by Arlen Parsa
Update: Belkin’s President has responded to this report here.
I just put in a call to Belkin’s PR chief, Melody Chalaban regarding my piece about Belkin’s online sales rep paying people to write false reviews of their products. I hope to find out whether or not it is an official company policy to hire people to write fake reviews, or if the employee who is doing it is acting on his own and paying people out of his own pocket.
I’ll post updates whenever warranted.
Update: After my original item was published, Amazon.com has quietly deleted four recent (and presumably fake) five star reviews of one of the Belkin products that Mr Bayard was paying people 65 cents to review positively. We’ll see what else happens.
Update 2: The plot thickens. Here’s a bit more info I’ve found out. As recently as January 9th, according to a Google cache from that day, this router was listed at 216 dollars, with an average rating of less than two stars. All of a sudden around the same time that Mr Bayard started his activities, the price dropped to just $69, a reduction of $150 (second Google cache).
What does this mean? It looks like this thing wasn’t selling well and was way over-priced (were they making over $150 of profit on it?), so Mr Bayard lowered the price dramatically and started paying people to post positive reviews of it. Still, this wasn’t a one-time-only deal however, as his requests for similar astroturfing for different products on other websites indicates…
Update 3: We’ll learn more relatively soon, I’m told.