Amazon Vine Product Review Panel

Do Amazon have a review panel?

Yes, it’s name is ‘Amazon Vine’ and whilst I am not yet a member of it, I have been writing product reviews on their site for the last few years and have now reached a ranking below 10.000 – this might not sound very impressive, but most users start off with a ranking in the millions.

How do I join Amazon Vine?

It is invite only. The only way to get invited into Amazon Vine is to write quality reviews, climb the rankings and wait for an invite. In order to climb these rankings, the aim of the game is to attain as many helpful votes as possible and the key to getting these ’helpful’ votes is to write clear, detailed reviews that assist the consumer in making an informed choice as to whether the product is suitable for their needs or not.

So, the idea is to write a review that describes the product based on your experience with it. For example, if you have bought a photo album and after slotting in a few photos the pages start falling out, state that in your review, rather than just writing ‘rubbish product’. This might seem obvious, but time and time again, I see reviews that state ‘worked for me’ or ‘arrived 2 days late’. Whilst this information might be true, it is not helpful for a potential customer making a purchasing decision.

Another tip is to include photos in your review. Sometimes the colours in the stock photos can be a bit off or the seller has been a bit sneaky and made the product look a lot better than it actually is, so it can be very helpful to post a picture of what the product really looks like.

Anything else that I need to know?

You may have heard that there are companies that offer free or heavily discounted products in return for reviews, but these are best avoided as Amazon really don’t like this practice and if you are caught, they will wipe every single one of your reviews and you will need to start off all over again. The problem with these companies is that they expect a 5 star review which states that their products are wonderful, which is not always a genuine description! They also resort to some underhand tactics and ask reviewers to buy the products on Amazon and then refund via PayPal so that the review appears on the site as a ‘verified purchase’.

In much the same vein, there was an infamous incident a few years ago where Amazon clamped down on the so-called ‘author circles’. These (mostly) self-published authors were writing overly gushing reviews on each other’s books as well as marking each other’s reviews as ‘helpful’ in order to increase their rankings on the site and therefore their sales. One day these ‘authors’ woke up to find all their reviews deleted.

Any product in the Amazon catalogue can be reviewed  – even if you have not purchased it from their website, however it is known that reviewing Amazon ‘verified purchases’ carry much more weight in terms of reaching a higher ranking.

Why not give it a try when you have a spare moment? Also, if you are interested in writing reviews in exchange for free products – check out my overview of a few different product testing companies here.


Boots Review Panel

Do Boots have a Review Panel?

Yes. I have been a member of the Boots Review panel for 6 years and enjoy being a part of it. Over the years, they have posted me a wonderful array of products to test ranging from L’Oréal mascara to a lovely bottle of Mon Guerlain perfume.

Boots Review Panel

What does product testing for Boots involve?

When Boots send out a product, you must read the enclosed instructions and test it accordingly. Then it is time to leave a product review on their website. This needs to be done within 28 days of receiving the product which allows you ample time to test it diligently.

How will I know when products are available to test?

If there is a product available to test which fits your profile, you will receive an email advising you that they are going to send out a product and give you the option of opting out if you think it is unsuitable. Boots also give you a time frame of when to expect it in the post.

Any tips?

There is no minimum word count required for the reviews. Having said this , the more detailed and informative they are – the better. This is because online users are able to vote whether the review was helpful or not. Whilst a lot of ‘yes’ votes won’t hurt and will probably net you more products to test,  any ‘no’ votes can be detrimental to your account.

I believe this to be the case because in my early days of testing for the Boots review panel, I wrote a review for a shampoo in haste. Reading it back now, it is plain to see that it was not detailed enough. This resulted in two ‘no’ votes and I did not receive any products for months afterwards. This worried me a bit, so was quite surprised when Boots eventually sent me another product to test.

Is it worth it?

Definitely! You will get to try out a wide variety of products for free. Some of them are from the lower end of the market, but many of them are luxury products. Most of the product tests consist of a single item, but they do send out bundles too – sometimes in the form of a beautifully packaged beauty box.

How do I join?

It is easy to join the Boots Review Panel. Simply fill out this form and they will contact you if you are successful. Please note that they are not always looking for new panelists. However, they do open registration up every once in a while so it is worth bookmarking the page and checking it periodically.

Boots also have a volunteer testing panel which offers their own branded products to be tested at home or at their site in Nottingham. This is briefly covered here in my overview of product testing companies.