack drill)routinely "tests" products at random. When they make a basic mistake as happened to us a few years ago when they compared a steam generator iron unfavourably to a cheapo 5.99 special, the manufacturer is not allowed to come back and attempt to put things right. These people should be closed down, tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. (whatever that means)
My advice is don't listen to other people's opinions; make your own mind up. In the UK the current consumer legislation, particularly the odious "distance selling directive" is heavily biased against the supplier so you should have no problems returning things if they don't live up to the manufacturer's claims.
But you know how when you're sitting around a lunch table at work, you easily hear/ask about someone's new whatchamacallit, or someone else's whatta-piece-of-junk whatzit? Well, for this work-at-home geek, reviewers are akin to those chatty coworkers, some with opinions you value, and others you wish would just hushtheheckup:)
So I admit I review the reviews, both the positive and the negative. And often times I learn more about the product than the manufacturer-proffered descriptions provide. I also rate items (on Amazon.com & AmazonFresh.com -- a local service for me) using the 'stars' system, but haven't actually written a review.
Nice thing is, the majority of Amazon-sold items I've bought over the past few years have been as good or better than their average reviews.
(All except for one brand of organic candy sucker (w/ all-natural, healthy ingredients, etc.). All flavors rated tops, scores of people oohing and ahhing... To which I say: Hrrmph. From myself, to my mom and her two sisters (who'll eat anything sweet), to my sister (who's admittedly picky), to my husband (who'll eat anything), and his male coworkers (ditto) -- I couldn't give 'em away. They were uniformly despised; four different flavors literally thrown away after a few licks. Those all-glowing reviews... Real or fake? I wonder...)
The trick? Don't get caught :)
You've got that right. Thing is, a lot of rigged reviews are not for companies or products that need to fake them. What they are after is review placement, prominence....It's just a marketing tool. They've got good products but are looking for every edge to get the business. Rigged reviews are so rampant that there is no need to be a part of pumping up a bad product. Not that that does not go on as well, but I would consider more of a secondary sidebar.