honest review

An actual honest review :-D. Actually, just a funny amazon review I spotted on Reddit that got me thinking back to my own review trials and tribulations.

I chanced upon the Amazon Review Trader (amzreviewtrader.com) website half way through last year. Basically it works like this, Amazon sellers offer products they are interested in promoting and you can apply for more and more of these once you get the ball rolling by reviewing the items. If you’re accepted to review a product you then receive an Amazon promotional code, which is typically but not always around 90% or even 100% off the cost of the product. Once you review the product you’ve basically completed your part of the agreement and get to keep the product (the value of which I found usually fell within the £7 – £20 range in actual value, when you factor in that some of the prices stated seem kind of inflated). I’m UK based, but most reviewers are based in the US I believe.

Sellers on the site can see selected stats from buyers/reviewers, such as the number of reviews they’ve completed, their Amazon rank and so on. When I started reviewing I found myself reviewing lots of pairs of headphones (you can never have too many pairs, right?) and other little items that I knew I’d get use out of eventually. It certainly saved me a good amount of money. As my Amazon UK rank rose I started to be accepted for more and more products as sellers saw that my reviews were generally pretty favorable and complete a couple of days after the product arrived. I added an email address to my Amazon profile which increased direct contacts as, funnily enough, did the hacking and leaking of the entire amzreviewtrader email database at one point (I was alerted to this on the reddit product testing subreddit – hi guys!). Thankfully I used a separate email address so it didn’t cause me as many spam problems as some.

Eventually I started to receive products that were a level up from before. Dehumidifiers, Portable Car Jump Starters, Water Flossers, decent Go Pro alternatives, enough random outdoors stuff to become a survivalist .. you name it, it was winging its way to me. Including images or videos in reviews was encouraged, though in my experience if you couldn’t muster the motivation to take pictures, as long as the ‘verified purchase’ review was positive, that was primarily what mattered. Companies such as Etekcity and EasyAcc have relationships with Amazon reviewers, even Anker, though the criteria to review their products is much more stringent and they tend to be on the look out for reviews on other platforms too (blogs, social networks, youtube etc). Companies couldn’t give stuff away fast enough to exchange for a ‘fair and honest’ review. I was on the brink of entering the top 1000 reviewers on Amazon UK. A conveyor belt of goodies surely awaited?

Only, no it didn’t, as my reviewing privileges were suddenly suspended. That’s right, it’s now impossible for me to leave a review on Amazon and my previous reviews have all been removed. I appealed but to no avail and for a couple of days I was really disappointed about it. In a sense it was also a relief though as I was genuinely running out of space to store things! Well that and the postman had started to get a world weary ‘here’s another 7 parcels for you today, sir’ look on his face. I had reviewed over 500 items up to that point at the cost of maybe a hundred pounds in total. There are many theories as to why reviewing privileges are removed, because believe it or not some reviewers are into the thousands of products reviewed and are still going strong. Theories range from forgetting to leave a ‘I received this product in exchange for an honest and unbiased review’ type disclaimer which Amazon rightly insists you leave (I did include this) to having multiple Amazon accounts (I don’t), or more than one person reviewing the same products in the same house / on the same IP and so on (nope!).

amazon-5-star-reviewsIt could be that it’s something of a numbers game. I reviewed many products over a short time period and for each one had to submit a promotional code through the Amazon interface, so it can be no mystery to them that I’m suddenly leaving a large number of product reviews. Moreover, even when you are leaving honest reviews, no matter what people say, it is easy to find yourself somewhat skewing towards the positive (as in more 4 and 5 star reviews) for several reasons: expectations from the seller, the desire to be given more products to review (more likely with a generous/forgiving reviewing attitude), the tendency just to agree with a seller not to review a product should it be so terrible that you want to give it one star out of five. I had also been in touch with Amazon support over an unrelated issue, which I feel may have also alerted them to the fact I’d turned into a non stop product reviewing maniac overnight. So it could’ve been flagged for that reason. If you’re a reviewer on this kind of scale contacting Amazon is a big no no so I should’ve known better.

So all in all my Amazon reviews journey as an interesting one. I’d say that I definitely take some ‘honest reviews’ with a pinch of salt, but then again I take ‘all’ 5 star reviews in that same vein anyway and one star reviews too (as I feel they’re often from competitors). That’s not to say there aren’t 100% ‘honest to a fault’ product reviewers on Amazon, there certainly are, but due to the shear number of these promotional code reviews and review sites now, eventually I feel that ‘something has to give’.  For now though, if you have time on your hands,  grab some freebies while you can!!

 

 

free deliveryYes, yes, I know, everything is called a ‘hack’ nowadays, so I shouldn’t jump on the ‘life hacks’ band wagon and should instead have just called this what it is: a way to get free Amazon delivery if your items fall short of the £20 required total. It’s very common to end up with a basket coming to the value of £19.98 or £19.99 so a good way to bump it up is is to add a 1 pence item to your basket to meet the £20 free delivery threshold.

There are a few items costing a penny on the site and they do change on occasion, but if you know a category of item that typically falls at the 1p price point, it’s hard to go too far wrong. Sim Cards are the prime area for this and 1p Sim Cards are sometimes available on the Amazon UK site. Just remember that the item has to be delivered by Amazon to quality.

If you’re a bit further from the £20 free delivery total, then there are plenty of other cheap products to choose from, like this 10p pill box and £1 household essentials like toothpaste. It’s worth adding products you’ll eventually use anyway, rather than pay extra for delivery when you don’t have to. Pennies make pounds, people!

 

 

We have a couple of Quidco accounts in our family and I’d heard previously that certain accounts are offered a £10 bonus on their next purchase (for purchases over £10 + VAT – so £12 basically) some months. Sure it’s not the world, but it’s ‘free money’ so better than nothing if you already have a purchase planned with a Quidco affiliated retailer anyway.

Unfortunately on previous months we had not been eligable, but this month one of us was. Rejoice! Below is, if eligable, the image you should see when you log into your account:
quido £10 free april

I purchased something from MyProtein that, combined with a 30% off code I found on their site, resulted in a total spend of £5 after the £10 bonus comes through. Dont mind if I do! Offer ends midnight 30th April.

‘Pantry’ is a very American term. I have many cupboards and other assorted spaces for this and that, but I’m dead set on the fact that there’s not a pantry in sight around here!! That being said, Amazon.com has had a ‘pantry’ option for a good while now, it’s basically a groceries services offered by Amazon. As with everything in the world ever, it’s gone from being a US only service to a UK and in fact worldwide endevour.

Amazon are always pretty heavy on promotions. Get a credit here, a credit there… if you’re an Amazon Prime member (and in fairness it’s not a bad service, with lots of movies, series, music and the like on offer in addition to their one day deliver option) you are well aware of the fact that if you choose the ‘No Rush Delivery’ option you ‘Get a £1 Amazon Appstore, Digital Video, Kindle Book & Digital Music Credit’. In addition to that, if you buy an album you often get free mp3 versions and with DVDs / Blurays free £1 digital credit.

For a few days though, in a bid to promote their new Pantry service, there was a free £2.99 credit towards their pantry service. From what I’ve been told these credits don’t stack, thyey certainly don’t on the US service. It turns out though that for UK order during this promotion they indeed do or rather did stack. I ordered, individually, a good number of products (DVDs, toiletries etc) around the £3 mark (the minimum required to gain this credit) and managed to gain myself around £50 in credits in the process, which bacially amounts to a free shop.

amazon-pantry-glitch

As I said, on the US site, these creits couln’t be stacked. For now on the UK site it’s been to the £1 kindle credit, but if it returns to the £2.99 amazon pantry credits there’s a chance that once again it will stack, so is a good opportunity to get serious discounts on your weekly shop by individually buying low value items that you would’ve purchased anyway. Keep a look out!