Tesla Bribes: Would $65,000 Be Enough To Sway Your Review Of A New Car? Ask These Guys...

Conflicts of interest exist in almost every business model...just ask the former AIG execs who bought trillions of dollars worth of mortgage CDO risk that they were told was worthy of a AAA rating.

But when you read a car review to help figure out which set of wheels you're going to buy next, you would probably prefer that the writer of that review not be receiving payments, cash or otherwise, directly from the company producing the vehicle he's reviewing, right?  Unfortunately, that's not so much the case when it comes to Tesla.

While it's no surprise that the writers of Electrek are big Tesla cheerleaders, as Jack Baruth of TTAC points out today, what may be surprising is just how much those writers receive from Tesla via their very generous referral program in return for their perpetually rosy commentary.

Take the work of Fred Lambert, for example...at the bottom of each article penned by Lambert he generously offers you the opportunity to use his Tesla "referral code" to get $1,000 off a Tesla Model S or X...


And while we're sure the referral discount is simply intended as a nice gesture to readers, it gets a lot more interesting when you realize exactly what those referrals are worth.  As Baruth notes, a mere 4 referrals can be worth nearly $15,000 of free Tesla swag. 

Referrals one and two are worth at least $500 each. Referral three is worth between four and seven thousand dollars on the resale market. Referral four is worth $7,200. That’s if you refer new Tesla cars. Referring new Tesla solar will get you $400 in cash, or $750 in credit, per referral.


Meanwhile, Electrek writer Jameson Dow has over 20 referrals which TTAC estimates could be worth roughly $60,000.

Electrek’s Jameson Dow has twenty referrals. Depending on when he made them, and the conditions of each program, we could be talking about more than sixty thousand dollars in items that can be easily resold for cash. Fred Lambert has six referrals, for a total of ten grand or more. This is all direct from Tesla. We’re not talking the kind of paid vacations against which this site has traditionally railed, nor are we talking about freebies like Jonny Lieberman’s no-cost year in a $65,000 Cadillac station wagon. We’re talking cold hard cash possibilities.


And while you might think that the public revelation of these very clear conflicts of interest might be met with some level of embarrassment and remorse, when called out on Twitter, Electrek write Fred Lambert doubled down by calling his accusers a bunch of "jealous hypocrites."


So what say you...outrageous scandal that should be halted immediately or just a bunch of "jealous hypocrites" looking to "criminalize behavior that is normal?"


IH8OBAMA gregga777 Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:59 Permalink

"...at the bottom of each article penned by Lambert he generously offers you the opportunity to use his Tesla "referral code" to get $1,000 off a Tesla Model S or X..."Fred may be getting a call from the FTC soon.  He's in violation of FTC rules that require a statement next to any ad in a review making it clear the writer may receive remuneration for providing the link.  tsk tsk, Fred.

In reply to by gregga777

glenlloyd massbytes Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:26 Permalink

So besides the fact that tax payers are subsidizing purchase of Tesla junk we also have promotion of the cars by crooked people taking bribes to promote? Not surprised at all, Musk is a wizard at figuring out how to get others to pay.Anything can be cool and awesome, or 'more cool than you will ever be,' what ever that means.Musk business models only work because 1) govvy is subsidizing the purchase in a big way and 2) crooked cronies are pumping up worthless trash.This doesn't even begin to address how the 'non-polluting' nature of the cars is really a lie, or better said, Tesla cars run on coal.Tesla cars do literally run on coal...there's no denying it. There's not enough 'clean' energy generation in this country to possibly address the charging requirements of the EV fleet out there. You can't say it's 'clean' or 'green' when it requires coal to move.And that doesn't even address the toxicity of the battery manufacturing or the disposal of old / bad batteries or the bad things that happen if they leak in an accident etc. What about the pollution when a Tesla catches on fire...that's pretty nasty stuff. Get the EPA out there for a big old fine!!Musk fanbois can move on...get a grip people.

In reply to by massbytes

cyberfossil yomutti2 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 02:07 Permalink

Yomutti2:  That must be MDB? Million Dollar Bonus, hello?  Great irony when talking about Musk--the tool of the NWO Political Establishment and a piglet suckling at the teet of the Federal Government, State of California, the State of Nevada, and the rest of the 48 to  a lesser extent who are subsidizing him in his business yet he still fails to be profitable.  Not to mention his Space X  fraudulently based program hired to take the heat off of NASA who has been unable to go more than 400 miles from the ground in 45 years after going 238,000 miles to the moon with technology not even meeting a simple cellphone in this day and age.  Ever wonder where these Musk types come from--out of nowhere yet treated like celebs by the media with no factchecking in their backgrounds?

In reply to by yomutti2

MoreFreedom JRobby Sat, 09/30/2017 - 13:48 Permalink

The thing that gets me, is how useless these cars are for long distance trips.  You have to find a charging station near your hotel, and then arrange for transportation to/from the hotel to the charging station.  Or go to a supercharger station, and wait 40 minutes to charge to 80%, or 75 minutes to charge to 100%.   If you live in Dallas, you can drive the 40 miles and 50 minutes to Denton to the nearest SuperCharger station, or less to one of the 3 charging stations in the area.   And if you charge at home, then you might pay more or less than the equivalent of filling up a regular car with gas.  This site, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/active-trading/041515/economics-ow… says it costs about $730/mo to own a Tesla, but I think it's optimistic.  There's also the battery life - as the batteries age they lose the ability to hold a full charge, which you can replace for $12,000 if you've owned the car for 8 years (think of that - how much is a 8 year old car worth and does it make sense to spend that amount so it can be driven again).Still, I wish Musk the best as more consumer options are always a good thing.  And if people are buying the car for status, let them.  I'd rather people not know my financial status, and have the money available for things I want (and status isn't one of them). 

In reply to by JRobby

my new username Fri, 09/29/2017 - 17:55 Permalink

I don't care about the reviews - reading Consumer Reports is terrible, with their insistence that crap brands like Hoover are the best.
I do care that Elon Musk is making billions of dollars off the backs of honest taxpaying Americans by way of tax credits.
I do care about the virtue-signalling owners who are driving their junk at my expense.

Drachma Fri, 09/29/2017 - 17:57 Permalink

Not that it really makes one lick of difference to the environment but the total CO2 saved figure is bullshit par excellence. Remember folks...its a zero-sum game. Cheers.

Amaroosta Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:07 Permalink

All this would be fine if ol Fred would just put a tag under each headline: "I have made $10k in referals for Tesla Products but don't mind that, I'm objective."

adr Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:07 Permalink

You need to find a menu and button on the Tesla Model 3's massive touchscreen just to turn on the windshield wipers. Let's say a bug hits the windshield and you want to use some washer fluid, different menu button. Every single thing in the car must be enabled through the touchscreen. How safe is it to be driving along and need to look at a touchscreen in the middle of the console to select a menu button for windshield wipers? Why didn't Elon just drop the pedals and steering wheel? I'm sure he could have touchscreened those. Apple has force touch on the iPhone. Now we know why Musk wanted his own music service. In the Model 3 there is no FM radio enabled, AM isn't supported at all, and Bluetooth from your phone is disabled. Even the $14k Mitsubishi Mirage has a radio and Bluetooth as standard. The mythical $35k Model 3 doesn't have fast charging, might not be able to use superchargers for free, doesn't have a radio or any guages, and might not even have a color choice included in the price. Nice work Elon. 

Pol Pot Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:09 Permalink

I have tweeted Musk numerous times, last time during Hurricane Irma, when we had an eight day power outage......." Hey Elon where can I plug in my Tesla in South Florida"..... can you guess....no tweet back. Now I don't own an electric iPad, and never will...I like the Smell of Gasoline......but my neighbor was asking me daily to drive him here and there...by day five he was ready to trade his Tesla in on anything that would move without being plugged in.
Now why is it that no publication ever writes about what the hell you do when the power is out with your wonderful electric car.... I have lived through 16 days with no power in the northeast after an ice storm....and got around just fine in a Ford 150......what the hell will people do when all they have are electric cars.... Wait...it just came to me....no one will care because no one will have a job nor own a car....so it will not be a problem. Elon has it all figured out....

stacking12321 Pol Pot Fri, 09/29/2017 - 22:02 Permalink

buying a car doesn't entitle you to a personal reply from the ceo of tesla, if i were him i wouldn't bother replying to a piss-ant like you, either.your neighbor sounds like a real winner, too (must be a trend in florida!), if a tesla is his only vehicle and he relies exclusively on the power company to supply him with electricity.lives in florida but no solar panels? doesn't have a generator?not very bright, maybe this will be a learning experience for him.there's going to be a lot of growing up to among the sheep like children called the american public, as resources continue to be stretched, and systems continue to fail.there's good reasons preppers plan ahead, stock up, have backup plans in place.

In reply to by Pol Pot

stacking12321 Pol Pot Fri, 09/29/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

first off, snopes.com is not reliable, they've been thoroughly debunked here on zh and elsewhere.second, how does the link you posted back up what you said in any way?third, generators are backup power - do you understand the concept of backup? it means plan-B, for use when your plan-A fails. if plan-A has failed, then how many emissions it's producing is not a considerationfourth, i'm not a "greenie", not by any stretch, sherlock, better go back and review the evidence.you just keep rolling out one fail after another...how have you managed to last this long in life?

In reply to by Pol Pot

Arrest Hillary Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:11 Permalink

The same errors of judgement went into making the Tesla .... that went into nominating Hillary for President .... if liberals didn't lie to themselves, too .... we would be finished .... instead of being on life support ?

Disgruntled Goat Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:16 Permalink

Pushing C02 as poison is now mainsream. Its just assumed to be true.  Too bad its just complete and total fabricated bullshit of the highest order. Put in place to enable carbon caps, which in turn enable carbon trading and carbon taxes. Don't give your money to entities that further this lie.Carbon is poison. The Big Lie. 

Pernicious Gol… Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:21 Permalink

A friend used to review high-end computer stuff for major publications. As with book reviewers, they didn't want the crap back. Apple was the exception. They always wanted their crap back, but they always offered to let her buy it at a discount. She was honest with her reviews. I got cheap new high-end  computer crap from her sometimes.

ThothMaat Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:50 Permalink

This paid referral practice is already illegal in California.  What make it worse is the blatent bias in supposed *media*, all in order to push the faux *green energy* agenda.   The ends justify the means much??

Mineshaft Gap Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:51 Permalink

In an era of Deep State-sourced fake news, junket-rewarded film and game reviews, Amazon Vine Voices rolling in four-star freebies, and the proliferation of shills on YouTube barely old enough to vote, it's hard to get worked up about another talking parrot.I do mind Tesla using public subsidies, though, in a model that gives Polly a cracker every time it farts for Musk's pleasure.

shimmy Fri, 09/29/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

I see referral links where the person will get compensated on many sites that review items. If this didn't involve Tesla which ZH loves to go on about then it wouldn't even be mentioned here. Why is it so hard for ZH writers and people to accept that people may like their Tesla cars? I'm guessing none of these people have even driven or been in a Tesla car.