<firstimage=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/amazon_logo.png”>If you’re an Amazon.com customer who regularly reads product reviews by other customers, you may have noticed that some reviewers have a little badge (one of several) under their name identifying them as a ï»¿”Vine Voice” reviewer.
These Amazon Vine reviewers were invited by Amazon to receive a monthly newsletter of pre- and recently-released books and other products that Vine members can select from and review. Selected products are sent to Amazon Vine reviewers for free. So how do you become a Vine reviewer?
I’m not a prolific reviewer on Amazon, but about six months ago I was invited to become a member of its “exclusive club of influential Amazon voices.”
Getting free items such as a 1 TB Western Digital External Hard Drive, a Duracell iPhone charger, a very expensive photography bag, computer software, and numerous books in exchange for honest reviews of these products has been a pretty good deal in my view.
So how does one get invited to the Vine Voice community? Well, Amazon doesn’t provide step-by-step criteria for its program invitations, but it does say this: “Customers are invited to become Amazon Vineâ„¢ Voices based on the trust they have earned in the Amazon community for writing accurate and insightful reviews”.
Based on my experience as a Amazon customer and reviewer, and checking out ten other Vine Voice members, here are some specific criteria for how you might receive an invitation to become an Amazon Vine reviewer.
First off you need to be an Amazon.com customer who regularly writes thoughtful reviews of products. You can certainly write reviews of products that you did not purchase from Amazon (I have quite a few like that), but not too long ago Amazon added a button that you check to let others know if you indeed purchased the product you’re reviewing on Amazon.
So writing some reviews of products that you actually purchased on Amazon might provide you with a little more credibility.
The key to reviews is that they should be genuine. They don’t have to be long, drawn out essays, but they should explain how the product is or is not useful to you, and what potential buyers should consider before purchasing.
Reviews should be well written as much as possible and edited. More than a few times, I’ve gone back weeks later and edited my posted reviews. I’ve also updated a review or changed the initial rating I gave an item after spending more time with it.
Although most customers post written reviews, you can also produce video reviews, which is something I prefer to do especially for non-book products. Most videos I’ve done took less than half the time to produce than it would take to write it.
To date I”˜ve written only 134 reviews since 2005. Many prolific reviewers have written well over 500. Of the ten Vine Voice reviewers I checked out, only one had written less than 100. I also think that you need to be an Amazon customer for longer than six months.
Another criteria that Amazon probably uses for sending Vine Voice invites is based on the number of helpful votes a reviewer receives. I’ve never consciously wrote a review in order to get helpful votes. Sometimes my reviews have been hurriedly written, but I have typically based them on how I genuinely feel about the product.
You should also write about products that you have expert knowledge about. When fellow customers see you’re writing about products associated with your profession they may receive those reviews as being more credible. So in your Amazon profile you might want to include a title that identifies what you do.
Once you’re accepted as a Vine reviewer you will want to make sure you follow the guidelines of the program. You are limited to two products at a time and you must write and post your reviews of received products before you can request additional items.
Only choose products you”˜re really interested in, not ones that you will try to resell. In some Vine newsletters there are three or four hot products that sell for upwards to $300. As you might guess the availability of those products run out very quickly.
I’ve snagged a few choice products like these by simply having my Mail application notify me, using a Mail rule, when the newsletter arrives. I also only request books that I think I want and will have time to read. So there have been a few months when I didn’t request anything.
Some people may view the Amazon Vine program as simply vendors giving away products in order to get positive reviews. But based on the reviews I’ve written and the ones I’ve read by other Vine reviewers that’s far from the case. Vine reviewers simply like helping others make good buying decisions.
I can’t guarantee that carrying out the above suggestions will get you an Amazon Vine invitation, but if you don’t mind using some of your time to write reviews on a regular basis, I think you will have a good chance of being selected. The Vine community seems to be pretty large and serious about what it contributes.
Did you get a Vine invitation? If so, what recommendations would you give to others? What kinds of stuff has Amazon given you to review?