Belkin Apologizes for Paid Reviews

Networking and peripheral gear maker Belkin has found itself in hot water for offering Internet users money to write positive reviews for its products using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system. Belkin has issued an apology, saying a single employee “may” have posted offers to pay for positive reviews via the system…and at the same time Belkin says it has removes all associated postings from Mechanical Turk and is working with its channel partners to remove “any reviews that may have been placed due to these postings.”

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is designed to be a way for companies and organizations to farm out work that’s difficult for computers to do, but comparatively easy for humans to do—so-called Human Intelligence Tasks—and offer a small amount of money for doing the work. Mechanical Turk can be very useful for, say, assaying a large number of street photographs looking for mailboxes or out-of-date signs, transcribing audio recordings, or locate bits of discrete information. Lately, requesters have been using Mechanical Turk for tasks like writing blog entries and reviews, generating content for sites to improve their discoverability via Google and other search engines.

Several tasks on Mechanical Turk offered to pay workers to write positive reviews of Belkin products on partner and retailer Web sites. Workers were urged to “write as if you own the product and are using it,” “tell a story about why you bought the product,” and “thank for website for making you such a great deal.” Workers were also told to mark any negative reviews on the site as “not helpful.”

Obviously, paying to have positive reviews written about products on retailer and consumer review Web sites is unethical. However, the actions also highlight many shortcomings of so-called user-generated content and social media. Sure, sites may enable consumers to post reviews and comments about those products…and as Belkin’s gaffe shows, there’s no real way of knowing whether any of those reviews are anything but fiction and marketing. Welcome to the Web 2.0 world.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.