Gadget vendors Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava, TaoTronics and Choetech began to mysteriously disappear from Amazon’s online store, recently it was discovered that Amazon had intentionally banned them. Turns out these brands were just the tip of the iceberg. Amazon has permanently banned more than 600 Chinese brands on 3,000 different seller accounts.
Amazon says this is the big count after five months of its global crackdown, and is not ashamed to have banned the brands. A spokesperson said these 600 brands were intentionally banned for disrespect and violation of Amazon policies, especially around review abuse.
Amazon’s crackdown began midway through a report by Nicole Ngyuen of The Wall Street Journal about how companies like RavPower offered gift cards in exchange for reviews.
Following my fake review story, listings for Amazon-native electronics brand RAVPower are gone.
The company offered $35 gift cards for reviews on a product that was sold directly by Amazon itself. RAVPower acted as a wholesale vendor on that listing.https://t.co/6nazZZ5Wtb pic.twitter.com/znp9u48YHV
— nic nguyen (@nicnguyen) June 16, 2021
Amazon banned the practice of incentivized reviews in 2016, but it’s a tricky business. Some of these brands gave offers disguised as a VIP trial program or an extended warranty. Other companies would offer incentives after leaving a bad review, they would give away a free product, or they would offer a “refund” of the free money, with no refund required, as long as your negative review was excluded.
Today is Amazon Prime Day.
If you get any insert cards in your new purchases (they don’t need to look this suspicious), please send me photos of them at [email protected] for a story. pic.twitter.com/7337ookNPp
— Sean Hollister (@StarFire2258) June 22, 2021
It’s still unclear which other Chinese brands were included in Amazon’s latest crackdown. Although Aukey was one of the first high-profile companies to be banned in May, the company still sold headphones in July under another sub-brand.
In early July, the parent company of Shenzhen Youkeshu Technology (better known as YKS) reported that Amazon had closed 340 YKS online stores and frozen more than $20 million of its assets, according to the South China Morning Post.
The publication describes YKS as one of the biggest Chinese brands on the platform.