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How do you become an Amazon Vine Reviewer?


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Showing 26-50 of 52 posts in this discussion
Posted on 21 Jul 2013 00:31:04 BDT
mister joe says:
To me it sounds like being an avon rep.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Aug 2013 01:23:17 BDT
Jason says:
LOL Julie, that's put me right off ! ;)
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Posted on 4 Oct 2014 21:04:28 BDT
I'm ranked about 600 in the UK for my reviews, but I admit they're usually bipolar. The reviews I post are rarely about the "meh!" Factor....the 3star "its ok, I guess" type reviews. If something really impresses me in quality or price I think it's only fair to the makers/sellers to thank them via good review. Similarly, if stuff is junk, overpriced, poor quality, or a plain ripoff, I see it as a vocation to make potential buyers aware of this before they shell out their increasingly more rare "spare cash".
Ive never been invited to join Vine, but I don't think I endear myself to either Amazon or their Vine members by clearly stating on my more in-depth reviews that Im NOT a vine member, ive spent my very own cash on all my products and as such have no bias or vested interest. Any Vine members reading this may be offended by my assertions, but, its human nature.... I defy anyone to say they are immune to influence by being given free products. It's impossible to review a product exactly the same way when it's been donated to you for free compared to an actual paying customer.
Let's use an example cited here by a few posters.... Computer software.
If I'd paid £35 of my own money for a security software suite, I'd be far less forgiving of conflicts, processor slow down, memory hogging, installation issues, annual renewals by direct debits I didn't opt in for but had to hunt down to opt out... If I'd been given the same software suite for free I'd be far more forgiving of minor niggles purely because, well, it was free?
Just to be clear, im in no way accusing Vine members of being "suck ups for freebies" , im actually analysing this on a subconscious and psychological basis. I just think a review from Joe Skint who spent £40 he couldn't easily afford on a product is more likely to elicit a purer "buyer" review, than someone who gets two free goodies every 30 days from a vast choice of varied items.
Just my 2 cents worth :)

Posted on 21 Oct 2014 19:50:31 BDT
P. White says:
I was one of the first Vine reviewers (invited) and eventually asked to be removed because it felt unethical.

Posted on 6 Dec 2014 12:00:02 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Dec 2014 12:03:00 GMT]

Posted on 6 Dec 2014 12:03:38 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Dec 2014 12:04:37 GMT]

Posted on 6 Dec 2014 12:04:42 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Dec 2014 12:05:29 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2016 19:54:05 GMT
Viliyan D. says:
How many reviews do you right a day, and how many reviews were you writing before yoou got invited. Because i really want to become a member as i am really interested in reviewing products and as i am still in school i have the time to review many products.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2016 19:55:01 GMT
Viliyan D. says:
How many reviews do you right a day, and how many reviews were you writing before yoou got invited. Because i really want to become a member as i am really interested in reviewing products and as i am still in school i have the time to review many products.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2016 20:25:21 GMT
Mr. G. Johns says:
I don't write very many at all, and am unable to quantify how many I write at all. I have no idea how many reviews I had written before Amazon requested my inclusion in the Amazon Vine Programme. However, you have to keep using Amazon, and reviewing everything you get from them. Also, a word of advice - in order to write good reviews, you should have an excellent understanding of the English language, both spelling and grammar are very important for you to be taken seriously.
I hope that this answer has helped you Dobrin.
With every good wish,
Glyn

Posted on 13 Jan 2016 10:59:43 GMT
My daughter is a reviewer in USA for Amazon, I was hoping to do the same here but no invite yet. I helped her while I was there to review products and give exacting information that real buyers want to know, maybe I will get lucky one day

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2016 09:19:21 GMT
tapestrycat says:
If you are still at school and have so much time on your hands, perhaps you should concentrate on improving your spelling and English grammar.

Posted on 18 Feb 2016 20:12:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Feb 2016 22:58:57 GMT
RIMS says:
I have to second Philip Noonan's sentiments. If I spend an age trying to choose between brands, agonising over whether I can justify the expense, and then spending my own money, which with VAT and income tax means I have to have earned twice that much, then I am likely to have a lot of emotional energy invested in the product being right. I am also temporarily in a strangely knowledgeable position regarding competing products.

I am likely to feel acutely the disappointment of a bad buy, or a less than perfect buy, and similarly feel that delighted sense of achievement at a good buy.

If you haven't invested monetarily or emotionally in buying a product, then even with the best intent how can you hope to represent the opinions of those who have?

It is a truism that something that has no cost has no value.

Whilst it could be argued that professional reviews (magazines etc) are in essence the same, they at least are acknowledged experts on the product range, and trained reviewers.

I have stumbled upon several products where all the leading reviews are Vine. I have found myself increasingly avoiding those products, not through malice or chagrin, but simply because I don't feel I can value the reviews sufficiently to make an informed decision. I have yet to see a scathing, or even critical, vine review of a product in which I have been interested, though no doubt they exist.

As one of the many on the Clapham Omnibus, I suspect my discomfort towards Vine recommended products is not unique

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2016 21:10:04 GMT
Just to add to your excellent post.... You mention professional reviews on tech websites or in print. Whilst many of these can be unduly influenced by potentially upsetting companies who pay for advertising in said editions, there is a layer of protection insofar as the reviewer already receives a wage to (hopefully) promote the review site/mag as being professionally unbiased.
None of this applies to the Vine program. It really just is a large list of individuals who are given free products and asked to "review" them.
A hypothetical scenario : Vine reviewer who loves Bose speakers but would never save £400 for a pair is given a set of Bose headphones to review worth £90 ... Result!!
But the problem for the reviewer is, they're not quite as incredible as he'd expected.
What are the Chances of Bose subsequently sending him a 4-5-6 hundred quid set of free speakers to review if he writes of his disappointment at the quality of the headphones?
Since I joined this discussion quite a while back I've now become even more selective in my purchases where there is more than one vine review....I now flatly refuse to buy a product that has been tainted by this process. I want reviews from people who have stumped up their own cash and been thrilled, unimpressed, or downright ticked off by their experience. This is the ONLY way potential buyers can get a rounded opinion on a product.
Nice to see an erudite , well written, and genuinely considered opinion piece for a change.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2016 22:35:05 GMT
Mr. G. Johns says:
It's quite simple for me - I will not review anything other than either items I've purchased myself via Amazon, or an item through the, sadly less now, Amazon Vine Programme. here is what I reply in any emails I receive:
I am very sorry, but I must decline your offer. I only review products I have personally wanted and purchased through Amazon or the Amazon Vine Program. I do not have the time to review other products, as I am a very busy retired copywriter.
Please do not ask me again, but I wish you well with your product(s).
With every good wish,
Glyn Johns
That will be sent by me, and if they try again, I will simply block their email address - simple!

Posted on 18 Feb 2016 23:20:55 GMT
RIMS says:
That is admirable, although it seems to hint at an additional, and possibly more suspect, source of free items for review. But sadly I cannot see how that addresses Mr Noonan's or my shared concerns?

....as we clatter through Clapham

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2016 11:09:19 GMT
Mr. G. Johns says:
They find my email from Amazon, so admirable or not, it is out of my hands, and all I can do is what I am doing...

Posted on 4 Mar 2016 21:27:09 GMT
I find all this a little disturbing as a consumer. I buy a lot of items from Amazon and the customer reviews are always very important to my decision making on whether I purchase or not. For example I want to buy a modem / Router. I want to know the honest opinons of people that have have used that modem/router as it would be expected to be used and I would like honest opinions about it performance.
Simulary, If I buy a shaggy rug, I would expect honest performance indicators of the said shaggy rug. (does it hoover well, does it stand up to wear and tear, is it really shaggy, can my catpuke be cleaned easy .. ect ect )

I purchase a lot of items on Amazon. Not all items do I review. I only review items that I think worthy and helpful to other people. I sincerely hope that the reviews I read when I consider my purchases are guenuine, critical and informative to the buyer .

Posted on 4 Mar 2016 23:02:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2016 22:57:10 GMT
RIMS says:
I'm afraid that's too optimistic a hope in my opinion. I similarly used to read reviews at face value. Now that I have become more discriminating (and setting aside the 'reviews for sale' scandal already being persued by Amazon, and the more obscure but possibly more prevalent sellers' friends/family/employees reviews), I have become increasingly aware of several other layers of pseudo fraud.

The first, and least obvious, is which reviews you actually get to see. Amazon prioritises reviews, so that those immediately visible are not necessarily the most recent or most representative.

The most obvious factor, though it doesn't seem to the sole determinant, is the helpfulness score.

That in turn is dependent upon other elements.

First the age of the review - the longer it has been up, the more helpful ticks it will have accumulated. But that does not mean it is representative of the item as currently sold. A review from 2013 may have nothing to do with the quality of the version now being sent out. This is particularly true of Chinese goods, but applies also to run of the mill goods, and consumables - tins of paints, waterproofer etc, where EU rules and formulations change over the years.

There is also a herd phenomenon - a review with several helpfulness scores is more likely to be perceived as helpful, and therefore in turn marked once more as helpful, increasing its score, and reinforcing its position at the top and perpetuating the problem.

A new review also is prioritised, and placed high, but it is never above 'helpful' reviews as far as I can tell. It is however unlikely to be visible for long. The old 'helpful' reviews are always prominent, and continue to be read and accumulate helpfulness. The new reviews, as yet unscored, appear truncated to the right of the screen, at least on my system. Because they are rarely noticed or read, they don't acquire 'helpfulness', and slide further down into obscurity as they age. In addition, once an earlier review has 5 or so helpful scores, it's unlikely that any more recent review will be visible for long enough to enable it to accrue enough helpful ticks to compete, so the earlier review's status and visibility effectively becomes permanent.

Secondly the helpfulness score is readily massaged. If a review is marked unhelpful, it slides lower down the list, generally out of view. Sellers mark a negative review as unhelpful, and presto, it disappears. Now that I go looking, I have seen several thoughtful reviews making valid points marked solely as unhelpful. Not just once, but with a helpfulness score of say 0 out of 3. That is guaranteed to send it to the bottom.

I pondered over this for a while, until I noticed, looking at a particular item, that a substantial proportion of the negative reviews all had the same score of 0 out of 3. Too coincidental for my taste. Closer analysis revealed that even those scored with a couple of helpfulness marks, still had in addition 3 unhelpful scores. Ie rated 2 out of 5.

So 'unhelpful' (critical) reviews can be made effectively to disappear, while the 'helpful' (positive) ones are made prominent.

Quite who those reviews are helpful to becomes a moot point!

As you can see therefore, getting some positive reviews in early, and getting them marked helpful, establishes the credentials of the product, to all intents and purposes permanently. Hence the importance to sellers of the vine and vine like schemes.

Another factor I have become aware of is the combining of several items under one listing. The practice used to be reserved for colour and size variations of the same item. Now it seems they can be wildly different items, and, strangely, different sellers, which I don't yet understand.

As an example, I had bought a pair of fretboard protectors, small shaped metal strips, to help repair my son's guitar. I went back to revisit the review following more experience with it. I found there were 12 items now listed under the same description. These varied from the item I had bought, to a full guitar neck, to a guitar amplifier, etc. All likely made in different factories, and comprising different technologies. Good or bad, a stamped metal strip is entirely unrelated to an electronic amplifier.

This has consequences. The overall star score is the average over the whole group of products, and is effectively meaningless when you are trying to decide on one particular item. Also, there is no way of distinguishing which of the items is under review, unless the author explicitly states it. So the reviews are rendered worthless; my review obviously has nothing to do with the amplifier someone else is considering.

And finally there is the issue of vine reviews, and not so vine reviews (where the reviewer, whether or not vine, is offered goods, outside the vine scheme, in exchange for a review). The merits or otherwise of those reviews have already been discussed.

I will however add another element to consider. These vine and non vine reviews are invariably detailed and long. That of itself seems to score 'helpfulness' marks, and so promote their visibility. Yet to my mind a detailed product specification doth not a review make, and is generally not much help at all. And given my earlier comments, the origin of at least some of those helpful scores might well be suspect.

A long and tedious post, and drifting tangentially off topic. I'm sorry. But as you will gather my goat has been got.

Posted on 6 Mar 2016 17:53:45 GMT
RIMS says:
(As a PS to beachlover - a corollary of all this is that if an item you have purchased already has reviews with helpful scores in double figures, you have to consider whether it is at all worth writing an in depth review. It is unlikely to be seen, as I have explained, and simply goes towards the aggregate star rating.

Unless of course you are aiming for vine status. In which case you have to contrive to make it eye-catching, and contrive also to acquire helpful votes.

Now I wonder how you might go about that.....)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2016 12:12:28 GMT
Mr. G. Johns says:
You have to await Amazon's request to become a Vine Reviewer...simple!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2016 20:23:24 GMT
JVC says:
It was a long post.
I read all of it.
You are absolutely right.
I agree with everything you said.

Posted on 16 Mar 2016 20:14:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Mar 2016 16:59:58 GMT
RIMS says:
Partly in contrition for my earlier wordy diversion off topic, and partly because, with some triumphalism, I find that my shared concerns regarding VINE reviews are echoed in more ponderous and scholarly quarters (Cornell no less!), I would point anyone who is still interested and reading this thread to this site, (though I cannot include the link)..... search for "What Shoppers Don't Realize About Amazon's Reviews", on GIGAOM.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2016 20:07:27 BDT
Jay Bee says:
A very interesting comment! Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2016 20:08:38 BDT
Jay Bee says:
"You are a man not a number" - as in the Prisoner? ! Loved that series.
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