Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
My original post, where I revealed the truth behind ProductTesting.uk.com, has become one of the most read articles on my site and has garnered a huge amount of feedback. What’s certainly true is that the only people with something positive to say are those who’ve actually received a product to review. I always knew that they would actually be giving out products – what is clear is the methods use to confuse people into thinking they’re guaranteed to get one in exchange for signing up to a lot of spam email. Spam email, it should be noted, that is difficult to stop.
Lots of people are interested in the idea of receiving free products (who wouldn’t?) and as someone who has genuinely received free products in the past, without the need to sign up for anything, I thought I’d write a little more what this company is doing – what their business model is – and how you can therefore spot the genuine from the, well, dodgy.
First, let’s be clear, if you’re serious about wanting to test products for companies this is not the way to do it. Most companies do this kind of thing internally, or rather use marketing companies. These marketing companies will NOT expect you to sign up for anything – the most they’ll ever want is basic contact details. However, they will need to know more about you – such product testing is always targeted to ensure they right people are doing it. Make sure the company are legitimate, though, before giving over personal details. This kind of product testing will normally involve you visiting the companies involved, in groups, and discussing the products. You may not get to keep them, but will rather be paid for your time instead. In some cases you may not even be given the product and may simply be invited to visit offices where you will get to try it there. This is product TESTING – ensuring the product is correct before launch.
Product REVIEWS are a different beast entirely. Sometimes such reviews are written by marketing companies and they pay bloggers to publish them. In other cases they send their products to bloggers and websites who’ll write a review, but this could be negative as the marketing companies have less control over the result.
If you wish to get involved in reviews, the easiest (?) solution is to set yourself up as a blogger. Write about the subject matter, become popular and you’ll find that companies will be interested in sending you products. Even this, though, isn’t a way to get free things as often companies insist on you sending them back again after you’re reviewed them.
If you’re trying to get things for free then you may be disappointed.
Back to ProductTesting.uk.com. They reel you in with a promise to receive products, which you can keep, such as iPads. To sign up you have to go through pages and pages of offers that, by default, are ticked for you to receive. They also take email addresses and mobile numbers too, which you have to provide, and they will use them to send “offers” too you.
They make their money from this – for everyone they sign up they receive income. Then, every so often, they reward someone with a product. They are elated and want to say nice things – it’s odd that so many feel the need to spread it about Twitter and on here so vehemently ((when I later contacted the company I asked them about this – do they specifically ask “winners” to promote their own on my site, Twitter, etc. They responded to separate queries but didn’t to this)). Anyway, they write a review which is then published on the ProductTesting.uk.com blog and on their FB page. In one case I saw a review published elsewhere, but it turned out to be the reviewers own blog (and without the acknowledgement to ProductTesting for supplying it – seems they’re not so fanatical when on the privacy of their own websites).
And that’s the crux of this. A true product testing company would be after reviews for the companies responsible, who’d be supplying the products, and they’d be distributed to the appropriate people. And it’s when they advertise iPads and iPhones that the truth is revealed – Apple do not get involved in this kind of public testing and do not supply their products in this way. If Apple are not involved with this company, what’s the purpose? It’s simply to make money from YOU for signing up to the spammy offers.
I contacted ProductTesting.uk.com and asked them about the above and whether they’d like to correct anything that I may have potentially got wrong. Although they responded, it did not correct any of the above, so my assumption is that is correct.