Some of the actions Belkin is accused of are kind of over the top. Sending reviewers a hand picked or tested and tweaked reviewer sample is pretty much SOP. You don't keep your marketing gig at any company if you sent reviewers a DOA router, or a defective AV receiver, or a car with a loose door handle. That's just SOP to check, and is why Consumer Reports buys their test samples off the shelf from retailers just like a normal consumer.
Whether it's a new-car or car-buildup magazine, computer rag, or stereo hobbyist publication everything reviewed is awesome. Editors and reviewers are well aware that precious advertising dollars aren't "wasted" on publications that bash an advertiser's products. In the audio world one only has to listen to the reviewers in a Bose commercial to see great examples of reviewer double speak. Just as bad I used to be able to predict the winner of many computer product shootouts based on how many covers and center spreads the eventual winner had purchased in the last year. Coincidence?
By far the most egregious accusations toward Belkin are those relating to paying for consumer reviews and using hidden hard wires in a show demo without disclosing it. I'm not sure how effective a 65 cent per positive consumer review system is at garnering positive reviews. How would the reviewer claim and collect? I think employees writing consumer reviews are a far more common tool in at least the technology industry. As for shows I'd be shocked if they didn't hardwire many demos. Can you imagine a couple of hundred devices competing for the same limited wireless spectrum at a show? Nothing would work. But it should be clearly disclosed by signs that hard wiring is in place due to the number of devices present.
I guess my bottom line is that there are few innocents other than the poor consumer.
Last edited by sholling; 01-22-2009 at 11:27 AM.
Family Rm: Samsung 52" LCD, Onkyo TX-NR809, Emotiva XPA2 & XPA-3 amps, PS3, Oppo BDP-93, FIOS HD DVR, Salk Song Tower-RT, Song Ctr-RT, Song Surrounds, SVS PB12-Plus/2, Velo SMS-1, NeoTV 550, Roku 3, Harmony-1
Bedroom: Hitachi 42" LCD, FIOS HDTV, Onkyo TX-NR906, LG BD370, NeoTV550, 3x Sierra-1 NrT (LCR), Boston VRX srds, Hsu ULS-15, SMS-1, Harmony-1
Home Office: Onkyo TX-SR707, 2x EMP E41-B, Emotiva Ultra 12 sub, and a small media server