Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yet Another Company Guilty Of "Fixing" Reviews

According to a recent post at the Faith, Fairness, Family, Freedom blog Carbonite, the online backup company, has been posting their own positive reviews to Bruce Goldsteinberg, owner/writer of the F4 blog says he's uncovered several positive reviews that appear to have been written by Carbonite's vice president, senior software engineer and other members of the Carbonite staff.

Those reviews have now been removed from Amazon after the New York Times’ David Pogue posted about them. The added publicity apparently brought them to the attention of Carbonite CEO David Friend who e-mailed Mr Pogue stating:

These ‘reviews’ on Amazon from 2006 should have sourced the authors as Carbonite employees … I will personally see that the reviews are updated to disclose their employment affiliation. Had they been brought to my attention, they would have been removed long ago. We do have a policy about such things. I apologise to anyone who was misled by these postings.

This response raises more questions as Mr. Friend was made aware of the fake reviews as far back as September last year, on a Bits blog post in which Mr. Friend clearly replied to. In an attempt to bait a response Mr. Goldsteinberg used the pseudonym “joe”, to indicated issue he had with the company and that Carbonite employees were posting excellent reviews of their product on Amazon, while not disclosing their positions with the company.

Since Mr. Friend didn't respond to "Joe" and his allegations we can't say for sure that he actually read that single posting. It could be a case of him, or someone from his office, posting a canned response without actually reading the comments. One thing is for sure much like Belkin they've been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

As I stated when Belkin admited to paying for reviews, this happens more often than people think. Don't kid yourself and think it doesn't, or that companies you are using and trust right now don't do the same thing. These few reported instances are meerly cases in which the companies got sloppy and got caught.

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