How Amazon Reviewers Get Free Stuff with Amazon Vine

Perhaps you saw the “Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program” when reading the reviews for a product on Amazon, and wondered what the Amazon Vine Program was. Or perhaps you heard or read about it in the news, and wondered how you could get in on it, because Amazon Vine Reviewers get lots of free stuff, which they can keep, in exchange for reviewing that free stuff on Amazon. Or maybe you want to know how to tell when a glowing review may have been coloured by the fact that the reviewer got the product for free in exchange for reviewing it. Whatever brought you to our article on the Amazon Vine Review Program, we’ll give you the lowdown.

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Basically the program works like this. First, you have to be selected by Amazon to become an Amazon Vine Reviewer; you can’t apply to participate in the Amazon Vine Program. As Amazon explains, “Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers.”

So how does Amazon select those reviewers?

Says Amazon, “We want the Voice program to reflect the best of our growing body of customer reviewers. We invite reviewers to participate in the Vine program based on feedback from other customers. A reviewer’s rank is determined by the overall helpfulness of all their reviews, factoring in the number of reviews they have written. More weight is given to recent reviews. For more information on how reviewer rankings are determined, please visit How Ranking Works. Ultimately, Vine Voices become eligible based on the value and trust other Amazon.com customers place in the Voices’ ability to provide helpful and insightful reviews.”

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Once selected, Amazon will start offering you products to review. A list of products is sent to their Vine Reviewers at a certain time (at least once a month), from which the Vine reviewers may choose any two products. Their choices are then shipped to them, and they must review the products within 30 days.

 

While in theory Amazon reserves the right to demand that the Vine Reviewer ship back the products, at any time – which keeps the reviewer from having to declare it on their taxes – in practice, according to top Vine Reviewer Michael Erb, Amazon has never requested that anything be shipped back. And some of the things that Erb has received to review have been valued at several hundred to almost a thousand dollars (such as a laser printer, and a spin bike).

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So how can you tell when a review was posted by a Vine Reviewer in case, like some, you think that a Vine Review may be skewed towards being more favourable because the reviewer may want to, you know, keep getting free stuff?

By the “Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program” that appears near the top of the review.

Of course, Amazon is quick to deny that the Vine Reviews may be biased, or fiddled with. “Vine reviews are the independent opinions of the Vine Voices. The vendor cannot influence, modify or edit the reviews. Amazon does not modify or edit Vine reviews, as long as they comply with our posting guidelines,” explains Amazon, adding that “We welcome honest opinion about the product – positive or negative. Of course Vine reviews must conform to all our posting guidelines. Customers can vote on the helpfulness of Vine reviews just like they can for any other review.

You can find more information about Amazon Vine here.

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