Why I started doing product reviews!

I’ve been buying from Amazon since Amazon.com only carried books!  I signed up for Prime in 2006, not long after it became available, and I’ve been a member since.  I buy most of my photographic gear and accessories from Amazon. I buy tons of toys, books (and e-books) and games. Sometimes I buy clothing or shoes and I often buy household supplies, beauty, drug and food items.  And craft supplies, galore.

I have often written views just for the heck of it.  I’d written about 40 over the years.  I always hoped to someday “monetize” my blog and start reviewing for free products, or at least for discounts.  Especially since I’m a craft supply and photo gear whore.  Seriously, I love this stuff and would love to do more detailed reviews, particularly of camera lenses and accessories, but I can’t afford to buy everything I’d like to get my hands on.  Recently, a friend introduced me to several websites for Amazon reviewers.  Finally I had a way to weed out the legit ones from the non-legit, so I got started.

After a month of joining several review programs, I’ve spent $129.81 out of pocket, accumulated $95 in ebook/music/video and prime pantry credits and I’ve received $1977.19 worth of merchandise.  I have not paid for anything I wouldn’t have purchased anyway.  For instance, I got a selfie-stick for my selfie-holic oldest daughter, but it was free with a $1 credit for a future purchase, so I got it anyway.  I’ve also stocked up on supplements we take regularly (L-Theanine, 5-HTP, Magnesium, L-Trypophan, L-Arginine, Co Q 10, Glucosamine, etc. etc. etc.) for pennies on the dollar compared to what we usually pay.

My most expensive purchase was $24.99 for a $50 package of ten bully sticks.  They are huge and I usually pay $26.xx for a package of 10 skinny bully sticks at Costco, so I decided to fork over the $25.  And they did not disappoint!  My dogs love them and they last twice as long as Costco’s.  Score.

Aside from this purchase, most of my purchases have been for $1 or less…often I will score free items or items that cost $.10 to $.50 or so.  I’ve picked up a couple $3-ish items that were things I really needed and was about to spend much more on (silicone baking mat, for instance).

For a while I was choosing “no rush” shipping in exchange for a $5 Prime Pantry credit.  Then I quit that because my items were taking a while and I wasn’t sure I’d use THAT many Pantry credits because most of the items are priced higher than I’d pay online versus going to Sam’s, Costco or Walmart.  Then Amazon brought back the $1 ebook, video and music credits and since that point, I’m choosing “no rush” for about 75% of my purchases.  We rent movies and buy music/ebooks a lot, so this is very helpful to our family budget.

When I first started this, I had my forty previously-written reviews and was ranked 1.3 million.   A month later I have 140 reviews and am ranked 81k (the lower, the better).  And I have made “Top Reviewer” status.  I try to write about a dozen reviews per day, and I make sure to review my normal purchases as well.  When reviewing items received at a discount or for free, you MUST include a disclosure, so I like my reviews to be a mix of “paid” reviews and organic reviews.

I’ve decided to put a little more into my reviews and begin doing photo or video reviews, and then also adding some of them to this blog.  I’m not going to post my three different L-Theanine reviews (I try various brands to compare sizes and side effects) but I will post reviews that aren’t repetitive.  😀

If you’re interested in getting started reviewing, check back because I’m putting together a simple guide and FAQ that will answer a lot of the questions I had when I was brand new!!

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