[Ed. note: On Oct. 3, 2016, Amazon revised its policy on customer reviews.]
I recently reached the coveted Top Amazon Reviewer status. Within the next year, I should have everything I possibly need to be a “real adult” — whenever that happens — for free.
A lot of people have asked me, “How do I become a Top Amazon Reviewer?”
I started out writing book reviews to help some of my favorite self-published authors. In the process, I learned about the marketing power of reviews.
After over a year of slowly improving my reviewer ranking to one of the top 10,000 spots, I now receive hundreds of dollars of free and deeply discounted products each month.
This week, I received two different blouses that normally retail for $20 each, a vegan face lotion ($26), a tooth whitening kit ($45) and a set of baby bibs ($20). I could accept more, but I choose to only review products I can truly use, or ones I can give away to my friends and family.
It’s completely free to get started, so what are you waiting for?
How to Become a Top Amazon Reviewer
Ready to start trading your honest thoughts about a product for free stuff? Here’s what to do.
1. Sign up for an Amazon account
Make sure it’s linked to an email you frequently check and include some information about yourself in your account profile.
It’s good to list the types of products you’re interested in reviewing. You do NOT need to use your full name, or a real picture of yourself.
2. Download the Amazon App
Get the app for your smartphone.
It comes with a barcode scanner, which makes it super easy to look up products you already own.
If you really want to buy something to review, companies always match new product releases with sales and coupon deals. It should always be cheap and easy to find something to review.
3. Start Writing Reviews
Write honest, unbiased reviews of products you’ve already tried.
What products do you buy over and over again — and why? Which products did you hate so much you’ll never buy them again?
Remember to check your grammar and spelling!
4. Consider Product Questions
If you’re at a loss for words, think about the questions you’d have if you were a customer buying an item on Amazon.
“Is it worth my money? Does it really work? Are there better brands out there?”
Genuinely try to help the customer decide whether this is the right product for them.
5. Check the Number of Reviews
If an item has too many existing reviews, it’s unlikely anyone will read yours.
If an item has few or no reviews, you have a greater chance of being noticed.
Your ranking only improves when you get “Helpful Votes” from customers who felt you helped them make a decision about their purchase.
6. Review the Types of Items You Want to Get for Free
When I started reviewing a lot of health products, I got inquiries from supplement companies before I was even a Top Reviewer.
If you consistently review the same things repeatedly, you’ll become an “expert” in the field.
7. Pay Attention to Product Release Dates
Many companies release new products at least two weeks before they’re for sale on Amazon. The faster you post your review, the more likely it is someone will give you a “Helpful Vote.”
8. Update Your Account Often
…but be sure not to flood it with reviews.
If you have more “Helpful Votes” than reviews, your ranking goes up.
If you write too many reviews before you get any “Helpful Votes,” you’ll actually make it harder for yourself to improve your ranking.
9. Create Review-Focused Social Media Accounts
Start social media accounts devoted to your Amazon reviews.
Companies target reviewers based on age, gender and social media following.
Once you become a Top Reviewer, companies sometimes request you give them shout-outs on multiple social media accounts. The more expensive the product, the more advertising the companies will want from you in order to get items for free.
10. Be Honest
You MUST disclose if you got a product for free. It’s one of the Federal Trade Commission’s rules, and Amazon will enforce it.
It even has an algorithm that automatically blocks certain reviews from going up, as well as employees who investigate people who may be breaking this rule.
Will You Become a Top Reviewer?
It may seem like a long process, but if you take on the challenge, the fruits of your labor will be well worth the struggle.
Being a Top Amazon Reviewer may not pay any bills, but it can help save you and your family thousands of dollars, since you’ll get free stuff you would otherwise have paid for.
Your Turn: Have you ever written reviews for Amazon? Will you try to become a Top Reviewer?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Shannon Quinn is a writer, entrepreneur, and legal student living in and around both the Greater Philadelphia and New York areas. She spends a great deal of her time discovering creative ways to save money so that she can live comfortably on a small budget.