« Grilled BBQ chicken... | Main | Just a city boy. Born and raised in south Detroit... »

DeLonghi faking its Amazon product reviews

So I was shopping online today for an espresso machine. I noticed that DeLonghi got some really great reviews from T. Carpenter - "Espresso Addict". Regardez (click on the image below to see the actual Amazon profile for T. Carpenter):

[UPDATE: 10 June 2009 -- the reviews have been removed from Amazon]


So I clicked on T. Carpenter's profile (here). This person has written 12 Amazon product reviews covering coffee machines, toasters, dehumidifiers, etc. The catch? All 12 reviews are for DeLonghi products and all 12 reviews give the products glowing, 5 star ratings.

Then I googled "Carpenter" and "DeLonghi" and found that someone named Tara Carpenter works for the company (see below) -- as a 'communications manager'.

Ms. Carpenter really knows how to espresso herself (bada bing)...


Belkin was busted for doing this recently.

What's amazing in this case is the amateurish fashion by which DeLonghi went about posting its fake product reviews on Amazon. For example, Tara Carpenter gave two product reviews for two different DeLonghi coffee makers on the same day (13 May 2009). One of the reviews actually says "instead of buying 2 different machines for my family I bough[t] only this DeLonghi machine....". Errr... if you only purchased one, how are you reviewing two? Thus, the falsity of the product reviews is immediately apparent. I suppose it's easy to confuse yourself when you are authoring multiple fake product reviews.

There is also an M. Flora -- also nicknamed "Espresso Addict" (and also from New Jersey) who has only reviewed DeLonghi products and has only given them 5 stars. Link to that profile - here.

[UPDATE: 6 July 2009 -- the M. Flora reviews have been removed from Amazon]

You would think that anyone involved at the managerial level in a large firm such as DeLonghi would want to avoid ruining their firm's reputation by engaging in this type of false and deceptive activity. I would imagine it's a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as well as numerous state laws.



Reader Comments (18)

Actions by the company you wrote about, and similar actions by other companies are covered in the U.S. "FTC Guides Concerning Use Of Endorsements And Testimonials In Advertising" ( http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/endorse.htm ).

After reading that, one might consider using the FTC Complaint links:

"Gentlemen, I'm simply an honest businessman."
Harcourt Fenton Mudd, Star Trek
Jul 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEventHorizon1984
Interesting because I went though the same thing about 2 months ago while looking for an espresso machine. I noticed several manufactures on Amazon have 5-star reviews for multiple products that all are written the same way. DeLonghi was one of them. They are usually easy to spot because they sound like an advertisement instead of useful feedback. It's a huge problem on Amazon that they don't like to talk about.
Anyways, I settled on a Saeco Odea Giro super auto after some good advice on a message board. It's been great! Easy to use and clean.
Jul 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Oh come on, Mike, you sound like you're a communications manager at Saeco. ;)
Jul 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterST

The partners at my venture capital firm are partial to the high-end Jura machine, which offers one touch espresso and high-end French roast. I am not an aficionado of espresso, but visitors from Italy, France, and Germany have seemed quite happy with the output. The one they have looks like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ATZZWO/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=304485901&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001CJCI6W&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=19FKCVFTJC2T45Y0734A
However, I cannot swear that it's the exact model.

Good luck with your purchase.
Jul 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
I'm impressed. Your tenacity even landed the company and Amazon's practices in WSJ. T Carpenter learned the hard way, do not mess with Russ Taylor and his espresso machine purchase.
Jul 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
Thank goodness this blog will be around for awhile so when people Google Delonghi, they'll find this! Hahahahaha! I hope they fired her!
Jul 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDale
Wow, what a find and love the fact that this got some press. We are always advising clients to be fully transparent in whatever they post to their websites or social media.

This also highlights the importance of looking at reviews from verified buyers. Here is the second product link on our portal where the reviews are coming from verified buyers.


This concept is going to be more and more powerful and Amazon generally does a good job and we are committed to making sure that the reviews we collect are of a high quality.

Belkin & Delonghi are great examples and should be lessons to all brands.

Here is our Espresso machine category if you are still researching. Compare it to Amazon and let me know what you think in terms of research.

Disclosure: I am a PowerReviews / Buzzillions employee who works with user generated content and retail clients.
Jul 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua Greenough
Thanks for creating a responsible uproar. You did right by a lot of people.

First, because I'm interested in an espresso machine myself, your good work will be of help to me. Secondly, because I too post reviews about products, books and films I like on Amazon.com, I read reviews from others myself and I would like to think that I'm not getting a sales job. If a company's product interests me, I'll read the honestly produced sales lit. too.

I'm sure this will give Amazon reason, and possibly new tools, for finding out and tossing bogus reviews. Well done.
Sep 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterzeusiswatching
They are usually easy to spot because they sound like an advertisement instead of useful feedback. It's a huge problem on Amazon that they don't like to talk about.
Nov 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHome Staging Toronto
I'm interested in an espresso machine myself, your good work will be of help to me if you could suggest some effective place rather than ebay or google....have been really disappointed by some of the reviews ive seen of people around !
Nov 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErgo Baby Carrier
Espresso machines make the best coffee whatever brand of coffee we use it simply turns out good.
Dec 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBasketball Trophies
I just love the flavor of espresso coffee especially in the winter months..
Feb 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErgo Baby Carrier
This is an <a href="http://www.seekoutcheap.com/DeLonghi.ESAM3300.Automatic.Coffee.Machine>excellent espresso machine</a> — makes lovely espresso quickly and it is incredibly easy to use and to clean. We would definitely purchase again and highly recommend.
May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterseekout
What are Amazon doing about this?

Look here:

Notice the name of the company, now look on google and find the 2 Directors.
Hey presto they write there own reviews as well.

Also Nathan Pembleton (Director of Powerbee) has been very busy self reviewing his own products, so much so he's given 5 star to more than 20 of his own products.

see here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B002HSLCUU/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Not sure if anyone has reported these but I came across them easily, it's a simple game 1.Just find the best selling products in a category then look for an item which has nearly all 5 star reviews
2. Look at the date the product was added for sale on Amazon
3. What is the date of the first review?
4. Find out about the company using google, who owns it? do they own other companies?
5. Look at the review names, often you uncover another fake review.
6. Do many of the reviews mention the Brand Name?

See the links above and see what you find out.

May 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Solicitor
There are many fake products in the market so be careful and pay the price accordingly.
Oct 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermoby wrap
They are usually easy to spot because they sound like an advertisement instead of useful feedback. It's a huge problem on Amazon that they don't like to talk about.
Dec 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTorrent Download
Ok friends, a personal note on Coffee machines.

Does it make a difference how you brew your coffee? The answer is a big YES!
For instance, take a typical automatic drip coffee machine. I've found a huge
difference in the coffee taste by simply not using the paper filter when brewing.
I found a screened basket that fits most drip coffee makers to replace the paper
filter. (By the way, DeLonghi machines come with a gold tone screened basket.)
You see, most of the oils and crema stay in the paper filter and never reach your
cup with that wonderful flavor we all enjoy!
Another way to enjoy your favorite espresso, regular or decaf coffee is the French
Press. An inexpensive maker that uses no paper filters and allows those precious
oils to make it to your cup and then to your palette.
Feb 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCL USA
Mongrels! they deserve to be unmasked and paraded thru the streets with a cheat sign around their necks!!
May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercoffeeman

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.