Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
When you consider making a purchase through Amazon, you expect to see an honest review from someone who has purchased the item. We look for quality reviews typified by honesty.
In some cases, the reviewer has received free and discounted products for the purposes of writing a quality review that can be helpful to others. In this case, we still expect the product tester to give an honest assessment even if they’ve received free or discounted products.
Do you want to become an Amazon reviewer? Do you have what it takes to join the Amazon reviewer program and post reviews for all to read in which you review products that help consumers decide if a product is right for them?
Amazon reviewers are helpful to both potential sellers and potential buyers.
When you become an Amazon reviewer you have influence over how Amazon products are perceived. If you amass enough reviews, you might even be selected to join Amazon Vine, an invitation-only program.
Read on to learn how you can join the Amazon review system and get free products in return.
Writing Helpful Reviews for Free Stuff
One thing to keep in mind is that product reviewers do not get paid for their honest opinion. Maybe that’s why the best reviewers write reviews that fully assessed the products without going overboard with praise.
If you consistently write helpful reviews by giving pros and cons, it’s likely you will consistently get free samples. The top reviewers write a lot.
Generally, if you are paid to write a review by a seller, you are expected to aggressively compliment the product. Amazon is aware of companies that offer payment for positive reviews and jettison those review product posts quickly.
Consumers want more than hype reviews. They want unbiased reviews and that generally means that they see through only positive reviews. They expect negative feedback. That’s what a good reviewer would do — look at the good and the not-so-good.
However, you can receive many free and discounted products as your reward for testing and appraising the value and quality.
14 Steps to Becoming an Amazon Reviewer
If you want to become one of Amazon’s trusted reviewers and receive Amazon products without having to pay for the contents, read on.
1. Be an Amazon Member
You may already have an Amazon membership. If not, you’ll want to become an Amazon Prime member.
There is a cost of $14.99 a month or $139 for the year, but you will “earn” more than that in free products in a short time once you start free product testing and writing reviews.
There are more than 150 million Amazon Prime members, and Prime members want to read reviews from kindred shopping spirits.
Make sure to fill out the profile section on your account. Here you can describe your shopping habits and behaviors, which will allow people to know more about you as they consider your Amazon reviews.
2. Download the Amazon App
The app will allow you to participate in this exciting new gig wherever you are by searching for and acquiring products at any time. It also has a barcode scanner that lets you scan items you already own.
This will be helpful when it comes to the next step, which is …
3. Start Writing Reviews
“Wait! I haven’t gotten anything free yet!” No, you have not.
But, the way to make companies send you free stuff is to display your ability to write a thoughtful and valuable review. You can do that by reviewing the products you have already purchased through Amazon (which is where the app barcode function comes in handy).
Review as many items as you can to build your brand with Amazon customers before you start requesting free items. Few or no reviews are not going to get you far.
4. Start Receiving Free Stuff
These Amazon review sites are the best places to start signing up for free or discounted products from Amazon sellers.
5. Write Better Reviews
You do not need to be a gifted writer to be a valuable product reviewer. What you do need is a critical eye toward product value and quality.
Think about your own shopping habits. What do you want to know about the product? Why do you like one product so much and hate another with the same fervor?
Think about the reviews that you have read. What did they say that influenced you, and how did they say it? Don’t plagiarize, but do consider using similar terms when they are applicable to the product you are reviewing.
Need some inspiration from a good reviewer? You can view the Amazon profile of other customers, where their previous reviews — and the number of helpful votes they received — are public.
6. Use Photos in Your Reviews
Customer reviews that draw attention often have photo or video content along with the text. Other customers can be immediately taken to your specific review with the “reviews with images” section.
The pictures don’t need to be professional, but you’ll want to clearly showcase the products to get that “helpful” vote.
7. Know Your Goal
When you read a customer review on Amazon, you are always asked, “Was this review helpful?”
Amazon ranks reviewers based on the percentage of “yes” responses they get to that question from Amazon customers. Keep that in mind as you are writing your review.
Include information that will be helpful to the prospective purchaser. Is the product easy to use? Will it last (is it well-constructed or manufactured?) Is there a function or characteristic you do not like?
Purely positive reviews are often disregarded simply because they are too positive, especially when there are too many reviews like this. Be critical, but more importantly, be helpful.
8. Create a Star System of Your Own
Your review will conclude when you give the product a rating on a five-star system.
Determine how you are going to choose what rating to give a product. If you create your own standard, your reviews will have increased value.
You will be downgraded as a reviewer if you only give five-star reviews (or, only provide negative reviews).
9. Make a Shopping List
What items do you want to review? Since the goal is to receive free products, you want to request items that you are going to use in your life, or that you know your friends would appreciate.
You also want to request items about which you are likely to form a thoughtful opinion.
If you have no interest in dietary supplements, do not request such items (although you are likely to receive them anyway; that market loves to send free products in hopes of receiving positive reviews).
10. Build Your Brand
You certainly can spray to all fields if you like, but one way to become a highly respected Amazon reviewer is to develop a field of expertise.
You want to become recognized as an expert in your favorite type of product so that firms eventually seek you out in hopes of getting a review from an Amazon influencer with a reputation for being knowledgeable.
11. Tell the World
It is likely that you have several social media accounts sites you use regularly, but you are going to want to increase that number of platforms and followers.
Facebook remains a viable site for shoppers, Instagram is the current mecca and TikTok is uber popular. Twitter is good for the text of your reviews.
Creating your own YouTube channel to post opinions is a step the more serious reviewers take and recommend.
If you can become adept at posting high-quality pictures or videos, this will increase your social media presence. Companies like to use reviewers who have a significant and varied social media following.
If you become a top reviewer, companies will urge you to create posts specifically about their product. The more expensive the product, the more companies are going to want to use reviewers with extensive social media followings.
12. Know the Rules
It is true that anyone can post a customer review. Amazon practically begs for customer reviews.
But, in order to become highly regarded in the review community, know the rules by which Amazon accepts reviews.
If you consistently violate the rules regarding customer review posts, your Amazon account can get canceled, and you don’t want that.
There is a limit of five reviews per week per customer. There are also rules regarding language and abusive comments.
13. Create Your Personal Disclaimer
Once you begin receiving items for free, you must include a disclaimer saying just that. “I received this product free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review” will likely do the trick.
This is the law; the Federal Trade Commission and Amazon both enforce it.
14. Check Your Reviewer Ranking
On your Amazon account, on the upper right is the Accounts and Lists tab. Click Account.
There you will see your reviewer ranking in your Amazon profile. It also offers you an opportunity to write your own “About,” letting companies know what kinds of products you prefer to review.
Your ranking is determined by the number of reviews you submit, the number of “Yes” votes you get under the Helpful heading, and how recent your reviews are.
The Amazon Vine Program
Vine Voice is an Amazon program that invites high-ranking reviewers to be involved in beta testing of products prior to their release.
Beta testing is when companies provide samples of products not yet finalized so that they can get feedback before beginning wide production and distribution.
You cannot apply for a Vine Voice position; reviewers are invited based on their reviewer rank. You won’t be paid to participate in Amazon Vine, but the products you’ll receive are completely free. As a verified buyer, you’ll be expected to share an unbiased opinion.
One downside of the Amazon influencer program? You’ll have to fill out a 1099 form and pay taxes if the estimated tax value of the items you receive exceeds $600 per year.
Don’t let that scare you off, though. If you become a product tester through Amazon Vine and have questions, you can always use your social media to connect with other participants via Facebook groups or Tiktok hashtags.
What are you waiting for? If you have read this far, you have the motivation to write reviews and become a top Amazon reviewer.
If you have the time to write meaningful reviews, create entertaining social media posts, and, most importantly, test products that matter to you, you can become a top Amazon reviewer and have lots and lots of Amazon products at your doorstep.