- Amazon has removed Aukey and Mpow soon after an investigation discovered companies paying for fake reviews.
- Companies handed out free products in hopes of spurring sales.
- The brands have yet to respond to the allegations, but Amazon has now responded to our request for comment.
Update: May 12, 2021 (3:30 AM ET): An Amazon spokesperson has responded to Android Authority‘s request for comment in an email. Although the statement doesn’t specifically mention Aukey or Mpow, it does note that any company deemed to be violating Amazon’s policies can lodge an appeal if they believe they are compliant. Read the statement in full below.
We work hard to build a great experience for our customers and sellers and take action to protect them from those that threaten their experience in our store. We have systems and processes to detect suspicious behavior and we have teams that investigate and take action quickly.
We have long-standing policies to protect the integrity of our store, including product authenticity, genuine reviews, and products meeting the expectations of our customers. We take swift action against those that violate them, including suspending or removing selling privileges. We take this responsibility seriously, monitor our decision accuracy and maintain a high bar. We have an appeals process where sellers can explain how they will prevent the violation from happening in the future or let us know if they believe they were compliant. Our teams are based in our Seattle headquarters and around the globe in order to provide sellers with 24/7 support via email, phone, and chat in more than 15 languages.
Original article: May 10, 2021 (4:17 PM ET): Have you noticed that a favorite tech accessory brand vanished from Amazon without a trace? There might be a good reason for it. Amazon has pulled Aukey and Mpow from its listings not long after a SafetyDetective investigation found companies paying for fake reviews to boost sales.
The internet safety advocate discovered an exposed server with a cache of messages between Amazon vendors and customers who were willing to supply fake reviews in return for free products. While the participants in the scheme would buy the products themselves, the vendors would send money through PayPal to avoid tipping off Amazon’s moderators. Some might have received an “additional payment,” although there weren’t examples of this in the cache.
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The fraudsters also set review guidelines to avoid detection and used a variety of messaging platforms to orchestrate fake reviews, including Telegram and WhatsApp. The server hosting all these conversations appeared to be in China, although the data covered people in Europe and the US.
We’ve asked Amazon for comment. Aukey and Mpow so far haven’t addressed the takedowns, including whether or not they were directly linked to the alleged fake reviews scheme.
It’s not certain just how many companies were implicated in the fake reviews scam. However, the removals of Aukey and Mpow could have dramatic effects on the tech accessory world. Both are some of the best-known tech accessory makers and were fixtures on Amazon — they’ve just lost one of their largest storefronts. Alternatives like Anker and RavPower remain, but they won’t do you much good if they don’t have an equivalent to what you were looking for.