Now that things have calmed down a bit, Amazon has made it clear that they don't want reviews IN EXCHANGE for discounted or free merchandise, we are still able to DO our reviews, we no longer need to STATE we received the merchandise free or at a discount. I am now comfortable doing reviews on Amazon.
Another change they recently made is we can only do 5 reviews a week (from free or discounted sources), any more than that and they will remove them and possibly ban you from doing reviews. They consider any purchases made with coupon codes (whether free or discounted) a non-verified purchase.
scroll down to nearly the bottom, where it says
"Additional Guidelines for Customer Reviews"
you will find:Customers can submit 5 non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week. Non-Amazon Verified Purchase review counts are calculated each week from Sunday at 12:00am UTC through Saturday 11:59pm UTC. This policy does not apply to Vine reviews or reviews on digital and physical books, music, and video.
Now, on to
How Do I Become a Reviewer
How do I become a reviewer? That's a question I hear a lot, and sometimes the answer isn't what you want to hear, this is what I tell everybody, start doing reviews, review as many things as you possibly can, amazon.com is the main place, there are hundreds and thousands of new vendors that come on and they need reviews on their products, they are looking for reviewers, but before you can ask somebody to send you their stuff for free or heavily discounted, you need to have a history, you need to show these vendors that you do reviews and have done reviews. Think of it from their point of view if you have a product line that you were trying to sell, and you needed reviews, and you had a choice between somebody who had very few or no reviews and somebody who had a bunch of reviews, which one would you go with? I think the answer is clear, they want somebody who's experienced, and they want somebody that they know is going to do a review on the product that they're sending out.
So how do I do reviews? First thing is to be honest, that doesn't mean being brutal, but you have a responsibility to the people who are reading your reviews, because they are making decisions on whether or not to buy a certain product, they need to know that they can trust what you are telling them is true.
The natural inclination is to want to be nice to somebody who is giving you something for free or at a deep discount, but don't fall for that, the vendors who are giving out these products know that you are required to give an honest review, and if that means that you have to give them a less-than-stellar report, then that's what you have to do. That doesn't mean you have to be gleeful about it, the few times I've had to give bad report, I'm almost apologetic about it, I don't like doing it but I know it is something I have to do if the product isn't up to par.
This is one thing that has changed on Amazon, it used to be you had to disclose that you received an item free or at a discount in a review, now Amazon has changed the rules stating that you can no longer do a review IN EXCHANGE FOR a free or discounted item. The FTC, the way I read it, still requires a disclosure (or disclaimer) IF you have any sort of financial link to the sale of said item, since I have an affiliate account with Amazon and I get a small commission from any sale that happens based on that link, I will continue adding a disclosure, I will state "I received the item free to try", or "I received the item at a discount to try" but only on non-Amazon sites, not on the Amazon review.
So to break into this business, start writing reviews, do them for everything that you could possibly do them on, that doesn't mean being dishonest or writing a bunch of garbage, that means writing honest truth. And don't just copy and paste what somebody else wrote that will get you into a lot of trouble, don't just read off the specs off the box, you want to write your experiences with it, what would you want to know if somebody else was describing this item to you? Write with humor, give your readers a reason to want to come back and read another review that you wrote.
Pictures, lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures, your picture, not just the stock photos that are on the ad, and make the pictures interesting, put it somewhere where the background looks interesting but not cluttered, make sure there's enough light so that you can see the item, even better show the item in action, shooting it in your hand, so that you show that you actually have the product, and that you're just not talking about something that you saw online.
Videos, even better than pictures are videos. And use your voice don't just make a video with no sound or the only sound is you moving something around, talk about the item, talk about your expectations of it, talk about what you thought of it when you first opened it, talk about how it works for you, and if it doesn't do what you want it to do, if you're not happy with it, then explain that, be detailed, but also be brief. I try to keep my videos in the three to four minute range, sometimes they go a little bit longer but honestly if they're more than 5 or 6 minutes long, I'll delete them and start over again. Something that helps is to take some notes, jot down the things that you want to say, there's nothing worse than getting in front of the camera and freezing up, forgetting what you want to say, leaving things out, or doing a lot of stuttering. Don't worry if you don't like your voice, trust me I don't have the prettiest voice in the world, I don't even have the prettiest face in the world, but the more videos I do, the more comfortable I get in front of the camera, and the better I get it doing reviews.
Try to find a nice quiet place where you won't be disturbed, or if you think somebody might be around while you're doing your video reviews, just let them know that you're going to be recording, I tell PB all the time, I'm about to be recording, that way he doesn't accidentally walk up on me talking, or making other noises, that doesn't stop the dogs from barking or squeaking sometimes, and depending on how bad it is I may start over, or I may leave it in just so that it's more real.
You need to fill out your profile on your Amazon account, including your picture and email address. Be sure that you write a little blurb about yourself,
Include your different social medias in your Amazon profile, your links, your blogs, any place where you would post a review, include them in there. I have Facebook, Instagram, my blog, and probably a few other places that I can't remember right now, that makes them linkable and the people who will look to see if they want to give you the chance to do a review, they'll check out your social media and see just what kind of reviews you do. Be real, be honest, be yourself, talk like you're talking to a friend.
Check your spelling and punctuation, be sure you are using the correct words, such as "there, their and they're", have someone you trust proofread your reviews, you can always edit them if something needs to be fixed. Use paragraphs (line breaks), it's difficult to read one huge sea of words, you need to give your readers a visual break, think of it as taking a breath between sentences.
Don't be too wordy (like this post LOL) or too brief, aim for a happy medium.
Sorry to break it to you, but you will either have to pay for shipping (the exception is if it has free shipping) or you have to be an Amazon Prime member. Being an Amazon Prime member has lots of perks, the biggest being 2 day free shipping on most items sold on Amazon, there are other perks such as free streaming TV shows, movies, music, you get unlimited cloud storage of digital photos, limited free storage of digital videos (you can pay just a bit extra to get unlimited video storage).
Sign up for a free 30 day trial here: AMAZON PRIME
My 2 day free shipping has paid for itself many times over based on how much I order, your mileage may vary.
Never never never ask anyone (in one of your reviews) to hit the "helpful" button on your Amazon review, I've seen other people do it, but it's very clearly against Amazon's rules, it's considered vote manipulation, you may get away with it for a while, but it can get you banned from being able to do reviews on Amazon, it's just not worth the risk. You can read the do's and don'ts on being an Amazon reviewer here:
One more thing, NEVER accept payments or gifts for your reviews, the ONLY exception is to receive the product in exchange for your review, the seller cannot coerce you to give a good review, nor can they ask you to change a review, you may contact the seller if there is a problem to see if they can resolve the problem before you post your review.
In closing, I would say to never pay to belong to a reviewing site, never pay a third party to get access to discount codes, even if they are only charging a dollar, it's a ripoff, believe me, the sellers/vendors are looking for you the honest established reviewer to help them sell more products