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Belkin Mea Culpa

Discussion in 'The OT' started by LarryFlowers, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. LarryFlowers

    LarryFlowers New Member

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    When I first saw the article on Engadget, I was sure it would turn out to be a hoax.

    It wasn't.

    Im a blatant example of the lack of corporate ethics, Michael Bayard, a Belkin Business Development representative was apparently hiring people thru Mechanical Turk to post glowing reviews of Belkin products on Amazon and other sites.

    Mark Reynoso, President of Belkin is doing the guilty shuffle and you can read his mea culpa at http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/19/belkin-pleas-for-mercy-over-paid-amazon-reviews-deception/

    I have had good experiences with Belkin products in the past and certainly don't see why someone would take this tack but then we have raised an entire generation of business execs who never took an ethics course.

    Larry
     
  2. WERA689

    WERA689 Well-Known Member

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    This fact is becoming more and more obvious every day. The fact that these people with no conscience are often in positions of power and authority is all the more demoralizing. It is not hard to surmise that this kind of ethically challenged behavior is at the root of many of our current problems; leaving the rest of us to question our future under their influence. Very sad. Very. Sad.:nono2::mad:
     
  3. koji68

    koji68 Icon

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    Don't go overboard. If you look at the current curriculum of most business schools they all have ethics courses. There are always rotten apples in any profession or generation.

    I resent older people when they start with the "in my time" song. For that matter I resent younger people when they have similar attitude towards older generation.

    In every decade there have been idiots, crooks, and unscrupulous people as well as smart, hard working and ethical people. I would say that in any time most people fall in the later categories.

    Lets denounce the con artists and the thieves but lets not bunch a whole group of people with them.
     
  4. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

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    Well said, and, with all due respect to Larry, there are plenty of ethics lapses from years past that certainly trump this and many other recent cases. The cries for corporate ethics reform from Washington are nothing more than attempts at appeasing the electorate. Some humans are inherently bad. Most are good. The fact that a few bad apples have made headlines (which is another subject) isn't a reason to classify an entire generation as "bad."
     
  5. Fontano

    Fontano Godfather

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    Not trying to defend the actions, but as for anwser to why someone would take this tack:

    Which is worse:

    Companies hring people to post POSITVE rankings, marks for their products
    or
    Companies hiring people to post NEGATIVE reviews and rankings, on their competitors products.

    We know both significantly occur.
    Would ethics reforms go both ways?

    Look no further then Ebay, Amazon, even the Apple App Store.
    Anywhere they allow you to anonmously post comments, the potential for the problem (in either direction) is there.
     
  6. WERA689

    WERA689 Well-Known Member

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    Points taken, guys; but I'm not sure Larry nor I really meant to take in an entire generation with our comments. You have to admit that the list of high level corporate corruption seems longer now than at any time that I can remember. I'm in my 50's, and I can't recall a list like:
    Enron
    Adelphia
    Sell-seat-in-congress-ovich
    Bernie Madoff
    the guy that crashed his plane the other day
    the guy that disappeared just today with 3.5 million of others' money
    the list goes on...

    since the days of Al Capone. The problem is that these greedy bastards are operating essentially unsupervised and unrestricted. Worse, they are getting very creative in dreaming up new ways to steal us blind...Enron is the perfect example of this.

    Further, these crooks are from my/our generation, not the 'new guard'. I think that we're afraid that they will learn the lessons taught by these pioneering thieves. I hope we're wrong, and I hope that the environment that allows such greed to run amok sees sweeping change soon. Obviously, our economy needs integrity to function properly; and it needs to re-instilled as a top priority in our society and economy.

    I'm sure Larry will be along to further, and more eloquently, express my thoughts.
     
  7. Fontano

    Fontano Godfather

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    I know that this isn't your point, but should we really be discussing:

    Al Capone & Enron it the same breath as someone who hired people to post postive comments about their products? Not the most kosher way to advertise but I would have a bigger issue if they where hiring people to trash their competitors with false information.

    What this guy did is the business world equivilent of asking your friends to talk you up to that person you have your eye on. Its not like he embezzled the pension of thousands of employees and caused the stock market to swing drastically in one direction, or hired hit man to kill people buing the other guys product.

    Lets keep it in perspective a bit.
     
  8. WERA689

    WERA689 Well-Known Member

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    Again, point taken. I still think that all these things point to a systemic failure of the ethics gland.;)
     
  9. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

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    Ford Pinto
    Chinese (and other) sweatshops
    Asbestos coverups
    Pete Rose
    DC Lobbying
    Pay to Play

    This time it's different because it's happening now and it's fresh in our minds (and being beaten into us by the media like never before).
    :bonk1: :bonk1: :bonk1: :bonk1:

    Have a little faith in humanity, guys.
     
  10. LarryFlowers

    LarryFlowers New Member

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    Since the 70's in particular, we have seen a complete breakdown in the ethical structure of our companies. Someone mentioned the Ford Pinto... the ethics of allowing people to die becasue it was cheaper than fixing the problem is an excellent example.

    The Banking industry in my lifetime has been the source of two major ethics scandals, REIT's (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and theSavings & Loan(taxpayer cost $160B) and now Mortgage($250B and climbing).

    This generation of "businessmen" cannot see farther than the next quarterly report. Their stock returns are all that matter and who or what they damage in the long haul is "someone else's problem".

    Get in, make a killing and get out is their mantra.

    The influence of business on Government has become so blatant that almost anything you want can be had for a price in Washington.

    Is there anyone alive in the 70's who waited in lines for gasoline who didn't know then and there that we couldn't continue our reliance on oil, particularly foreign oil? Dealing with it then would have so changed our history, but it would have been "unprofitable" for certain businesses.

    Are there ethical executives out there? Yes, look at someone like S. Truett Cathy founder of Chick Fil A restaurants. The problem is the lack of ethics exhibited by the companies capable of doing the most damage... Banking, Insurance, Oil, Energy, etc.,

    These are companies who have led the charge of de-regulation and turned around and proved they can't be trusted.

    In a way, technology is to partly to be blamed, the enormous computerized communication level of the financial industry allows things to happen so fast they can be hard to spot until it is too late. Techno-billionaires and the quick rise to fame and fortune are responsible for extremely high expectations of stockholders.

    I don't know what the answer is but we need a crop of businessleaders who make long term plans. Men and women with the vision and ability to make investments in research and development that takes years to pay off and show stockholders why it needs to be. Men and women who understand the value of long term employees as corporate assests not to be randomly discarded, along with their experience, in favor of a cheaper work force. Men and women with the ability to take old hands and meld them with new hands, bringing experience and a fresh look together in common goal.

    We also are in dire need of a government of ethics that can see farther than the next elections, stop patching and start fixing and tell the American people that things aren't good and fixing it is going to be painful in the extreme but will pay off in the end.

    But then, I always was a dreamer...

    Larry
     
  11. curt8403

    curt8403 Hall Of Fame

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    ethics gland? Can you say the word Ethical? see what happened....
     
  12. WERA689

    WERA689 Well-Known Member

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    First, I knew Larry would come along and be more eloquent.

    Second...Curt, that is beautiful. Perfect. Good find.:goodjob::thats:
     
  13. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    Belkin is not that great. Their products are everywhere, in all the big box stores, etc. but there are much much better alternatives to just about every one of their products if you look around online.
     
  14. curt8403

    curt8403 Hall Of Fame

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    the website for said comic is userfriendly.org
     
  15. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    Indian...
    What prompts you to say this? I have several Belkin Wireless G adapters and have had no trouble with them. OTOH, I have a Netgear USB Wireless adapter that causes my small form factor computer to reboot. No such trouble with a Belkin on the same computer.
    Belkin cables are equally as good as any others. I can't vouch for their routers or Wireless N products, but when I worked in consumer electronics, I never had a customer complaint about any Belkin product.
     
  16. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    I have had bad luck with their products and many are expensive for what they are (cases, screen protectors, etc.).

    All I am saying is that there are better options for the money usually, Belkin just makes all sorts of stuff and is in big box stores and thus has large sales numbers and consumer loyalty.
     
  17. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Note that I'm not defending Belkin here...

    but aren't paid endorsements essentially the same thing?

    Is it really more wrong for Belkin to pay some anonymous guy to post on Amazon that he likes their product than it would be to pay Clint Eastwood to be in a commercial stating how awesome they are?

    There's probably a fine line in there somewhere... but does anyone really believe that all paid endorsers on TV actually use and like the product on a regular basis?

    And on the sliding scale of deceipt... I would have a different opinion if they were paying people to say "our stuff is safe" than I would just saying "our stuff is nice".
     
  18. WERA689

    WERA689 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think there is a huge difference between paid endorsers and the subterfuge perpetrated by Belkin. Paid endorsers, and even the more popular paid 'voice-overs' (think Mazda and Dr McDreamy) are clearly nothing more than a public spokesman for a product. Well, actually, Patrick Dempsey DOES race Mazdas, so that analogy may not hold. How about George Clooney and Budweiser? Well, that's feasible, too...hmmm...

    The viral spreading of utterly bogus 'reviews' of products that the writers have probably never seen or used is simply deceit in its' purest form. Accountability is the key here. Anonymously spreading fabricated information and representing it as factual experience is a very different animal indeed. These reviews are solicited by their hosts as a means of providing potential customers with valid information about a product based on their experiences with it. The placement of a paid fabrication and representing it as one of those actual experiences is simply dishonest and deliberately and willfully misleading.

    To me, the bigger question is "Why did Belkin feel the need to indulge in this kind of deceit?" And that is another question altogether.
     
  19. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    Indian...
    IMHO the guy who started this paid endorsement offer should be fired. It's not enough that Belkin has apologized (for being caught?) and taken steps to remove the endorsements wherever they're found. The company's reputation has taken a hit because of this act.
     

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