One month ago, Amazon-first gadget brands Aukey and Mpow suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from the giant online retailer’s storefront, with almost all their electronics vanishing from Amazon’s shelves. Today, popular battery and charger brand RavPower has completely disappeared as well — and Amazon now confirms to The Verge that it was the one that removed RavPower from its store, and that it removed Aukey and Mpow previously. It also appears to have removed Vava and TaoTronics, two other brands from RavPower’s parent company Sunvalley; read our new story here.
Amazon hasn’t yet said why it took the action on RavPower, but it’s not hard to imagine what happened here. On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Nguyen ran a story about how her new RavPower charger included an offer for a $35 gift card in exchange for a review, something that Amazon confirmed was a violation of company policy. Amazon banned incentivized reviews in 2016. Nguyen tweeted about RavPower’s removal earlier today:
Following my fake review story, listings for Amazon-native electronics brand RAVPower are gone.— nicole nguyen (@nicnguyen) June 16, 2021
The company offered $35 gift cards for reviews on a product that was sold directly by Amazon itself. RAVPower acted as a wholesale vendor on that listing.https://t.co/6nazZZ5Wtb pic.twitter.com/znp9u48YHV
As a result, all of RavPower’s product listings have disappeared, leaving blank white spaces in the company’s Amazon storefront. Searches for “RavPower” don’t bring up any listings for products made by the company. Existing links to RavPower products either point to Amazon’s “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” cute 404 dogs, or listings that read “Currently unavailable.”
By and large, this is exactly what happened to Aukey, Mpow, and other lesser-known electronics retailers last month — except here, Amazon has been a bit more thorough. You can actually still find a couple of Aukey listings on Amazon, while RavPower seems to have none.
Another important difference may be that RavPower has its own separate online shop that ranks high in Google search, so it may not strictly need to depend on Amazon. RavPower didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon would not tell us last month if it actually removed Aukey and Mpow, merely giving us a generic statement that suggested it generally suspends sellers that violate “the integrity of our store,” but it confirmed both removals to The Verge today. At the time, Aukey and Mpow didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Fake, inflated, paid, and other forms of scammy reviews run rampant on Amazon (and other online platforms, to be fair), and I see suspicious-looking cards in my random Amazon purchases all the time. It’s weird to think that RavPower would need to stoop to this behavior, though: we’ve regularly featured good products that the company makes, including our favorite wireless charging pad.
Amazon is actively trying to clamp down on this kind of fraud, though it’s not always successful. In a Wednesday blog post that explains some of its enforcement efforts, the company says it “stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were ever seen by a customer” in 2020.
Below, find some of our recent coverage.
Update, 1:46PM ET: Added a link to Amazon’s blog post on Wednesday that generically describes some of its enforcement efforts around fake and incentivized reviews.
Update, 3:55PM ET: Added confirmation from Amazon that it removed RavPower.
Update, 4:24PM ET: Added confirmation from Amazon that it removed Aukey and Mpow, too.
Update June 17th, 3:17PM ET: Added that Amazon has reportedly suspended sister brands Vava and TaoTronics, too.