The president of Belkin has apologised after it emerged that the company had hired people to write fake reviews on consumer web sites.
The apology came after it was revealed that a Belkin employee had placed an advert on Amazon's Mechanical Turk jobs site asking for people prepared to write positive reviews about Belkin products.
Reviewers would be paid 65 cents to write reviews on sites like Amazon.com giving Belkin products high ratings and marking poor reviews as unhelpful.
"It was with great surprise and dismay when we discovered that one of our employees may have posted a number of queries on the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site inviting users to post positive reviews of Belkin products in exchange for payment," said Belkin president Mark Reynoso in a statement.
"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."
Reynoso explained that Belkin is now working with web sites thought to have been targeted by the employee to remove the bogus reviews, and has withdrawn the advert on Mechanical Turk.
The company has not released any details of the current job status of the employee who posted the advert.
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