This happens now and again. Overzealous PR and marketing executives sometimes can't resist pumping up online customer reviews with bogus ones that pump up their product ratings. I'm sure it happens more often than any of us realize. Every now and again, a company gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

Today's cookie-crumbed hand belongs to....

Say it isn't so! Apparantly, Belkin was not only populating with trumped up reviews; they were soliciting people with money to do it for them.

Tsk! Tsk!

Many of you may not realize this (and it's a little gem of an opportunity for the right techie looking to make a little extra scratch); but Amazon has a site called Mechanical Turk where they farm out little tasks that can't be automated and aren't worth tasking out to staff or even a typical freelancer. Other employers can post odd jobs, as well.

Belkin apparantly was one of those employers posting an odd job indeed; to write fake positive reviews for their products and post them on Amazon. It was so successful that more than a dozen Belkin products mysteriously had a sudden five star rating, including a router that is notoriously buggy and consistently gets flamed by online reviews.

Here's a screen capture of the original job posting, along with a screen grab of the LinkedIn page of the Belkin employee who masterminded the whole thing.

Props to the site "The Daily Background" for breaking the story.

Belkin has posted an apology on its site pleading mea culpa and that it was the actions of that one employee.

Moral to the story:

Welcome to the age of transparency. Someone always finds out, folks. And when they do....