by Xzon
46 replies
hello

i'm experiencing problems with my amazon affiliate site. on a forum for potential buyers one person just asked why they should click through my site and why not just go to amazon directly. forum doesn't seem to trust/like amazon that much and well my review website doesn't seem to be impressing my audience much either. also they forum doesn't seem to understand affiliate marketing, there asking why i'm not selling the item direct and are suspicious on my amazon redirects. do you think i should become a retailer and sell the products myself - the problem is the products costly to buy as retail for £100-£180

should i jump ship and start a new niche website. what advice can you guys give me.
#amazon #problems
  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    It sounds like your potential customers see no value in your site. Have you tried to think of what value you can provide them that would make them want to buy through you opposed to going direct?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Sounds to me like they don't trust Amazon affiliates, rather than not trusting Amazon itself. And they have a valid question, especially if your site is one of those cookie cutter sites built with a plugin that scrapes and apes Amazon's information without adding any value of its own.

    Looks like you have two choices - up your game and provide some kind of value people recognize, or find a new forum to promote on.
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    • Profile picture of the author Xzon
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Sounds to me like they don't trust Amazon affiliates, rather than not trusting Amazon itself. And they have a valid question, especially if your site is one of those cookie cutter sites built with a plugin that scrapes and apes Amazon's information without adding any value of its own.

      Looks like you have two choices - up your game and provide some kind of value people recognize, or find a new forum to promote on.


      no the website is hand coded by me. its simple in design with photos and words.
      i have two reviews and combined must be around 8K words.
      i don't think they've even read my reviews yet and have just jumped at the amazon part.
      there does seem some interest in the product i'm promoting but forum very confused by the redirecting links as apposed me selling direct. my site does state its a affiliate site and that the links link to amazon.

      in terms of value i've broken my reviews into apx 10 chapters covering topics like new features, do, don't get, what have to buy to complete order, customer experiences, info on using the product. i feel i've covered the main areas but i could go deeper in some places.

      i'm not really sure how to go about added more value. i can't read the buyers minds but it seems like they would just buy direct off shop yet many forums have dozens of people asking for info about the products i'm promoting.

      i would of thought my review site would be more liked, seen as a central hub containing info. i'm a little stuck what to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    my site doesn't use any of those amazon plugins and my content is hand written and pretty well researched the best i can - so i'd say its original.
    perhaps its my market?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Thanks for the extra info. Sounds like you have the bases covered.

    Sometimes you can't win for losing. Maybe someone burned them before you got there. Ben Franklin once said, "A cat that sits on a hot stove once will never do so again. Nor will she sit on a cold one."

    One thing you might try is adding an FAQ page (or chapter) answering specific queries (and linking to details within your reviews). Give abbreviated answers on the forum and link them to the FAQ page, preferably to a question like theirs. Might be worth a try.
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    • Profile picture of the author Xzon
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Thanks for the extra info. Sounds like you have the bases covered.

      Sometimes you can't win for losing. Maybe someone burned them before you got there. Ben Franklin once said, "A cat that sits on a hot stove once will never do so again. Nor will she sit on a cold one."

      One thing you might try is adding an FAQ page (or chapter) answering specific queries (and linking to details within your reviews). Give abbreviated answers on the forum and link them to the FAQ page, preferably to a question like theirs. Might be worth a try.
      thanks mate. i was going to get round to doing this. there certainly are a lot of repetitive questions being asked all the time. so i think a FAQ would be an excellent idea.

      i just also checked back to the forum. i think there is also general confusion about my site. they don't seem to be much bothered with content, jumping evil eyed straight at the amazon links/photo links with AZ logo. it seems they would want a review but expect me to sell and not to redirect to a 3rd party.

      i have stated its a review site and you can buy through my site at amazon.
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      • Profile picture of the author ANDREIS
        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        i just also checked back to the forum. i think there is also general confusion about my site. they don't seem to be much bothered with content, jumping evil eyed straight at the amazon links/photo links with AZ logo. it seems they would want a review but expect me to sell and not to redirect to a 3rd party.

        i have stated its a review site and you can buy through my site at amazon.
        Listen, the problem lies in the wrong traffic source for what you're doing and promoting. Many forums represent a specific type of crowd and most people there don't like anything that smells different than what they're accustomed to. You are promoting something that patrons of that forum don't like and so they're reacting in evil ways, they're looking for bad things, they don't trust you...No matter what reasons for you there may be for participating in that forum doing what you're doing - You are at the wrong place promoting what you're promoting. You are promoting to the wrong crowd using wrong promotion techniques. How do I know this? Because I have visitors from Google, Yahoo, social networks, other websites and I can tell you that almost none of the visitors coming to my site had ever contacted me or sent me any kind of message even remotely similar to what you're experiencing. You have to find the right traffic source for your website and your offers! The right traffic source + right offer= money...and no complaints!
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        • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
          Sorry Andreis,

          Originally Posted by ANDREIS View Post

          Because I have visitors from Google, Yahoo, social networks, other websites and I can tell you that almost none of the visitors coming to my site had ever contacted me or sent me any kind of message even remotely similar to what you're experiencing.
          ...but all of those traffic sources are very different from forum marketing.

          Based on the comments the OP has received on those forums, I think that his marketing methods on those sites is probably appropriate for those venues, but confusion/lack of trust occurs only after the reader lands on his site.
          Signature

          Sid Hale
          Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    thanks for all replies. I'll call work a night tonight and crack on tomorrow with the FAQ.

    feel free to add any more tips/advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    . . . are suspicious on my amazon redirects
    Trust is a very important part of Internet marketing. We talk about it all the time. People don't buy from those they don't trust or sites they don't trust.



    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    . . . forum very confused by the redirecting links
    Confusion is just as killing as lack of trust. Can you blame them? People don't buy when they are confused for any reason.



    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    . . . i think there is also general confusion about my site
    If you don't fix the suspicion and confusion surrounding your site, nothing else you do to modify it is going to matter.

    Put yourself in your prospect's shoes. Why would anyone buy through your link rather than go to Amazon directly if there is any chance buying through you is going to end up causing problems or folks feel they are going to lose their money?

    Steve
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    Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
    SteveBrowneDirect

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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    thanks steve for your comments.

    i've just posted on the forum trying to explain its a review site, if find content helpful its respectful to click a link that will direct them to amazon where they can buy.

    this must be one of the first affiliate sites this forum has experienced and i don't blame them if their suspicious. it's a little sad that the focus has jumped to amazon and not the content.

    Q. Why buy through my site
    my Answer is that people surly want to read up on the product before they go and spend their hard earned cash. the products cost 100, 180 and so not something people just buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    just had one person say i've failed at reviewing but just now one has just said it was a great informative review and doesn't know why people are making such a fuss.
    maybe the tide will turn back in my favor. (personally think its a good review and i will make it better)
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    New Update

    Amazon is a great simple and trusted store but
    what do i do if people say they can buy a product cheaper elsewhere?
    how do i get around someone saying 'returning items to Amazon is a hassle'

    i think there are only a couple of alternative stores have affiliate programs for my product

    please offer advice
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      New Update

      Amazon is a great simple and trusted store but
      what do i do if people say they can buy a product cheaper elsewhere?
      how do i get around someone saying 'returning items to Amazon is a hassle'

      i think there are only a couple of alternative stores have affiliate programs for my product

      please offer advice
      Then you just let them and thank them for visiting your site. The more I read this thread the more I tend to believe that the problem lies in your reviews themselves. Or the way you are posting in the forum.

      Maybe you could provide a sampling of some of your forum posts where you are promoting as well as one of your reviews

      al
      Signature
      The Flu? Not worthy of a mention here???
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    one person just asked why they should click through my site and why not just go to amazon directly.
    If only one person then you can quickly address it and move on. Do NOT allow yourself to be pulled into an argument about this topic due to ONE person.

    Simple answer: They don't have to buy through your link but it costs them nothing more and if they learned of the product THROUGH YOUR SITE/BLOG, that is how business works online.

    When I was brand new to buying online many years ago- I used to avoid affiliate links. It's embarrassing now to think of it - but I didn't TRUST it completely. I didn't realize the price and guarantees were exactly the same. It was an affiliate who answered my questions about on a now defunct forum that helped me understand the affiliate process.

    (bonus comment removed because al reminded me Amazon affiliates can't do that....sorry).
    Signature
    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    I'm going to work on being less condescending
    (Condescending means to talk down to people)
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


      If you offer bonuses through your affiliate links, good time to mention that. If you don't offer them...why not?
      Probably because it is against Amazon TOS

      al
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      The Flu? Not worthy of a mention here???
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    • Profile picture of the author Xzon
      thanks the repiles

      i'll try not to take one person comment too seriously. i'll just have thank people for visiting my site.

      i joined the forum and spoke with the administrators who said it was ok for me to post links and advertise my site. i've posted in the trade section of the forum where people go to buy stuff. i've not been pushy in anyway.

      update:
      i've just been rejected by affiliate window for not having enough content.
      i've got apx 30 pages, 8K words for two reviews.

      would adding a couple more reviews and some embedded youtube videos be enough to get me approval?
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      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        update:
        i've just been rejected by affiliate window for not having enough content.
        i've got apx 30 pages, 8K words for two reviews.

        would adding a couple more reviews and some embedded youtube videos be enough to get me approval?
        It might not be the amount of content, it might be the quality of the content

        al
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        The Flu? Not worthy of a mention here???
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        • Profile picture of the author Xzon
          Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

          It might not be the amount of content, it might be the quality of the content

          al
          i contacted them straight back and they acknowledged the 2 reviews but said they can't approve until theres more content.
          i'll try and improve the quality more (2nd review lot better than my first)

          question is how much more do i need? any tips/advice
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      • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
        Hi Xzon,

        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        i'm experiencing problems with my amazon affiliate site. on a forum for potential buyers one person just asked why they should click through my site and why not just go to amazon directly.
        errrrrrrrr... because Amazon doesn't provide the in-depth product reviews that you offer?


        forum doesn't seem to trust/like amazon that much and well my review website doesn't seem to be impressing my audience much either. also they forum doesn't seem to understand affiliate marketing, there asking why i'm not selling the item direct and are suspicious on my amazon redirects.

        Explain that your site isn't meant to "sell" the products, but to simply provide information to help others make a more informed decision. They really don't need to understand anything about affiliate marketing... just that your links take them to the Amazon product page, where they can purchase directly from Amazon.

        You mention that they are suspicious of your Amazon redirects. Is it possible that you are using some link tracking service in an effort to collect more information about the source of your traffic? If so, it may be the generated URL for the tracking service that is causing consternation. Perhaps you should entrust the tracking of your affiliate links to Amazon in order to avoid odd looking URLs and multiple redirects for the prospect.


        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        i don't think they've even read my reviews yet and have just jumped at the amazon part.

        Could it be the placement of your Amazon "buy buttons"? Is it possible that you are trying too hard to sell rather than simply providing quality information in order to pre-sell?

        You want the reader to be able to find your "buy" button easily, but your primary focus on a review site should be to give information that the reader may not be able to find elsewhere so that they feel they are making a more informed decision to buy.


        there does seem some interest in the product i'm promoting but forum very confused by the redirecting links as apposed me selling direct. my site does state its a affiliate site and that the links link to amazon.

        Again, perhaps you should be using your affiliate link directly, rather than using a service to collect traffic stats. Those stats may be of less significance than the lost revenues that might result from redirecting links.


        Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

        The more I read this thread the more I tend to believe that the problem lies in your reviews themselves. Or the way you are posting in the forum.

        I think I agree with Al, here. Make sure the reviews are focused on information delivery. The buy button should be seen simply as a convenience to get them to the specific Amazon page for the product being reviewed.

        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        i'll just have thank people for visiting my site.

        "Thanking" is probably not the best response. Instead, respond to members of the forum based on the nature of their comment.

        If someone comments that they found your review helpful, tell them that you are glad you were able to provide something to help them in their evaluation of the product.

        If someone comments negatively, ask that they explain what information they were trying to find, and tell them that you will do your best to gather that information to update your review.

        That type of response will build more trust and probably result in a reduction in the number of "negative" comments about URL redirection and/or Amazon.
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        Sid Hale
        Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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        • Profile picture of the author kilgore
          Lots of great stuff in Sid's reply. But me being me I do want to nitpick a little on one of his smaller points to make a larger one.

          Originally Posted by Sid Hale View Post

          errrrrrrrr... because Amazon doesn't provide the in-depth product reviews that you offer?
          Except that so often Amazon does offer in-depth reviews -- reviews that are frequently better than the ones found on so-called review sites.

          For instance, look at the first couple reviews of this product:
          https://www.amazon.com/BLACK-DECKER-...dp/B00FN3MV88/

          They have well-written write ups, they read objectively (instead of sounding like they are trying to push you to buy), they use real photos and video to help illustrate key points -- and most importantly: it's apparent that the reviewers have actually used the product.

          Now look at a review like this one:
          Breville BOV800XL Smart Toaster Oven Review

          It reads like a sales pitch; the pictures are all official marketing photos; and in short, there's almost nothing you'll read there that you won't be able to read on Amazon's own page.


          Don't get me wrong. I like the Amazon Associates program. It's the so-called Amazon Review sites I don't like. And my main problem with them is that they're a solution looking for a problem. Given the amount of quality reviews on Amazon, as the OP's user says, why not just go to Amazon?

          Moreover, even if you do manage to skim off a few customers, few of them ever provide any incentive to return to your site. For instance, once you have a toaster oven -- or once you know which toaster oven to buy -- you have no reason to return to ToasterOvenReviews.com.

          I'm not saying that the OP's site is as bad as the one I've pointed to -- though actually in the continuum of review sites, ToasterOvenReviews.com is actually pretty good. And it still offers next to no value for customers.

          To me it seems that if users aren't finding value in the OP's site, maybe the problem isn't the quality of the reviews. Maybe it's that they aren't looking for even more reviews in the first place.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

            To me it seems that if users aren't finding value in the OP's site, maybe the problem isn't the quality of the reviews. Maybe it's that they aren't looking for even more reviews in the first place.
            This could also be a solution to the "not enough content" issue. Instead of providing more reviews, providing additional content could help. Might also help with trust issues.

            Using the toaster oven example, I know for a fact that you can't use recipes intended for standard ovens in toaster/convection ovens unchanged. An online guide on how to convert standard oven recipes for use in toaster ovens, with examples, is good, related, non-salesy content. Easy to link to specific features of various toaster ovens (either onsite or using affiliate links).
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    has anyone else had problems joining affiliate window?
    will i lack creadit by sharing others videos on my channel or webpage?

    sadly i don't own the product im promoting but i have done some good research on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author kilgore
    Great example John. The sort of content you're talking about is definitely not the kind of information that you'd already find on Amazon. And I can definitely see it being useful, which naturally is the most important thing.

    The toaster site would still have the problem that once you bought a toaster oven, you'd probably never need to buy anything from them again. (How many toaster ovens do you need after all?) That too could be solved by adding related products. Perhaps toaster oven-related accessories or cookbooks. But now you're no longer in the realm of the standard Amazon Review Site. You've built..... something useful. (Imagine that!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    big thank you to sid, kilgore and everyone who's taken the time to read and reply. some excellent tips/feedback offered. i've got over 4 A4 pages of info/to do list to get through to improve my site.

    errrrrrrrr... because Amazon doesn't provide the in-depth product reviews that you offer?


    This is a good point i can make. I've researched the four corners of the internet to gather info and tried to display it on one hub website.

    i think i do have too many AZ links on my site, i'll reduce the links and spread them out more across the 10 page reviews. (i was concerned someone may just have enough of reading and just buy before reaching the end of the review so i made sure at least one link per page)

    no tracking or data collecting on my links. all standard AZ links.

    its true amazon does offer good reviews.
    my review was criticized by one person as not being objective enough. my review is very positive and has little negative points but this is all i have to work with. i'm also limited on the product photos, most of my photos are standard marketing ones.
    don't get me wrong my review is honest and fairly well researched and original.

    but after looking at the two review examples given i can clearly see how one review clearly reads like someone who has the product and the other clearly reads like a sales review which i'm afraid my review falls into: story telling, good info, sales pitching, its missing the actually experience of using the product.

    Using the toaster oven example, I know for a fact that you can't use recipes intended for standard ovens in toaster/convection ovens unchanged. An online guide on how to convert standard oven recipes for use in toaster ovens, with examples, is good, related, non-salesy content.

    i can certainly do something similar to this and i can hopeful get people back to buy some of the product accessories.

    i'm forum marketing and SEO by the way. its luck that i've found a forum where i'm not only allowed to talk but post links to my website in a buying section.

    This may seem a little silly question but as the 12th of july is coming up and amazon will be selling products at a discount. Should i consider buying both my products so that i can write a better reviews.

    thanks for all your help guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    my idea of course was to write good reviews with as much info as i could get without having to spend 300 bucks on buying the products. Use my reviews to raise some capital so that i can buy the products later and write even better reviews.

    whats your opinion of this approach. have i just got to take the plunge and buy the products.
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  • Profile picture of the author samuelbreezey
    It sounds like your audience see your website as very deceiving.

    The only way I see Amazon Affiliate sites working is if your website is kind of like a Review website. As the user knows exactly what they are on your site for, reviewing a product to see if they want to buy and you will then send them to the BUY place (being Amazon).

    Where as on contrast if you have a shop site the visitor could be on your site trying to find deals that are cheaper than places such as Amazon and then they find you directing them to Amazon!! (ANGRY CUSTOMER!)

    Hope this makes sense
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    • Profile picture of the author Xzon
      Originally Posted by samuelbreezey View Post

      It sounds like your audience see your website as very deceiving.

      The only way I see Amazon Affiliate sites working is if your website is kind of like a Review website. As the user knows exactly what they are on your site for, reviewing a product to see if they want to buy and you will then send them to the BUY place (being Amazon).

      Where as on contrast if you have a shop site the visitor could be on your site trying to find deals that are cheaper than places such as Amazon and then they find you directing them to Amazon!! (ANGRY CUSTOMER!)

      Hope this makes sense
      thanks for your reply. I've got an idea of how i'm going to rewrite my review now. Shorter, more facts and to the point.

      Whats your opinion on needing to buy the actually product your reviewing?
      is it absolutely necessary for beginner to need to do buy or can i get away with a well researched review?
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      • Profile picture of the author samuelbreezey
        Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

        thanks for your reply. I've got an idea of how i'm going to rewrite my review now. Shorter, more facts and to the point.

        Whats your opinion on needing to buy the actually product your reviewing?
        is it absolutely necessary for beginner to need to do buy or can i get away with a well researched review?
        Well in buying the product you will obviously believe in what your writing which will then prevail to your readers. However if you are really good at copyrighting then how does the visitor to your site know if you have or have not bought the product!?
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        • Profile picture of the author Xzon
          Originally Posted by samuelbreezey View Post

          Well in buying the product you will obviously believe in what your writing which will then prevail to your readers. However if you are really good at copyrighting then how does the visitor to your site know if you have or have not bought the product!?

          thanks for your reply.



          i contacted the company and you'll never believe it but they said they would be happy to send me a one off product for me to review. This is fantastic. I would never have contacted the company asking for a free product if wasn't for the tips and advice given on this forum post.

          So big thank you to all who have contributed.
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          • Profile picture of the author samuelbreezey
            Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

            thanks for your reply.



            i contacted the company and you'll never believe it but they said they would be happy to send me a one off product for me to review. This is fantastic. I would never have contacted the company asking for a free product if wasn't for the tips and advice given on this forum post.

            So big thank you to all who have contributed.
            That's great news...

            What did you say to them? I may have to try this technique
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            • Profile picture of the author Xzon
              Originally Posted by samuelbreezey View Post

              That's great news...

              What did you say to them? I may have to try this technique
              hello
              sorry for the 10 year delay in replying

              i uploaded a new website with a review and posted it on twitter with #company
              they must have spotted it and i got a direct message saying they liked my review and asked if i was going to review another of their products which i did. they liked that review too.

              basically a few back/forth emails. they answer every time and are very easy/polite company to get on with.

              i then contacted them explaining that i had spoken to professional markets (you guys) that it is common that companies send out product to be review and wondered if it was possible i could have a product to review.

              they said they would check with their director and he agreed as he liked what i said in my reviews. they'd give me a one off deal providing i send them some photos of us using the product.

              so basically...
              - be honest and polite
              - say nice things and write a good review
              - balls to ask for a product (worse they can say is no and its dead easy to ask online then in person)

              sorry, there's not much of secret method i used. i just took a chance and it paid off.
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              • Profile picture of the author kilgore
                Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

                sorry, there's not much of secret method i used. i just took a chance and it paid off.
                That is exactly what successful entrepreneurs do, over and over again. They take a chance. And it pays off. As you say, there's no secret.

                Moreover, I have no doubt it worked out for you because you were doing quality work.

                Congrats!
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
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    • Profile picture of the author kilgore
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      This may seem a little silly question but as the 12th of july is coming up and amazon will be selling products at a discount. Should i consider buying both my products so that i can write a better reviews.
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      my idea of course was to write good reviews with as much info as i could get without having to spend 300 bucks on buying the products. Use my reviews to raise some capital so that i can buy the products later and write even better reviews.

      whats your opinion of this approach. have i just got to take the plunge and buy the products.
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      Whats your opinion on needing to buy the actually product your reviewing?
      is it absolutely necessary for beginner to need to do buy or can i get away with a well researched review?
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      you guys were once beginners. did you all start off owning the product you reviewed or did you just research a product and write about it
      I'm not sure why our opinion is so necessary before you decide whether or not to shell out £180 or so. We don't know your site; we don't know your plans; we don't know your skills; we don't know what products you're talking about. And in the grand scheme of things it's not a huge amount of money anyway.

      So should you fork out the dough and buy the products? You tell us!
      1. Are your reviews an important part of your business model?
      2. Do you need access to these products in order to create great reviews?
      3. Are you unable to get a review copy?

      From what you said, it sounds like reviews are pretty central to what your business is about. It sounds like your reviews have suffered because you haven't actually used the products you're reviewing. And it sounds like you might have a hard time getting a review copy.

      But that may not be the case for everyone.

      For example, in our case we almost never buy the products we promote -- except when we're buying gifts for friends and family. But we are not a "Review Site". Thus, original reviews are not a key part of our business model (though we do embed Amazon's own reviews on our page using their API). Also, a lot of the products we end up promoting are pretty easy to evaluate -- at least to the level we need to (remember we're not providing detailed, original reviews) -- without actually owning. But when we do need a copy of whatever it is we want, we're generally able to procure review copies from the manufacturer with an email. Then again, most of our products are relatively inexpensive, and we're a well-known and trusted site in our niche.

      So really you have to make the call. If your site really is a "review site", then it would seem to me that your whole reason for being rests on you writing better reviews than anyone else -- better than other affiliate sites, better than articles your customers might read, and better than the reviews you'd find on Amazon or other e-commerce sites. You don't have to have the best reviews for everyone -- but there needs to be at least subset of the population that finds what you're doing more useful than what everyone else has got. Can you do that without a copy of the product? I probably couldn't, but I'm not a reviewer anyway. Maybe you can.

      One thing I didn't include in the three questions I asked above was whether you'll make your money back again. Here's why:
      1. If your site is new, you should be thinking about long-term growth, not whether a specific activity is going to be profitable in the short-term.
      2. All business involves some measure of risk. I'm not saying you should just throw money away willy nilly, but if you think it's an essential expense (and I'm not saying it is!), £180 shouldn't be what's holding you back. The truth is that most businesses fail -- so it's not at all unlikely that you're going to lose your investment. But if you can't make your business work without that investment yet you're still not willing to take the risk, you're just wasting your time with this site anyway.
      3. It may be worth the risk of losing £180 now just to know whether it'll likely be worth it to purchase items in the future. Again, think long term.
      4. If you don't think your site is going to make £180, what are you even bothering for?

      One last thing. You may -- may -- decide that getting a copy of the products you're reviewing is necessary to your business. But that it is necessary does not mean it will be sufficient. You'll still have to run the products through whatever tests you feel are important to evaluating it. And you'll still have to write about it, photograph it, take video or do whatever else you feel are important to creating your review. And you'll still have to lay it out in a user-friendly manner for your users. And you'll still have to do all of that in a way that balances usefulness and conversions. And of course, you'll still need to drive traffic to your site in the first place. And you're making an assumption that there is actually a demand for more or better product reviews for the types of products you're reviewing and this may just not be the case. So don't look at buying the products as some sort of magical solution to make all your site's problems go away. There may be other problems you need to address, that having these products won't do a thing for.

      As I said in a previous post, I really don't like Amazon Review Sites. If I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking more about how to change my business model than how I should change my reviews -- but that's likely my own biases talking. And since you seem keen on the idea, allow me to send you to sites that I think do a good job on reviews. Perhaps these might provide inspiration.
      1. Ifixit.com. This site isn't a typical review site. It's more focused on the innards of your electronics, for those who might want to repair their devices or who are just geeky enough to want to know. For example this review (article?) https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPho...Teardown/48170 shows how to disassemble the iPhone 6s in 25 steps. What's particularly interesting to me about this review is how different it is from other iPhone reviews. No mention of call quality. No example photos taken from the webcam. Not because these aren't important to a lot of people -- but because these aren't important to their users. In other words, they found a unique angle that worked for their particular set of users rather than just trying to do what everybody else is doing.

      2. KenRockwell.com. His site seems to have changed of late, but it used to be a pretty typical review site -- albeit one of the rare few that was actually useful. What I like about it (and I've used it when buying camera equipment for itself) is how unbaised it feels. Rockwell provides all the usual detail about specs, picture quality, etc. But he also tells you straight out whether it's worth the expense, whether there's another product that might do as good -- or almost as good -- a job, but for cheaper. For example, in this review Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor, he states, "In case you are new to photography, let me emphasize that this $90 lens is as sharp and over twice as sensitive to dim light as the $1,800 24-70mm AF-S lens. The reason to spend sixteen times as much is for no other reason than to get a lens that can zoom instead of you having to move forward and back to compose your image." Good information, no? And it doesn't feel like he's just trying to sell you the most expensive thing so he can make the biggest buck. Also note that he takes a lot of sample pictures with the products he's reviewing. Obviously he couldn't do that without the products themselves. (And as I side note, I'd look at how he approaches his affiliate disclosure.)

      Anyway, there's some food for thought for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author Xzon
        Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

        I'm not sure why our opinion is so necessary before you decide whether or not to shell out £180 or so. We don't know your site; we don't know your plans; we don't know your skills; we don't know what products you're talking about. And in the grand scheme of things it's not a huge amount of money anyway.

        So should you fork out the dough and buy the products? You tell us!
        1. Are your reviews an important part of your business model?
        2. Do you need access to these products in order to create great reviews?
        3. Are you unable to get a review copy?

        From what you said, it sounds like reviews are pretty central to what your business is about. It sounds like your reviews have suffered because you haven't actually used the products you're reviewing. And it sounds like you might have a hard time getting a review copy.

        But that may not be the case for everyone.

        For example, in our case we almost never buy the products we promote -- except when we're buying gifts for friends and family. But we are not a "Review Site". Thus, original reviews are not a key part of our business model (though we do embed Amazon's own reviews on our page using their API). Also, a lot of the products we end up promoting are pretty easy to evaluate -- at least to the level we need to (remember we're not providing detailed, original reviews) -- without actually owning. But when we do need a copy of whatever it is we want, we're generally able to procure review copies from the manufacturer with an email. Then again, most of our products are relatively inexpensive, and we're a well-known and trusted site in our niche.

        So really you have to make the call. If your site really is a "review site", then it would seem to me that your whole reason for being rests on you writing better reviews than anyone else -- better than other affiliate sites, better than articles your customers might read, and better than the reviews you'd find on Amazon or other e-commerce sites. You don't have to have the best reviews for everyone -- but there needs to be at least subset of the population that finds what you're doing more useful than what everyone else has got. Can you do that without a copy of the product? I probably couldn't, but I'm not a reviewer anyway. Maybe you can.

        One thing I didn't include in the three questions I asked above was whether you'll make your money back again. Here's why:
        1. If your site is new, you should be thinking about long-term growth, not whether a specific activity is going to be profitable in the short-term.
        2. All business involves some measure of risk. I'm not saying you should just throw money away willy nilly, but if you think it's an essential expense (and I'm not saying it is!), £180 shouldn't be what's holding you back. The truth is that most businesses fail -- so it's not at all unlikely that you're going to lose your investment. But if you can't make your business work without that investment yet you're still not willing to take the risk, you're just wasting your time with this site anyway.
        3. It may be worth the risk of losing £180 now just to know whether it'll likely be worth it to purchase items in the future. Again, think long term.
        4. If you don't think your site is going to make £180, what are you even bothering for?

        One last thing. You may -- may -- decide that getting a copy of the products you're reviewing is necessary to your business. But that it is necessary does not mean it will be sufficient. You'll still have to run the products through whatever tests you feel are important to evaluating it. And you'll still have to write about it, photograph it, take video or do whatever else you feel are important to creating your review. And you'll still have to lay it out in a user-friendly manner for your users. And you'll still have to do all of that in a way that balances usefulness and conversions. And of course, you'll still need to drive traffic to your site in the first place. And you're making an assumption that there is actually a demand for more or better product reviews for the types of products you're reviewing and this may just not be the case. So don't look at buying the products as some sort of magical solution to make all your site's problems go away. There may be other problems you need to address, that having these products won't do a thing for.

        As I said in a previous post, I really don't like Amazon Review Sites. If I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking more about how to change my business model than how I should change my reviews -- but that's likely my own biases talking. And since you seem keen on the idea, allow me to send you to sites that I think do a good job on reviews. Perhaps these might provide inspiration.
        1. Ifixit.com. This site isn't a typical review site. It's more focused on the innards of your electronics, for those who might want to repair their devices or who are just geeky enough to want to know. For example this review (article?) https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPho...Teardown/48170 shows how to disassemble the iPhone 6s in 25 steps. What's particularly interesting to me about this review is how different it is from other iPhone reviews. No mention of call quality. No example photos taken from the webcam. Not because these aren't important to a lot of people -- but because these aren't important to their users. In other words, they found a unique angle that worked for their particular set of users rather than just trying to do what everybody else is doing.
        2. KenRockwell.com. His site seems to have changed of late, but it used to be a pretty typical review site -- albeit one of the rare few that was actually useful. What I like about it (and I've used it when buying camera equipment for itself) is how unbaised it feels. Rockwell provides all the usual detail about specs, picture quality, etc. But he also tells you straight out whether it's worth the expense, whether there's another product that might do as good -- or almost as good -- a job, but for cheaper. For example, in this review Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor, he states, "In case you are new to photography, let me emphasize that this $90 lens is as sharp and over twice as sensitive to dim light as the $1,800 24-70mm AF-S lens. The reason to spend sixteen times as much is for no other reason than to get a lens that can zoom instead of you having to move forward and back to compose your image." Good information, no? And it doesn't feel like he's just trying to sell you the most expensive thing so he can make the biggest buck. Also note that he takes a lot of sample pictures with the products he's reviewing. Obviously he couldn't do that without the products themselves. (And as I side note, I'd look at how he approaches his affiliate disclosure.)

        Anyway, there's some food for thought for you.

        food for thought! my gut exploded Excellent advice given. Thank you.

        1. i think i could write better reviews with the product but first i'll greatly improve my current review.
        2. will companies really hand you a product so you can review it. i assume you would need a good track record first.
        3. i think i am suffering because i don't own the actual product. it really depends if i can get away with it and still pull off a great review.

        4. i thought Review site was the only way to go with amazon. i'm not aware of any other amazon site. if i knew these site name/types i could research them and lean. From what i've learnt is that you need: find a good product, around £100, photos and write a min of 1K words. This is basically how i modeled my review site.

        5. to be honest i think i could get away with reviewing without owning. naturally it would be better to own the product. but i've already set out a good basics for my review. it just needs more detail/photos to back up what i say.

        6. fear of loosing my money is certainly on my mind. you hear success stories but it doesn't mean it'll happen to me. my gut instinct says i should buy as it'll allow me to take own photos, original videos and just handling the product will give a real feel for it which i'm sure will translate to my reviews.

        7. you mention business models. are there any examples for me to look at online. like i said above i'm only aware of the one type of amazon review site approach.

        - i'll look at those websites now. thanks for sharing them.

        what i'll do is:
        - re-write my reviews with better photo/info, get straight to the point
        - see if i get better feedback
        - improve the traffic (no traffic, no point buying the product)
        - consider buying the product so i can greatly improve my review credibility

        thanks for all the help. really do appreciate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author phpnetpro
    I have found that a large majority of Amazon affiliate sites out there have fairly low quality content. Many of these sites are simply automated store / review sites and they're not well received by website visitors or even Google.

    Personally, I like to focus on Amazon products that I personally use or have first-hand knowledge about. Tutorials on how to build projects, for example, make excellent content to refer affiliate sales. I'll often just take a project I do around the house, take pictures, write a detailed step-by-step guide for it and include affiliate links for relevant products that are best to buy online.

    This type of approach is not only quality content for your site visitors, but it is excellent for SEO to get targeted search traffic with ease.
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    • Profile picture of the author Xzon
      Originally Posted by phpnetpro View Post

      I have found that a large majority of Amazon affiliate sites out there have fairly low quality content. Many of these sites are simply automated store / review sites and they're not well received by website visitors or even Google.

      Personally, I like to focus on Amazon products that I personally use or have first-hand knowledge about. Tutorials on how to build projects, for example, make excellent content to refer affiliate sales. I'll often just take a project I do around the house, take pictures, write a detailed step-by-step guide for it and include affiliate links for relevant products that are best to buy online.

      This type of approach is not only quality content for your site visitors, but it is excellent for SEO to get targeted search traffic with ease.
      just seen your reply. sounds like a really simple and very useful approach your using. thanks for sharing. what you've said really does help. helps me understand more of how i should consider writing my reviews.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    heres a question for you

    webcode related problem.

    when search my site in bing and click my site from the bing results part of my fixed header disappears and i have one link which is purple in the already clicked state.

    this doesn't happen in google.
    it only happens on my second review pages but
    if i search my first review and navigate to to my 2nd review it doesn't happen.

    i don't understand this error its odd.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    thanks for your reply. I've got an idea of how i'm going to rewrite my review now. Shorter, more facts and to the point.
    Before you blast off to rewrite your reviews, take a moment to consider the entire flow of someone going through your process. From what you've posted, I'm getting this:

    Forum post --> link post (for sale section) --> review on your site --/-> Amazon to buy

    The "--/->" indicates a disconnect, where people following your carefully laid trail are veering off course.

    When you set up this kind of trail, each step has to lead naturally and easily to the next, something many marketers forget about. While the review itself might be the problem, it could also be in the expectations set along the way.

    Look at each step along the way from the viewpoint of someone who doesn't know what's coming next (if you can) and look to see if there's a disconnect between steps. Fix that disconnect.

    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    Whats your opinion on needing to buy the actually product your reviewing?
    is it absolutely necessary for beginner to need to do buy or can i get away with a well researched review?
    I'm assuming that you're talking about a physical product here.

    While direct experience is obviously best, it isn't always possible. Sometimes you can "borrow" experience by watching videos of other people unboxing, assembling and using the product. If you go this route, try to locate several, and take notes about where the video maker flubs up, where they might have trouble getting something just right, and where they have to pause shooting the video.

    If the product is something commonly available, I also like to read non-Amazon reviews. Go to sites like Best Buy, Walmart, etc. and read what the people there have to say.

    Search for recall notices, lawsuits, etc. (not all products will have them).

    The tl;dr version is use research sources other reviewers don't if you have to do your review without personal experience of the product.
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    • Profile picture of the author kilgore
      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      2. will companies really hand you a product so you can review it. i assume you would need a good track record first.
      If they feel like it's in their interest to have you better informed about the products they make, they certainly will. But as you say, getting them to see that it's in their interest is going to depend on your track record. It also depends on the product. For instance, it's going to be much easier to get Harper Collins to send you a $20 book than have Tesla give you an $80,000 car -- though they might be willing to let you test drive it.

      Honestly, it's probably not something you'll be able to do right now. But if your site is successful enough it may be an option in the future.

      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      4. i thought Review site was the only way to go with amazon. i'm not aware of any other amazon site. if i knew these site name/types i could research them and lean.

      I find myself saying this over and over again here: The Amazon Associates program is just a monetization method. It is not a business model.

      And there are many, many, many ways to use the Amazon Associates program to build a viable business.

      For instance you could:

      Moreover, there's nothing to stop you from combining these models -- or inventing completely new ones. Creativity guided by your understanding about what your customers really want is the key here. Because if you're the new kid on the block and your site doesn't offer any compelling reason for people to visit you over the sites that they already know and trust, they simply won't visit you.

      All that said, I'm not saying that you should or shouldn't drop your current review site model. I already explained why I don't like review sites in an earlier post, but if you think that a review site is what your customers want and if you think you're the right person to do it, go for it. But I do think if you've implemented a business model for the sole reason that you're under the impression that it's the "only way to go", it's probably worth thinking about and at least tweaking in whatever ways most make sense to your situation. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all business model that works for all niches, all businesses and all entrepreneurs. Even if you're doing something that a million people have done before, to be successful you've got to make it you're own.

      Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

      6. fear of loosing my money is certainly on my mind. you hear success stories but it doesn't mean it'll happen to me. my gut instinct says i should buy as it'll allow me to take own photos, original videos and just handling the product will give a real feel for it which i'm sure will translate to my reviews.
      Here's the thing: most entrepreneurs fail. Look at Silicon Valley. You have teams there made up of really, really smart and talented people who are backed by millions of dollars in VC money -- and even then as many as 90% of startups fail. (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...e-success-myth).

      So if you're starting a business because you're looking for a low-risk way to make money, I think you might want to re-evaluate.

      Real entrepreneurs know the risks, understand the risks and jump in anyway. They're convinced -- rightly or wrongly -- that they've got something different and that they're going to beat the odds.

      I'm not saying you should be foolhardy. And I'm not saying you should waste your money. If you don't need the products, I'm sure you can think of plenty of other good uses for that money whether it's paid traffic, hiring a graphic designer, or buying lots of coffee to keep you alert while you're burning the midnight oil.

      At the same time, I think that if your attitude is that you're afraid to invest because you might fail, you're pretty much setting yourself up for the failure you fear. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      I'll also add that even successful entrepreneurs fail constantly. In fact, if you're not failing, you're not experimenting enough. For instance, if I were on the fence about whether buying a product would be helpful or not, I'd probably shell out for one of the cheaper products on my site, use it, test it, write about it and see how helpful it was to have it. Maybe I'd discover I didn't need it after all. Great lesson learned. Maybe I discovered it was essential. Also good to know. Maybe I discovered it was essential, but that given that my site has over 5,000 products on it, I really can't afford to buy everything. Also good to know: I either have to change my business model so that I don't have so many products to buy -- or I need to change my business model so that in depth reviews of the products isn't so important. But no matter what happens, I've learned a lot for that $100 or so.

      Lastly, I want to leave you with a note of encouragement. Most entrepreneurs do fail. And while the odds are against you, you should take some solace in knowing that you're on the right track. I'm not necessarily talking about the plan you've outlined above. That may work. It may flop. You won't know by posting it on a forum; the only way to find out is to implement it and see how your customers respond.

      But that said, I like your questions. They're good questions. You're thinking about the right things. And you're out there hustling for customers instead of just waiting for them to come to you. I personally don't do forum marketing, but if that's where your customers are, go get them! And I also really like that you're engaging with your potential audience, talking to them and listening to them. Feedback is crucial -- even if you don't always know what to do with it. So yeah, it can be discouraging to hear that someone doesn't know why they should buy from you instead of going direct to Amazon or that they don't trust your affiliate links. But now you at least are aware of some of the problems you need to solve. You can think about how to add more value. You can think about how to build trust.

      Too many people put up a crappy website, wait for Google to send them hordes of traffic and don't try to (or don't know how to) get feedback from their target customers. Though it may not feel like it, you've already made progress on all these fronts. And while all that is still no guarantee of success, it certainly helps the odds. So good job!

      P.S. I have nothing to add, but John makes some great points above!
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    hello
    i'll try and make my review flow better.
    don't worry i havn't re-written anything yet. still obsurbing all this golden info thrown at me.

    yes my products are physical.
    i'd love to unbox my own product i'm reviewing but it's just the cost.

    i think its more practical that i do good research and do my best to write a killer review with what i have.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xzon
    thanks @Kilgore

    your advice, tips and help were fantastic also.

    i've got plenty to be getting on with now and should keep me busy.

    just the other night i had 10 tabs open doing extra research on amazon sites but the advice and examples in this forum post have been much more specific and helpful.

    i wrote a practice review on my electric razer i've got and i have to say i wrote a good 4pages on a4. a very truthful, critical and objective review. I think i now understand how to write a better review.

    All thanks to the help given on this post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Royell
    Sounds to me like you are targeting the wrong prospects.
    The prospects you want will be looking for what you have.
    But in any case do not ever let any one discourage you. If they have question you need to find answers that satisfy their curiosity. If you can sufficiently satisfy and remove their doubts they will become customers.
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    Empowering Internet Marketing Success!
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  • Profile picture of the author randyman
    You're thinking the wrong way. They said to you, "what are you doing here?" and you were confused.

    Well, surprise surprise, they are not your target market. Generally review websites trying to rank on specific categories of products, and catering to potential buyers of those products.

    For example, someone researching about pressure cooker, she browse google and found your site. After reading some reviews on your site, she click through to amazon ... make a decision and buy product.

    Know that the whole point why amazon is setting up associate program, is for buyers that otherwise don't visit amazon directly i.e., they're paying yo to bring traffic to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    i just also checked back to the forum. i think there is also general confusion about my site. they don't seem to be much bothered with content, jumping evil eyed straight at the amazon links/photo links with AZ logo. it seems they would want a review but expect me to sell and not to redirect to a 3rd party.
    Saw new replies and reviewed the thread. Instead of trying to explain your business model, you might borrow something I tell people when they occasionally ask about using PayPal to collect credit card info instead of hosting the cart on my own site.

    I just explain that PP is built to securely and safely handle credit card and other personal info, so I let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to security.

    You could make the same argument for letting Amazon do their thing with secure transactions, along with warehousing and delivery infrastructure.

    Originally Posted by Xzon View Post

    i have stated its a review site and you can buy through my site at amazon.
    Most of the general population will have no clue what an "Amazon review site" is. Just tell them that your strength is putting together comprehensive information on the product, and Amazon has the means to stock and ship the products much more economically and efficiently than you could.

    In fact, you could add a "Why Amazon" page to your site and link to it from your landing pages (the page you send the forum people to). Answer the question before they have the chance to bring it up.
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  • Profile picture of the author jan roos
    Don't worry about it.

    I have had a few of those comments on my sites over the years but the majority of comments came from people thanking me for providing such informative reviews and information and they are so glad they found my site.

    As long as you know you provide good content then don't sweat a hater or two.

    Cheers
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