Image Courtesy: The Verge
Remember when gadget sellers Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava, TaoTronics, and Choetech abruptly vanished from Amazon’s online storefront, only to discover that Amazon had deliberately removed them while vaguely indicating the sanctity of its user reviews? They turned out to be merely the tip of the iceberg. According to The Verge, Amazon has now permanently blacklisted over 600 Chinese companies across 3,000 distinct seller accounts.
Amazon claims that is the final count after five months of its global crackdown, and it is no longer shy about explaining why: a spokesman tells us that these 600 businesses were banned for intentionally, frequently, and severely breaching Amazon’s policies, particularly those concerning review abuse.
The statistics were first published by the South China Morning Post, who cited an interview with an Amazon Asia VP on state-owned television.
Amazon’s crackdown came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal investigation by Nicole Ngyuen detailing how firms such as RavPower provided gift cards in return for evaluations.
I’ve been collecting these kinds of cards as well. Amazon outlawed incentivized reviews in 2016, but it’s a tough business: some of these offers are disguised as a VIP testing programme or an extended warranty. Other businesses only provide incentives after you’ve written a poor review – they’ll give you a free product or a “refund” of free money with no strings attached, as long as you erase your unfavourable review.
It’s unclear whether additional Chinese businesses may be included in Amazon’s current crackdown – and it’s very conceivable that some of their items will slip through the cracks. Despite the fact that Aukey was one of the first high-profile firms to be banned in May, the company was still selling earphones under a sub-brand in July, and you can still buy a pair on Amazon today. In addition, it discovered a Choetech wireless charging pad and a RavPower battery. We’ve asked Amazon to explain their ban-dodging rules, and we’ll let you know what we find out.
According to the South China Morning Post, the parent company of Shenzhen Youkeshu Technology (more popularly known as YKS) stated in early July that Amazon had shuttered 340 of YKS’s online storefronts and frozen over $20 million in assets. According to the newspaper, YKS is one of the platform’s major Chinese sellers.