Serious questions are being asked today about the integrity of Belkin management and the quality of their products after a Belkin staff member claimed to a US web site that the products manufactured by Belkin were “junk”.
The revelations came after it was revealed that the Company had been paying consumers for favourable products reviews and comments.
In Australia the Company appears to be struggling with Belkin insiders telling ChannelNews that several people have recently been laid off and that the Company has cut back on their entire OEM and distributor relationship team.
Also axed were two product managers. It has also been revealed that whereas in the past Harvey Norman was Belkin’s #1 account, the Woolworths owned Dick Smith is now Belkin’s main retailer.
Earlier this week it was revealed that an executive at Belkin in the USA was writing and pasting reviews to web sites such as AOL.com. (See yesterdays story re the posting of fake reviews).
It was also revealed that the Company has been paying consumers $1 to write positive comments on online web sites in an effort to win customers over.
Now an anonymous employee has written to online web site RealTech New claiming that a recent survey had been conducted of Belkin staff and the conclusion of several staff was that the products were not of a high standard.
He said that the products “are such junk, when an internal survey was done, it was found that the majority of Belkin employees purchased competitors products for home use, even with ours being offered free, as they are of such poor quality”.
Now questions are being raised as to whom in senior management knew about the practise of posting fake reviews.
According to the tipster who is an employee of Belkin, the company had made it an “unofficial” policy for all Belkin employees to do whatever is necessary to get good product reviews and good press for products.
When Belkin’s president Mark Reynoso apologized profusely yesterday over the way a Belkin Business Development representative was using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to post glowing reviews, there was no mention as to which senior management knew of the practise. Neither has the employee been stood down during an investigation of the reviews saga.
What SmartHouse does know is that Belkin does engage in taking cheap made in China products and re packaging those using leading industrial designers to dress up the products to look like premium products.
A classic example is their routers and media player accessories. Shortly after Belkin acquired the Las Angeles based Company the International Design Group I was taken on a tour of their inner design sanctum in LA where average looking products were being re designed and re packaged.
At the time the Company admitted that a “pretty ordinary product” could be re packaged and be highly successful in-store because of the packaging re design.
Executives admitted that several of the products were extremely low cost to manufacture but because of the packaging and the “perception” that they were “quality” Belkin was able to significantly lift sales.
A classic example they said was when they repacked some existing Belkin products that had initially been sold in Belkin red, and grey packaging to the new design sales went up as much as 200%.
In recent tests ChannelNews and SmartHouse struggled to get some of the Belkin products to perform. A classic example was their iPod FM tuners which in most cases failed to work properly in Metropolitan areas.
However they worked okay during a trip between capital cities where there was no interference.
After we ran these poor reviews and following criticism of other Belkin products the Company refused to give SmartHouse any products to review. This was despite us in the past giving Belkin products 5/5 and SmartHouse Best Of The Best Awards.