If you’re in the market for a new charger or cable, you might find fewer brands on Amazon than you’d expect — because at least six of them have mysteriously disappeared. The giant retailer confirmed last month that it had removed Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava and TaoTronics, but now a sixth gadget maker has similarly vanished in a puff of smoke: Choetech, a company perhaps best known for inexpensive wireless charging pads. (A few Verge staffers have them sitting around right now.)
Amazon isn’t talking this time, but the modus operandi is the same: if you visit Choetech’s seller page on Amazon, you’ll see the same telltale empty boxes where the company’s products used to be. Searches for Choetech only surface products from other sellers instead (via xda-developers). As far as I can tell, the store was removed several days ago, with reports on social media of its disappearance dating back to July 3rd.
It’s not hard to imagine why this might have happened. Amazon’s in the middle of a crackdown on fake five-star reviews, and quite a few gadget sellers have been caught red-handed trying to pay customers to inflate their score. (Amazon banned incentivized reviews in 2016.) When we asked about Choetech, Amazon would only point us to its June 16th blog post that discusses the new crackdown.
Choetech, aka Shenzhen Dak Technology, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
We also haven’t gotten comment back from any of the earlier gadget brands that Amazon did confirm removing — but it seems like some of them may be trying to dodge the ban with slightly different seller names. While Aukey and Mpow no longer have a direct presence on Amazon, you can still find some of Aukey’s wireless earbuds under the “Key Series” brand there, and Amazon is also currently selling the “xMpow MFly,” which appears to be an Mpow product.
If you’ve received any inserts in your Amazon packages, suspicious or no, electronics or no, can you send me pictures at email@example.com? I’m collecting them for a future story.