Amazon perma-bans 600 Chinese brands for review fraud

by Mark Tyson on 20 September 2021, 12:11

Tags: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)

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About a year ago, HEXUS reported on an investigation into Amazon reviews by the FT. Amazon's reviews are seen as a useful shopping aid by some, with many products featuring lots of reviews and ratings, both good and bad. Of course, companies would love to get better ratings, and it appears that lots of Chinese brands have been busy working between the cracks in Amazon community guidelines to boost their product ratings. Cleverly getting past guidelines might not break them, but break the spirit of the community, and tarnish the user review system. Thankfully, it has now been confirmed that Amazon has taken some decisive action.

Amazon has confirmed to The Verge that it has "banned over 600 Chinese brands across 3,000 different seller accounts". People first noticed brands like Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava, TaoTronics and Choetech disappearing from the online retailer this summer – but this was, as the source says, just the tip of the iceberg.

Another report on this Amazon ban, from Hong Kong's SCMP, says that Amazon's "extensive clean-up campaign" began in May and seems to have just completed a big chunk of its work. This news source highlights to readers that this clean-up isn't about Amazon targeting 'China', and that despite these and earlier bans (like the one in June), "the closures did not negatively impact the overall growth of Chinese online merchants on Amazon".

If you visit Amazon, you will still be able to find products from the banned companies here and there, and under partner brand names, observes The Verge. This might be new listings from sellers who aren't manipulating reviews, but it is hard to understand how this is happening already. Amazon says it is going to continue "suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these [community feature] policies". It is currently working on improving abuse detection and enforcement actions.

HEXUS Forums :: 27 Comments

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Then they can force people to buy the same stuff rebranded as Amazon Basics. Ravpower actually made some decent powerbanks,and the Anker equivalents are very overpriced on Amazon.
I liked RavPower, was surprised when I couldn't find it the other day.
Finally! Let's hope it lasts - it was getting really hard to actually sift through the fake reviews to find anything realistic. As mentioned, several of them didn't actually need to do this, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they get around it.
Two important lessons for sellers then:
1) Don't abuse the review system
2) Don't put all your eggs in one basket by selling only through Amazon
…. Ravpower actually made some decent powerbanks, ….
Maybe so, but it isn't really the point. Assuming they are manipulating the reviews system, and it sure as hell is close to unusable these days, they deerve to be banned regardless of how good, or how good value, their products are.

Personally, I'd be delighted if Amazon magane to stamp out that practice entirely, and maybe it'll encourage others that also have good products to just rely on their product quality and not ‘cheat’, because doing so defrauds us all.

That so many Chinese companies display the morals of rutting polecats is why I tend to avoid them all, which is grossly unfair on those Chinese companies (pobably the majority) that do play fair. If Chna, as a state, wants to avoid a very unwholesome future reputation for ethics, the state could do worse than crack down on flagrant abuses themselves. They don't need their companies to cheat, to do well but I've certainly avoided Chinese options in several recent major purchases because of this. Overall, it's a few greedy and unethical small-timers doing the whole country a gross dis-service.

Oh, and it isn't just China. India, and others, would do well to take note.