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Nick Daws takes us through his Amazon Vine reviewer experience, and how you can join the Vine Voice programme.
Today I’m turning the spotlight on one of my own personal favourite sidelines.
I’ve been an Amazon Vine reviewer for over ten years now. In some ways, as you’ll see below, it’s been the most profitable sideline I’ve ever had.
For those who don’t know, Amazon Vine is a programme run by Amazon where they send products free of charge to selected individuals (known as ‘Vine Voices’) in exchange for reviewing them. You don’t get paid for these reviews, but you do get to keep the item concerned.
You might imagine that the main thing reviewers get is books. It’s true that these are on offer, but of course Amazon sell plenty of other things as well. In the time I’ve been a Vine Voice I’ve reviewed all the following…
- saucepan set
- vacuum cleaners (three of them!)
- air purifier
- clothes airer
- cordless iron
- bathroom bin
- mobile phone
- Scotch whisky
- tablet computer
- and many more!
Here’s an example of a recent Vine review I submitted, so you can see how they look when published. This was for a solar-powered security light, and as you can see I included a photo as well. This isn’t obligatory, but Amazon encourage reviewers to include photos and/or videos where relevant.
The most valuable item I have ever had as a Vine Voice was a £1200 gaming laptop. Considering that I only had to write a couple of hundred words about it, that probably counts as my best-paid writing job ever!
Rules for reviewers
Does being a Vine Voice have any drawbacks? Well, not really, but it does have certain rules you have to adhere to.
For starters, you can’t just pick anything to review. As a Vine Voice you get access to a dedicated web page where a range of products is set out and you can pick any you wish to review.
As you might expect, there are limited stocks of review products, and popular ones tend to be snapped up quickly. So you have to get in the habit of checking what is available regularly, and act quickly when you see something you want.
Another slight drawback is that you’re not allowed to sell or otherwise dispose of third-party products you receive straight away. You have to keep them for at least six months, after which they officially become yours to do with as you wish. This doesn’t apply to Amazon’s own products, which become yours immediately.
- That being said, in ten years I have never been asked to return any product I was sent for review. But it could happen, and if you have disposed of it before six months are up, you could in theory lose your Vine Voice status.
You have 30 days to review any products you order, and you are expected to review them all, whether you like them or not. In the latter case you should be as honest as possible about why you disliked the product, and try to mention any good points about it as well.
FInally, as a new VIne reviewer you are placed in what Amazon describe as the Silver Tier, where you can request up to three items per day of a maximum value of £82. Experienced reviewers who meet the required standard are promoted to the Gold Tier and can then request up to eight items per day of any value.
How do you become a Vine Voice?
Ah, that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? I never actually applied to Amazon. I had reviewed a few products on the Amazon website – not a huge number, mainly books and music CDs. And out of the blue I received an email inviting me to join.
And that’s the thing. You can’t just submit an application to Amazon. It’s invitation only, so you have to wait for the call to come. New reviewers are constantly being recruited, though, so you can boost your chances by regularly submitting reviews of Amazon products. Obviously you won’t receive remuneration for these, but it’s all good practice and effectively represents your letter of application.
At the risk of stating the obvious, you need to create high-quality reviews that gain good feedback and ‘helpful’ votes from customers. Your reviews should be honest, mention both positives and negatives, and answer the sorts of question a potential buyer might ask before buying the item concerned.
If you do this regularly, there is every chance your contributions will be noticed by Amazon and you will then receive an invitation to become a Vine Voice.
Good luck, and happy reviewing!
As always, if you have any comments about this article, please do post them below..
Nick Daws writes for Pounds and Sense, a UK personal finance blog aimed especially (though not exclusively) at over-fifties.
Disclosure: This article includes affiliate links.
Photo Credits: Pexels
Nick Daws is a semi-retired freelance writer and editor. He is the author of over 30 non-fiction books, including Start Your Own Home-Based Business and The Internet for Writers. He lives in Burntwood, Staffordshire, where he has been running his personal finance blog at Poundsandsense.com for over seven years.