Instead of paying outsiders to give their products fake positive reviews on Amazon product pages like Belkin and other companies, DeLonghi cut out the middleman. Their communications manager, Tara Carpenter, simply went on Amazon and gave a variety of DeLonghi products five-star rave reviews herself.
Blogger Russ Taylor discovered the coincidence and tracked her down. Brilliant. Wall Street Journal blog The Wallet picked up the story and put it in its proper context:
Amazon has to police a huge and exponentially growing space. So it’s up to shoppers to take any star rating or comment with a grain of salt. The real-life equivalent would be questioning someone standing outside a store yelling “shop here!”
“I think the majority of reviews are fantastic reviews,” Russell Dicker, Amazon’s senior manager of community content says.
Dicker declined to comment on specifics of how Amazon spots phony listings for security reasons. (The U.S. government isn’t going to tell us all the things that make a dollar bill special, either.) “Making reviews helpful and making them a pristine source of consumer opinion is incredibly important to us,” he says.
In her work, Carpenter probably had the opportunity to try a wide variety of her company’s products, or access to freebies. Maybe she genuinely did enjoy them that much.
Or maybe another company has just been caught astroturfing their reviews.