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Gizmodo Kicks Belkin While It's Down

by January 21, 2009
Belkin Wireless N Router

Belkin Wireless N Router

A recent Gizmodo article published a tell-all letter from an alleged employee of Belkin. The letter runs down a litany of dirty tricks allegedly perpetrated by the ailing tech company. But it reads like a catty inter-office email from a disgruntled employee. Have the boys at Giz provided consumers valuable inside info or are they just stirring the pot with a dash of controversy?

Belkin makes a variety of consume grade computer peripherals, they’re especially known for routers. Chances are if you’ve shopped for a wireless router in the last several years you’ve see the Belkin brand. It’s a respected name that’s been around a long time and makes competitive products. 

Where all specs are equal for a Wireless N router today chances are the Belkin and D-Link brands are a bit cheaper than those made by Linksys. That’s not to say you have a hard set hierarchy of quality. Many would probably tell you Linksys is priced because of its name which is now owned by Cisco. 

Belkin has recently been dragged through the wringer for after being caught in paying off reviewers on the Amazon Mechanical Turk website. An open letter from the company’s president says that a lone-wolf employee paid for positive reviews in an isolated incident. 

Is this really just a symptom of more insidious rot beneath the surface over at Belkin. 

Yesterday Gizmodo published an alleged tip from an insider at Belkin. The list of shocking claims includes the statement that Belkin products are so low that a majority of its employees won’t even use them when they’re free. The writer also claims Belkin uses a variety of underhanded methods to cheat reviews and demonstrations. 

We have paid magazines for positive reviews, made custom devices or fixtures for use at trade shows to ensure quality demos. One such example would be a fixture that runs hidden cable to a TV or audio receiver, yet claiming the broadcast is coming from a wireless transmitter, or through a USB hub.” 

But what’s really telling about the letter is when the writer slams management and office culture and then gets personal about the company’s CEO blaming him for running the company into the ground while increasing his salary. 

It is very common for upper management to force a product to be released even though major concerns about the product are well known.” 

Name a tech company that doesn’t try to push products out the door prior to engineers believing it is truly ready. As an Office Space employee might put it - It sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays.

Even Jason Chen, the author of the post on Gizmodo, admits they have had positive experiences with Belkin products. Despite usually being a less expensive alternative to other brands it’s difficult to believe that any consumer electronics company could survive long with practices like those outlined in Gizmodo’s tip. 

In order to get some detailed info of our own I have emailed Belkin’s PR reps to get their side of Gizmodo’s story. As a privately held company no stock information is available for Belkin International Inc, but it would have been interesting to see how it has fared in the recent market climate.


About the author:
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Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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