A few years ago, a Facebook friend of mine started posting a lot of things with #GotItFree. I was curious and asked how she kept getting things for free. That’s when she introduced me to the website, ShopWithReviews.com. This was a website that allowed you to get things for free in exchange for writing a review. I was AMAZED at all the free stuff I could get. From there, I found more sited. Then, I was introduced to the Facebook groups that ran these promos.
Reviewing turned into a passion. I loved the idea of trying products and giving my honest review so that other people could know the quality of the product and make an educated buying decision. This was important to me because I also read reviews before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the product in use and had just started adding videos.
I considered myself a product tester and not just a reviewer. I would actually use the products, and compare them to the description. My reviews included this information as well. If there was a major issue, I would let the seller know so that changes could be made to the product to make it better for consumers.
There was a toy I reviewed that said it was for ages 1+. The product had pieces the size of a pea I know this would cause a MAJOR safety hazard if it were actually given to a toddler because they are still oral explorers. I included this information in my review. The seller reached out to me and I explained that a child could potentially die if we followed their recommended age guidelines. The seller changed these guideline to a more suitable age for safety. I was happy with my role as a product tester.
This was my life for a couple of years. Then, about a month ago, I got the dreaded email. Amazon had deleted all of my reviews and taken away my ability to review any products on their platform. I felt crushed. I talked to a few other reviewer friends and they had been wiped too. We joked that Amazon was probably getting rid of all the reviewers because they only wanted reviewers from their Vine program to receive free products for review. What was a joke then, became a reality just a month later!
On October 3 Amazon announced that they would no longer allow reviews in exchange for discounts or products UNLESS you are a part of their Vine program. Mind you, sellers have to pay to be a part of Amazon’s Vine program. I hear it is a nice chunk of change too! I find this sad because many sellers relied upon the help of reviewers to promote their new products. Let’s not forget that many sellers had already given away products for free or heavily discounted, hoping to receive reviews that would boost their sales. They lost a ton of money as Amazon made the changes effective immediately.
All is not lost. Some reviewers are still chugging along by using their blogs and their social media platforms to spread the word about products. This can actually be better for the seller, as the word gets out to many more people, along with a link to their product. I am among those product testers that chooses to use my blog as a platform to showcase products that I love. Hope you enjoy this content and find it useful.