News has it that online retail giant Amazon has permanently banned 600 Chinese brands, on grounds of review fraud. The company confirmed the same, saying that the ban spreads across as many as 3000 different seller accounts. Bearing Fruit After Five Months? Users had noticed brands like RavPower, Mpow, Aukey, Choetech, TaoTronics, and Vava disappear off the platform without warning, and now, the Andy Jassy-led firm has said that the grand tally of its five month-long crackdown on a number of companies across the world. The 600 brands that have faced the wrath of the company have been subjected to the same because they were found to “knowingly, repeatedly, and significantly,” violate Amazon’s policies, particularly the ones pertaining to review abuse. Working Hard to Build Trust In a statement, the online shopping site said that it has worked hard to build up on its customer confidence, and that customer reviews have had an especially important role to play in the same. Therefore, any entity found to be violating the rules surrounding these reviews is subjected to legal action, bans, and suspensions. The firm also says that it will continue working towards enhancing its abuse detection, while taking action against “bad actors.” Incentives for Fake Reviews The numbers were first revealed by The South China Morning Post, during an interview with an Amazon Asia VP. Many of these brands have previously been called out for engaging in questionable practices like offering freebies to people in exchange for fake reviews. Take, for example, a report in the Wall Street Journal by Nicole Nguyen, where the author highlights how RavPower offers gift cards to buyers, with clear instructions directing them to post fake reviews about their products onto Amazon should they wish to redeem the card. This comes even as Amazon banned the incentivization scheme back in 2016. Not Fool-Proof But many brands still find their way around the same, disguising these incentives as VIP testing programmes, or as extended warranty. Some brands also offer incentives to people who leave a bad review, asking them to take it down. Even though Amazon claims that it has banned these Chinese brands from its platform, chances are high that they will find some other way to sell their products to Amazon’s users. Aukey earbuds are still available at some obscure places on Amazon, and even RavPower and Choetech’s products can be found on the online marketplace. As such, it remains to be seen if this crackdown will actually have the desired effect or not.
CNY - Chinese Yuan Renminbi