Amazon has suspended over a dozen Chinese sellers for participating in fake review schemes. The list includes Mpow and Aukey, two of the biggest electronics Amazon-native brands out of China. The total sales by the suspended sellers eclipses $1 billion.
Amazon started suspending sellers at the end of April. More than ten days later, the sellers are still blocked. The suspension wasn’t temporary or accidental and appeared to focus on a few biggest brands. Mpow, for example, was sold by multiple sellers (some run by the company, some that identify as authorized resellers, some with an unknown relationship with Mpow). Amazon suspended all.
The brands suspended are Mpow, Aukey, VicTsing, Tacklife, Austor, Vtin, Seneo, Homasy, Homitt, LITOM, TopElek, OMORC, TRODEEM, Atmoko, HOMTECH, OKMEE, and others. More than a dozen sellers sold them on Amazon in the U.S. Additionally, Amazon has also suspended the same sellers on its international marketplaces.
The suspensions started speculations on what could have caused them. The most likely explanation is the act of trying to grow the number of positive product reviews through banned techniques, for example, including postcards with the order asking for a review or doing product giveaways in exchange for a review.
Mpow, Aukey, and others are some of the most successful sellers on Amazon with products with tens of thousands of reviews. They likely got away with using banned techniques thanks to their size. It is open to question why Amazon decided to act now; those sellers have been infamous for their practices for a long time.
Suspending them is perhaps Amazon’s most notable and substantial enforcement of its rules yet.
Amazon has now started deleting product reviews for the suspended brands, confirming the suspicion. For example, one of Mpow’s best-selling wireless headphones went from over 66,000 reviews to 14,000. If Amazon were to undo the suspension, the sellers wouldn’t be starting from the same spot.
Unlike most Amazon suspensions, this one will get noticed by consumers too. The suspended brands have been around for years and were not fly-by-night products. Mpow products made up on average ten of the top 100 products in the Headphones category for years. A category notorious for short-lived brands.
Anker, the most successful Amazon-native brand out of China, went public last year and was both a competitor and the inspiration for brands like Mpow. While not at Anker’s level yet, Mpow and Aukey were aiming to do just as well.
There is no indication that Amazon has developed new techniques to catch sellers launching with the help of fake reviews. These suspensions were considered decisions. However, the revenue size of sellers suspended and their visibility to consumers as best-sellers is significant.