Over the past couple of days, almost all of the products made by popular accessory makers Aukey and Mpow disappeared from Amazon. Since these are Amazon-first brands, that would be an odd move by each company, unless of course they weren’t behind the disappearance. I say that because a massive review scam was exposed just prior to the products from each company becoming unavailable.
About a week ago, the folks at SafetyDetectives discovered a database filled with some 13 million records that potentially implicate 200,000 people involved in a review scam where unknown companies on Amazon were refunding product purchases if people left 5-star reviews. The folks reviewing the products would first buy the items, leave reviews, and then communicate with the companies who would confirm the reviews before refunding their purchases outside of Amazon.
As you can imagine, a process like that would be frowned upon by Amazon. Cooking review scores to elevate products by purchasing fake reviews from people has got to be grounds for removal from Amazon, assuming you got caught, right? SafetyDetectives were not able to (or didn’t want to) identify the companies involved in the data they found.
Taking a quick glance at Aukey’s Twitter feed showed people pointing out that all of their products were missing from Amazon as far back as May 8, which is two days after the database referenced above was discovered. If you click through any of the links they’ve posted there or visit their store on Amazon, you’ll find many “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” errors or a bunch of “unavailable” items. Digital Trends was first to spot the disappearance.
So what’s the deal, were Aukey and Mpow busted in this fraudulent review scam? We don’t know. Amazon wouldn’t confirm or deny that either company was involved in a statement given to The Verge. In a brief response given to Tom’s Guide, an Aukey representative said they “don’t know the details of what has happened” and that they “are currently working on finding a solution.”
There are lots of questions that need to be answered here. All we know right now is that two of the most popular accessory brands on Amazon have had almost all of their products removed from the online retailer and that a massive review scam involving brands on Amazon surfaced just days before.
It’s unfortunate to see Aukey disappear like this. You guys have seen us share dozens of their deals over the years because they are a lot like Anker, in that they make quality products at affordable prices and run regular promotions. That Aukey charger pictured above is one that I bought and use every single day.
We’ll try to update this post as we learn more.