The Daily Background covered this embarrassing tale of social media foul play over the weekend - apparently a Business Development for eCommence Representative at Belkin International, Inc. shamelessly created this job posting on Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk requesting top rating positive reviews for Belkin products, regardless of the reviewer's actual experience (or lack thereof) using the products.
On Sunday, Belkin president Mark Reynoso released an official statement to The Daily Background, claiming that the guilty employee was acting on his own, denying any involvement in the act whatsoever. Mr. Reynoso went on to reiterate Belkin International's commitment to its community and his regret for any loss of trust incurred as a result. He also assured the community that any posts requesting product reviews for Belkin were removed from Mechanical Turk, as well as any reviews that may have been posted as a result or in response to the job listing.
Reynoso's statement all sounds fine and dandy, but I'm having some trouble believing that nobody else at Belkin knew anything about this scheme. Additionally, I find it a little strange that Reynoso neglected to mention any disciplinary actions taken as a result. I don't think it's any of our business whether or not an employee whose name and face has already been made public thanks to The Daily Background's excellent reporting - but what about plans to prevent these occurrences in the future? There isn't so much of a hint of this in Reynoso's statement - unless you count the open-ending closing line, "we will work earnestly to regain the trust we lost." Belkin has taken the very first steps towards cleaning up their social media mess, but they haven't made it clear that they've actually learned anything as a result - and that's dangerous. Retrain your staff on marketing ethics, hold a mandatory staff workshop centered around this specific topic, or even just write up a new clause in your company's mission statement (or code of ethics) to the community recommitting yourself to authentic WOM practices! It isn't enough to simply apologize - prove that you mean it!
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