Amazon says it has permanently banned 600 Chinese brands for review fraud

Remember when gadget sellers Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava, TaoTronics, and Choetech started mysteriously disappearing from Amazon’s online store, and it turns out Amazon had deliberately ripped them off while vaguely gesturing at the sanctity of its user reviews? As it turned out, they were just the tip of the iceberg. Amazon has now permanently banned more than 600 Chinese brands across 3,000 different seller accounts, the company confirms The edge.

Amazon says this is the big result after five months of its global crackdown, and it’s no longer shy about why: A spokesperson tells us these 600 brands were banned for knowingly, repeatedly and significantly violating Amazon’s policies, especially that around review fraud.

The South China Morning Mail reported the figures earlier, citing an interview with a vice president of Amazon Asia on state television.

Amazon’s crackdown began amid report by The Wall Street Journals Nicole ngyuen about how companies like RavPower offered gift cards in exchange for reviews.

I have also collected such cards. Amazon banned the practice of incentivized reviews in 2016, but it’s a tricky business: Some of these offers are disguised as a VIP testing program or an extended warranty. Other companies only offer incentives after you leave a bad review – they either give you a free product or offer a “refund” of free money, no refund required as long as you delete your negative review.

It’s not clear what other Chinese brands might be included in Amazon’s latest gig — and it’s entirely possible that some of their products will escape Amazon’s net. While Aukey was one of the first high-profile companies to be banned in May, the company was still selling earbuds under a sub-brand in July, and you can still to buy a few of them even today on Amazon. I also liked a Choetech wireless charging station, and a RavPower battery. We’ve asked Amazon to explain its ban evasion policy, and we’ll let you know what we hear.

In early July, Shenzhen’s parent company Youkeshu Technology (better known as YKS) reported that Amazon had closed 340 of YKS’s online stores and frozen more than $20 million in assets. according to the South China Morning Mail, which described the publication as one of the platform’s largest Chinese retailers.

Here’s Amazon’s full statement:

Amazon is working hard to build a great experience in our store, so customers can shop with confidence and sellers have the opportunity to grow their business amid healthy competition. Customers rely on the accuracy and authenticity of product reviews to make informed purchasing decisions, and we have clear policies for both reviewers and sales partners that prohibit misuse of our community features. We suspend, prohibit and take legal action against those who violate this policy, anywhere in the world.

We will continue to improve detection of abuse and take enforcement action against malicious parties, including those who are knowingly involved in multiple and repeated policy violations, including abuse assessment. We believe that the steps we take are in the best interests of our customers and the honest companies that make up the vast majority of our global sales community.