Gotcha! Review sites, online stores linked

— 12:00 AM on March 5, 2001

Ever see a site's credibility vanish in an instant? This article over at OCTools does just that for a few hardware sites and online stores that some of you may have had the misfortune of dealing with. AthlonOC, HardwareOC, OverclockerZ, PCToyz, and TweakersAsylum are the culprits in an apparent scheme that redefines 'unethical.' I'm not going to bother linking them here; they don't deserve any traffic.

It appears that the domains for the review sites and online stores are registered to the same people, obviously calling into question the credibility of any product reviews by the sites covering items sold by the stores. But that's not the worst of it.

This scam was pretty easy to uncover. Whoever is behind all this isn't that astute, because the same names and contact information was used to register both the sites and stores in question. It seems naive to think that someone else hasn't thought of this already and is running a smarter-but-similar scam. Scary stuff.

So what can you do to protect yourself from getting ripped off? Only deal with reputable sites that have a proven track record. Read a couple of reviews before dashing out and buying a product (especially if the first review you see is written with glowing adoration). Also, dig a little deeper into the Reseller Ratings to check out any vendor you're planning on dealing with. Thanks to rand for the tip on this regrettable story.

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