Would you give a free gift in exchange for a review?

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Would you give away a free gift in exchange for a review? Toguard, a seller of consumer electronics, is willing to do just that and includes a leaflet explaining their process.

On offer is a choice of a car phone holder, a dual USB cigarette lighter power adaptor or an emergency window breaker and seat belt cutter. All a buyer has to do is email in the gift that they’d like along with their Amazon order reference and a link to your product review.

Product reviews definitely make a difference, especially if they’re positive. Over the years I’ve heard of all kinds of innovative schemes to encourage buyers to leave reviews, but this is the first time I’ve come across a merchant willing to incentivise reviews with a free gift.

Of course the gifts themselves are fairly low value items and it would surprise me if the cost of mailing out the free product cost more than the item itself. It’s still free for the buyer however and leaving a review doesn’t seem too much work if you fancy one of the items on offer.

How important are reviews to you – obviously they’re worth more if you have your own branded product in a crowded market with a ton of competitors than if you’re selling a manufacturers product and any reviews would also assist competing merchants. In this instance the product purchased was a car dash cam of which there are about a zillion to choose from so it would appear that Toguard think the incentive is worth increasing their number of reviews to stand out from their competitors.

9 Responses

  1. I got almost the same card when I bought some Bluetooth headphones a few weeks ago, with the offer of a free Bluetooth dongle.

    It’s shady practice IMO and I gave the device a solid 3 and mentioned the incentive in my review as a warning to other potential buyers. The headphones were ‘OK’ but I bought them on the strength of all the 5 star reviews which are obviously false because of the seller bribing them.

    It’s wrong.

  2. The seller is asking you for a review not for a GOOD review. What we don’t know exactly is how much weight is having the “user review area” on Amazon’s search formula.

    It’s clear that a products with more user reviews will get more exposure and my guess is that the formula is not able to asses the general rating of the reviews.
    So as long as a product is “hot” and has many reviews it will show on the top of the search. Simples !

    I don’t believe that motivating users to leave a review (not forcing them to leave good reviews) is unfair or illegal. After all, I’m more biased to buy a product reviewed by 500 users instead of one single Vine User.

  3. Google are clear, you shouldn’t. I imagine after this article gets picked up by AMZN Toguard are going to have their collar felt by one of Bezos’s heavies.

    Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.

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