[Update: Statement] Aukey is In Trouble with Amazon, Has All of Its Products Removed

An Aukey PD charger
Cameron Summerson

When it comes to portable batteries, chargers, and other affordable accessories, Aukey was a reliable and well-known name on the Amazon marketplace. “Was” being the keyword because Amazon seems to have removed all Aukey listings and shuttered the Aukey store. 

Update, 5/10/21: Amazon responded to our request for comment. For its part, it doesn’t comment specifically on enforcement actions it may take with sellers. But an Amazon spokesperson went on to say:

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.

After publish, Corbin Davenport a tech journalist with XDA-Developers, reached out to show us material from Aukey promising a $100 gift card in exchange for an “honest review.” Although it doesn’t specifically request a 5-star review (merely mildly implying it by showing a 5-star symbol), such an offer would presumably violate Amazon’s seller terms. See the embedded tweet below.

The original article is left intact below.

Head to the Aukey store, and you will find all the links are broken. Either they don’t exist, or they lead to products that are “unavailable” or “page not found.”  At first glance, it’s a surprising turn of events considering the sheer popularity and ubiquitousness of Aukey products—it had dozens of entries, with more arriving all the time.

The few instances of in-stock products we can find don’t come from Amazon or Aukey, but third-party sellers instead. Since the storefront still exists, it seems unlikely that Amazon removed all of Aukey’s listings. Similarly, another well-known accessory manufacturer, Mpow, seems to be missing from Amazon as well. Check out Mpow’s store, and nearly every product shows up “unavailable.” But we found two headsets still shipped and sold by Amazon.

We don’t know for certain why Aukey (and perhaps Mpow) were removed from Amazon. But speculation provides a likely scenario: Fake reviews. Last week the folks at SafetyDetectives uncovered an insecure database that revealed a massive fake review scheme from third-party Chinese manufacturers.

As is often the case, the manufacturers used a simple method to scam Amazon’s review system. It would a new product, then contact reviewers outside Amazon’s systems. That reviewer would agree to buy the product, review it favorably, in exchange for compensation that paid for the product, and put additional money into the person’s product.

Once enough fake reviews came in, Amazon would take notice of the five-star quality reviews from “verified purchasers” and feature the product heavily. Then actually customers would buy the products and create legitimate reviews. Sadly, the products are worthy of high reviews in many cases, but the company paid people to jumpstart the process. And that’s against Amazon’s terms.

SafetyDetective’s reporting revealed 13 million records surrounding the scheme, but it didn’t identify directly which vendors were involved. But considering the timing, it’s not a big leap to assume the report led to Aukey and Mpow’s demise.

For now, we’ve reached out to Amazon for a statement, and we’ll update this post when we know more.

via Digital Trends

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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