Belkin Gets Caught Buying 5-Star Reviews & My Alternative Recipe for Ratings Success

Just last Wednesday, I spent an entire session of my Online Reputation Management workshop explaining how to manage negative product reviews, and increase the positive ones.

One tactic I absolutely did not endorse was the one a Belkin employee was discovered using over at Amazon.com.

That’s a request from somebody named Mike Bayard to review a product and “give [it] a 100% rating (as high as possible).” It doesn’t matter if the reviewer doesn’t own the product or has never tried it– the requester has helpfully written, “Write as if you own the product and are using it.” It even goes a step further, asking the Mechanical Turk user to “Mark any other negative reviews as “not helpful” once you post yours.”

Marketing News Roundup, January 17

I just know you want a marketing news update on a Saturday. You’re probably as bored as I am. That’s sad.

Yahoo CEO’s Salary: $1M if She Sucks, $19M if She Kicks Butt!

Let me walk you through my two reactions to learning about the compensation package for newly appointed Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

First:

Your starting annual base salary will be at the rate of one million dollars ($1,000,000) per annum, less applicable taxes and withholdings…You will also be eligible to receive an annual target bonus of two hundred percent (200%) of your annual Base Salary…

My reaction? $1 million–maybe 2–to take over a company that is arguably in the sorriest state of its entire existence? I’d want at least $10 million on the table before I’d consider putting my good name alongside that mess.

Then I read:

Microsoft Search – Will It Always be an Oxymoron?

Military intelligence. Jumbo shrimp. Business ethics. All classic oxymorons. For those of us in the internet marketing search-logosbiz probably the most obvious one is Microsoft Search.

In light of the changes that have just occurred at Yahoo! there is renewed talked about what will happen to the Yahoo! search business. If there are rumors then there has to be mention of Microsoft. Today’s WSJ has a very in depth story that outlines the history of misses and mistakes that makes up Microsoft’s foray into the search business.

Today, we all can agree that Live Search is not exactly a market leader. They are the red-headed stepchild of the search industry (my apologies to all redheads reading this). In fact, the idea of Live Search still brings up reactions like “Microsoft does search?” to “Microsoft can’t do search.” to “Microsoft should stop trying to do search.” and all stops in between. As the article shows though, it’s not for lack of trying.

Google Cutting More than Jobs–Shuttering Five Products

Those 100 recruiters aren’t the only ones getting the axe at Google. Just two months after killing off Lively, the search giant is shuttering or abandoning several more peripheral projects.

The Google Code Blog reports on the products that are shutting down:

  • Mobile social network Dodgeball.com, designed to let users share their locations via text message, will be discontinued “in the next couple months.” Google Blogoscoped notes that “The original founders of this Google-acquired company already left a while ago in frustration due to Google allegedly not evolving their product.”
  • The Mashup Editor won’t ever leave its limited private beta. It’s being shuttered in favor the App Engine, with the final transition in six months

New Yahoo CEO Deciding Whether to “Hold” or “Fold” Search Business

Dow Jones reports new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s gut instinct is to hold on to Yahoo’s search business–and I tend to agree.

She apparently…

…told employees on Wednesday that she needs to better understand the pros and cons of selling the struggling Internet giant’s search business, but her gut instinct was not to.

While Yahoo Search may not show signs that it can compete with Google–and its recent acts are turning off advertisers–the psychological impact of dumping its search business could be huge. Without search, Yahoo would find it a lot tougher to gain the attention of the media and its (our) infatuation with all things search. Need proof? How often do we discuss AOL, since it pretty much gave up on the search race?

Google Preempts Speculation by Announcing Job Cuts

It seems Google is starting to realize that any attempt to keep secrets is pretty futile in today’s era of transparency.

The latest proof of this wake-up call is its announcement that it will eliminate 100 jobs from its recruiting department.

Our first step to address this was to wind down almost all our contracts with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google. However, after much consideration, we have with great regret decided that we need to go further and reduce the overall size of our recruiting organization by approximately 100 positions.

Which makes me wonder; just how big is Google’s recruiting organization anyway? 100 positions is a lot, so how many do they have left in that department?