New #1 IP Camera On Amazon Due To Bribery?

There is a new leader in Amazon's search for "IP Camera", and it is Tenvis.

Tenvis? How did this no-name come from out of nowhere?

Well, maybe it's due to the $15 manufacturer rebate for a 5-star review on Amazon. Below is an image of the rebate guidelines.

This is unacceptable. Reading a few pages of customer reviews, most 5 star reviews are either one word or talking about how easy it was to set up, while 1 and 2 star reviews mention how unintuitive the device is and other issues.

It has even been mentioned multiple times in the reviews about the manufacturer offering a $15 rebate.

What do you think? Should Amazon step up and remove all "bribed" reviews? Should the manufacturer be blacklisted from selling their products on Amazon? Post your responses below.


Also, here is a screenshot of the review breakdown for this camera.

Looks like over 1,000 people accepted the "honest" rebate...

No matter what, those 168 who gave it only 4 stars, forfeiting the bounty, should be commended for their integrity!

Just to play undisclosed advocate here, it is tricky to simply condemn TENVIS without condemning ourselves as well.

Consider if the world was made up of 100% honest and upright folk; then those who genuinely believed the camera was a great deal would give it 5 stars and receive a bonus. Those who didn't wouldn't. No moral problem.

Should we hold TENVIS responsible for the ethical failures of others?

Furthermore, there is nothing inherently immoral about having the 'bribe' affect your rating. For instance, let's say I buy the camera for $50, I try it and it's pretty good, maybe worth 4 stars. But I feel it's a little expensive, if were only $10 bucks cheaper then maybe... Voila! 5 legitimate stars for the $35 camera.

Just my 35 cents worth.

Should we hold TENVIS responsible for the ethical failures of others?

Yes, when they induce others to commit 'ethical failures'. Tenvis knows that the act of offering such an incentive specifically and only for leaving a review skews accuracy. They also know it is against Amazon's rules. Yet they designed such a program to facilitate unethical behavior.

"But I feel it's a little expensive, if were only $10 bucks cheaper then maybe"

And that would be fine if they simply made it $10 bucks cheaper to everyone, but in Tenvis' program, you only get the discount / rebate after they explicitly review and confirm that, in their words, "you like our product."

Finally, it's not just that the reviews are 5 (or 4) stars, it is the number of reviews submitted. Both Amazon and buyers take the number of reviews in account as well (i.e., a product with an average of 4.5 stars with 4 reviews is going to be a lot less trusted than one having 400, etc.).

Ok,the devil agrees it's reprehensible and they should be banned from Amazon.

Interestingly, there's a even a bigger larceny lurking for those not yet 'fully satisfied'. You have a 'chance' to recieve another identical unit after the issue is resolved. So change your review and get two for $50, maybe even two for $35 if you go to 5 stars.

There have even more blatant attempts on Amazon, like this one by VIP Deals which made the NY Times.

After a year-long undercover operation that netted 19 companys, here's what the Attorney General of New York state had to say about reviews which have the appearance of independent consumer reviews but are actually bought and paid for by the vendor:

"Consumers rely on reviews from their peers to make daily purchasing decisions on anything from food and clothing to recreation and sightseeing," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution. And companies that continue to engage in these practices should take note: "Astroturfing" is the 21st century's version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it."

source: the government of NY state

Just noticed this thread now... any updates on this situation?

I only ask because I had a similar encounter with these guys: when I was active on another forum, they once sent me, unsolicited, a "free" camera to evaluate (it was their "new at the time" 720p PTZ). Within about a week they were emailing asking me to write a good review on the forum. I replied that there were several glitches and I couldn't honestly do that. They said they were working on it and "expected" a glowing review from me in the meantime. A couple weeks later they sent me an update and reminded me that I was to be giving them a good review...

IIRC, I did finally write something about it being a decent camera for the price, after the firmware updates made substantial improvements. Couple months later I loaned to someone and it never came back...

Anyway, that was a few years ago, sounds like they're still using the same kind of tricks.

Unfortunately, still #1 when searching for 'ip camera' inside Amazon and still #1 in dome surveillance cameras, see: