Have you ever even thought to leave a review on Amazon? Before I found out about Amazon Vine, I hadn’t. Amazon Vine is a free program that allows its members to get an unlimited amount of products to review on Amazon for free. It’s basically the Amazon version of Yelp Elite, where you get free food. Get free stuff on Amazon.
- 1 What Is Amazon Vine?
- 2 How Do You Join Amazon Vine? By Invite.
- 3 What Kind Of Free Stuff On Amazon Can You Get?
- 4 What Kind Of Products Are On Amazon Vine?
- 5 Amazon Vine Taxes
- 6 Can You Resell Or Gift Amazon Vine Products?
- 7 Ways To Get Free Stuff On Amazon You Shouldn’t Do
- 8 Free Stuff On Amazon: FaceBook Groups
- 9 Are There Other Programs Like Amazon Vine?
What Is Amazon Vine?
Back in 2007, Amazon created Amazon Vine Voices, a program which rewarded its top reviewers as an incentive to write more thorough and thoughtful reviews.
The vendors that submit products for free review for free stuff on Amazon aren’t able to modify the reviews and can’t contact the reviewers.
You’re not pressured to leave a positive review since Amazon is in charge of the program, and people say they leave negative reviews for products and aren’t kicked out of the program.
Members of Amazon Vine have a “VINE VOICE” badge on their reviews and their reviews are ranked higher in terms of visibility.
If someone reviews a product from Amazon Vine, it’ll say “Vine Customer Review of Free Product”.
The program gives you free stuff on Amazon in exchange for writing a review in 30 days. Products are generally from reputable brands because it costs a pretty penny for a company to join the program. Laptops, tablets, printers, K-Cups, beauty products, etc. line the item list.
How Do You Join Amazon Vine? By Invite.
Amazon rolls out invitations to people who write the most helpful and recent reviews based on a ranking system.
It’s easier to get in if you start writing reviews for one specific category. For instance, if you love kitchen equipment, and seem to buying a lot of it, start there. Experts in a certain product category are more valued than reviews sprinkled across a bunch of categories.
There’s a question at the end of every Amazon review that asks if a review is helpful or not. If you’re getting a lot of Yes’s to this, it means you’re going to have a higher chance of getting in. I’d recommend writing a few paragraphs of things you really want to know about the product:
- Accurately described product?
- How is the quality vs the price?
- Is there a better option?
Here’s a longer breakdown of how to become an Amazon top reviewer straight from Amazon’s website.
You don’t need thousands of reviews to get into the Top Reviewer status. You need reviews that are thorough and helpful. Look at the #12 top reviewer here. He only has 200 reviews, but his reviews are super helpful.
I’d recommend going back through your orders and writing reviews on things you’ve already received and used. Face it, you’ve probably ordered hundreds of things from Amazon!
What Kind Of Free Stuff On Amazon Can You Get?
It used to be that Amazon would only allow targeted Vine members to receive items for review. Previously, there were two newsletters a month, in which you could choose products.
That all changed in the last two years. Now, you’re given a catalogue of items to choose from and you can choose two at a time. You get 30 days to write a review of an item, so looking at the rules, if you review them both before 30 days, you can get the opportunity to pick two more items. They’ve renamed this to “Vine For All” or “Infinite Vine”. That’s a ton of free stuff on Amazon.
Basically, it’s a buffet of things you can choose to review.
We went hunting for products with reviews of the Amazon Vine Badge and found quite a treasure trove. Here are some examples of some very pricey items people got from Amazon Vine by category. If you want to read the Vine review, just search “Vine” in the review search. For whatever reason, you have to be on the exact product page to search, you can’t just search “Vine Review” in the general search box.
- HP 23 inch computer, 1TB Hard Drive
- Ottomanson Studio Rug – 5 Feet By 6 Feet
- Rembrandt Deeply White Toothpaste, 2 Pack
- Remington Hair Curler
As you can see, it seems Amazon Vine has a wide assortment of things they offer out free stuff on Amazon return for reviews. Some of these items are quite pricey, like laptops, tablets, desktops, printers, electronic toothbrushes, electronic beauty tools, large food packs, etc. Since the prices of all these items change frequently, you can click them to see the current price. But I think you can tell the value of things on this list in general are quite high.
Amazon allows Startup LaunchPad Vendors 30 free products to give out according to this PDF they put out, but considering the high cost per SKU, I’m not sure how many would use it.
If you want to see what other people have gotten, you can go to Amazon’s Hall of Fame for reviewers and look at some of the reviews those Hall of Famer’s have left.
What Kind Of Products Are On Amazon Vine?
According to some people on Reddit and the Amazon Seller Forums, it seems Amazon charges at least $1,000 per SKU (an item’s inventory number) and you need to provide the product for free as well as ship it to their warehouses for processing. Depending on what product it is in, there have been reports of it costing as much as $7,500 per SKU. Amazon takes care of the cost of shipping it to you.
Due to the cost of joining the program, a lot of the products in the Amazon Vine system are more likely to be well-known brands with access to higher marketing budgets, as you can see above.
This program is the only way to get reviews on Amazon before their actual launch dates (most relevant to book releases), I believe, so it’s nice to have reviews up on the site before the launch date.
Amazon Vine Taxes
If you get more than $600 of free stuff on Amazon in a year, Amazon will send a 1099, for which you’ll have to pay taxes on. Depending on which tax bracket you’re in, you might not care much about this since you’ll get such a high discount on it anyway. Keep this in mind though!
Can You Resell Or Gift Amazon Vine Products?
You are not allowed to gift or resell Amazon Vine Products. Doing so will jeopardize your participation in the program.
In 2016, Amazon shut down all incentivized reviews for products that were not through Amazon. Their legal department sent out emails to several highly-reputable review sites that aggregated free reviews in exchange for a product.
The reason for this was because these sites would ask for a positive review and it skewed the rankings of products.
Currently, there are several FaceBook groups who do the same thing. They ask if someone would like free stuff on Amazon, ask them to buy it through Amazon so it shows up as a “Verified Purchase” and ranks higher in the reviews for a product, then verifies the positive review and sends the amount of the purchase back via PayPal.
Since there are FaceBook groups out there that do this, one can hope that Amazon’s algorithm can detect when groups of people are buying similar products and being paid to leave positive reviews on them.
I haven’t participated in this, and wouldn’t recommend you do it either. It probably wouldn’t look very good to Amazon and usually these groups are filled with Chinese sellers doing Private Label items — basically they take an already existing wholesale product and slap their logo on it.
Don’t jeopardize your Amazon Vine status for this.
Free Stuff On Amazon: FaceBook Groups
Another thing I’ve seen is people offering free stuff on Amazon where you don’t have to do anything. I did take someone up on this offer once out of curiosity as to what they were trying to sell me. They sent me a gift code for the exact amount of a consumable item and asked me to order it. Let us say it is K-Cups for a big brand as an example (this is not what it actually was).
When looking at the ranking, it probably sold 10,000 units a month so I was mildly confused as to why they were doing this. It was the second item in the Amazon result when searching for a certain one-word keyword. I asked the person why they were doing this because I was curious and they kindly explained. According to them, if a bunch of people purchase the product in one day, it could bump the product up to #1 Bestseller for that keyword, effectively pulling them up to the #1 result in the Amazon search engine.
Considering on Google search, 30 percent of people just click on the first search result, and only 15 percent the second result, this seemed like an interesting way to rank higher in search engine results for Amazon.
Is Giving Free Stuff On Amazon Allowed?
According to the guidelines, this sort of thing is allowed. The person never asked me for a review or even hinted at it. Just that I enjoy the product. It was actually a great product, and a week later I checked the rankings again out of curiosity to see if it worked. It did, they were #1 now and had the “Bestseller” badge for that type of product. I believe they gave away the product to 100 people, so it seems like the math here works out in their favor in terms of profitability.
Things like this are somewhat rare though, because you have to have a lot of cash in order to be able to do this. The product itself was around $15. That’s $1,500 in Amazon gift codes given away for free, and probably $1,000 in product cost and Amazon FBA fees. For a $2,500 marketing campaign, whoever was footing the bill already had substantial capital. The company did this probably because it was cheaper than launching an Amazon Vine campaign.
If you’re a company, you should check out Amazon’s Early Reviewer program. Amazon will contact people who purchased your product and offer a small reward of $1-$3 for people to leave reviews. I’m not sure how much it costs a company, but it looks to be cheaper than Vine.
Are There Other Programs Like Amazon Vine?
Yelp Elite is the only program I can think of after doing some research. You become Yelp Elite by writing great reviews. They offer members the opportunity to attend Elite only events where food, drink, or an activity is being showcased.
The Amazon Vine program is similar, except the Amazon program has an unlimited amount of products you can review. With Yelp Elite you can attend maybe 1-2 events a month so everyone gets a chance to go — this is only in large metropolitan cities, I’d expect smaller cities to have fewer events.
Influenster is a company that sends you VoxBoxes. Each VoxBox is curated with a theme or brand and it looks like a subscription box, but they’re free. You write reviews on the site and connect your various social media accounts and Influenster sends you product boxes it thinks you’ll like. Hiro seems to get some good stuff like makeup/skincare boxes and once a Keurig.
Google’s review program is called Google Local Guides. It allows you to review businesses. About a year or so ago, there was a really good perk, 1TB free of Google Drive storage. Since then the program hasn’t really had any perks, other than a $5 coupon off of an Atom theater ticket and some Pixel cases for NYC Local Guides. At its current state, I wouldn’t recommend participating.
Tripadvisor has a similar program that gives TripCollective points, but there don’t seem to be any tangible rewards there either.
If you know of any other programs like Amazon Vine and Yelp Elite, let me know!
Are any of you Amazon Vine members? Let me know — would love to do an interview with you!
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