When you make a purchase on Amazon, do you ever go back and write a review? As frequently as I buy items on Amazon, I have only written six reviews. Why? Well, I am not really sure. First, I am busy and already have a long list of professional writing I need to do. The idea of taking a few minutes to write a review just seems like one of those things that don't make it to my 'to do' list. As an author, the few reviews I have written were for books that I purchased, and had a strong feeling about one way or the other. In most cases, I simply don't write reviews. So, there is my confession for the week.
Reviewing Has Its Perks
I may have just found ample motivation to start reviewing the products that I buy on Amazon. There is a little known program called Amazon Vine that gives reviewers free stuff to review. It is an invitation only program for those that write a lot of reviews, but the reviews must be signifanctly rated by other users as being 'helpful' (note: your reviews don't necessarily have to be positive, just fair). It is an invitation only program, so there is no link I can give you to go sign up to be a part of it. The payoff is that at least once a month Amazon Vine reviewers are sent a list of products and they get to choose two items from the list. These products are sent to them at no cost to review (how cool is that?). Now, here is the fuzzy part. The deal is that Amazon does have the right to ask for the products back, but we understand that this never really happens and people simply get to keep the items.
As of Tuesday, Michael Erb was the No. 1 customer reviewer on Amazon. He has reviewed everything from doorbells to travel mugs to toothbrushes. "I have so many Bluetooth speakers, it's ridiculous," he told me. "I've got enough lithium ion batteries in my house to blow up a city block."
As Erb has risen up the ranks among Amazon reviewers, the stream of free stuff has grown because manufacturers have started sending stuff directly to him to review. "I have to admit it has probably caused a little bit of a strain on my marriage because my wife goes crazy," he says. "Literally every other day there's UPS boxes piled up at the door." Source: NPR
Getting To Be A Top Reviewer
Unbeknownst to me, there is sort of a horse race of reviewers that goes on at Amazon. You can see the rankings here. It was interesting to note that some of the top reviewers only had a few hundred reviews. In one case there was a guy with 360 reviews that was in the top 20 overall. I am ashamed to admit that my ranking as a reviewer is 865,994. Wow, that is horrible, but I have only written six reviews and bought tons of stuff from Amazon, so I probably deserve this.
Other Benefits Of Writing Reviews
There is sort of a community or social media aspect to writing reviews and it can be worthwhile as a means of getting your name out there. For example, many books on the topic of promoting yourself as an author suggest that it is very good business to review books within your niche. This allows you to post your name and 'author of' at the end to bring some notoriety to yourself and your title. There is also the same kind of social networking aspect that exists over at Facebook and other social sites as well. You can check this out by looking toward the bottom of any product page at Amazon and clicking on 'forums' where you can start a discussion about a given product.
If You Have Not Been Writing Reviews, What Can You Do Now?
Well, I just logged into my Amazon account and have 166 unreviewed purchases. You can log in and then click on 'your account' and then look for 'personalizations' (toward the bottom). It is in this section you will see a link for 'review your purchases.' So, I can go back now and write reviews for all of these products I have not yet reviewed. Another method of racking up a lot of reviews without spending much money is to borrow eBooks from the Amazon library. If you are a member of Amazon Prime ($79 per year), you get free 2 day shipping on most items, but you also can borrow books from the lending library for free. Each 'borrow' would give you another chance to write a review.
If you are a faithful Amazon reviewer and would like to share your thoughts, please use the comments section below and we can start a conversation.
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