Amazon bans Aukey, Mpow from site for fake, paid reviews
During the late afternoon on May 10, Amazon removed the vast majority of product listings for electronics accessory companies like Aukey, MPow and Tomtop. This action comes roughly a month before Prime Day, typically quite profitable for Chinese sellers like Aukey.
It’s likely this is due to a system for fake reviews that these companies implemented in order to inflate their position within Amazon’s sales listings. More than 13 million of these types of reviews were uncovered by the folks at SafetyDetective.
To begin, the seller would send a list of products out that they want 5-star reviews on. People participating in the scam would buy the product, leave a five star review, submit the proof of the review to the seller and receive money back for the cost of the product via sites like PayPal. The person writing the fake review would get to keep the product for free.
The massive 7GB of data includes information like email addresses and phone numbers for the sellers as well as personal data for more than 75,000 Amazon “reviewers” who are getting paid for their services. This means Amazon can remove sellers as well as use identifying information to ban the fake reviewers from the system and delete all reviews.
Amazon released a statement about the removal of these brands:
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.
You can avoid products on Amazon with fake reviews by looking for specific signs. For instance:
- Check the reviewer’s account on Amazon. If they consistently leave a specific type of review, say 5-stars on a specific brand, that’s a fake reviewer. The same advice goes for repeated negative reviews.
- Sort reviews by date and look to see if a large batch arrived within days of each other. It’s highly unlikely that tons of people all decided to submit a review at the same time.
- Check the length of the reviews. If there’s a large volume of high-star, 2 sentence reviews, it’s probably a batch of fake, paid reviews.
- Look for unspecific language. Many of these fake reviews come off as advertisements rather than an actual judgement of the product’s viability.
- Be wary of unknown brands. If you haven’t heard of it and it’s appearing in Amazon’s top search listings, it’s possible the reviews have been inflated to push it up the charts.
- Use the report button. If you think you have spotted a fake review on Amazon, use the report button and refer the review for review by Amazon’s internal teams.