At least two companies that sell mobile accessories on Amazon seem to have had all their product listings removed a few days ago. Search the site for a set of Mpow wireless headphone or earbuds and you’ll find that everything is “currently unavailable”.

The same goes for Aukey, which normally sells a much wider range of gadgets including audio and charging accessories, hubs, adapters, cables, cameras, and other gear.

While Amazon, Aukey, and Mpow haven’t explained what’s happened, the timing is interesting – SafetyDetectives recently posted about a data breach revealing that some Amazon vendors had collaborated with customers millions of times to provide free products in exchange for positive reviews.

Mpow Amazon shop

That’s not to say that some of the products aren’t actually decent – I’ve owned a few pairs of Mpow earbuds over the years, and while they’re not incredibly durable (thus the reason I’ve bought several), they sound pretty good and don’t cost a lot. But the problem with this sort of pay-to-play scheme is that it makes it unclear whether you can trust the reviews on sites like Amazon, which could dupe folks into buying products that may not live up to the expectations.

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2 replies on “Lilbits: Amazon may be cracking down on pay-to-play reviews”

  1. Seems unfair and a conflict of interest when Amazon runs it’s own vine program, but bans others from doing the same on their market place.

    1. I would much rather have a required disclosure. If you received compensation or free product for your review, then disclose it. Allow people to filter paid reviews. I used to post reimbursed reviews and would disclose it.

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