If you're browsing Amazon looking for smartphone power accessories like wall chargers or power banks, you may notice that many of the entries that used to populate the website's listings have disappeared.

Aukey, Mpow and RavPower, some of the biggest brands in this type of gadget, have removed their listings from Amazon - and now the tech supergiant has confirmed to The Verge that it has taken those products off itself.

Now you can't find these companies' products at all - if you search for their brand names, sometimes you'll find products listed with "Currently not available", other times the listings will only be populated with competing products.

So what happened?

So what happened and why were Aukey, Mpow, and RavPower removed from Amazon? Well, none of the companies have said this, but most people assume it's due to fake reviews.

Fake reviews - a problem with Amazon and other e-commerce websites - is when companies entice people into posting dishonest reviews, usually in exchange for money. In this case, prominent Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nicole Nguyen reported that RavPower offered them an Amazon gift card in exchange for positive feedback.

After my fake review story, listings for Amazon's branded RAVPower electronics brand disappeared. The company offered $35 gift cards for reviews of a product sold directly by Amazon itself. RAVPower acted as a wholesaler on the list. https://t.co/6nazZZ5Wtb pic.twitter.com/znp9u48YHV June 16, 2021

To learn more

Obviously, paying people to give positive reviews of your product is highly unethical - and while the words "ethical" and "Amazon" often contradict each other, the company does ban paid reviews, which is against its policies.

Many online stores have problems with fake reviews, with Wish and Amazon known as the two most affected sites. Because user rankings carry such a high weight in search results, if a manufacturer can garner many positive reviews, it could rank higher than many similar products, and obviously paying for dishonest reviews is easier than just making good products.

Вот почему вы не можете покупать новые блоки питания от RavPower, Aukey или Mpow

By banning some well-known brands that have been caught trying to get paid reviews, Amazon seems to be opposing dishonest practices. But it could be better.

Only fake reviews authorized by Amazon please

Amazon's rules against "inspired reviews" don't seem to apply to its own platforms - we mean Amazon Vine, an invite-only service for active product reviewers.

The way it works is that Vine users are sent a lot of free review materials from a wide range of retailers, including some pre-release gadgets and products.

On the surface, this platform seems to be fair - companies are not allowed to influence reviews in any way, and Vine Voices (the people who got all the free stuff) can post negative reviews if they see fit.

This is a good but disingenuous defense: people are more likely to leave a positive review for a product if they haven't paid for it, especially without considering the price tag. So retailers who choose Vine are still playing the system to a degree and counting on people's gratitude. receiving free products.

Often, money is not needed to encourage someone to post a fake review, as the free product (which they leave) functions just like a cash reward.

So while Amazon is apparently taking steps to combat fake reviews, its own services are still contributing to it.