Ever wanted to be sent books or products for free? Sure, who doesn’t? Getting free products to review happens quite often on Amazon, and most authors/companies/sellers simply ask that you write ‘an honest review’ in exchange for that book/product.
For over 5 years, I have been approached by authors, publishers, product manufactures and distributors to read/try their products and then write a review on Amazon. It has often been a rewarding experience in that I get to try products I love, and ones that I would have never bought but seem interesting.
Recently I wrote a book on WordPress themes, and needed to get people to review it on Amazon (not many people are interested in buying a book/product when there are no reviews.) I looked at the reviewers of other WordPress books to reach out to them to see if they would like to review my book as well. Problem was that almost no one’s Amazon profile helped me find their email so I could contact them.
What you’ll get from this article
- Steps to improving your Amazon profile so authors, publishers, product manufactures and distributors can contact you.
- A better understanding of how new products get reviewed on Amazon.
- Hopefully get free books and products to try and review!
What we are doing to get free products to review
Through my struggles to find reviewers’ contact info on Amazon, I am going to show you how to make a better Amazon profile, one that helps the supplier choose you over others to try and review their products. This is not a guarantee that you will ever be asked to try a product, but a way that can vastly improve your chances of being asked.
You may have heard of an Amazon program called Vine (members are Vine Voices and get a badge.) It is an Amazon sponsored program to help suppliers get their products into the hands of seasoned reviewers before and during the launch of the product on Amazon. This way a new product has a handful of reviews, or more. As I stated above, having genuine reviews of a product actually help online sales.
This post is not about how to be invited to Amazon Vine, it’s about how to optimize your Amazon profile to help people contact you with offers of books/products in exchange for a review.
Full disclosure: I am not a member of Amazon Vine, never have been. I would certainly love to be one, but I have never been asked to join (it’s invite only, no application.)
Your Amazon profile
Your Amazon profile is created the moment you sign up for Amazon. You can view yours by signing into Amazon (if you don’t have an account, you’ll need to sign up), then navigate to “My Account” (see pulldown menu next to Cart/Basket), then scroll down to “Personalization” section and click on “Your Public Profile.”
In most cases, on your Profile you will see your user name, items you have favorited, recent activity (images and reviews), and a section on the left showing interests and some ranking information. The section on the left and your recent reviews are likely the most important part of this page (see image of my profile above.) Let’s get into why…
As a supplier of an item I want reviewed, I am looking over your profile to see if you are going to be a good candidate for this product. I’m also going to read your reviews (likely skim them) to judge them on length, content, constructive criticism, and tone of voice. I want a reviewer that is not only going to give me an honest review, but one that will help other potential buyers A) make an informed buying decision based on a peer review, and more importantly B) want to buy the product.
This does’t mean your reviews have to be glowing, perfect epic novels expounding on the miracles this particular item did for you. They just have to be real and supportive. We’ll get into how to write review below.
How to write a profile that tells people that you like to review
You can go about this two ways: active and passive
The active way would be to come right out and say that you enjoy reviewing products on Amazon. While there is no hard and fast rule against you saying that you would take products in exchange for honest reviews, I would advise against it. Since Amazon has the Vine Program in place, I’m not sure how kindly they would take to you overtly circumventing the program on your profile. It’s not that Amazon doesn’t know people are sent items for free in exchange for reviews, but I am sure they would prefer you not advertise you do so outside of Vine. But, if you are super eager to be sent products to review, then maybe the active approach might be best for you.
Passive is the way I play it. I filled out my profile’s “About Me” and “Interests” sections to show what I do for a living and what I like. It’s passive because it doesn’t say anything about me accepting free products to review, but there is enough info about me to know whether the supplier will feel I am a good match. Plus, I choose this method right now because I get enough requests to try products.
To update your profile, navigate to “My Account” (see pulldown menu next to Cart/Basket), then scroll down to “Personalization” section and click on “Your Public Profile.” In the left column under your picture you should see an “Edit” button. Clicking it will bring up the dialogue box you see below. Fill out only what you are comfortable sharing, and never display things such as your home address, children’s names, social security number or other personally identifiable information. And do not link to anything that has that information.
How to optimize your profile
Filling out your profile is one thing, optimizing it so suppliers can get a sense of who you are and easily contact you is another. The Amazon profile in use today has a space for “pen name”, signature, location, email, website, occupation, About Me, and Interests. None of this except your ‘pen name’ is required to be filled out, though the more you fill out the more optimal your profile will be to suppliers looking for people to review their products.
Think about it from their angle: a romance novelist is looking for people to review her book, and she sees your profile where it only says “KittyBooBoo” for the name and an email that matches, of course. No reviews, no other profile info. So, no way is she is going to ask you to review her book since it would likely be a waste of her time emailing you. But, if a camera manufacturer comes across your profile and sees you are a photographer, with well-written reviews on other cameras and related gear, and a link to your blog where you write about camera gear or photography, then yes, they may likely contact you.
If you don’t feel comfortable listing your email (because of spam bots), then at least link to a website where they can contact you through. It could be your Twitter, Facebook or G+ profile pages.
Image and location
Be sure to add a picture and a location to your profile. For some products, there may be a geographic limit to where they can send it. Some items can’t ship via air, and other items have a short shelf life and need to get there quick. And be professional about the image you choose. A half-naked selfie of you is not going to win over suppliers, unless you are looking to attract products for half-naked selfie-taking type people.
The location should just be the city, or if you are uncomfortable with that, you can say “West Coast” or just the state.
How to optimize your reviews
Suppliers often find you based on reviews you have written before. Example: a camera manufacture will go to Amazon and open up detail pages on cameras that are similar to the one they want reviewed. They will likely sort the reviews by the latest ones and start scanning them for well written reviews. As we mentioned before, this would be a review of good length, the content covers the product features, has some constructive criticism (not too much), and the tone of voice is neutral yet leaning toward supportive.
- Length should be at least a paragraph (about 6-7 sentences), but 2-3 paragraphs would be best.
- Include bullet points in your reviews as needed. You’ll occasionally see a pros and cons list in Amazon reviews, or features the reviewer wanted to showcase.
- The tone of the review should not be overly glowing and sickly sweet, as in “OMG! I love love love this, it is the best ever!” Use the same voice you would when trying to get a coworker to buy it.
- Reference other products you have read/used by that author/company and link to them. Amazon reviews have the ability to link to other products, and they make it easy to do in the review editor.
Write reviews for products you want to review more of
This is easy: don’t review 10 eye liners unless you want to asked to review a new eye liner. If you review only XBox games, then I would expect only XBox games companies to ask you to review their games. Your reviews are a portfolio of your interests, and expect suppliers to treat them that way.
Best practices for reviewing
Writing reviews for products you never owned or never used could come back to haunt you if a company, seller or author ever asks you about it. Also, Amazon customers can leave comments and questions on your reviews asking for more information. Responding to these is also helpful for getting free products to review.
Be constructive with your review: each negative mark should have a recommendation of how to improve it. No one likes a reviewer that just hammers away at a book/product without suggestions to improve it.
Do your best to stay away from writing only a pure positive review: they seem fake since there should be at least one thing they could improve on. It’s hard to think of a book or product that is perfect. Plus, these reviews read more like the book author’s family members or company employees than real reviewers.
Turn down offers for products that are offensive, or not of any interest to you. Just because someone asked, you don’t have accept the offer. Have standards, and stick to them.
Related post: List of Amazon Review Sites for Free Products
Once your Amazon Profile has been updated and you are ready to start getting free products to review, be sure to check out my growing list of Amazon Review Sites for Free Products. Signing up for even just some of these will ensure you are busy with more review request emails than you ever though possible.
Thank you for writing such a helpful and interesting article.
I am currently an Amazon reviewer in the UK and was wondering if you were allowed to actually contact a supplier / manufacturer that trades on Amazon directly and say to them that you would be prepared to write a product review on Amazon in exchange for a test sample.
Would Amazon actually allow that?.
I don’t know all the rules of Amazon Reviews by heart, but I haven’t come across any rules specifically stating that you can’t contact a company directly and make that offer.
For one, outside of the Vine Program, Amazon doesn’t know which reviewers were contacted to write a review in exchange for samples. And vice versa: they have no way of knowing if a reviewer asked a company for samples with the promise of writing an honest review.
It certainly can’t hurt to ask the company/manufacturer. Though, to put this in perspective, I would expect products that just hit the shelves within the past few months (and don’t have any/many reviews) would be more inclined to want/need your review. And know that not all companies/manufactures recognize the value of reviews. Also, keep in mind that high end products typically go through the Vine Program, while food and vitamin samples are very commonly sent out for reviews.
Go to this Amazon Community Help page and click on the “Frequently Asked Questions” link (which I can’t embed for some reason). The highlights on that page state types of reviews they don’t allow:
Very helpful information! I just started reviewing and blogging a few months ago. Thanks for all your tips.
I actually came across this answer on accident so oddly enough and for the first time might I add I can answer this. 🙂…… This is assuming that the rules are the same in the UK as they are in the US, I can’t imagine why the wouldn’t be, you are allowed to contact the seller directly if you choose. If you do this everything I’ve read said to politely contact and point them to your profile as well as your enthusiasm for helping sell products with integrity and honest reviews. Last but not least sliding in a hint about your “portfolio” of previous reviews can’t hurt…😉
I hope this helps!
Tristan is one of our reviewer partners in the US and we are about to launch in the UK as well.
We organize everything and send offers out to our members (reviewers) 6 days a week.
You can sign up to be a reviewer here: http://ilovetoreview.co.uk
Also, if you are being contacted by companies and want to discuss being an affiliate partner, please send me an email to email@example.com
Great tips, thanks!
would love to take part in this adventure 🙂
I’ve been on the top 500 Reviewers list for a while and have occasionally contemplated contacting sellers and asking for a specific product to review, but never have because it just seems tacky to me. As far as I know, doing so isn’t against Amazon TOS. It IS FCC regulation that you must disclose in your review that you received a discounted or free sample to review.
I don’t see anything wrong with contacting companies directly. In fact, some would welcome the idea that people want to help them promote their product.
I understand what you are saying with the FCC regulation, but Amazon reviews fall in the gray area. FCC is going after businesses that promote products. Bloggers, journalists, business Twitter and Facebook accounts, all must disclose if the article/post was in any way supported by another company looking to profit from it. I’ve read it and have yet to see anything specifically stating reviews fall in that category. The reviewer is not profiting from it the way a blogger or business does. I could be wrong and welcome anyone sending me a link to counter it.
Amazon’s terms of service have become much clearer in 2015 regarding disclosures.
If you receive a product for free or for a discount in exchange for your unbiased review…you MUST disclosure that fact in your review or the review.
I run a large marketing firm that exclusively works with Amazon businesses in this way and we require all of our reviewers to disclose.
Below is from Amazon TOS & Reviewer Guidelines:
Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling onAmazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.
Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact. Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary. Read more about promotional content.
I hope this helps, Tristan.
I would like to know if it’s ok to write a review in amazon UK, even if you got the products from amazon US?
please let me know. Thanks!
I don’t see a problem with it. So long as the product is fundamentally the same, you are essentially reviewing the same product.
I sometimes get asked by Sellers to post my reviews on the UK and Canadian Amazon sites.
Thank’s for writing a great piece about Amazon Reviews. I took a lot away from it, despite me being on the other side of the fence (so to speak).
As a seller I am looking or potential reviewers.
I was wondering………. how do you get to leave a “verified” review without paying for the product first. I thought I could give potential reviewers an Amazon Gift Card to the value of…. or perhaps there is another way? Maybe you just leave unverified reviews?
First, as a buyer I see “verified” reviews as slightly more legitimate than non-verified reviews. Others may see them as the only review they trust, while some buyers may not care. If it is important to you, then here is how you can go about it.
Companies first ask if I have a Prime account—which means I can get free shipping. When I say yes and agree to review their product, I receive a coupon code for 100% off the price. I order the item as I normally do, use the code and get it 2 days later.
The benefits to this are:
I have had a couple companies send me an Amazon gift card that I used to purchase their product. Same benefits as above, with the exception of the first benefit: the reviewer can only use it for your product. They could use it for anything on Amazon since it is just like cash. That would be unethical, but possible.
There are companies that choose to send me the product directly. I often notify them of the option of a coupon code and tell them the benefits above. I find a lot of companies don’t even know they can do that, and about half choose to send a coupon code.
I recommend using the coupon code and asking if the reviewer has a Prime account—seems easier for all involved, right? My guess is most top 2,000 reviewers have one.
Could you please tell me how to get a Prime Account?
Should I pay $99 per year for it?
Yes, you should get a Prime account, especially if you plan on receiving products from companies via the Amazon ordering system and don’t want to pay for shipping. You can sign up here: http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-One-Year-Membership/dp/B00DBYBNEE
Amazon prime is worth it for the free shipping alone.
You will find yourself leaning towards buying from Amazon more often than other sites if they have an item available, just because the shipping is free, and you get it it two days…I sure do! Wouldn’t work at all if prices weren’t competitive, though.
You can now pay $10 monthly, if easier. Yes, you end up paying a bit more than the $99 yearly, but me being on a fixed income find monthly payments easier! You DO want Prime though!
Hi I got an email yesterday offering me a coupon code to get their product to review it. I checked the code in amazon and yes is legit and I should get the product for free. I’m not part of the vine program (haven’t been asked) and this is the first time I get an email from a vendor from amazon asking me to review their product. So my question is, is it normail that they ask me to share with them my order number? I have the item ready in my card with their provided cupón applied and all but I haven’t “bought” it because the next step would’ve to email them and tell them my order number… is that safe and normal? Thanks!
Yes, that is normal. They then match it up to their Amazon Seller Central account to verify.
Hi, what is your product? I am looking into becoming a reviewer and would love the practice.
I don’t have a product. I recommend you go around your home and office reviewing items you own and use. Almost all of it is on Amazon.
I wish to become a reviewer. I’ve been an Amazin customer for 20 years. I recently retired. I think this would be fun. How can I become a reviewer with Amazon?
Saida, the answer is in the blog post above that you just commented on. It has a detailed how-to guide on how to become a reviewer with Amazon or any other platform.
Thanks for the tips! I just started reviewing and had no idea you could customize your amazon profile.
Reviewing products sounds interesting to me and might be something I would love to try out.
I have been making some changes in my life and looking for new interests to occupy my time.
In my early 50’s and feel like I would be an asset due to my life experiences, but still young enough
to want to try out new and updated items.
Just wanted to post that Amazon forbids gift cards or refunds.
I haven’t seen anything forbidding gift cards being sent to a reviewer. Could you post a link to the page that states that? As for refunds, forbidden or not, I wouldn’t recommend anyone get into that mess. Be sure to get the product up front, or at least a 100% off coupon code to purchase it via Amazon Checkout for $0.00. Do NOT buy a product with the expectations that they will refund you after a review is written. It’s payment for review (a gray area, or flat out forbidden), and open for being taken advantage of by the person requesting the review.
Hi Tristan! As others have said – THANK YOU for doing this article/blog, especially given the time you have invested in it, when you could have been reviewing a a few freebies during this time instead! 😉
Anyway, I was curious since this person never replied to your question about gift cards, if you ever did your own research on this matter, and if so – what did you learn?
Thanks for reminding me about this! Amazon just updated their terms of service section “Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions”, and the act of giving you gift cards is forbidden: “you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free copy of the product.” And “No refunds are permitted after the review is written.” See Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions page.
Thanks to Greg at ILovetoReview.com for pointing out the above Amazon page to me.
Thanks for the reply! I am not surprised by this, as gift cards can be considered a form of cash – and certainly would hold value at a site like Amazon.
Hi Tristan. Great information! I just wanted to underscore a sentence you wrote above regarding receiving payment post-review (I work in an industry where the payment based upon success of the product is frowned upon/illegal/immoral as well). As you point out, this is so important: “It’s payment for review (a gray area, or flat out forbidding), and open for being taken advantage of by the person requesting the review.” Again, great article and advice within the comment section. BTW, No, Tristan did not pay me for this comment!
I think the actual policy is that a reviewer can’t be compensated beyond the price paid.
Hello Tristan. A big compliment is in order here. You have a wonderful way with words. When you write, it’s as if you’re speaking directly to someone. This is a gift. Thanks for sharing.
Tristan – this is a great write-up of the Amazon reviews system. Those are a lot of very helpful insights about modifying your profile (and hopefully getting invited to Vine).
It’s so well lit that your photo at the top looks like a stock pic, but it’s of all the free stuff you received!
Another useful resource for people interested in reviewing products online is our ProductsForReview.com. It’s a service where bloggers can post about what they want to review, and companies can post products they are offering for review, too.
Hopefully that will be helpful to some of your readers, too.
Readers, keep in mind that the above company charges $5 per application to be a reviewer. The instructions were a bit confusing and lengthy, so I don’t know what that $5 really gets you, and if you have to pay each month, or each time you want to receive something. Please do your own due diligence, I do not know anything more about them than what you can read on their site. I am not affiliated with them.
Tristan – This is from the Seller’s side – Can you share a sample of an offer e-mail you had received from the seller/company? Maybe the one that approached you the most professional way and where you had hard time turning down the offer?
Great question. I will plan on turning this answer into a bog post to further expand on how to write a great request for review email. Here is one email I liked and responded to [redacted]:
I noticed you recently reviewed [other company’s product]. I’m a seller in a similar category and have just brought to market a set of [their product] in bright and fun colors that I would love to offer you for free in return for a totally honest review.
[list full URL to product detail page on Amazon here]
As a brand we are hoping to expand the [product name/category] shortly with more fun and funky kitchen tools but won’t move forward until we know our first product is right.
If you would like to review the [product] let me know and I’ll send you a coupon so you can get them for free or let me know if you have another method you prefer.
Thank you for your time – it is very much appreciated,
[signed with a real person’s name and company name, with URL to company website that is not Amazon]
Great article! Thanks for your help personalizing my profile- I didn’t realize that was something I could do! I was wondering if you’ve ever personally contacted companies to test their products or if they generally just approach you? I really considered going the “bold” and “direct” route you mentioned, but I don’t want to get into trouble from Amazon either, haha. Also- if they contact you- is it always through your email- or is there a way for them to contact you through Amazon?
I have only ever reached out to 1 or 2 companies that I can remember. I get about 1 offer a day now, so I don’t really have that much time to request more. And it is always via the email address I have listed on my Amazon profile.
s mentioned above, I highly recommend you start reviewing items around the house/office you use often so companies can get an idea of how you write. Also, keep in mind that the type of products you review can dictate what companies contact you. If you only review headphones, you will likely get more requests to review headphones.
Would I be correct in assuming these companies would do a bit of background research on you before just offering to hand you items for free?
The reason I ask is this:
I’ve long considered entering this arena, but my concern is that I have been using my username(s) for quite some years on a few retail sites, but I’m mainly concerned about my Amazon username since that’s where the most reviews take place.
How much would these companies ding you if you have a few unsavory reviews (which essentially break a bunch of your rules) I doubt there’s anything too obscene and i never used any outright foul language or anything. Would it just make more sense to get a new user name?
Any insight you can share is much appreciated.
Thank you very much for the article and the great tips – they sound very helpful and I look forward to putting them to use.
I have never heard about any kind of background checks. BUT, I would imagine that the more expensive the product (say $100-$500+) the more likely the company would/should:
– look through the reviewers past reviews
– Google them to see if there is any conflicts of interest (you’re Sony and they are working at Samsung, or they write a blog that hates on all things electronic, let’s say)
– check out their social media for further conflicts/compatibility
There is nothing wrong with writing constructive negative reviews. If you mean by “unsavory” in that previous reviews are defamatory or just go way overboard on the negativity, then yes, this could hurt you, should any manufacturer find them (which is unlikely for most asking for a review. See below.)
Keep in mind that the vast majority of product manufacturers requesting a review are asking:
– you to review a $5-25 product
– hundreds of people to write a review
– and are very busy
Knowing that, you can expect that background checks are minimal or (most likely) completely non-existent. BUT, if any manufacturer sends out a bunch of product and gets an abysmal response of people writing reviews, you can expect that the next time that manufacturer will likely do some more checks first.
I have been a NewEgg Eggxpert for about 3 to 4 years and have posted QUITE A FEW BAD REVIEWS about both Products AND Services over the years. I have NEVER GOTTEN “DINGED” by ANY Company and/or Service for a “BAD” Review. As a matter of fact I did a BAD Review on a Western Digital Portable HD once and I got a Reply Message (ON the NewEgg Review Site itself – surprised the heck out of me) praising my honesty and truthfulness. The person who replied even said that he wished MORE REVIEWERS were as honest in their reviews as I was. He also stated that ALL the problems/issues that I had listed with the product itself would be tested and/or fixed or modified ASAP.
Hope this answers your question…
A couple of other things I forgot to mention.
1. IF you do get an opportunity to become a Professional Reviewer (for ANYONE), SAVE COPIES OF ALL CORRESPONDENCE (BOTH TO AND FROM EVERYONE) in a DEDICATED FOLDER (DIRECTORY) such as one Directory for NewEgg, one for Amazon and so on and so forth. This will make finding a particular message MUCH easier AND FASTER.
2. USE a MASTER COPY OF your reviews (Mine is Called “NewEgg-000”) with ANY COMMENTS AND/OR WARNINGS AND SUCH and then just ADD your personal Review to this MASTER COPY. When you’re done with your NEW Review, then save this copy as “WHATEVER NAME-001” or “WHATEVER NAME-088” or whatever name/number you want to. This way if ANYONE has ANY QUESTIONS AND/OR COMMENTS about WHAT you said OR DIDN’T SAY you can provide them with the original Review. This saves a LOT of time AND arguments.
3. DO NOT RESORT TO NAME CALLING! DO NOT DO THIS FOR EITHER A COMPANY OR A PERSON! This is BAD FORM and will probably get you banned for whatever program you are involved in.
Hope these helped…
Thanks, Joe! This is all great advice and helps show that Amazon isn’t the only place you can do this.
This seems to be some really great advice to complement what Tristan has provided. Thank you very much.
Hi I am a manufacturer how/where do i get a list of specific UK Amazon reviewers in order to send them specific products they would normally review? I am not sure where I get the Amazon reviewers details from in order to make contact with them?
The best way to find UK reviewers is to go to Amazon UK and search for products that are similar to the one(s) you want reviewed. Look for the most recent well-written reviews and click through to their profile pages until you find ones with email addresses listed. Reach out to them that way.
For the last 3 to 4 years I have been a Professional NewEgg “EggXpert” Product Reviewer. I got this gig by honestly posting reviews AND comments about any product that I either owned or had an opportunity to use and/or try. After a while NewEgg Contacted me and said that they had gotten so many “GOOD” comments about both my reviews and/or comments that they’d like me to become part of the team. I then asked them what was involved and they told me ALL they wanted someone who would post HONEST reviews about a product. To this I said YES, sign me up.
One thing I include in ALL OF MY REVIEWS, is the following comment at the TOP of EACH REVIEW. I think it says it all.
“Before I begin my review on this product, let me set the record straight on something. NewEgg DOES NOT PAY their Eggxpert Reviewers ANY MONEY for a review (GOOD OR BAD – ON ANY PRODUCT)!!! When they 1st asked me to become a reviewer, they told me that I could post ANY TYPE of review that I wanted to, either GOOD OR BAD! The only thing that they asked me to do was to be honest in my review, which I try to be. Now that this is finished, let’s start…”
This job has been MOST REWARDING to me as well as being fun. I get to test MANY NEW Products that are coming out and best of all I get to keep them when I’m finished test them..
If you’re like me and do get an opportunity to become a Professional Reviewer TRY to remain honest with the people. If you review a NEW Product that’s, “NOT YET READY FOR PRIME TIME.” say so. Both the manufacturers and the customers will be grateful for your honesty. Remember Manufacturers LEARN from their mistakes while customers PAY for theirs.
Have fun and GOOD LUCK…
I heard about the Genesis Reviewer Program, New Trent Pilot User Program, and Gmyle Lab
Anyone try them yet?
I’ve not, but thanks for the information. It seems to me the best, and most unbiased, straight-forward way to become a reviewer is just as Tristan has described. I’ve always reviewed my products, and admittedly many of mine are very good (I do a TON of research in advance of virtually any purchase, and am happy to report that is the primary reason for so many four star and higher reviews).
But after reading this post, I went in and cleaned up a few of mine that weren’t detailed, and I scanned all of my titles to make sure they would stand out to a consumer as the type that would be helpful.
One thing I do, is try to put myself in a reviewers shoes, and think back to myself and what mattered to me. Book reviews may not be quite the same as a product review, but an example I remember is when I discovered the book “Wool,” by Hugh Howey.
I am a voracious reader and often read 2-3 novels and non-fiction per week. However, I don’t care too much for sci-fi and when I discovered Wool, I was concerned if it would appeal to a person who isn’t typically interested in sci-fi. The book was at the time the #1 ranked purchase on Kindle and had been downloaded almost double as many times as its nearest competitor. Thusly, I ordered and read the book despite the fact in all the reviews I couldn’t find one mention of anyone enjoying it despite not typically reading sci-fi.
As it turned out, I LOVED the book and in my opinion it held a great deal of crossover appeal and whether or not you liked sci-fi, you should read this book. So, in my review title, that was generally what I typed. I kept it short of course, but got the point across. And in the body, before going into specifics, I reiterated a bit about me as a reader, the type of book I normally enjoy to read (including a few examples of recent favorites) and gave the book a comparison and a description of what I’d compare it to that wasn’t considered sci-fi.
I have no idea if this helped anyone, but it would have helped me. I think in most of my reviews I have approached them as such, and will likely continue to do so. To me the key to any review is to stand out as offering a critique or kudo, that isn’t what has already been said. Otherwise, just click a star rating and move on.
I recently started reviewing products on the Amazon Canada site and have been asked to write a few reviews and I really enjoy it. Is there a list of sellers or contacts that can be found to offer to review products? Or somewhere I can list my interests, devices etc for sellers to contact me?
Cool, glad to hear it! As for a list of sellers or contacts… no, I don’t think there is a public list. I can see that as being something that would be quickly abused, which may have something to do with no one publicizing it. A recent comment on this post mentioned “Genesis Reviewer Program, New Trent Pilot User Program, and Gmyle Lab”. I Googled them and came up some interesting programs to review beta and production products. Googling “Genesis Reviewer Program” will yield a good amount of companies since this seems to be a universal term for this sort of thing.
You can always list your interests and devices on your Amazon Profile page, but as you know that is not where they are initially looking. (In case you don’t know, most suppliers find reviewers manually by finding a competing product on Amazon, looking at the recent reviews and checking out their profiles for contact info.)
I recommend reviewing products you are interested in getting more of (and own, of course.) So, if you are looking to get more baby or audio products, then make sure you review a lot of baby and audio products. I recently reviewed a few of the popular baby toys and items around the house, and now I get hit up about baby items A LOT. The key is to review popular or mainstream items. I believe suppliers often target those reviewers first since there are usually hundreds of reviewers to choose from. In fact, some suppliers have told me that they found me via another item’s review I wrote.
Lastly, you can always sign up for reviewer programs such as ILoveToReview.com (which is currently only U.S. based, and which I am a member.) BUT! Be very careful about signing up for these programs. Not all of them are legit, and some use shady tactics to coerce reviewers into only leaving 4-5 star reviews, or giving you bad advice that can actually have your reviews pulled down by Amazon, or worse. Do your research!
I see that ProductsForReview.com was mentioned above. That’s an easy way to
get going as a product reviewer. They charge $5 to get listed now but you
can see there’s lots of products (and reviews) being offered there.
Do you think reviewer rank factors into it? It seems like a company just trying to reach a varied audience would look at the top reviewers to find someone. I like reviewing (and admittedly, free stuff) but I feel like I’m at a slight disadvantage in my reviews getting noticed as I’m not in the top 10,000 that you can scroll through.
I don’t think reviewer ranks plays a heavy role. Maybe some companies think top reviewers are better. But the fact that there are so few reviewers on Amazon with contact info leads me to believe that profiles that have recent activity and at least a handful of well-written reviews are good candidates for companies to reach out to.
There are also stories of reviewers being asked to be part of the Vine program while only having written 3 reviews!
Just keep reviewing products and writing in-depth reviews and you will start to get noticed. It may just take some time.
Also, check out ILoveToReview.com to sign up to be a reviewer. As mentioned before, there are a lot of companies collecting reviewers to send products to. I use and recommend ILoveToReview.com. Just be sure to do your due diligence before signing up for any reviewer program, and NEVER give them any credit card or personal/financial info.
Thanks for the tips. I’ve actually been using personal information that’s close to mine so easy to remember but not really me. Real address though; haven’t figured out a convenient way around that one.
Thank you Tristan, your blog is great and very insightful. It is very helpful for someone like me who is just getting started. I made it onto the top 10000 reviewer list hopefully it helps. I am reviewing for a few companies and love it. Thank you for the tip about the Genesis Reviewer Programs I have contacted a couple of them.
I have a question about less than glorious reviews. If you are reviewing a product that doesn’t quite measure up or doesn’t do what it claims do you go ahead and post your reviews professionally with pro’s and constructive criticism and suggestions or do you contact them first?
If it’s a good seller with great customer service would it be wrong to send them a review and star rating and ask if they want it posted or if they just want to learn from my experience with their product. Does that go against the purpose and spirit of reviewing?
I’m glad you found it insightful! As for bad reviews, that can be tough for some reviewers to write. Companies will often write “we are a small family business” in their emails to you. Some of these are true, and I believe others are saying it trying to coax you into feeling awful if you write a bad review.
Amazon says: “Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.” Source.
I only write honest reviews, and I write them as if I spent my own money to buy the product (just as customers would.) I test all products thoroughly. I also only do reviews for products that interest me. That being said, most times I don’t get awful products because I research the product on Amazon before I say ‘yes.’ If it looks like junk, or other reviewers are panning it, then I say ‘no, thanks.’
There have been a few occasions where the product was just not worthy of a 4- or 5-star review. Again, if I spent my own money on it, how would I feel about this thing?
I do NOT contact companies before I write a bad review about a product. There was one time where I wrote a bad review about some earphones and the company sent out another set because they thought mine were faulty. Second set worked better, so I amended my review. I also once got asked to take down a bad review stating ‘I did not know how to use the product’ (they were ear buds.) I do not take do reviews, only amend them.
You can review the way you want, but I suggest you treat every product as if you bought it, just the way real Amazon customers would feel about it. If you feel it is faulty and can be fixed, try contacting the company and asking for a replacement.
I’m struggling with an ethical decision. I’m not sure if it’s something you’ve ever encountered. I received a discounted product in a package with multiple paid orders. I remember seeing the discounted product, but when I went to test it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have looked and looked for weeks to see if it slipped behind something or what. The only thing I can figure is it accidentally was thrown away with the packaging. So what should I do? I feel bad that I haven’t written a review. I could say it arrived promptly and possibly give some general information about it, but I don’t feel comfortable writing a fake review nor do I feel right in writing no review since I did receive the product. Any advice?
This is a great question. I had a similar situation where I received a product (a battery) I could not fully test it because it was a size I could not use. I struggled with the same dilemma as you: do I simply review that it arrived promptly? That the packaging for it was adequate and minimal? Note the quality of the materials I can see?
I asked around at work to see if anyone have a charger for it and a flashlight that could fit it. They didn’t. So, I reviewed the packaging and quality of the materials, and I also made sure to alert other potential buyers that it looked like a AA battery but was in fact a larger one for super bright flashlights. I recently got a free flashlight that does use that battery size and will be updating my review.
What I am saying is that you can still write a review based on what you saw and know, such as:
It is not unethical, just stick to reviewing what you do know about the product. Everyone has limited experience with products to some degree, just stick to your experience and the facts. You don’t have to mention you lost it.
Anyone else have suggestions for this problem?
That is a conundrum for sure, and I think Tristan gives a good resolution idea as usual. Considering the problems existing for reveiwers, both those our peers have brought on us, and those sellers bring on us; I’ve concluded that to ever type, like, or in any way give a review or a like for something I didn’t try isn’t acceptable.
If you can do what Tristan suggests, that’s a good middle ground. But if not, I think that we as reviewers, probably need to hold ourselves accountable and let the seller know and whatever they ask as resolution, we try and do. Up to and including paying for a replacement out of our own pockets, or at least offering to split the cost of another with the seller. We assume some responsibility by accepting jobs, which I’d say extends to the final disposition of our commitment. And if an error occurs which is our own fault, we owe it to the community to not falsify, and we owe the seller who put their faith in us up to and including paying out of pocket. I’d imagine if I paid out of pocket once, I’d probably never have to do it again. This may sound extreme, but I think we really need to look at this as being “professionals,” and thus…we are accountable.
Good luck! If you have time, I’d love to hear the final outcome.
I hope you did what Tristan said! That was some good advice lol. I had a similar situation recently. My husband generally has a beard. He’ll shave in the summer sometimes, but he has facial hair. I was asked to review some “beard oil”, and jumped on it. I left the house to run errands, and called the hubby several hours later to chat. I mentioned to him over the phone that I’d gotten the beard oil for him to try, and he made a kind of strangled sound. He’d decided to shave. We laughed, and planned to just return the item at our own cost because crap happens. But I got lucky and have a teenager trying to grow out his facial hair. I also checked other ways to use the oil, and tried it as a moisturizer on my own skin.
When I reviewed the product on Amazon I told that story. Now people know I actually used the product, and that it had more than one use!
Excellent article and very helpful. Thanks for writing it and steering me in the right direction for reviewing! I appreciate it!…Jim Tilley.
I just started doing some Amazon product reviewing. So, thank you for all of this great information about being an Amazon Reviewer. The comments have been a great source of additional information. I even sent a company to this blog address to read this so they could have a better understanding from the Amazon seller side. Now I need to go research ILoveToReview.com
Melinda A. (newbie Amazon Reviewer)
I was wondering – do you account the things you get to review in your taxes? I wasn’t sure if reviewing was something that could be taxed.
Great question! I don’t think so, but I will have to look into this and get back to you.
If there are any certified accountants out there, feel free to respond here!
Another reader sent me this (in another comment below): Looks like free products fall under the taxable “Barter exchanges of goods or services”. Read more
Tax Implications of Blogging and Free Product Reviews
Above link is no longer available. I did find another article that helps explain this: 7 Things That Every Blogger Should Know About Tax
Hi Tristan,..Thank you for this article, I found it very interesting and informative. I found this post a couple of months ago, I kept seeing disclaimers on reviews that were not from Vine members and my curiosity sparked I remember googling “how to receive free products for Amazon reviews” or something along that line and it lead me here! I have mostly always left reviews for products I’d bought on Amazon and on a some of them I have had positive feedback on them averaging 90-95% helpful. I had always been interested wondering how people got invited onto the Vine Programme but after reading your article here I decided to follow your advice and see if anything would become of it. My profile initially had very little information so I uploaded a recent photo, added my location and filled it in mentioning my hobbies and activities I enjoy, provided my email address, saved my settings that when my profile page is viewed it shows my reviews which is I guess the sellers also read. I have always enjoyed writing my reviews and thought that if I was contacted with a request for reviews it would be a bonus…who doesn’t like the odd freebie??!! 🙂 I never really thought much would come of it to be honest, I had only written approximately 30 reviews at that time and was ranked 3700 in reviewers so I wasn’t high on the list.
Anyway, I left it at that and really didn’t give it too much more thought but about 2 weeks after updating my public profile I received my first email with a request to review a novel…I was totally surprised and delighted. Its been about 2 months now since I followed the advise here and I am now getting on average about 10-12 requests a week now ranging from beauty products, bluetooth wireless headphones, knitting needles and crochet hooks (incidentally I had mentioned on my profile one of my hobbies being knitting and crochet), clothes like summer dresses and tops, photography props for babies, kids accessories, Remote Control Dog Training Collars (I have 2 small but very barky dogs so this was ideal!!), LED fairy lights, books, both novels and children’s stories, vitamin supplements, Latte Coffee Mugs, etc etc. I am blown away at how well following your advise Tristan has worked. I’ve also been approached by 2 companies who are launching new brands on Amazon and are requesting reviews for their new products upon launch. I have only to date had to decline 2 requests, these were for products that neither I nor my family would make use of and I don’t think there is any point in accepting products just for the sake of it being free!
I am really enjoying it the moment and am still surprised at how much momentum it has gathered since updating my profile page! From the emails requesting reviews it seems the sellers do indeed look at the reviews of similar products they are selling and seem to have found me that way. I’ve also had a couple of companies sending me further products after I had published my first review for them. I have been very lucky in that I have use for most of the products, I give unbiased and honest reviews and thankfully haven’t been asked to give only positive reviews. I have had follow up emails requesting the review immediately upon me receiving the product although I have always made it clear in my first response to a request that I will publish the review only after I have had a reasonable period to test and try out the product although obviously some need more time than others but I tend not to leave it any longer than 10days although with vitamin supplements I do give that a 3-4 week period but I do let the seller know this in advance. I will point out in my reviews the Pro’s and Con’s of each product but I do it in a constructive manner and use a positive, friendly tone, well as much as can be conveyed in writing as such. One thing that the sellers really appreciate is the addition of any photographs if possible with the written review so now I try to ensure to provide these where appropriate.
I’m not sure how long the requests will continue to come in, and for now I will continue for as long as I am enjoying it, although I find that I am having to dedicate 1- 2 days per week at the moment solely to write the reviews which I don’t mind at all and find has been great as I took a career break a couple of years ago to stay at home so having a informal but “work like” structure a couple of days a week has been very enjoyable for me.
Sorry for the long post but I just had to come back to let you know about such a positive result I gained from following your advise…thank you so much and if I can be of help to anyone else on this I’d be more than happy to share my experience…I definitely agree that if a seller has followed the link to your Public Profile from one of your reviews this is where I think they decide to contact you or not. If anyone is thinking of trying this then I’d say go for it…I never thought in a million years I’d get this opportunity but this excellent article by Tristan changed all that completely…its a fun and rewarding way to spend some of your spare time! 🙂 Thanks again Tristan!
Thanks for the comment! It’s always awesome to hear that it not only worked for others, but how it worked for you.
A person knowledgable about taxes linked me to this – so all the people who get everything they don’t necessarily need for reviews should be careful unless they have a steady income
Colette- would you mind sending your amazon profile link to firstname.lastname@example.org so I could check it out?
Still following your blog for the comments. Thanks to your great advice I have been doing quite well. I have accepted several items for review and have more on the way. I decided to turn down 3 of the items offered to me because it seemed like they were looking for positive review and without getting into it too much it just seemed fishy with the pay half now and get it back later. Seemed wrong. My reviewer ranking was up into the 3,000’s until I got a few negative votes and my ranking jumped to almost 9,000. I noticed the votes on reviews happened about the same time and they were on the USB Hubs I reviewed.
Is this just something you ignore and keep going? I wish they had to give a reason it is not helpful so I could do better. I put a lot of thought and consideration into thoroughly testing and reviewing items. Unless my review is too long I can’t see how it is unhelpful. I am hoping this isn’t the start of my own troll infestation. It wouldn’t bother me if I felt I could have done better. Have you ever had to deal with this?
I noticed my ranking made a big jump downwards too, then it corrected itself a few days later. I think it may have been a bug in the algorithm Amazon was using to rank people. Going from 3K to 9K in ranking seems odd. When you get above 5K rank, going down 500 or 1,000 points because of a handful of negs is possible.
Some of the negative votes are real people, while some are clearly trolls. A way to spot trolls is that they often vote negative across all recent reviews, so look for lots of “0 of 1” or “0 of 2” voting patterns for a particular product. Comment trolls are on the rise as well, where they reply to your review with a nasty comment about the fact that you got the product for free. Again, they tend to write the same thing across a number of recent reviews for a product.
I just got an email notification of a new comment on this blog…I also keep track of the comments on this article too and wanted to let Lynn know I have had the same issue. I had been asked to review a pink ladies facial cleansing brush and like yourself take time and consideration into writing my reviews, testing them over a period of time and write good, honest evaluations of the products. I will admit that I don’t read others reviews on the same productsbeforehand so as not to be influenced so I went on about my business and published my review…within 10 minutes I received 2 unhelpful votes which actually threw me a bit, like yourself I could not understand how it was a bad or unhelpful review. I just had to go and read the other reviews now to see if I could figure out what the issue with mine was but reading the others more closely there was nothing glaringly different about mine apart from me giving a wee bit more detailed information on one interchangeable head and my layout was a little different…that was it, nothing that I could see justified 2 unhelpful votes in the space of 10 minutes! I then looked at the top rated reviews, they had been published 1 day before mine and both were by men. I know men can use ladies beauty products, that is not an issue but something made me go have a look at their profiles and that’s when I realised what was going on. One of the reviewers is very upfront and actually comes across “aggressive” (the correct term escapes me right now but I hope you know what I mean) with his desire to accept reviews, on anything, and I mean anything, he had many reviews written on nail polish, (20 nail polish reviews approx), cosmetics, mens cologne, perfumes, computer games, knitting needles, gardening tools, mens and ladies clothing, baby products, I could go on and on, and I did notice he would put in a little disclaimer that his girlfriend tries out the beauty products, his grandmother the knitting needles, his friend who own a bakery….etc etc etc. The second top voted reviewer was similar but not as upfront or pro active in asking for reviews but his profile was written in such a way that he is open to accept anything and again lots of reviews for things not typical, I hope I don’t sound sexist…I’m not but seeing the products they were accepting I did mentally say “hmmmm!!!!”
Oh I think I am rambling again…sorry, but I think finding this out explained where my down votes had come from and why!!! Its saddening really, I believe everyone has the right to accept products for free in return for a review if that is what they want to do so why certain feel the need to get more and be better than you is beyond me, why would it satisfy them to push that unhelpful button just to ensure their review remains the top rated???? It hasn’t happened again since but I haven’t reviewed the same products as them yet but I am aware of their tactic and will keep an eye on it. I don’t actually know what could be done other than down vote their reviews but I’m not like that and I won’t stoop to that level or get sucked into their petty wee game plus at the end of the day I can’t prove it was them. I have no idea what take Amazon would have on this either if it was happening all the time and started to become an issue?? I remember reading a post from someone who was on the Vine Programme and admitted that those reviewers have formed cliques, the gossip and backstabbing is awful among them and its all very cut throat!! Craaaazy, wouldn’t it be better if they just respected each other and do their reviews rather than get so competitive about it all.. I guess it boils down to some people having the nature of begrudging and do not like someone else getting on or doing better than them and when it comes to receiving free products greed and jealousy gets mixed into the pot also. I have ignored it so far Lynn and just keep my head down and carry on enjoying writing my reviews but yes, looks like we have attracted a little troll or two on our journey!! 🙂
Thanks for your story. It’s important to expose this behavior. Know that people on Fiverr will up/down vote dozens of reviews for $5: https://www.fiverr.com/search/gigs?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_in=everywhere&source=top-bar&query=amazon+vote&page=1&layout=auto I think some of these down votes are the bots sent out by people on Fiverr. I also think it may be a mix of top reviewers and competitors paying them to do so. Petty? Yes. The new game? Likely.
Looking to write an article proposing Amazon drop the votes and reviewer ranking to combat this. There is no benefit to either, especially while this kind of behavior is going on. Would be better to rank reviewers in each category of products based on how many reviews they wrote for “Verified purchases”. This would kill the cottage industry of fake reviews and fake voting, and also make the ‘top reviewer game’ to suppress others moot.
Thank you for letting me know about Fiverr…I went and had a look and I cannot believe that people are selling this service and that it actually seems to very popular, wow!! My eyes really have been opened to this reviewing game, there really is another whole new world on Amazon with this carry on I never knew existed. Funny I was looking through the reviews on a product I had been sent after I read your reply and every one of the 48 reviews were down voted apart from the 3 top rated ones…such shady business. The article you are thinking of writing would be excellent in exposing this…I do agree that this needs to be exposed and I do think Amazon need to be taking it seriously and help combat it! Good luck with it Tristan, I look forward to reading it….
Seems to me, that Amazon should be suing Fiverr right along with the other 4 that are paying for reviews (http://time.com/3817401/amazon-sues-fake-reviews/), as it seems to me what Fiverr is doing, is just as illegal.
Oddly enough, if Amazon would take on Facebook’s approach and way of thinking, this would eliminate sites like Fiverr. There’s a reason Facebook doesn’t offer a “Dislike” button, and perhaps Amazon should do the same. (http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/11/ask-zuck-anything/)
You either like what the person wrote about the product, or you don’t. If you don’t, you move along to the next post/review. People that write good reviews, would get voted up/aka rewarded with a higher percentage, those who don’t offer a good review won’t get the praise – or the increase in percentage.
To be honest, the down vote is really not necessary – Amazon only needs the “Like” button so to speak. Just my 2¢ worth… =)
I’ve been a Prime member for years and am a Top 500 reviewer with a 94% helpful rating (somewhere around reviewer #320-325). I have not been invited to the Vine program and have been offered less than a handful of free items over a number of years, despite having varied interests. This is a well written article, but getting free or heavily discounted stuff just isn’t that easy. I’ve had much better luck through BzzAgent and Smiley 360. Does anyone know of any other legitimate programs like those that would be worth signing up for?
Thanks for sharing your story. I have to say that I am surprised a 300-level reviewer isn’t getting bowled over by offers. I am at 1633 right now and I get at least one offer a day, sometimes up to 6-7 offers a day. I estimate I reject about 80% of them for numerous reasons.
I signed up with I Love to Review to get free (and highly discounted) products with the express understanding that I would review it honestly on Amazon within 72 hours. There is also the VIP Power Club I don’t currently know of any others.
Based on all the great feedback and comments, I am looking to spin up a website for reviewers where we can all get together and learn from each other, share stories and information. Does anyone have interest in something like that?
You know what, I should have come back and update my comment. I checked my profile and found that my email address was incorrect. The only offers I had previously received were from people who made comments on my reviews. At any rate, I fixed my incorrect email address and have more than a dozen in the last 2 days. Some are items I can use and would like (a travel pack, a passport wallet that holds your ID and CCs) and I passed on (an i-watch band, since I don’t own an Apple Watch).
Most of the offers ask me if I am interested in the item first and then give me the info to get them. A few, however, just send out a lists of codes with a first come, first served approach. I can’t check my email non-stop, so I have missed out on all of those.
But, it looks like providing an accurate email address was the correct thing to do. Most people don’t want to comment on your reviews with their contact info. I guess they would probably get a lot of requests from random people.
I’m glad I read your article. If I hadn’t, who knows when I would have noted that I entered my email incorrectly. So, thanks for that.
PS. I’m currently #322, I checked. = )
Glad to hear! It was really throwing me for a loop on why you weren’t being inundated with requests. 🙂
This is a great article. I never even knew that companies give away products in exchange for “honest” reviews. I discovered it because it was mentioned on several reviews for a product ( http://www.amazon.com/Sunbeam-SB022-Handheld-Sewing-Machine/dp/B005UFLE4G/ref=sr_1_4?s=gift-cards&ie=UTF8&qid=1438559732&sr=8-4&keywords=Handheld+sewing) that I was considering. Most people only gave it one star, but all of the reviewers who received the product gave it five stars. (There were between eight and ten reviews.)
I’m active in a Christian writers website (faithwriters.com), and they have a program for their members called Free Reads for Reviews. In exchange for an honest review, the authors will send ebooks or PDF versions of their book. I’ve received reviews for my picture book and have also given some reviews for others. I truly enjoy doing that. I’ve even offered to point out some editing errors to certain authors if they are interested (l have done professional editing for nearly three years now). It blesses me to help authors receive reviews, and I feel an obligation to the prospective buyers to give honest feedback. Thanks to your article, I think I will update my profile and be more mindful of giving reviews on products I have purchased. I wish you the best of luck with your book and future endeavors.
Just like Lynn stated above I signed up to continue reading the comments of this blog.
1. As I stated earlier I am a newbie Amazon reviewer. I started off reviewing stuff around my house and some e-books I have read. I have had a few companies send me products using coupon code (this completely pays for the product and shows up as “Verified Purchase”), and others just send me the product.
For those products that do not show as “Verified Purchase” I try to take some pictures and add them to my review. This way it demonstrates that I actually do have the product. And of course I always write “I received this product free in return for my honest review.”
2. Tristan your photo of various products looks great. Can you point me to any articles or books on how to improve my pictures? I guess it would be considered “product photography?”
3. I doubt I will ever be asked to be a Vine Reviewer but I am enjoying reviewing several products. Tristan (and any other reviewers reading this), would please take a couple of minutes of your time to look at some of my reviews and give me constructive feedback? I am not the greatest writer and appreciate any help you would offer.
That is a great tip to show you actually own the product! As for tips on taking better product photography, I would say not to worry about it. The pictures should look natural and from your point of view. If they start to look too good or staged, a person could think they are not from a real person but from the company themselves.
General lighting tips are to use light from all angles so as to not cast a harsh shadow on one side. Try and not use fluorescent lights since they cast a green/blue hue to pictures. And not too bright either, as in direct sunlight. So, a well lit room in the middle of the day should suffice for most product pictures from reviewers.
I’ll think about writing an article on how to take good, natural product photos in the future.
*Looks like the reviewer profiles on Amazon are down right now for some reason. Will look at yours later when they are back up.
I was just wondering if you had a few moments to look over my profile and a few of my reviews. I welcome any feedback you can give me. Thanks.
Hi Melinda, Just a tip, you should never post your profile publicly. There are too many shady reviewers out there who once they find a profile of someone who has a good ranking will go in and start down-voting campaigns. The same thing goes for your actual ranking, if someone knows the date you posted it and the rank you give, they can find your on the Amazon Top Reviewers webpage and use that to start down-voting you. I did not know these things myself until I joined a few FB groups to help new people learn all about reviewing.
There is definitely a shady side to what we think of as a wonderful hobby. Good luck! LW
I also love to review products so any sellers looking for reviewers I am currently top #2000 please feel free to email me.
Hi Kristin, I replied just above your comment about being careful posting your personal Amazon profile publicly. I understand why you want to do it, I would too if someone had not told me all of the horror stories about things people do with other people’s profiles. Another big problem right now is people stealing other’s reviews, copying and pasting them word for word. Good luck and stay safe, LW
I just came across this information about the Vine reviewer program. I’d like to know if Vine invitations are sent to anyone who lives outside the USA?
I live in Canada, read many reviews and have written a few for different products. If I had been aware of the Vine program (and was eligible) I would have written reviews for all the items I own that are available on Amazon.
I searched but failed to find a definitive answer to this question. Any verifiable information would be greatly appreciated.
I posted before about being an Amazon top reviewer. I just wanted to let you know that I recently found out that BzzzAgent MAY be involved in activity that violates the Amazon terms of service. I don’t know about Smiley 360. However, if you are serious about being a top reviewer, I would recommend not joining any groups or clubs outside of Amazon. It is more likely to get you in trouble than anything else. I just wanted to let you know.
You don’t need Vine to participate in Amazon giveaway’s and discounts. Check out amzrc.com for some awesome deals that you can get for a huge discount. Just leave an honest review in exchange for getting such a great deal!
I’m a reviewer for Amazon, and social media sites. It any sellers are looking for a reviewer, please contact me. My email address is email@example.com. That is also my Amazon email address.
I have only started reviewing product over the past 6 mths. About 70% of the product promo codes I enter fail. It happens when the sellers directly email me a code & also when I attempt to redeem an item from AMZThe sellers tell me that they haven’t come across this issue with other reviewers. They send me another promo code and some times it works, and other times it doesn’t. One vendor sent me 4 codes before I was finally able to successfully redeem it. This happens even if I attempt to redeem the code same day as received. And they are products I have never purchased either myself or through a different promo code.
Here are the steps I take and the results:
Click on product listing and add to cart
Proceed to checkout
“step 1” choose shipping address
step 2 choose a payment type: I make sure a radio button is clicked.
Add a gift card or promo code: I C&P the promo code with the dashes (-) & hit apply.
Then I get this response: The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase.
Then I enter the promo code without the dashes (-) & hit apply.
Then I get this response: The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase.
I proceed to step 3 items & shipping: I click on “view”
step 2 payment method: I C&P the promo code with the dashes (-) & hit apply.
Then I get this response: The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase.
Then I enter the promo code without the dashes (-) & hit apply.
Then I get this response: The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase.
Order total remains the full price of the item and the only option I have is to click the yellow “place your order” button and pay full price.
I am sorry for such a long and detailed email, but I thought having the steps I take & the results I get may better result in determining what I may be doing incorrectly.
Any feedback you can provide will be appreciated. I am very frustrated as this is increasing the time I am spending attempting to navigate obtaining products and managing the entire process. I am performing a job search and the time I spend on product review is intended to give me a mindless break in between completing job applications.
In reply to Janet above, I am one of those sellers whose promo codes keep giving reviewer the message “The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase.” It seems to be an Amazon problem, and I as well as other seller am trying to get it resolved. Thank you so much for your honest reviews-it gives our business practical advice on where we need to improve. Thanks.
Janet, Make sure there is nothing else in your cart, most codes will not work if there is. If it does not ‘apply’ and gives you an error message there are several things different options you can try.
Make sure you didn’t accidentally put any spaces before or after the code
Hope one of these things helps you out. Best of Luck! Lynn
I have had a few of the companies requesting a video review. I have been unable to upload a video. Can someone show me how to do this. The information I found on Amazon is old and I can not follow the same steps to post a video review. Thanks
Melinda, Always submit your text review first. They are approved quicker than reviews with images/videos. After it has successfully posted (check your Profile area to see which ones are complete or watch for the email) go back and Edit your review to include the pictures/video. Right under the Text/Comment field, on the right there is a button that says Upload , it is to the left of the Submit button. Hit Upload and browse to your files. If you have a video, do that before single images. Uploading a video can take a while, a blue progress bar under the Video icon will show you your status. While that is uploading you can add your pictures. When they are all uploaded, hit Submit.
You can not do this on all phones, you may have to use a laptop/tablet to do it. If you try and submit the text/video and images at the same time, the approval process is longer. The screen videos and images much more closely. For some reason though, they do not do it on Edits. Videos and images can take anywhere from no time at all to post to up to a few days depending on what is going on at Amazon. Good luck! Lynn
I love how you are so willing to share your expertise with others. I never would have known about the site. Unfortunately, every time I’ve tried to participate, either the items are sold out (even when I buy it right as the time starts) or when II go to purchase something, it’s quite a bit more than it send. I enter the coupon code, but would have to pay quite a bit more than it says. Is this just because I’m low on the chart because I just started or is it a scam by the companies who are trying to pull the old bait and switch. I’ve found this especially true if the item is supposed to cost me just one dollar. I’ve been checking for over a couple of weeks now, but haven’t found any valid deals. There have been items that I would have gotten and reviewed if they hadn’t jacked up the price. I’ve also received the message that the people (Janet and Deborah) above have commented on. How many hours do you spend just looking for products that are valid? I’ve spent an hour or two a day, and right now it doesn’t seem worth the time. Do I just need to be patient and keep writing reviews? I have reviewed around 80 products on Amazon. I realize that’s just a fraction of what most people have. Because I’m an author and editor, I do enjoy writing reviews regardless of what I get out of it so I’ll keep reviewing products I’ve bought, but not sure about the AMZ [Trader] site. Thanks for your patience and diligence. I do appreciate your time and effort to teach people like me.
Yeah, I too have noticed that lately the lists I am signed up for run out of product at a much faster rate than before. I can’t complain since I am running and promoting a site with a main purpose to open up the review-in-exchange practice to many more people.
I spoke with some of the campaign companies and they say that getting new reviewers is not the problem, it’s getting enough sellers to supply all the demand from reviewers. Another chicken and the egg problem—an ongoing balancing act.
As for the coupon codes saving you less than the stated amount…that is flat out bad business. I have never run into that problem, BUT I have had the problem of not reading the email fully before I entered the code. In a couple cases, the email sort of implied it would be free, but never really said it was a 100% off coupon code. In those cases, I ALWAYS reply the Seller and tell them that they need be upfront and crystal clear about the actual discount the code is applying. I suggest you all do the same so we can stamp out the vague emails and bad practices going on.
Also, keep in mind that Amazon can change the price. So, if the Seller is doing a 99% off coupon code and they think it will work out to be .99-cents or a dollar, Amazon can raise the price and the 99% off can work out to be over a dollar now. It shouldn’t be a lot more though.
I don’t spend a single minute looking for ‘valid products’ on any of the sites. I only respond to the emails asking for product reviews. The emails being sent out with coupon codes already in them are likely to all be taken by the time I get to them, so I rarely bother chasing those anymore.
As for your 80 product reviews…don’t sweat it! I have heard of people getting asked after 3 reviews. It is sort of a crap shoot based on the products you have reviewed. Sellers look through competitor’s products for recent reviews and clicks on the reviewer’s names to see if their Profile has an email address. The products/categories you reviewed may not be searched for right now, or your reviews may be under dozens of other more recent reviews, or a multitude of reasons. Keep at it—and make sure your profile is complete with email address—I’m certain that you will start to get more Sellers contacting you directly.
I review all of the time, but I’m wanting to start reviewing bigger products. Such as Bluetooth Speakers, and things like that. So, my question is how do I go about getting approved to review bigger products. Any advice you can give me would be wonderful.
Personally, I do not know of any sure fire tips or tricks to attract bigger ticket items for review. But, I do tell reviewers:
Hi Tristan i actually love your post.
you are better than amazon guidelines in clarification at least.
you see i do a bit different actually i contact the sellers all the time. some don’t bother answering your email.
but others do.
the thing is pay attention to any new product and jump on. i would love to review your product! lol
i never tried any big deal the most is bluetooth headphones or speakers or power banks and a piece of junk tablet with w10 that i emailed the seller and i told him that i paid the return shipping
a few months ago i’ve started using Betabound – We collect, organize, and offer great beta testing opportunities. and places like that trying to get some better pieces of hardware for review.
again thanks for sharing your experiences as a vine.
keep it up
Thanks for the kind words! Glad you found the instructions to be clear.
Reaching out to the Sellers is a great way to get the conversation started. Some don’t even know about the review-in-exchange program!
Thanks for mentioning Betabound—I’m going to give them a try.
There is also a new site that offers products to Amazon reviewers. good if you have prime. It is called Reviewmyitem.com I have not received too many offers from them, but the ones i do receive were very good offers.
Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know anything about them since they are new to me, BUT I will say that their site does not use encryption during the sign-up, login process and account area. I HIGHLY recommend you hold off using the site until they fix this security issue. I will be contacting RMI telling them they need to fix this to protect their users/customers. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.
Love to read your post here. As a Chinese reader from China, the words from your post are better than those official page provided by amazon for me. lol…. I haven`t selling on amazon yet(I own an individual online store: itead.cc), but it will come soon. Your post is helpful for me to sell my products on amazon in the future. But now, there is also exist one question in my brain, that is how to let reviewers write something for my online site. Because I also want to my site get more visitors. Could you help me with this? If your could tell me some sites or blog for products, I will much appreciated for your help. Many Thanks!
What you are asking for is SEO related. You can always ask people to write a review, but I would suggest that if you are looking for an increase in traffic you buy ads with search engines, or improve your SEO and content strategy. I do not have any recommendations for SEO experts.
I’m curious about the news that Amazon is suing over 1,000 individuals for posting fake reviews. Personally, I know I haven’t done anything wrong or illegal, but immediately thought about your blog and wondered your take on the whole thing. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand all the ins and outs of the lawsuit. I do believe the service you provide is great and informative. Anyone who follows your guidelines shouldn’t have anything to fear at all, but I am interested in anything you might have to say about the lawsuit.
I cover this in the post “The Downvoting Game on Amazon Reviews. They are targeting Sellers and Reviewers that paid money to others to write bogus reviews and up/down vote reviews for them. This is a case of some serious offenses, not Amazon going after reviewers that fail to put that they got the item for free or at a discount. In short, it’s fraud and deception they are trying to stop.
Frankly, I’m glad they finally took it seriously. I have been feeling for some time now that Amazon was turning a blind eye to it all while honest reviewers were getting pummeled with downvotes and spending hours to do what someone else was paying others to do.
I think the lawsuit is a temporary solution, since many will now just go underground and use services that Amazon can’t see publicly like they do with Fiverr. The real problem is that they rank Reviewers at all. There’s no real good reason to do this since the act of reviewing should not be a game. This may have been great in the beginning when Amazon wanted to reward those that reviewed. But now that they (eventually) get reviews for virtually all products it’s simply causing some Reviewers to treat it as a game instead of a way to help others get better, honest insights to products.
Hi Tristan, I find that the email address in the profile has been missing on Amazon recently. And I think it not just happened to me. So the most effient way becomes no way and amazon sellers like me don’t have other chances to contact reviewers via email. That is very anoying. Do you guys have came up with some brilliant ideas to solve this problem? I saw someone writing his email address in “About me” as name(at)gmail(dot)com and it is visiable.
Amazon converted the raw emails into a “Send an Email” link, and it was indeed broken for a while. I contacted Amazon Help via Twitter and they sent it on to the development team there. Just tried it and it looks like it works for me now. Are you not seeing the “Send an Email” link on the profile pages on the left side under the profile image?
Some reviewers are now putting their email in the About, Interests or Website sections to bypass this fiasco Amazon created.
Be patient, Amazon will fix it, I’m sure.
Thanks for the reply Tristan. That is a real comfort to me if the broken links are mistakes. I thought the Amazon would not public the emails for the reason that they don’t want sellers to contact to the reviewers and they are takeing actions to those fake reviews.
I can see the “Send an Email”, but it is still broken for now. I would wait for the amazon to fix that.
I also heard that sellers are having problems getting the “Send an Email” link to work. Have you tried logging out, or logging into Amazon under a non-Seller account?
You may also want to try using one of the many campaign companies to help you get reviews. Companies like Honest Few, I Love to Review, and Reviews for Free (to name a few) can help get your product in front of reviewers and reviews posted with in a week or so thereafter. It’s far easier than doing it yourself.
Hi Tristan, thanks for reminding me of that. I have just tired to log in as a non-seller and it works well now.
As for the reviews, I’d love to take these platforms into cosideration but it won’t borther if I contact to the reviewer as well. Thanks for your kind help and advice.
Hi Tristan, i’ve just read your blog and there are so many helpful hints. I’ve been reviewing product now for just under a month and i’m absolutely loving it. I have products turn up on my doorstep that I would not normally look at, it’s great. I can only find 2 sites in the UK for product testing, are you able to advise me of any other sites?
Have a great day and thanks again.
I’m glad you like it! I have a reviewer in the UK that may have some leads on sites that do product reviewing campaigns. I’ll reach out to him today.
Really, thank you so much. I’ve just managed to order for a review a “Revision & Exam Success Hypnosis CD”, hopefully this will help give my 13 year old some tips. Again, another product that I would never purchase off my own back. I’m loving this reviewing lark 🙂
Got some word back on this from my UK reviewer contact. The gist of it is he would only ever recommend a site that he had used or someone he knows and trusts has used. Problem is that he, nor other reviewers he knows, are using one. They rely totally on Sellers reaching out to them via their Amazon profiles.
UK based sellers on Amazon UK seem to be way behind U.S. and Chinese sellers as they likely don’t realize that they can send their products to reviewers in exchange for reviews. From all the products he reviews, only 0.5-1.0% are UK-based.
The reviewers that he knows typically pitch to companies directly and have received free products that way.
Many of the UK based reviewers he knows review 50-100 products that they have bought / already have at home first and build up a portfolio that way.
I will say this: sounds like there is a big opportunity to start your own review-in-exchange campaign company for UK sellers!
Also, reach out to http://trueopinion.org/. I believe they are looking for UK reviewers.
Thanks for your reply. It seems the UK are sooooooo far behind the USA, it’s crazy. I lived in America for 3 years, wish I would of known about all this back then instead of spending half my time couponing lol (which I have to admit, I loved). I will check out that link too. Thanks 🙂
I’ve been reviewing a lot through sample programs. I’ve specialized in one area (beauty products) and now I’d like to contact some sellers about products I’d like to review. Some of them have even done Vine promotions so it looks like they may be receptive. It’s REALLY difficult to contact a seller that you haven’t already ordered from. Do you know how to reach them?
True. Being able to contact a Seller directly without having bought from them first—or they having reached out to you to review—makes it much more difficult. For larger name brands that have websites, a simple Google search might suffice. But what about the smaller Sellers? I don’t have an answer there. At one time I used to see a “Contact Seller” button on some product detail pages. I’m not seeing that anymore.
I personally rely on the Seller having contacted me before, or having bought something from them.
I looked around and do not see an Amazon Seller Directory where you can contact Sellers directly. This might be useful to the reviewing community as well as the Seller community. I will look into the feasibility of building such a directory here on The Reviewer Collective. Probably catch hell from Amazon, but we’ll see.
So! Looks like I did find a way to contact Sellers! Follow these steps:
1. Go to a product detail page (example page)
2. Look for the “Sold by” under the “In stock” and price. There should be a company name in a blue link, click on it. See screenshot:
NOTE: the difference between this company name link and the other company name link above it is that the one under the title of the product is a search link (does an Amazon search for that name), and the Sold by link is a link to their Amazon storefront.
3. Once on their storefront page, look for the “Detailed Seller Information” link in the top left area. Click on it. See screenshot:
4. Once on the Seller’s details page, look to the right side for blue outlined box and a link near the bottom of it in a paragraph starting with “For questions regarding products”. Click it (you will be asked to log in.) See screenshot:
5. Now you are on the “Contact Seller” page. In the “Select a Subject” section choose “Other question”.
NOTE: Amazon can read all of this communication. Do NOT say anything that circumvents Amazon or its policies.
Hope this helps!
I was so excited to receive my first request to review a product from a manufacturer. Then, I came across the line saying they expected it to be no less than four stars. I tend to be extremely honesty. If the product is worthy of 4 or 5 stars, I would give it. I’ll admit, I tend to keep 5 star reviews for extremely outstanding products. I do give them, but few products or books are perfect. Is asking for a 4 or 5 star rating consider normal and is it ethical?
Perhaps I’m being skeptical so I copied the information (I left out seller information and link). Perhaps it’s just a language barrier and they were telling me 4 other 5 stars are the best, not that they expect 4 or 5 stars.
Thank you for all the time and energy you spend on this. You really are thorough and honorable. I apologize if I missed this answer in your blog. I’ve read it several times, but sometimes things don’t click like I wish they would. Here is email.
“Can you give us an honest reviews and feedback,attached the product photos or video as possible as you can(no less than FOUR stars is the best)?
We know you will love our product, but if for some reason you don’t, please let us help make it right, then we will offer you a satisfied solution as soon as possible.
If you are interested in it, please reply to us freely. We will give you the claim code.
Wish you have a wonderful day.”
In my opinion they’re not requiring it, just strongly suggesting what they’d like. I actually had to deal with a seller yesterday who emailed me about a previous review that they claimed was hurting sales. I had given an item 3 stars and they wanted me to change it to four or more.
I had contacted them directly to review several of their products so I don’t want to hurt the relationship but their request was just unethical. I explained that and their response was an apology and that they understand the ethical concerns. That was that.
I recommend always sticking to your guns and only dealing with people who you believe won’t ask something shady of you. There are plenty of new products coming out every day so you won’t be missing out on anything. You’ll just feel better in the long run by keeping your integrity.
The wasn’t by chance to review a running waist band was it? I just got that exact text in an email today.
Yes, it was.
Wanted to let you know. I have about 70 reviews on Amazon currently, and as a writer I feel they are well written and thought out. I stumbled across your blog over the weekend, and following your advice I rewrote a few of them, and I completed a profile including a photo. I had never added one bit of personal information before reading your blog.
So I’m happy to say that I received an email today from a seller asking me to review a product for them!
Thank you very much for this post, as obviously your advice was crucial and as a result of taking it, I’m hopefully now about to review my first product as an official “reviewer!” I say “hopefully,” because I’ve not yet received a reply to my acceptance of the offer.
I will add, the seller asked me if I’d be interested in giving them a “good,” review. I’ve copied and pasted in my reply to the seller because I’d like your feedback. Here’s what I told them:
———“Heck yes! I would love to give you a thought out, well written review.
You mentioned giving a “good,” review. I don’t mind committing to paint your product in the best possible light. And if I do like it I’ll rave about it, as naturally I like to emphatically support quality. But, are you asking me to totally recommend it even if it’s not quality? I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable encouraging people to spend hard earned dollars on a product not well made. Pardon my honesty, but that’s part of who I am.
I will bend over backward to find positive things to say about it, and I will paint it as positively as I possibly can. But if it’s less than quality, I’d rather commit to provide you feedback to that extent directly. And simply not say anything publicly. Is that okay?
I just don’t want to mislead the public. But since your asking me and willing to provide a a sample, I promise that I will not say anything, if it would be negative. But to deal directly with you regarding feedback.”——-
Do you think this is okay for me to say? I don’t want to blow my first shot at a review, but I don’t want to commit to misleading anyone either. Fortunately, the product has a bunch of good reviews as of now, and it’s inexpensive. So for the price, I’m sure there will be redeeming qualities. But still….
Thanks in advance for your feedback, and for your help getting me a review request in less than 48 hours. 😉
Glad to hear that it worked for you! I am certain this will not be your last request for review from a Seller.
As for your response, in my experience I would be surprised if the Seller responds to you with the product. They get skittish about the possibility of getting 1-, 2-, or 3-star reviews.
You are in no way obligated to give them a ‘good’ review, as you know. My advice is to simply respond with “I would love to review this, thanks!” After you get the product, feel free to send them feedback about asking you to write a ‘good’ review. Again, in my experience, no Seller has ever responded to my critiques of their emails. Which is why I wrote a blog post on the subject of writing better emails to Reviewers.
In fact, my best advice for responding to emails for products you wants is: fast and succinct.
My best advice for responding to email for products you do NOT want to review is: A) ignore it, or B) “I am going to pass on this item at this time. Keep me on the list!”
Thank you very much for the prompt reply.
I had already sent the reply I copied here, and I heard back from them asking me to proceed and providing the discount code. However, the code drops the cost to $2.99. Is that normal? Should I proceed? Honestly, I like the look of the product and it’s something I wouldn’t mind having.
Also, they asked me to check some of the existing reviews, and to click that one helped me. They suggested the video review that was included, but said I could choose any one that I liked. I did click and choose to say the video review helped me, because it’s a solid review and it did a great job of showcasing the product features. But the whole thing just seemed different than what I expected.
I’ll probably do it, unless you suggest I steer clear based on the request and the $2.99. I appreciate your reply.
That’s great they got back to you. And yes, it is getting more common for Sellers to offer less than 100%-off coupon codes. BUT! They should state this upfront, not let you find out in the cart. That is something I write back to them about and educate them on: tell Reviewers the cost upfront.
“Also, they asked me to check some of the existing reviews, and to click that one helped me.” DON’T DO THIS. This A) goes against the ethics of the Reviewing community, B) is expressly forbidden by Amazon and something Amazon is cracking down on and kicking Reviewers/Seller out for, and C) is something we all need to stamp out by writing back to Sellers and saying ‘no’—educate them that this practice of fake up-votes is unethical and against policy.
Yes, this should seem different that what you expected because this is NOT how the process works in most cases. Sounds like this Seller is doing it all wrong, and frankly needs to be reported to Amazon if they don’t clean up their act. Personally, I recommend writing back to them and letting them know that you will NOT up-vote another review because it goes against Amazon policy, and if they continue to ask Reviewers to do this they (the Seller) can get be removed from Amazon. Amazon is suing Reviewers for a very similar practice of fake reviews and fake votes.
I assure you that this will not be your last request from Sellers. And that this is NOT how most requests work. You choose whether you want to continue to work with this Seller. I recommend educating them to help out our community.
Thank you very much for the information. I did exactly what you said and replied to them. I’ve pasted below what my email said:
—— “I wanted to reply to this and let you know that what you’re asking as far as the request that I “click the customer reviews….kindly click the yes for us…” that is expressly forbidden by Amazon’s rules and can get me banned from further reviewing any products and get your company sued. Amazon is really cracking down on this and it’s a huge deal. Also, for me personally, this goes against what I feel is ethically is right and wrong. After I’ve used and have an opinion on your product I might be able to say that another review helped me, but I cannot do so before I’ve ever tried it.
I realize you may not know the rule, so hopefully you’ll see that I’m providing you a valuable piece of information so you may adjust accordingly. As of now, I will not report this to Amazon as long as you reply to confirm that you understand, so please reply and let me know that you understand why I can’t do what you’re asking until I have used your product.
To recommend your products, I need to know you can appreciate the fact ethically I have limits I’m not willing to break, regardless of the fact Amazon has specifically banned this practice and my doing what you ask could get us both in trouble. Honestly, I have a feeling that eventually, someone you send this to will report you.
Please let me know. Thank you.” ——
Let me paste this email they sent me too, tell me what you think. The grammar is horrible, and I don’t mind that a few errors exist, but what does this say about them?
thanks for your supporting,and before you make order with the code we’ve, sincerely hope that you can help us
to click the customer reviews, then you will see “was this review helpful to you” on the comment,please kindly
click the yes for us choosing less than one comment(the video comment will be the best choice).Choose New Black, 2.99USD Only)
please make order as soon as possible with the code then tell us your order# (notice: you can only buy one
finally,please leave a good reviews and feedback on the order after receiving the product if you like it,
we will appreciate it very much
Note that I have copied this email from them word for word and exactly as it came to me and that any errors in spelling or spacing, are intentional.
I now want to include the first email, as it doesn’t contain the same sort of errors. Which to me, says that I received a form email that has been prepared for employees to send to potential reviewers. And the reply was from the employee and was typed uniquely. Overall, that makes me feel better about it, but I still appreciate your feedback.
I am an Amazon seller and I need you to help me evaluate a product. I will send the coupon code to you for Discount. Can you give us a good review which not less than 300 characters and enclosed 2-3 pieces of product pictures?
If you are interested in it, please reply to us freely. We will give you the claim code.
Wish you have a wonderful day.
I’ve questioned if I should email and we discuss this directly, but then I decided that if I include it here, perhaps it will help someone else in the future. I have edited out the specifics about the product and the code, etc.
Keep in mind that your reply can also be brief. Reason is two-fold: you may find the need to do this often, and Sellers typically don’t respond to/read long emails.
Not saying you did it wrong, but here is an example (helpful for when you get 5-10 emails a day):
“Thanks for asking me to review your product. I want to let you know that I feel uncomfortable being asked by a Seller to up-vote other reviews since this goes against Amazon’s policy forbidding “solicitations for helpful votes” (source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/customer-reviews-guidelines).
What I can offer you is an unbiased and honest review for your products. Look forward to hearing from you.”
The link to Amazon policy is enough for most Sellers to realize they are in the wrong. When we do this as a collective, it should really help clean up the whole process of review-in-exchange.
As for the typos and grammar, keep in mind that the vast majority of Sellers I have dealt with do not call English their first language. Many of these emails originate from overseas, and many are form letters to start. I normally don’t judge the quality of the offer based on that.
I thought I’d share one more piece of advice that I have regarding becoming a reviewer. It makes sense to me that companies prefer reviews that are more or less grammatically correct and don’t contain errors. I’m a writer, and I’m still prone to mistakes just like anyone else. However, I discovered and now use an extension called Grammarly, which you download and works with your browser (I use it with Chrome, and I presume it works with others, but maybe it doesn’t).
It’s really helpful as it catches almost all mistakes that I might make. Nothing huge, but just little “hte,” instead of “the,” etc. I include that one because it sends me a report every Sunday that goes over improvements I might work on and a listing of my most corrected words. That one shows up a lot :). Just being careless…
Anyway, I recommend this app to anyone, regardless of if you want to review or not, as it really helps. But if you want to review and be taken seriously you might consider it.
I only use the free version, but I think I may get the paid, as it always says there’s “X,” number of mistakes that are only shown with the advanced version. I do some blogging and online writing, so for me this is probably money I can justify. It is expensive, which is why I’ve not yet sprung for it, but I’m so impressed with the free version that the money is probably well spent.
As an editor, I want to caution you that Grammarly (or any spell check program) is not perfect. It will often correct mistakes that aren’t mistakes. (One I see often is the words it’s and it’s.) It’s a nice tool, but never a substitute for a human editor who knows the rules. It might be cheaper, as well as catching things Grammarly might not (such as awkward sentences, repeating the same word several times in a short space), to hire an editor to look over your blogs and online writings.
Sorry, if I went off topic here, but I feel strongly about this subject. 🙂
I totally agree, but it’s a nice quick way to capture small mistakes in formats that normally, you might really not care. In my Amazon reviews, because I’d never before even thought of doing reviews regularly, I really didn’t bother with editing. And that’s what I mean as far as most internet content. I share on my favorite sports team sites, and others that my grammar just really doesn’t matter. However, I too have been an editor, and as a journalist I feel the need to “set an example,” as if anyone actually is looking for an example or learning from me anyway! That’s my ego, as usual, pointing out to me how important I am ;).
However, many people don’t even have basic editing skills. They can catch some spelling issues but the limit ends about there. For an average Joe, who doesn’t put much thought into the quality of their copy…it is very helpful.
I will add, in my experience with Grammarly, and why I advocate it and it stood out. It catches many words that aren’t misspelled, but are in the wrong context. For example, a couple lines above I accidentally typed “doesn’t out much,” where in haste I typed out instead of “put.” I would proofread it when I finish (my father taught me to proofread by reading each word from the bottom up, right to left as it makes you slow down and pay closer attention…tedious but handy) but before I got a sentence away Grammarly identified it and pointed it out to me, and a quick mouse click later it’s fixed. Which can shortens my prof dreading later.
I know, I know….I should just type and not bother with any edits until I finish completely. But I’m a little OCD, and as soon as an error pops up I have to fix it. I’ve gone back and forth with editors, professors, up to and including my wife! But it’s just me, as my compulsion forces me to fix edits as I go. Grammarly has been very helpful, working along with me, together merrily Fixing edits as we go and keeping my blood pressure down!
So yes, there is no substitute for good old fashioned proofreading. But I have been very impressed with how smart Grammarly is, and how many intuitive changes it suggests. Suggesting that it’s developed with some serious AI, far beyond anything I’ve ever found in Microsoft Office, Adobe, iOffice etc.
To clarify, I meant the example of put and “out,” strictly as an example. I typed the above reply….and this one, on my phone. I intentionally misspelled proofreading for fun, but then I read it after posting it and notice more mistakes so I don’t want anyone to thank that Grammarly wouldn’t have caught those. And on my phone, editing is a pain, so I typically hit submit and then k read and edit where it’s easier to scroll. I didn’t realize this format doesn’t allow editing after submission.
We’re looking for some great reviewers for a site we’re launching shortly, GoodsLoop.com. We’ve got a number of brand clients lined up and have a buyer waitlist now as we build the site.
About how long does it take to hear back from TrueOpinion.com? It keeps saying waiting for audit but it’s been over a week
Wonderful blog, thank you so much for sharing all of this great information! Hope you didn’t mind me jumping in and replying to some of the user questions. Sometimes I just can’t help myself, it is like an addiction. 🙂
Thanks, Lynn, for all of your wonderful tips and replies! If you have any experience with some or all of the review sites listed here, we sure could benefit from your feedback and tips. Each page has a comments section for that review site.
One of the provide Amazon reviews for free/discounted products sent me an email titled, “Help Improve (insert name of review site) and Make Money At The Same Time.”
The email goes on to say, “…We want to incentivize you even more though, so we are offering an affiliate program that pays out to you 100% of ALL the money that any seller spends with our platform during the first month. No catch, no tricks.
Our process is super simple:
Sign up here in seconds to be an affiliate.
Once you sign up you will be given a unique link to share to any sellers that you know. If any seller clicks this link and then signs up with us you will get credit for the sale.
We pay out to your Paypal account once per month.
That’s it. It really is that simple.
Get 100% of all the money they spend during month one (from $50 up to $1600), AND get more great products to review.”
So, they make it appear that if I refer a seller that signs up with them, then I will will receive all of the sellers (who will likely be highly incentivized with highly discounted first month in fees) “platform” (fees seller pays for privilege of listing their free/discounted products) during their first month. And if that isn’t enough to get me racing to email box to frantically contact my sellers, then perhaps mention of, “And” I will also get more product to review, will motivate me. Of course any increase in products to review (free or discounted) would be a direct result of sellers (that I refer ) signing up and listing their products.
Of course I would not be getting paid to review products, and certainly this big player’s lawyers have determined that this is not in violation of the this big player’s Amazon reviews for free/discounted products contract terms. So participating in this favorable or unfavorable for the review community?
On the one hand, I do have sellers that solicit me for product reviews, so I would be doing something that would also help their small businesses grow. Would I be discerning and not contact sellers that either sent me inferior products or sellers that I declined products from because their product seemed inferior? Or would I handle it from a perspective of more seller referrals may net more money for me and increased free/discounted products for me and the review community? On one hand, we are each responsible for deciding whether to perform due diligence prior to accepting to review a product. On the other hand, I may not want to encourage relationship building with sellers of inferior products as it may result in an (likely unwanted) increase emails from them asking me to review (likely more inferior) products?
And if I chose to respond to this rather lucratively illustrated offer, will my review site user agreement change in ways that may turn out to be unfavorable for me? For example, would they be able to use my name and/or email to reach out to other sellers they are soliciting? Will my information no longer full under the current privacy agreement? There are other possible implications that I’m not listing as to not to belabor the point.
Let’s say that during calendar year 2016, 10 of the sellers I refer spend 1,000 in the site’s platform fees during their first month, will I then be issued an IRS form 1099 indicating that I earned 10,000 in taxable (to me) income? Sure, prior to completing my “refer a seller program membership upgrade”, I would be aware of this since I’ll have read the site agreement’s fine print. Yes, I do that when my tablet and my phone prompt me to upgrade iOS software, just like I do when an upgrade/update message from iTunes/MS Word/Acrobat Reader appears on my screen asking me to click, “agree” prior to clinking, “install.” Sure I do.
Anyway, I am interested in your thoughts about participating this as a reviewer, and your thoughts on the implications on this all the way around – especially the implications impacting the reviewer that chooses to accept this invitation and aggressively pursue seller contacts.
I stumbled across this blog about 6 months ago and it inspired me to push myself to write as many reviews as possible, with the aim of climbing the Amazon reviewer rankings and becoming one of Amazons top reviewers.
6 Months on I am currently ranked 173 on Amazon UK, and as a result I am contacted everyday by third party sellers offering me free samples in return for my honest review, unfortunately as of yet I have not been invited to join the Vine program. The vast majority of companies that contact me are based in China who’s product are stocked in UK Amazon distribution centres and are usually delivered next day via Prime, but some items are sent from China or Malaysia.
Since I began receiving free products I have kept a spreadsheet of all of the items that I have received. Since 26th June I have received 128 products with a combined value of £2,392.00 ($3,588.00). I find myself reviewing lots of similar products, most common items are Bluetooth Speakers, Bluetooth earphones & Headphones, Power Banks, Phone & Tablet cases & IP Camera’s, but I also received kitchen utensils, lighting, tablets and computer peripherals. As a consequence I now only accept approx 20% of the items that I am offered, you can get fed up with reviewing Bluetooth earphones!
If you want to receive free products from sellers my advice is write lots detailed & high quality reviews, also include several photo’s with every review. You want people to read your review and find it helpful, the more helpful votes you get the quicker you will climb the rankings. Also, even though you can review items you haven’t purchased from Amazon, those you have bought from Amazon will carry more weight and will have a greater affect on your ranking. I found that as soon as I got in the top 10,000 I started to receive emails from sellers, but you want to get as high up the rankings as you possibly can. Finally, if possible try to form relationships with the best sellers as they will trust you and offer you products on a regular basis.
Hello. Thank you for your great advice. I just started reviewing products once I was directed to AMZ review trader by a seller when I contacted him directly.
My question is, on my profile should I have it set on “Hide all activity on your profile”? I didn’t want other people/reviewers looking at my reviews to purposely give it a” not helpful” mark. Will this prevent me from receiving offers from sellers? I didn’t see this covered. I appreciate your help.
Good question! I personally want Sellers to see the activity and know that I write lots of reviews, and be able to read some of them.
I feel that the downvoting of reviews still happens. But I feel it has all but stopped ever since Amazon slapped hundreds of reviewers with a lawsuit for abusing the downvoting and paying for votes on Fiverr.
I would recommend you leave it showing on your profile.
Thank you Tristan. I have another question. I had this supplement which I rated 5 stars. In their description, and even the title states “made with extracts”. It bugged me that in the ingredient list is states 1000mg of powder. I researched this, and read extracts from this supplement are shown as concentrations or percentage of anthocyanins. Dosages are between 10-100mgs. Also their photo shows it as 100% organic, which the label I received doesn’t show this. This is clearly deceiving sales practices. People are being lied to. Will it hurt me if I rated this product a 1? I’m I setting myself to be attacked by getting not helpful feedbacks? I don’t know what to do. Currently there isn’t any 1 or 2 star reviews. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you.
Without seeing the label, and only going off your statement, it sounds like you are adding up the ingredients on the back and they are coming up short of the 1000mg listed. My first guess is that the difference is ‘filler’. Virtually all vitamins and supplements contain filler agents to bulk it up, or bind them together (in the case of pill form), or add coloring, etc. I would highly recommend you contact the Seller and ask about this.
As for what star to choose, go off of Amazon’s suggestions. When you hover over a star, they help you with a sentiment such as “I hate it”, “it’s okay”, and “I love it” to name a few. Think about the product as a whole, and match how you feel to the corresponding star. If it’s really “I hate it”, then select a 1-star. Don’t worry about what other reviewers chose or wrote. They have their own rationale for their review. You review for you.
As for being attacked, don’t write your review with that fear in mind. You are supposed to be writing for the customer in mind. I wrote a negative review about some probiotics once, and it gets more up-votes than any other product I reviewed recently. I still get asked to review probiotics (which I don’t accept anymore.)
If anyone is looking for a group to get amazon products for free or deeply discounted go to Reviews4Success.com and they just added a bunch of new products. They are a legit company and if you are a seller you can use them for product promotion.
Thanks for suggesting this, I’ll check it out and possibly add it to the list of review sites we have going on here.
I like to review, but i stay at india. can you please help me how to open an account.
Hi! I was wondering if you have a sample letter to use when pitching a seller of a product that you are interested in reviewing? Thanks!
I finally remembered to respond to this! I just wrote this email to a Seller. They reached out to me with something I wasn’t interested in, so I found an item in their store I was interested in reviewing (and had a need for.) The URL to the product has been redacted, but you get the point.
My email reply to Seller:
Keep it short and to the point. I’v had about 25% success with this, to be honest. I believe it has to do with the fact that Sellers have an agenda and want/need certain products reviewed. What I pick might not fall in line with that, or have a lot of reviews already.
Hi Tristan, thank you for this article, it’s great read. For some time now I was thinking how to start and from where, and finally last night I updated my Amazon account, and I also signed up to some of Web sites I found on your list. Your article really opened my eyes, and helped me understand how ‘this world’ works.
I just signed up for this because my cousins were posting all of these awesome things they were getting for free. well so far every free thing I have asked to review has charged me on amazon when I put in the code. it puts the item free but charges me im guessing for shipping but it didn’t have a shipping charge. and how is it they are getting these amazing things and the only options I get are little tiny things. I think I found a total of 4 neat things the rest were pills or lame things. I dunno I just don’t think its really free if were I wouldn’t be getting charged . maybe you can shed some light on the situation im in cuz honestly I was just thinking about canceling everything. I just think my cousins are lieing and they are paying for the neater items jus to get people to join their groups so they can rank up. I dunno any help you can give me would be appreciated. the amazon help center doesn’t help at all all they do is email you back saying that they cant respond to your email and send u back to the same site u sent the email from the old run around is what I call it
I’ll answer this line by line:
— “every free thing I have asked to review has charged me on amazon when I put in the code” Ok, that isn’t supposed to happen. I have only had less than 10 “free” coupons end up not being free (see Facebook post here for help with this).
— “how is it they are getting these amazing things and the only options I get are little tiny things” I’m not sure what they are getting that is amazing. It takes time before Sellers feel confident enough to ask you to review higher ticket items. You likely will have to slog through reviewing some basic items first. See this blog post about how to write great reviews to help get more/better products in the future. Also, be sure to sign up for these review sites to help increase the choices you get.
— And yes, for the most part, Amazon cannot help you with reviews-in-exchange. This is between you and the Seller, and typically only fulfilled by Amazon——they don’t deal with the agreement/obligation between you and the Seller.
I would love to try different products out and give a review on YouTube
I have seen a bunch of kids given reviews that I’m 58 years ago when make a big difference
Thank you for the informative article!
Do you know if the email that you put on your public profile needs to match the Amazon-registered email? I would really love to put an email to be contacted on but would like to use a disposable one for when it eventually gets picked up by spam bots.
Thank you in advance for any advice you might be able to offer.
The email you put on your profile does NOT need to match your Amazon login. It is simply text placed in a field, and Amazon does not compare it to your account.
There is a very good reason to suggest that people do NOT use their regular Amazon purchasing e-mail address in their profile. There could be scammers lurking the info pages looking for addresses that they might be able to use to try to get fake orders placed through Amazon.
It is easy to get extra e-mail addresses from Gmail and other sites, then configure them to auto-forward to your main account. Then, people don’t get your main address from your Amazon profile.
Please get K. Ellington to stop continually harassing me for the honest 1 star review I posted on Amazon. It’s an honest review, and for a product that even the Seller has removed from purchase because of its potentially toxic ingredients! Hopefully your entire business does not run on bullying, and it is just this one person.
Please reach out to Amazon about this issue. We do not control reviews, reviewers, or what they do on Amazon. This is a blog, that’s it. We don’t have reviewers, and I have no way to intervene or help out in this matter.
Thank you for a positive article on sites for reviewing. I am a reviewer, fairly new. I am an Amazon prime member. I noticed you made a remark somewhere in all the responses above about Amazon community board for help. Please don’t refer people there. I will explain this in detail :
I accidentally stumbled upon this and people who do reviews on Amazon and not part of the precious vine elite (and I never felt that way until tonight) are called liars and people with no integrity or morals. I posted a question as to why people getting discounts to review are not honest and isn’t a discount or free product from one just like taking a discount or free product from another. That was a huge mistake, and I don’t say this lightly. I was bombarded with the most vile humiliating replies. I was called names and told I was just a couponer wanting to get anything I could. Which I might say is far from the truth. I have only accepted offers or codes for items I have wanted to compare to products I am using or accepted a code for an item I truly have wanted. I know some will not always be honest as they should so they will get offers, I am not one of them. I want a product that works. I also respect others and would not want to mislead others. Yet tonight I wanted to close my Amazon account and never buy on that site again. I’ve been a prime member for years with the Amazon Fire tv box, the works of all Amazon offers.
I mentioned that an Amazon rep emailed me in response to an issue and told me in the course of our correspondence of the vine club; yet I was told repeatedly that just wasn’t so or possible. How do these people know who has contacted me? They don’t. I actually have the emails saved. Amazon has always had the best customer service or it has been my experience. I never would have believed that they allowed such to go on when they give this link to get help on products etc. Not one conversation I found was about about product. The conversations taking place were about club reviewers and how they would be purged and done away with. Matter of fact, I was told it was coming for me and I would no longer be an Amazon reviewer when Amazon was done with me.
The guy said all the nasty things to me because I was excited I received a product earlier than expected. I have a terminal illness and I don’t get to be out a lot. Also I live in very small town where a lot of items are not offered. I included in my review on this serum there were no miracles in a jar and it takes time for anyone to see results yet I was impressed with the product and what I had experienced in the week of use. I also stated that what works for me may not work for another. Everyone reacts differently to products. The man then says to me you were just so scared the club would kick out so you hurried to get the review in. No one has told me a time. The amz review club has a place to say I’m reviewing but the point being I was impressed and even subscribed to the product at full price for future shipments.
I am sorry I above written a long comment. I just would never want anyone to feel like I was made feel tonight just for asking a few polite questions as well as thanking in advance for answers. I also asked why you needed review votes. I have never asked anyone to do that as I didn’t know what it meant for one to want that. I just have enjoyed being able to get products I like or wanted to try at a lower price. I was then made fun of by what they call their group cabal has arrived and told I didn’t need to concern myself with that as I would be purged from Amazon. The vine were the only honest reviewers. Well pardon me if I think you are getting free items or discounted items for reviews. So why are they better than others. How do we know they are honest. I reviewed my products long before I ever heard of a review club. I do so thank you for posting this and not being condemning but you are offering help and tips to those who are just trying to enjoy a little life. God bless.
Hi, I’m in Italy, and I would like to know sites dealing Amazon.it currently use https://www.amzreviewtrader.com/ and https://www.amzonereviews.com, you have others to suggest? thank you
I’m from Italy aswell and i can’t find any other similar website 🙁
Hi, I’m a reviewer on amazon as well and I just wanted to offer some advice to help some newer reviewer. If you do video demos of the product that you buy or receive for reviews and include pictures, sellers would be more incline to select you or reach out to you to review their product. Also breaking up your review in paragraphs or doing a pros and cons is great, and what I do is do a summery paragraph at the end and include in that other possible uses in such.
Also would like to give you a list of review sites that I use on a daily basis, ill start with my favorite (main site) first.
AMZ Review Trader (in my opinion is the best and offers the most
VIP power club (have to be accepted so get up your reviews took me a couple months to be accepted/they are email based as well and offer the newest products on amazon and are almost always free)
Snagshout (don’t have to wait to get accepted-if there’s coupons available you can snag it)
Elite Deal Club (same concept as snagshout)
Home Product Testing (is ok but not my favorite)
ireviewhome.com (same concept and setup as AMZ Review Trader but not as good of products)
Giveaway Service (you have to meet certain perquisites and sellers sometimes want reviews on other sites to)
productelf.com (sometimes you can get a coupon instantly or have to wait to be accepted by seller)
Etekcitizen (they freely send products to members who have the amazon account, you are able to get 1 item every month for up to 9 months out of the year)
I Love to Review (they send you emails with products being offered up)
uberzonclub.com (also send you emails with the products being offered)
These are all the reviewer sites I use and trust. Hope this helps someone to get their foot in the door to the reviewer world.
Just wanted to say really thanks for putting this blog together, I came here many months back and have since singed up to really great sites based on the description given of various sites. So thanks 🙂
Thank you for this great article, I have been an Amazon reviewer for two years. I joined 60+ facebook review groups, I have met good sellers, but there are still bad sellers. They ask stupid questions and crazy demands. So I quite, Now I am working with dealsgo.com. they refund really fast. I love this site, and I wish to share this site with you.