Amazon: The product rating system on Amazon allows you to rate your user experience with something you have purchased, either First or Third Party, made by Amazon or bought on the market from someone in another country. This rating system is widely used by many people, who rely more on the comments of other users than on the product sheet itself. And it is this system that has been greatly affected.
The scandal of Chinese brands on Amazon
The Cybersecurity team at SafetyDetectives discovered an open ElasticSearch database that revealed an organized fake review scam affecting Amazon. The server contained direct messages between Amazon sellers and customers willing to give fake reviews in exchange for free products. In total, more than 13 million of these records (or 7 GB of data) were exposed to the leak, potentially implicating more than 200,000 people in unethical activities.
What do Aukey, MPow, Tacklife or Victsing have in common? That they are Chinese brands that have stores in Amazon divisions around the world. Also that they are some of the most sought-after consumer electronics providers on the Internet, and whose annual combined sales through Amazon can go up to 1 billion dollars not less, which gives an idea that they are not three to four Chinese shops.
From AirPods style wireless headphones to cases, chargers, portable batteries, air purifiers, etc., these brands have Amazon as their main sales window, and in fact they are all located in the same place in China: Shenzhen, the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the East. But last May they all saw their stores disappear from Amazon – or as in Victsing’s case, they are left with many products in ‘unavailable’. Because they were all laced with fake reviews.
The next driven out: RAVPower
Nowadays, the popular brand of batteries and chargers RavPower has completely disappeared. In fact, Amazon herself has confirmed to websites such as The Verge that it was she who removed RavPower from her store and that she previously removed Aukey and Mpow. And while he didn’t say why, it’s easy to imagine why:
On Sunday, tech-savvy columnist Nicole Nguyen of The Wall Street Journal published a story about how her new RavPower charger included an offer of a $35 gift card in exchange for a review, something Amazon confirmed was a violation of company policy. Amazon banned incentivized reviews in 2016. Nguyen tweeted on her Twitter today about the removal of RavPower.
Not a single Ravpower product for sale
As a result, all RavPower product listings have disappeared, leaving empty spaces in the company’s storefront Amazon. Searches for “RavPower” will not return any listings for products made by the company. Existing links to display of RavPower products Amazon’s 404 message “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” or to entries that say “Currently unavailable.”
In general, this is exactly what happened to Aukey, Mpow, and other lesser-known electronics stores last month. There are even a few more Aukey listings on Amazon, while RavPower doesn’t seem to have one.