Amazon Review Groups: Legal Ways to Review Free and Deeply Discounted Products
**Update October 2016**
As of October 3, 2016, Amazon is no longer allowing reviews to be run through outside review groups and is instead requiring all reviews be run through their vine program. Many of the sites listed below are likely to transform their business models to become coupon and discount sites - but not review sites.
It's been headline news. Amazon is going after fraudulent reviewers and filing thousands of lawsuits. They are doing so to keep reviews on Amazon honest which is a good thing. This keeps people from writing and profiting from fraudulent reviews about products they have never even laid eyes on. Of course not every reviewer participates in willful fraud.
Did you know there are several places where you can sign up to receive free and deeply discounted products in exchange for an honest, detailed Amazon review? These sites are legal, free and ethical. There are many legitimate opportunities for reviewers who conduct themselves professionally. You can register for free and validate your Amazon account and off you go.
Keep in mind there are rules you MUST follow.
Mandatory Rules for Reviewing Discounted Amazon Products
The most important is that your reviews must be honest and you must state in the review that you received the product at a discount in exchange for a fair and honest review. Not doing so is against the law and will get you kicked off of these groups. It may even cost you your Amazon account. It's always a good idea to stay current with the FTC rules of endorsement.
You actually have to do the reviews. Many sellers who participate in this are just getting their businesses started. They are taking a loss to provide you a product and if you are going to take advantage of a freebie or deep discount; you owe that seller a thorough, well-thought out review. Those who take items and don't review risk losing their accounts with the review sites and that's as it should be.
Many of these programs also require or strongly encourage you to be a member of Amazon Prime. If you do not have prime, you must pay shipping for your products. It can be worth it for some bigger ticket items, but if you have Prime most items you try are shipped free!
Hint: I often opt for the "no rush shipping" option. Amazon then gives me a $1.00 free credit that I can put towards my book addiction, music and other fun things. Many times I've tried a product free and received the $1.00 credit - sweet deal. Only do this if your item doesn't have a strict time limit for placing the review.
Products I've Reviewed
Everyone has different tastes. The image above was last weeks products I tested and reviewed. I love natural beauty products and supplements. I only take offers for products I am genuinely interested in and have experience with. This allows me to give these companies excellent, professional reviews and good advice on ways they can improve on their product. Educated consumers provide the best reviews.
I've tested various serums, shampoos, anti-aging products, lotions, conditioners, hair masks, mud facials, headbands, craft supplies, electronics and kitchen gadgets. I am looking forward this week to testing out a pair of heat resistant gloves and a self-healing cutting board mat!
So, what are you interested in?
Update (12/16/2015): The longer you do high-quality reviews, the better the items that will be offered to you. Since I wrote this; I've increased in rank on Amazon so much that I am now receiving offers for much higher-end items. Some of my latest items: a set of bamboo cutting boards, bamboo pillows, essential oil set, atomizer, grill mats, silicone baking sheets, a magnetic knife rack, a wool scarf/wrap, headbands, a yoga mat and three sets of solar Christmas/garden lights.
Amazon Review Websites - Reviewed!
ReviewKick.com This one is just out of beta, but they have a wide variety of items at great prices. It takes a while to move through everything as their sort and search capabilities are still under development, but it's super easy to use and I see a lot of promise with this site.
You can search by percent off, or between price ranges making browsing the site fun. Some deals are definitely better than others here so make good use of the search functionality and set it to deliver results from "newest to oldest" for the best chance at getting selected.
Elite Deal Club: Each day they send you an email with the daily deals listed. Deals go live on the site at 10AM and 2PM Eastern. You have to be quick for a lot of them, but I have received many fantastic free and nearly free products from this site. If you love natural beauty products, supplements, essential oils and kitchen gadgets - this is a great place to get high quality products to review.
They have tightened up some rules lately in order to protect their site and its users. You must now link your account with a Facebook account to improve verification that you are an actual human and not gaming the system. Don't worry, they don't post on your wall or anything. I've been using them for awhile now and have never had a problem and love their variety of products.
Amazon Review Trader: This is far and away the most well established and diverse review site. It offers easy sign up and a LOT of variety. This site runs a bit differently. Unlike Elite Deal Club; here you have to apply to sample the products you would like to try.
You request to review the items and then wait to see if your request is accepted. If so, you will receive an email with your voucher code to use upon checkout. It is only good for 48 hours from when it's issued, and ART does not take kindly to those who apply and then don't review. You risk your account if you don't follow through with reviews - and that's as it should be.
To help increase your likelihood of getting picked; be sure to see my Amazon Review Tips below!
Snag Shout: This review site works a little differently. I like that it is set up to ensure that people are actually getting the products they choose to review and that they must complete the review before ordering another item. You are allowed so many "shouts", up to five once you have established yourself. Once you receive and review your item, the shouts you spent are replaced up to your limit.
They have a wide variety of products. You can sort by type and also price ranges which is very useful. If you ever have a problem with one of their voucher codes not working they are very quick to respond and have excellent customer service.
Amazing Deals Group: This is a much smaller site - a new up and comer. Their selection is quite small, but sometimes you find something new and exciting on there and the signup is simple. With this site, you are issued "deal coins". Purchasing an item costs you one coin, which you then earn back by having your reviews verified.
I Love to Review: Sign up for free to review. If you are approved; you will start receiving offers in your email 6 to 10 days after acceptance. This site offers some nice, higher end items, but you are not obligated to accept the offers sent to you. They are also pretty picky about who they accept, so be sure you have some great reviews on your profile already!
UberZon: This site also sends daily offers via email. Unlike Elite Deals, this site will mail out several offers per day most days. If you see something you want, you need to act quickly as there is a limited number of items and thousands of subscribers. Still, they do offer some very nice products if you can get them and their rules are less stringent than other clubs.
I like them, but they do tend to fill your email and they repeat offers a lot, and most of the time you will miss the offers unless you happen to click on right when the mail comes through. I have received a few VERY nice items here though when I happened to get lucky!
ReviewLoop: This one is by invitation only and is more exclusive. You can receive an invite from a member you know or you can fill out the form to request an invitation. You must have a strong review history and excellent profile to be considered.
All Star Reviewers: You can sign up for free and if you qualify for the deals they are offering that day they will email you an offer. They are looking for top notch reviewers.
Amazon Review Tips
So, you want to become a product reviewer in exchange for great products and opportunities? Wonderful, but don't forge ahead blindly. If you really want to get the most out of it, keep the following tips in mind.
- Get the length right and break up your text. Sellers aren't paying for a 2 sentence review. You need to be detailed and thorough, but you also don't want to write the next great American novel either. Ideal reviews are somewhere between 100 to 500 words. (a couple of paragraphs to one page roughly)
- Your review must have the disclaimer "I received this product at a discount in exchange for a fair and honest review, all opinions stated are my own" or something to this effect. Try to place it near the bottom of your review.
- Your review should explain why you like or dislike the product. Feel free to compare it to similar products you've used and to share information about how it feels, how it works, how sturdy it is etc. The more descriptive you can be the better.
- Be sincere and honest. It will be blatantly apparent if you haven't actually used the product you are supposed to be reviewing. That helps no one. Also, if a product breaks in the mail - don't give the seller a negative review. They don't control the disbursement center or post office. Instead, contact Amazon for a replacement.
- Like video? Consider adding photographs or video to your reviews - it will make you more desirable to sellers and you may find yourself getting offers directly from merchants! I have :) and I didn't even use video, but my reviews were professional and they enjoyed them.
- Use complete sentences and employ your spell check. If your reviews are sloppy and unprofessional; you'll be passed over for further reviews. Many reviewers use incomplete sentences or have reviews so full of spelling errors it's laughable. While I see no need to be a grammar Nazi, for the sake of professionalism; it is highly important to make your best effort. I look at this hobby as a professional service. I am exchanging a service for a product.
- Use your public profile judiciously. Include right away that you are a member of Prime and what your hobbies, talents and interests are. This way, when you apply for items that cater to these interests, sellers can see that you are a good fit to review their product. A great profile combined with professional reviews guarantees you a better chance of being selected to review products!
How to Write an Amazon Review
This quick video takes beginners through the process of writing a review for a product on Amazon. This is a good place to start if you have not written reviews yet and need to know the basics! Remember, it takes several high quality reviews to qualify to receive discount products to review for many of the nicer review sites.
Have you participated in product review sites or groups?
© 2015 Christin Sander