Think leaving a review on Amazon is a waste of time? So an Amazon program that’s been around since 2007 might make you think twice. Amazon’s Vine Program consists of a hand-picked group of reviewers who receive free products in exchange for honest reviews.
Amazon doesn’t give too much information on how reviews are selected, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to try to be one of the lucky ones to receive freebies.
What is the Amazon Vine program?
While many companies offer a review program, Amazon’s Vine program is an anomaly. In short, it’s an invitation-only group of reviewers who receive free products in exchange for unbiased reviews. Reviewers often receive products before release. Amazon explains its goal:
” […] an invitational program that selects the most insightful Amazon store reviewers to serve as Vine Voices. »
All members of the Vine program will see a badge appear on all reviews they leave on Amazon, distinguishing them as Vine Voice.
This does not mean that all the reviews they leave are the result of a freebie. If they received the item as part of the program, this notice will be tagged as follows Comment from a Vine customer on a free product.
While Vine members previously received a monthly newsletter featuring books and other products they choose to review — with products ranging in value from a few dollars to nearly $1,000 — they have now have access to a list of items they can order at any time.
According to NPR, Vine members cannot sell used items or give them away. Additionally, Amazon may request refunds for items, although this does not appear to be the case. Amazon clarifies that Vine reviewers are not expected to leave positive reviews and that writing a negative review will have no impact on an Amazon user’s ranking.
So how do you become one of Amazon’s most trusted reviewers? Amazon will contact you if it thinks you fit the criteria for the program, but the company does provide some guidance on what it looks for in a Vine reviewer.
Rather than focusing on quantity of reviews, they focus on quality. It’s no good if you’re on Amazon and leaving one-word reviews left and right. Being a prolific reviewer does not guarantee membership in the Vine program. Amazon’s guidelines for a Vine voice are as follows:
- A critic’s rank, which is based on the general usefulness of critics, while taking into account the number of critics.
- Demonstrated expertise in a specific product category.
- Recent reviews carry more weight. (The rankings are updated every two days).
- An interest in products similar to those registered in the Vine program.
Interest in the products registered in the program is essential to obtain an invitation. Other than finding Vine reviews on Amazon (not an easy task, but you can filter Amazon reviews to make it easier), there’s no real way to tell which products are listed. in the program.
All we know is that sellers pay to have their products included — a fact Amazon didn’t initially disclose, leading to negative coverage of the program in the past. Anyway, in its explanation of the program, Amazon writes:
Ultimately, Voices of Vine become eligible based on the value and trust other Amazon.com customers place in the Voices’ ability to provide helpful and insightful reviews.
There are some factors you can work on to improve your chances of getting an invite:
1. Useful votes
So if you want to be considered, avoid leaving extremely brief reviews. Avoid complaining about any item of the product that is clearly stated in the description. Think about the questions you had before you took the plunge and ordered that $200 gadget you knew you didn’t need but really, really wanted.
Amazon likely studies the thousands of reviews left on products available on the site and examines how those reviews are received by other customers.
Reviewers whose feedback is consistently rated as helpful are more likely to be invited to the program.
2. Stick to one category
As for the second criterion, Amazon is looking for your interest and expertise in specific product categories. Anecdotal evidence shows that if you stick to one product category and become a recognized and helpful expert in that area, you’re more likely to become a Vine member.
There is no exact science
Amazon doesn’t provide much information on how it makes this decision. For example, we found Vine Voice reviews that received 4,000 helpful votes. Some Amazon reviews have received over 88,000 votes but are not part of the program.
It is clear that there is no exact science involved here. A Vine Voice reviewer posted on Quora that he received his invite with over 30 reviews and over 300 upvotes.
One of the key pieces of information Amazon doesn’t share is how often it invites users to the Vine program, so you never know if Amazon is actively recruiting new reviewers. Therefore, if you want to be considered, you will just have to persevere. Most of the anecdotes found online about inviting Vine members are somewhat dated at this point.
Tips for Writing Helpful Reviews on Amazon
The final thing to consider if you’re trying to get an invite to the Amazon Vine club is to pay attention to Amazon’s review guidelines. Here’s what Amazon suggests when you’re about to write a review:
- Explain why you liked it or not.
- Compare with similar products or services and say how long you have been using this product.
- Identify specific attributes (such as camera battery life) and say whether the items met your expectations.
- Do not describe your experience with the seller or shipping.
- Stay away from promotional content of any kind or reviews written in exchange for compensation.
Make sure the review you write is actually helpful. It’s pretty easy to spot a fake or useless review, so you won’t be able to trick Amazon into prioritizing quantity over quality.
You’re in Amazon Vine, now what?
Once you’re accepted as a Vine reviewer, you need to make sure you follow the program guidelines. You are limited to two products at a time, and you must write and post your reviews of the products received before you can request additional items. Be sure to leave a review within 30 days of delivery.
Choose only products that you really care about, and don’t feel pressured to choose a product just to get a review. If you don’t really want or need the item, you can just skip a month or two. A 2016 study by ReviewMeta found that, while not perfect, Vine reviews are often better than incentive reviews.
Become an Amazon Vine Reviewer
Despite all the criticism it has received, the site has some very dedicated reviewers in its ranks, including the current highest-ranked Amazon reviewer, who has written 3,451 reviews and received over 84,000 votes from other Amazon users. for the helpfulness of his reviews.
And you can’t argue with the value of a good review when shopping on Amazon. But remember that you can’t always trust an online review.