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Belkin's President Apologizes For Faked Reviews

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the genuine-naugahyde dept.

Businesses 137

remove office writes "After I wrote about how Belkin's Amazon.com sales rep Mike Bayard had been paying for fake reviews of his company's products using Mechanical Turk, hundreds of readers across the Web expressed their outrage. As a result of the online outcry, Belkin's president Mark Reynoso has issued a statement apologizing and saying that 'this is an isolated incident' and that 'Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this.' Amazon moved swiftly to remove several reviews on Belkin products it believed were fraudulent. But now fresh evidence of astroturfing has surfaced, by the same Belkin executive."

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Ah, yes, Belkin... (5, Informative)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527607)

...the same folks that gave us the spam router [theregister.co.uk] . Why am I not surprised?

Re:Ah, yes, Belkin... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527683)

"Ok, Cowboy, you do her first. Remember the plan," she heard the
still- unnamed leader speak. Kathleen felt the bag being removed from
over her body, and she was pulled around on the car seat until her
legs extended far out into the middle of the car and her back was
against the backrest of the huge seat. She struggled, but could not
loosen the handcuffs or move the blindfold. Suddenly she felt the
nightshirt ripped from her body. She screamed through the gag, but the
man only chuckled. He looked down at her nearly prone, naked form.

Long, slender legs led to a pair of wide, but not too wide,
hips.

Her femininity was covered by a fine patch of curly brown
hair. A trim waist and tummy led to what was perhaps Kathleen's
proudest asset. Her large breasts seemed almost out of place on her
otherwise petite frame. She had been embarrassed when they first
started sprouting while she was just in sixth grade. Through junior
and senior high, they continued to grow, until now she went through
life with a 37D bra size. They were perfectly conical, with large
pronounced areoles and thick, prominent nipples. They heaved with fear
now, the nipples erecting in the cool air, not through any sexual
excitement that Kathleen felt. Her slim neck and long brown hair framed
an attractive, though not extremely beautiful face. Around the gag her
lips compressed.

The man named Cowboy quickly dropped his slacks. Kathleen felt
him reach between her legs and probe her vagina, feeling the dry
fingers invade her most private areas. He wormed two fingers around
and around, trying to stir her up. She squirmed at his touch, trying
to move away, but found it impossible as one other man held her
tightly by the shoulders. The next thing she felt was a large, erect
cock poking at the entrance to her vagina.

She tried to clamp her leg together, but could not. She felt a
pair of hands grab each ankle and slip some sort of smooth, cool rope
around them and tie them apart to opposite ends of the car's interior
width. The cock at her slit pushed itself it slowly, and Kathleen was
aghast to find herself becoming stimulated at this situation. Slowly,
then faster, the cock began to pick up speed, thrusting in and out,
not roughly, but with greater force than she had ever encouraged with
her husband. HER HUSBAND!! Suddenly Kathleen froze.

What would CmdrTaco be able to do about this? He was 10,000
miles away.

How could he help? She groaned inwardly. She endured several
more minutes of the thick male member invading her channel. Then,
though the haze, she heard the leader speak once again.

"OK, enough already. Finish it off!" he said gruffly. Abruptly
Kathleen felt the pounding stop and the penis was withdrawn. She was
puzzled.

Seconds ticked by. She though she could hear a light slapping
noise a few inches away, and was completely at a loss. Then it
happened.

SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT.

Kathleen was horrified to feel the wet splashing on her face
and cheeks. She could taste the wet saltiness on her upper lip. "HE
CAME ON MY FACE!" she thought, shuddering at it. The white streams of
Erik's ejaculate slowly dripped from her, dropping slowly and wetly
onto the upper slopes of her breasts.

Kathleen had never, ever, allowed any man to do that. On
occasion, she would perform oral sex for CmdrTaco, and at his
insistence, allow him to ejaculate in her mouth, but always had a
tissue ready to spit the semen into. She thought it distasteful and
disgusting. And now, a complete stranger had raped her and ejaculated
all over her face. She could feel herself blush and redden at the
thought. She felt, rather than saw, the flashes of light and noise
that indicated a camera going off. "OH GOD, They've taken my picture!"
she thought, horrified.

She had no time for grief, though, as another hard penis was
attacking her, and again Kathleen felt the tremors of excitement start
to build.

Her vagina gave her away, slickly lubing the passage of the
cock as it thrust in and out. Her clitoris began to quiver and quake,
and Kathleen allowed a small orgasm to pass. The man noticed it.

"Hey, Bruno, I think the bitch just came. I think she's
beginning to like it," he grunted. "Now the leader had a name -
Bruno," she thought.

Kathleen wondered if this rapist would end the same way Erik
had. She awaited the sudden emptiness in her pussy, wondering when it
would come. She didn't have long to wait. Again, one second there was
a hard, slick cock moving quickly through her hot channel. And the
next second it was gone. She felt the presence of the man move up her
body this time, and again heard the light slapping noise, but this
time she knew what it was - the man was masturbating to climax.

She waited - five seconds, ten seconds. Her breath caught. 20
seconds.

Then she heard a grunt. "Oh fuck here it comes," she heard the
voice say.

Then SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLATSPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT... SPLAT
the cum rained down on her features again, mixing and mingling with
that of the first man.

This discharge was more copious, Kathleen could feel the hot
streams hitting her distinctly. This one seemed to draw great pleasure
from spraying his semen on her. Kathleen thanked God for the mask and
gag, or she was sure her eyes would be covered in it, and her mouth,
awash. Even as it was, she could feel it pooling around her lips where
they encircled the ball gag. The sperm dripped down each cheek and her
chin and slowly dribbled down her forehead.

She knew it was even in her hair and ears. Kathleen groaned
again.

Again, the flash of a camera jolted her back to reality. Now
they had pictures of her with two successive discharges of sperm on
her. The third penis began it's work. This one was larger than the
other two, larger than any Kathleen had ever felt. It pushed it's way
roughly into her being, thrusting and bulling towards her stomach.
Kathleen felt waves of revulsion begin to roil around her as the
reality of her situation struck her.

She had been kidnapped from her home, assaulted repeatedly in
a car, and was being driven God knows where. Her husband wouldn't even
know about it until at least tomorrow night when he called, and even
then the fact that that phone had been cut off may not alarm him at
all. Kathleen shuddered.

This time, the cock did not last long. "Remove the gag," a
voice said.

Hands quickly pulled the device from her mouth. Kathleen drew
in a deep breath, tasting the rapidly cooling semen from her two
rapists. She momentarily forgot that the cock had just withdrawn from
her. Before she could close her mouth in alarm, two great jets of
sperm flew into it, choking her with surprise and alarm. She quickly
clamped her lips down. "Don't swallow," the voice hissed in her ear.
Kathleen had no intention of doing that! Strangely, no more sperm
landed on her. "Open up again." Kathleen didn't move her lips. "Open
up." This time, Kathleen felt a cold round tube pressing into her side,
just below her armpit. "OHGOD A GUN" she quaked. She slowly opened her
lips. A small pool of white liquid grew at the base of her jaw. She
waited. Then, in quick succession, three jets of sperm flew from the
cock held just inches from her mouth, and splattered noisily into her
mouth and lips. Others dripped and dropped onto her face. It seemed
like the man would never finish. Kathleen counted seven complete
streams of semen flying into her mouth and face.

"OK, now hold it like that. One more for the picture album. "

Kathleen felt a strong hand grasp her jaw, holding her mouth
open. The camera whirred and clicked, flashing away in the dim light
of the car. "Now swallow. And learn," Bruno said. Kathleen shook her
head, mumbling, "No, no, don't make me do that," as best she could.
The gun barrel pushed farther into her side.

Kathleen realized that these people meant what they said. She
closed her lips and tilted her face down. She felt the sperm pool at
the front of her mouth.

Then she steeled herself, and swallowed. It didn't all go down
the first time. She had to swallow again. The liquid tasted salty,
slightly bitter, like strong starchy sea water. Kathleen reddened and
blushed again.

"Good. Get used to it. It may be the staple of your diet for a
while."

Re:Ah, yes, Belkin... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527737)

How is Belkin even relevant anymore? Overpriced products, shitty service and unethical business practices make this a horrible company.

Re:Ah, yes, Belkin... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26530011)

Yes. I'm sure he is very sorry he got caught.

isn't the statement contraditroy? (5, Insightful)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527611)

"Belkin does not participate in . . . unethical practices like this."
paraphrase: We don't do what we just did.

It's 7:22AM CST... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527771)

And the media verbal fellatio of Obama has crescendoed to a whole new level. Since we're being told constantly that MLK, Jr.'s dream has now been realized, I'm wondering if we can now dispense with the constantly-moving target called Affirmative Action. You know, since we've reached true equality and all, race-based preferential treatment should no longer be required...

Re:It's 7:22AM CST... (-1, Offtopic)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529087)

And the media verbal fellatio of Obama has crescendoed to a whole new level. Since we're being told constantly that MLK, Jr.'s dream has now been realized, I'm wondering if we can now dispense with the constantly-moving target called Affirmative Action. You know, since we've reached true equality and all, race-based preferential treatment should no longer be required...

Actually, this rather dashes MLK's "dream". As I recall, it made reference to people getting along based on who they were, not the color of their skin. I pretty strongly Obama got elected most likely because he's black (and not even full-blooded black). He's a media darling who will never, ever be able to do wrong.

Also of note: He campaigned on a platform of "change" (the sort of change is left unspecified, but it's Change, dammit!). However, if you will notice, he has a strong penchant for selecting former Clinton administration figures for his appointments.

Change indeed. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527777)

It's like how Microsoft doesn't participate in anticompetitve behavior.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529197)

Yeah, but at least M$ got results...

Belkin is still just a poorly polished turd.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (2, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527875)

"Belkin does not participate in . . . unethical practices like this." paraphrase: We don't do what we just did.

It's more "the guy that did this was breaking our rules".

Of course I've heard that some companies set policies/targets that can't be realistically met without breaking the rules so they can shift blame from themselves to any individuals who fail to follow the 11th commandment ("thou shalt not get caught"), no idea if that might be the case here... probably only if this keeps happening, I guess.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (3, Insightful)

sedmonds (94908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527991)

Like many businesses these days, the "unethical practice" isn't the underhanded, slimy, douchebaggery. The unethical practice referred to is getting caught. Anything it takes to raise short-term stock prices!

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (5, Insightful)

Mechanik (104328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528157)

"Belkin does not participate in . . . unethical practices like this."

Emphasis mine. His statement doesn't preclude them participating in other unethical practices.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529809)

"Belkin does not participate in . . . unethical practices like this."

Emphasis mine. His statement doesn't preclude them participating in other unethical practices.

Nor does his statement preclude participating in exactly this unethical practice; just others like it.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530429)

Or, by saying "like this", they mean "and getting caught".

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (2, Interesting)

Cyner (267154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528219)

My company will not tollerate unethical behavior and proactively prevents it. We don't just "not participate", I'd be instantly fired for something like this.

Does not participate != Will not tollerate. That's a big difference!

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528643)

TOLERATE

Learn to spell, cumstain.

Re:isn't the statement contraditroy? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530263)

It's the first rule of PR: If a company/political canidate/etc says they are not doing something or will stop doing something, it means they do it using a middleman.

Belkin doesn't do it. Now, if this guy types up a favorable review to his own product and has his brother push send, that's something else...

I've never used belkin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527659)

Because they suck huge ass [goatse.fr] .

In other news, niggers.

Re:I've never used belkin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527693)

Nice honeymoon snaps. I bet they take pride of place in the Grand Dragons home.

This is why scruples are good (5, Interesting)

Mr.Zuka (166632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527677)

We've seen this over and over recently for companies and politics. Some underling gets caught doing underhanded stuff, the company/government hang them out to dry, then it comes to light they knew about it the whole time.
Just remember this the next time your boss asks for something ethically questionable but says they will take full responsibility.

Re:This is why scruples are good (5, Interesting)

thue (121682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527873)

But Belkin has not even hung him dry. They have not fired the guy, as far as I can tell.

Re:This is why scruples are good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528793)

But Belkin has not even hung him dry. They have not fired the guy, as far as I can tell.

What the fuck, who's product do I have to say sucks to get a guy fired around here?!?

Re:This is why scruples are good (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528027)

That why if you are doing something that seems ethically questionable make sure there is paper work to back it up. Even an email from your boss saying its OK we will handle it. Prevents you from getting hung out to dry.

But for most cases it is more of the sin of not doing anything to stop unethical behavior from the underlings who are fighting for their way up.

Some sales middle manager, trying to boost his amazon sales pays people to write good reviews, he didn't ask for permission. However after a couple of weeks upper management finds this out. The don't formally promote this, or tell others to do the same... However the sin is that they didn't do anything to stop it quickly.

Remember it is easy to talk about ethics when you are not benefiting from the breaking of ethics. However if you are benefiting from it it takes a really big person to stop it. Remember the name of the ethics watch dog of the early 2000's Mr. Spitzer then found doing some unethical things himself.

We really need some reward system for companies and government who follow good ethics, and stop bad ethics in their company early and deal with it responsibility. The problem now stopping bad ethics early will still look bad to your company and they will fail to get the benefit of the unethical behavior. But if we can find a fair reward system for good ethics and dealing with problems where the company can benefit from this then you will see real ethics. Not because we make bad people good. Just because it pays better to be good then bad.
In time we will have good ethics being a norm, but it will take work and find the business equivalent of Heaven and Hell, where good behavior gets rewarded and bad gets punished. Right now we only punish bad behavior so it makes it a case of lets not get caught. By putting a reward system in place then we can have people going out of their way to be good (and proving it)

Re:This is why scruples are good (2, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528159)

That why if you are doing something that seems ethically questionable make sure there is paper work to back it up. Even an email from your boss saying its OK we will handle it. Prevents you from getting hung out to dry.

Or, ya know, just don't do that thing.

If something seems ethically questionable, there's more than one person out there that will find it wrong. Just don't do it. There are other ways to "get to the top" rather than having to cheat your way up there.

A different opinion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529059)

Generally, it has been my experience that if you insist that the person asking you to do something questionable (be it unethical or just foolish), he/she will usually verbally concede, but after that you'll never hear about the matter again. Many managers are careful not to put themselves in any position where they can't take credit for successes and scapegoat the failures. As soon as you introduce any sort of accountability assurances into the process, they usually balk.

Now, let's say they don't. Is it better to not be a part of unethical behavior? Or is it better to raise your concerns and then do what you're told, knowing that you have a get-out-of-jail-free card (paper trail) if things go awry? It's really up to the individual.

I prefer to go with Option 2 because I kind of view it as expediting the natural selection process. Sooner or later their actions will raise some eyebrows, and I feel better knowing that when it happens, there is someone like me who has irrefutable proof that this went on and was sanctioned by the company.

That said, it's also a good idea to move on to a less ethically-challenged organization.

Re:This is why scruples are good (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530185)

There are other ways to "get to the top" rather than having to cheat your way up there.

That's right. You can also buy your way to the top or whore your way to the top.

Re:This is why scruples are good (3, Insightful)

deKernel (65640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528559)

To be honest, there is already a "reward" system in-place. It is to both not buy from the company that is acting in a questionable fashion AND write a letter or send an email letting them know why you are not buying their product. The last action is just as important as the first in that you are letting them know why they are not getting a sale out of you.

The system might not have the immediate gratification, but it does work in the long run.

Re:This is why scruples are good (3, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528705)

We really need some reward system for companies and government who follow good ethics, and stop bad ethics in their company early and deal with it responsibility

That's easy... start an ethic certification process... similar to the ISO certifications...

The company develops an ethics plan then pays you thousands to audit and certify them.

If you play your cards right no one will want to be stuck doing business with a company that isn't certifiably ethical, nor will consumers want to buy from one... and you'll get rich in the process.

Selling your approval... now THATS Capitalism.

Re:This is why scruples are good (1)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529687)

"That why if you are doing something that seems ethically questionable make sure there is paper work to back it up. Even an email from your boss saying its OK we will handle it. Prevents you from getting hung out to dry." For all we know Mr. Bayard has just such an e-mail. However Mr. Reynoso (8 levels up the food chain) who gave the quote here did not say that Mr. Bayard was the only one responsible, just that it was isolated. Perhaps when the dust settles there will be multiple people involved, ans some have e-mail proving their manager OK'ed the plan.....but the question is will that e-mail spare their job or will they be held just a responsible as the person who told them to do it? A paper trail usually just gets more people into hot water, not you out of it.....

We're not up to the job (2, Interesting)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530463)

We really need some reward system for companies and government who follow good ethics [...] Right now we only punish bad behavior so it makes it a case of lets not get caught. By putting a reward system in place then we can have people going out of their way to be good (and proving it)

Keeping your job and getting the paycheck is the reward. If we really took punishing poor ethics seriously, we wouldn't have the problem. How can you seriously enforce that, though, when you have foxes guarding the henhouse? Can you seriously say you would trust the Congresscritters to be the guardians of good governmental ethics? Therefore, it is really up to us, the voters, and judging by who we send to the Capitol Hill, we're not up to the job.

"I can truthfully say I'm very sorry . . . (5, Funny)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527687)

. . . that you found out. So very, very sorry. Luckily, we've stopped doing it now! So you can stop looking. There's nothing else to find."

"Goddammit, I told you to stop! I'm sorry you found out about this one also!"

Yeah, I'm sorry too, Belkin. After the whole spam router thing I stopped using your products for a few years, but then thought, hey, sometimes people screw up. Mistakes were made, I haven't heard anything bad about them for a while. Why not?

Well, now I know why not. One time is a mistake, two times is a failure to learn, three times is waiting for you to let your guard down to sneak a fast one past again. Won't make that mistake again!

Re:"I can truthfully say I'm very sorry . . . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527883)

After the whole spam router thing I stopped using your products for a few years

I stopped buying their products back when their whole business model was charging 4x the going rate for common PC accessories.

Re:"I can truthfully say I'm very sorry . . . (-1, Offtopic)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530459)

I believe the point your are making can be succinctly made by Bush:

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (3, Interesting)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527703)

I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product: Nostromo SpeedPad n52 [belkin.com]

And while Belkin does not pay me, I can say good things about it. I think it's their most popular product, as it's a big hit with the WoW crowd as well.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527933)

Hey! What's that green paper you just stuck in your pocket!

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527963)

I have one of those as well. I never could get the thumb-D-pad to be worth a damn, but the macro functions were great for Guild Wars.

Rendered it obsolete by getting a Logitech G11 keyboard though. Cheaper and 3x as many macro keys as the G15, all for the cost of giving up a useless LCD!

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (2, Informative)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528217)

You know, if like me you'd got the original G15 and not the updated/downgraded one, you'd have both the huge number of keys and the LCD. When I got mine, I thought the LCD would be useless, but it turns out to be the best part in practice.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (2, Interesting)

Rasit (967850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528605)

When I got mine, I thought the LCD would be useless, but it turns out to be the best part in practice.

Same thing here.

When I broke my G15 I figured I might as well satisfy my do-it-myself itch it and build a detachable miniature lcd display with some basic winamp/media controls.

Just being able to see my mail inbox count or the last lines from PuTTy (perfect during long scripts) while having a fullscreen app running is wonderful.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528229)

I have one and only one Belkin product in my home.

After getting multiple disconnects from my DSL provider, I kept calling and complaining. After several router swaps, DSL modem replacements, and different computers on my end, I pretty well determined that it wasn't my equipment. The phone company stated that it must be a cabling problem. Got a new service drop from the street to the house, then new cable from the outside box to the DSL wall jack. Still had dropouts.

So I decided to replace the Dollar Store phone cable that I had running from the inside jack to the DSL modem with the fanciest $15 Belkin phone cord I could find. It was about the purdiest phone cord I've ever seen.

It performed the same as the dollar store one did.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (-1, Troll)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529597)

You had them run a WHOLE NEW LINE to your house... and you never even tried changing the phone cable?

You, sir, are an asshole.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26530409)

No, sir, the phone company is. They should have been up on it and checked that themselves.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530573)

Actually, the line technician offered after he did a test at the street and said that a test ran clean there, but running at the end of my service line (before it even entered my home) turned up errors.

HE tested my interior cabling and it all checked out. I only replaced the phone cable as a last resort as everything else had been replaced and it still didn't work right. And as noted, it didn't help a bit.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26530713)

I don't understand the point of your story. All of us are smart enough to understand that a cable is a cable. When you were worried your phone cable might be the cause of the problems you were experiencing, you splurged and bought a "premium" cable to replace it. As it turned out, replacing the cable made no difference and the problem existed elsewhere.

How is this the fault of the manufacturer?

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528453)

The next version of that one (with the Razer tie-in) is completely garbage. The D-pad is digital instead of analog; huge mistake, making it completely unusable. It also costs a lot more.

It would make sense if there was astroturfing going on for the forums for that product.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530029)

The n52 has never had an analog d-pad. Although I do prefer my last generation to the newer version.

-Rick

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528601)

Even there Belkin sucks. Saitek makes a better keypad controller in the Cyborg Command Unit [saitek.com] . I have the Pro Gamer Command Unit, which predates this one, but the Cyborg is just a recolour to match the rest of their Cyborg line of input devices.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528731)

I hate 1 Belkin product: F5D8000 WiFi Card/a> [amazon.com]

it is next to impossible to find vista x64 drivers, the card frequently (every 20 minutes or so) drops the connection when using bittorrent.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528765)

Thank you, Mr. Ekim for This interesting link.
I am going to buy this excellent product right now.

R. Wood,
Happy Belkin Customer.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528813)

>I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product
liking a bit of hardware is one thing but enjoying it? That sounds... wrong somehow.

Re:I enjoy at least 1 Belkin product (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530081)

I Love my n52. Couldn't play any number of games with out it now that I'm use to it.

Cables are a rip off, always will be. That $60 gold plated Belkin monitor cable wont work any better than the $5 el-cheapo Walmart special.

-Rick

Is this real or fake like the product reviews? (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527717)

How do we know this was the real President of the company and that it wasn't some actor hired to do a fake apology?

Re:Is this real or fake like the product reviews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528323)

The good thing is that it doesn't really matter. The apology is equally worthless either way. (I know you were kidding. I'm not.)

He gets paid $.65 for every apology he makes! (4, Funny)

arfonrg (81735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528411)

He gets paid $.65 for every apology he makes!

So you are accusing them of: (1)

Reaper9889 (602058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529963)

Hiring a fake to fake a fake apology about fake reviews?

Fool me once.... (4, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527723)

Once could be an "isolated incident". But this is the second big scam involving Belkin, in the wake of the router that basically had built in adware...

Seems to me that Belkin has a culture of corporate corruption over there. The best way to assure us that they have realized their mistake and to correct the problem is for heads to roll. Seems to me they have corrupt management. That needs to go.

Re:Fool me once.... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527987)

Once could be an "isolated incident". But this is the second big scam involving Belkin, in the wake of the router that basically had built in adware...

How many does take to become "policy" or "conspiracy".

Seems to me that Belkin has a culture of corporate corruption over there. The best way to assure us that they have realized their mistake and to correct the problem is for heads to roll.

How could anyone be sure that these were the right heads?

Re:Fool me once.... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528043)

How many does take to become "policy" or "conspiracy".

Three. The first time is happenstance, and the second is coincidence.

Regularly scheduled "isolated incident" (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527741)

They're so full of crap. It's funny how Belkin has "isolated incidents" seemingly several times a year. They obviously have a corporate environment that breeds this sort of thing. I put them on my "evil company, do not buy" permanent list when the news of the spam router came out back in 2003, and haven't bought so much as a cable from them since.

To go with (2, Interesting)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528107)

Regular crappy products. I never entered them on my EVIL company list, because they were already on my "Products don't work as advertised" list.

I had three products of theirs out of the first four I encountered that plain just didn't work as advertised. After that, I marked them "Don't buy".

Re:To go with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529861)

Regular crappy products. I never entered them on my EVIL company list, because they were already on my "Products don't work as advertised" list.

I had three products of theirs out of the first four I encountered that plain just didn't work as advertised. After that, I marked them "Don't buy".

Same here. I worked tech support for years, and the Belkin equipment is notorious for being crap. Granted, you get lemons of all varieties (I won't touch Netgear either) but they charge way too much for bottom of the barrel devices.

(To be fair, I generally recommend people stay away from Linksys unless they understand how to prevent overheating, and avoid Airports unless they really think they have to have matching accessories with their Macs.)

Apology accepted! (3, Insightful)

myram (641949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527795)

Now, where's my money?

Re:Apology accepted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527943)

Fixed for reimbursement compliance:

Apology accepted! Belkin makes great products!!!

Time to start (0, Offtopic)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527841)

Outsourcing my mod points.

Fraud charges? (4, Interesting)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527899)

Is the FTC looking into this? Who's the new head of the FTC in the Obama admin?

Re:Fraud charges? (2, Insightful)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528667)

I don't think fraud means what you think it means.

Re:Fraud charges? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529021)

Is the FTC looking into this?

For what? Hiring paid actors to say good things about a product? I wonder what those marketers will think of next.

Re:Fraud charges? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529661)

> For what? Hiring paid actors to say good things about a product?

False and misleading advertising. They deliberately concealed the fact that these "reviews" were paid ads with the intent that the public be misled into believing that the imaginary reviewers were real people who actually used and liked the product.

Re:Fraud charges? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529985)

> For what? Hiring paid actors to say good things about a product?

False and misleading advertising. They deliberately concealed the fact that these "reviews" were paid ads with the intent that the public be misled into believing that the imaginary reviewers were real people who actually used and liked the product.

Considering it's not the first time [gizmodo.com] someone used Amazon's Mechanican Turk to buy a review, and probably only one of a mountain of other "bought reviews", Belkin would be long out of business by the time they got around to it. (It's an incredibly common event, and happens everywhere. Usually the payment's indirect, though, but not always.)

Heck, you want EA to go sue everyone who gave Spore a negative review because of the DRM? (I'm sure a good portion of them didn't buy the game, and thus others were probably "misled into believing that the imaginary reviewers were real people who used and" hated it.)

Why blame them ? (1, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527905)

People believe what anonymous strangers say on internet about some products. Why does this surprise anyone that companies would put reviews of their own products ? It is not illegal and has the same morality as a regular advertisement IMHO. Read reviews from Ars Technica, from Joe's hardware, reputable sites, but how in heaven does this surprise people that companies do that ? Do you honestly think that Belkin is alone ? What do you think that people in marketing department spend their time on, while idling ?

Re:Why blame them ? (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527955)

It is not illegal and has the same morality as a regular advertisement IMHO.

A regular advertisement is something you know is paid for, so you know it's one big lie-but-not-as-the-FTC-defines-it. The thing with these reviews is that they're actively interfering with the spread of accurate information (note that accurate information is rather critical to the proper functioning of markets), rather than just spewing their own obvious garbage that people can know to ignore.

BECAUSE ITS FRAUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529461)

BECAUSE ITS FRAUD!!!!

Re:Why blame them ? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529561)

> People believe what anonymous strangers say on internet about some products. Why does
> this surprise anyone that companies would put reviews of their own products ? It is not
> illegal...

While it is not likely that any action will be taken over such a trivial thing it is not at all clear that what they did is not illegal.

Re:Why blame them ? (2, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529723)

People believe what anonymous strangers say on internet about some products.

Makes sense, the majority of people are actually nice and honest. No matter how easy cynicism is: we are social animals and *want* to contribute to society, despite having selfish desires, too. Besides the proof is in the pudding: if you use the Amazon review system you get a lot of useful information. Of course you can't just look at the number of stars - if you look at the reviews you see the issues people had, you can also see whether a review is just fluff. If in doubt you can check the author's other reviews and look for bias.

Why does this surprise anyone that companies would put reviews of their own products ?

Does this surprise anyone? I doubt it. Nevertheless only very unethical companies would actually do it, and there is a price to pay (e.g. a lot of negative attention) once they are found out.

[...] has the same morality as a regular advertisement IMHO.

I suspect you are pretty much alone with that view. (Not counting Mike Bayard.)

What do you think that people in marketing department spend their time on, while idling ?

If they are smart they probably don't do somthing which smears their company's reputation and gets them fired or demoted. (Bad performance is a good way to get fired, regardless whether your company is ethical or not...)

Re:Why blame them ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529925)

It's a lie. I don't like liars.

RTFA PLEASE! (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527941)

Ok, look, it is great this story broke and the CEO apologized. But now, the new claims all center around a username that matches this guys real name. Now, it could be legitimate, but this is f'ing slashdot of all places and you are going to immediately accept "well the online nickname matches his real name, it must be him" like the same bunch of morons that sees "Obama caught naked with Bush daughters" in their Inbox and thinks "Well, it must be true, I gotta see this" and clicks on the link. Seriously... I mean...wouldn't it be a pretty good stunt for some internet troll to use that guys name to post positive reviews in light of the original claims? Just because the story didn't gain traction right away doesn't mean other people didn't also know about it before the story DID get widespread coverage.

How the hell is slashdot going to link front page "HAHA caught again" to a damned blog that says "well the user's nickname matches the sales guy, it MUST be him". Now, I'm not even saying it isn't him, it is entirely possible he is that much of a dumbass and I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it was him. However, calling that article "Fresh evidence" is a pretty far stretch. "Suspicious behavior" maybe, but "fresh evidence of wrongdoing" is a bit of that guilty until proven innocent that only seems to be OK when being applied against people you don't like.

Re:RTFA PLEASE! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527999)

Oh, sure. Just go ahead and ruin all of our Belkin-bashing fun with your "logic" and "reason"! Pffft! :-P

Re:RTFA PLEASE! (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529341)

My logical technique...typed on a Logitech keyboard and mouse that I absolutely love. Best product ever!

Link Please (0, Offtopic)

daryl_and_daryl (1005065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528755)

Could you send me the link for the Bush Twins/Obama Pictures. For 'educational' purposes only

So what he REALLY means is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527953)

"I'm sorry we got caught, we won't do it again while people are watching."

In the current economy some might think it's time to astroturf up your product to increase sales a little.

But you damm well better not get caught doing it. Or it's going to hurt quite a bit.

They never do what they just did. (5, Insightful)

riggah (957124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26527967)

Belkin's president Mark Reynoso has issued a statement apologizing and saying that 'this is an isolated incident' and that 'Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this.'

Phew, for a second I thought I was going to have to use some doublethink to convince myself that Belkin didn't do exactly what he just claimed they never do!!!

Mr. Reynoso's apology means nothing. He's only sorry because they were caught; as with most people.

It doesn't matter if they apologize because a business that engages in that sort of unethical behavior will not hesitate to do it again (unless it effects their pocketbooks, in that case they'll just be more careful to not be caught). Once a cheater always a cheater.

FIRE HIM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26527993)

Belkin's Amazon.com sales rep Mike Bayard should be FIRED if he hasn't already.

dispicable! (2, Funny)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528009)

Somebody in the MS Intellectual Property department must be asleep on the job. I could have sworn that that Microsoft had a patent on that particular 'business method'...

unendorsed? I don't think so. (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528041)

'this is an isolated incident' and that 'Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this.'

Excuse me, INAL however I seem to remember when ethics were discussed way back in college that when one acts as an agent of the company, one is acting on behalf of the company in a legal sense. Therefore, since the exec was repeatedly buying reviews I would hardly consider it to be an "isolated incident" (an isolated incident would be asking a friend or neighbor to write up a review in exchange for a round of beers, for example). Also, I would consider that since a Belkin exec was buying those reviews and encouraging this unethical and immoral behavior, it is wholeheartedly officially, if surreptitiously, endorsed by Belkin.

How's that saying go? (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528161)

It's easier to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission?

Why does this feel like exactly that?

I loved this article 5 Stars (5, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528221)

I found this /. article very useful and informative. I road tested it on my iPhone and it exceeded my expectations. It exceeded my expectations and was a lot of fun to use. Works with my hard drive, too.

Five stars.

CDR Taco, where's my 65 cents?

Re:I loved this article 5 Stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528591)

A+++++++++++++ would READ AGAIN

Relevance in the modern market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528249)

Well I suppose the only thing that it says is that they're not really a relevant player in the market anymore so bye bye bu-bu-belkin.

Astroturfers ought to be whupped (0, Offtopic)

abaruz (317111) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528385)

Astroturfers ought to be whupped, and whupped good.

On a completely different subject that yet strangely remains on-topic, has anyone heard of the TOMOS requirements mangement system at ReachSimplicity.com [reachsimplicity.com] ? I've heard tell it's a marvelous way to get your quality assurance on track!

Are Belkin products that bad? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528771)

I don't own any Belkin products except for an 8-way power adapter but really are they that bad a brand? I would have thought a company with the visibility of Belkin would be producing fairly decent equipment which did what it said. No more, no less. They shouldn't need paid shills to boost their products with phony reviews. Shame on them. And if by chance their kit was bad, then there must be far more surreptitious ways to jack up ratings than to publicly pay people on one of Amazon's own services to do so.

Anyway my experience is mostly of Netgear and so far I don't have any complaints about the router or the wifi/firewall/adsl modem that I purchased from them. Everything works exactly as intended which all right by me.

Re:Are Belkin products that bad? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529127)

Other than cables (which are decent, though often overpriced) their products are mostly crap. I remember at my old workplace they'd sell Belkin routers over the technical staff's objections, because they were slightly cheaper than the Linksys or Dlink counterparts. Except that those routers never, ever worked correctly. Every single customer came back and eventually got another model instead, in the end costing the company a lot of money.

Re:Are Belkin products that bad? (1)

ferrgle (945967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530155)

Don't tell me...you work for Netgear!

I wish I knew how to quit you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528897)

I wish I knew how to quit you Belkin.

(and the CAPTCHA is 'unable' go figure)

Belkin DOES condone this behaviour! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529035)

As long as Bayard is getting a paycheque from Belkin, it's clear that they condone his tactics. Why haven't they fired his sorry ass yet?

Reading Between the Lines (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529037)

This was an isolated incident... of getting caught! Oh noes we got caught astroturfing! We're very sorry we got caught and we'll try to avoid having that happen again! We might even fire the guy who got caught as punishment for getting caught. Hopefully his replacement will learn these lessons well and not get caught!

Shillington Labs (1, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529365)

As the CEO of Shillington Labs, I would like to reiterate that uncomfortable situations like this could be completely avoided by using our Product Review Service.

Shillington Labs: Product Reviews, Your Way!

Tell me why astroturfing is unethical (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529415)

Tell me why astroturfing is unethical.

Is it a lazy approach to advertising? Yes, it's lazy. But I'm not fully convinced it's unethical.

Hundreds? (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529747)

hundreds of readers across the Web expressed their outrage

Just hundreds? Hardly worth worrying about then.

Lies. (1)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529955)

Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this.

Given that the first part of this official statement is prima facia a lie -- Belkin DID participate in these unethical practices, as it was an employee, a well-placed employee high up in the managerial chain, who created the reviews in question -- it is reasonable to expect that the entire apologetic statement is not even worth the electrons spent to create it.

Fake reviews and deleted reviews (2, Interesting)

SuperTaro (1457337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26530129)

Fake reviews is a big problem and definitely not unique to Belkin. Beware of another type of dishonest practice: the retaining of good reviews and tossing of poor ones.

I purchased an iRobot Scooba floor-cleaning robot for $450. Quite an investment, but the reviews were all great so I felt the investment was worthwhile. The unit worked well until shortly after the 1-year warranty expired. When I contacted customer service, I was offered a new unit for a $340 but no repair alternative whatsoever.

So I posted a poor review - one which never showed up on their website....

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26530383)

that there are companies planting false reviews of products on Amazon.

Yaaaaaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnn.

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