Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
- Amazon has removed Aukey and Mpow soon after an investigation discovered companies paying for fake reviews.
- Companies handed out free products in hopes of spurring sales.
- The brands have yet to respond to the allegations.
Have you noticed that a favorite tech accessory brand vanished from Amazon without a trace? There might be a good reason for it. Amazon has pulled Aukey and Mpow from its listings not long after a SafetyDetective investigation found companies paying for fake reviews to boost sales.
The internet safety advocate discovered an exposed server with a cache of messages between Amazon vendors and customers who were willing to supply fake reviews in return for free products. While the participants in the scheme would buy the products themselves, the vendors would send money through PayPal to avoid tipping off Amazon’s moderators. Some might have received an “additional payment,” although there weren’t examples of this in the cache.
Related: The best wireless chargers
The fraudsters also set review guidelines to avoid detection and used a variety of messaging platforms to orchestrate fake reviews, including Telegram and WhatsApp. The server hosting all these conversations appeared to be in China, although the data covered people in Europe and the US.
We’ve asked Amazon for comment. Aukey and Mpow so far haven’t addressed the takedowns, including whether or not they were directly linked to the alleged fake reviews scheme.
It’s not certain just how many companies were implicated in the fake reviews scam. However, the removals of Aukey and Mpow could have dramatic effects on the tech accessory world. Both are some of the best-known tech accessory makers and were fixtures on Amazon — they’ve just lost one of their largest storefronts. Alternatives like Anker and RavPower remain, but they won’t do you much good if they don’t have an equivalent to what you were looking for.