Allow us to quickly bring you up to speed: The Daily Background did a bit of digging when it came across some ads on Mechanical Turk offering to compensate people for writing positive reviews about Belkin products, as well as up-voting pro-Belkin comments. What did the digging uncover? A Belkin rep on the Business Development / eCommerce team posted the ads. Busted. Now that you have all the background you need, enjoy a snippet from Belkin President Mark Reynoso’s response:
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.
Who does crisis control for these guys? Throwing Michael Bayard out to the wolves and trying to pass this off as the actions of a single employee is definitely not the way to go. We only hope that Bayard doesn’t become more of a scapegoat here – the odds are fairly good that he had management’s approval for this ‘campaign’ as you can be sure he wasn’t reimbursing participants out of his pocket. Either way, Bayard is going to have a pretty big stain on his resume as a result of this scandal. Lucky for him, some crazy bongo drummer still holds the top few spots on a Google search with his name.