Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the country and sells just about everything under the sun. If a product is for sale online, chances are it’s on Amazon. The retail giant doesn’t just sell its own products, it’s also a virtual marketplace for millions of vendors around the globe.
Competition between these sellers is fierce and with just a little bit of work, you can take advantage by scoring deals and getting free stuff on Amazon.
While there are some things on Amazon anyone can get for free right away, the best way to get high-quality freebies is through helpful, informative and well-written product reviews.
In 2016 the company changed its review policy and now the only way to get free products through reviews is the Vine program. While you won’t be able to reach out to a struggling retailer and offer reviews in exchange for merchandise, there are still ways for reviewers to get free stuff.
Robust Reviews Earn Amazon Freebies
Reviewing products is one of the prime ways to get Amazon freebies. We offer some tips and tricks to be successful.
1. Become a Top Amazon Reviewer
So we’ve established that the best way to get free stuff on Amazon is with an invite into the Vine program. But how do you get invited? It does require some work on your part and the first step to getting that invite is becoming a Top Amazon reviewer. Believe it or not, the company tracks the best and most prolific reviewers, posting it all on a rankings board.
It’s not hard to become a Top Amazon reviewer, and we’ve laid out all of the steps you need to take to join the upper echelon. It’s important to remember that Amazon values quality reviews and the number of helpful votes you accumulate is critical, so be sure you think about the kind of information consumers would care about and craft a well-written, detailed and grammatically-correct review.
Another helpful tip is to look for products without a lot of reviews, because yours is more likely to be read and earn “Helpful Votes.” Focus your reviews on the types items that you would like to get for free, as becoming an expert in a specific category helps achieve Top Reviewer status more quickly.
2. Get Invited to be a Vine Reviewer
The early days of Amazon reviewing was like the Wild West – companies sent out free products or other compensation in exchange for positive reviews, despite the actual quality of the item. Unsurprisingly, this led to companies manipulating reviews and “earning” inflated scores for subpar products. Amazon responded in 2016 by prohibiting incentivized reviews, with the exception being those facilitated through Amazon Vine.
In this program, companies send Amazon products which they distribute to trusted reviewers for free. Then, Vine identifies the most helpful and trusted reviewers (Vine Voices) and invites them to give their opinions on new and pre-release products. Voices aren’t under any pressure to post positive reviews, and sometimes aren’t even required to write one.
Vine membership is by invite-only; you can’t apply to join the program. Amazon watches out for customers who post reviews frequently, are considered the most helpful by customers, and write about the types of items that are typically featured in the program.
Vine is a more transparent program because the decision-making about who reviews what products is in the hands of Amazon. Vendors have no influence over which Vine Voices review their products.
3. Use Influencer (or Micro-Influencer) Status for Freebies
Let’s admit it: most of us don’t have the kind of social media following that gives us influencer status.
But marketing departments also see the value in micro-influencers — social media users that have smaller, intensely-dedicated followings. If you have a blog, Youtube channel or a certain number of social media followers, signing up with a company like Tomoson is one way to get free stuff from Amazon.
Tomoson’s business model is to connect brands with influencers — if you meet the right criteria you’ll be selected for a campaign. You don’t necessarily need to have a huge number of followers; brands care most about someone with an audience that fits the niche of their product.
These reviews or mentions will be posted on your social media so you don’t need to worry about violating Amazon’s terms by receiving a free item for review — though FTC laws require you to disclose your relationship with the brand you’re posting about.
4. Tread Carefully with Facebook Groups and Third Party Review Sites
When searching for Amazon freebies, Facebook groups and third party review sites are a popular recommendation. It’s true these groups can provide vouchers or gift cards for items you’ve purchased on Amazon — usually, in exchange for a positive review — but you need to be careful.
Many sellers on these Facebook groups and review sites aren’t reputable and are violating Amazon’s incentivized reviews policy or soliciting fake paid reviews. This is most risky for them but could result in your Amazon account being suspended. Additionally, most of the products on these sites and groups aren’t name brands and appear to be low-quality.
Free Stuff Anyone Can Get
There are ways to get free things without much effort. Here are some.
5. Free 30-Day Trial of Amazon Prime
If you’ve never had a subscription to Amazon Prime or it’s been a year since your last subscription expired, you are entitled to a free 30-Day trial of Amazon Prime. This membership gives you access to ad-free Amazon Music, Prime Video, Prime Reading and Amazon Photo, plus free shipping on items ordered through Amazon.
6. Amazon Music Free
Like most streaming services, Amazon Music Unlimited has a free three-month trial for new subscribers, giving you unlimited, on-demand, ad-free music and podcasts. Of course, you’ll need to remember to end the subscription before your three months are up or you’ll be charged for a month ($7.99). Signing up for a free 30–day trial of Prime also gives you unlimited access to the service’s deep library.
But did you know that you don’t even need to sign up for a trial to access free songs on Amazon? Head over to the Free Songs page on Amazon Music where you can listen to and download thousands of free tracks.
7. Free Kindle Books
There are a couple ways to get free Kindle books on Amazon. If you’re already a Prime Member, the First Reads program entitles you to one free Kindle book a month. Even if you don’t have Prime, you can use First Reads to pay just $1.99 for one book a month. Plus, you have access to thousands of free Kindle books in the company’s library.
8. Audible Audiobooks
If audio books are more your speed, Amazon offers a free 30-day Audible trial. This includes one credit for a free audiobook that you get to keep after the trial is over.
9. Free Cloud Storage
If you’re an Amazon customer, you can get access to free cloud storage. Every customer has access to 5GB of cloud storage for photos, videos and other files through Amazon Drive. These files can be accessed on your desktop, tablet and mobile phone.
10. Free Baby Box with Amazon Registry
If you’re expecting a new baby, sign up with Amazon Registry for a free gift with goodies for the newborn and parents, with a value of up to $35. The program also has a wedding registry which offers “bonus gifts” for the couple.
11. Get a Gift Card for Signing Up with Amazon Cash
Who doesn’t love free cash? As an incentive for new customers, if you add $50 in Amazon Cash to your account, you’ll get a $10 credit towards your first purchase.
Not Free Stuff, But Free Cash Back
Use your old electronics to get credit? As good as gold.
12. Get Gift Cards with Amazon Trade-In
Like everyone, you probably have a ton of old electronics laying around the house. Instead of sending them off to the e-waste collection, why not turn obsolete devices into Amazon credit? Amazon Trade-In is a program that gives customers the chance to exchange their unused electronics into gift cards. Thousands of items are eligible for the program and don’t necessarily need to be Amazon Devices.
Matt Matasci is a Southern California freelance writer who writes on technology and business, plus travel and lifestyle topics.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.