Amazon has stripped dozens of listings for popular accessories makers like Aukey and Mpow from its online store amid published reports potentially tying the companies to a scam that involved paying users for positive reviews of their products. The companies make chargers, battery packs, cables, headphones and other accessories designed to work with smartphones and other portable gadgets. Searching for either brand name delivers almost no results. Their respective store pages (Mpow, Aukey) show a handful of "currently not available" listings or terminate on "dogs of Amazon" pages that are the internet retailer's version of a 404 page not found error.
The move by Amazon comes a few days after security researchers at Safety Detectives uncovered a data leak that pointed to a major payola scam where free products were provided in exchange for glowing Amazon user reviews. The researchers didn't reveal the merchants involved. It's unclear if Aukey or Mpow participated in the scam, which grew to include fake reviews from about 75,000 Amazon accounts, but the companies were mentioned in related news reports and social media posts. Both have been well-liked by CNET in the accessory space in recent years, but they're going head-to-head with countless other upstart brands like Anker and Tribit in the increasingly competitive bargain accessories space.
An Amazon spokesperson, while not commenting on the specific brands in question, said, "We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant. We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of our community features, and we suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies."
Aukey didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.