Finding Sponsored Reviews

Date Thu, June 23 2011

or: these companies send me free stuff and I spend hours using, photographing and writing about that stuff. I also write about these companies so you can know where to get your own stuff.

One 2 One

One2One Network is by far my favorite source of products in exchange for review. Thanks to the service, I’ve reviewed several books, a CD and snacks. I’ve also participated in giveaways and was a lucky winner of one. (I then passed the prize onto one of you, my readers). In addition to this, I’ve posted a couple publicity/spread-the-word posts and Tweets to qualify for giveaways at One2One. When new opportunities are available, I receive an e-mail. I apply via the website in an automated process (as opposed to manually writing an email). Many of the projects have different participation options, including reviews and/or giveaways and the ability to choose a hard copy or ebook for reviews. I opt for blog reviews, if I qualify. Within several days, One2One Network notifies me if I have been accepted for the project and, if so, my product is on its way pretty much immediately. The amount of time I have to post my review varies, depending on the project and products. It seems to be about two to three weeks on average. When I do post, I have to input my URL and post text into an on-site form that is easily accessible from my projects list in my dashboard. The really cool thing about One2One Network, though, is that every time you complete a task on time, you’re entered into a giveaway. Free stuff is cool enough but free stuff and the chance to win a gift card? Yea, Cole likey.

Aside from the opportunities, One2One helps members improve their websites through tutorials in their learning lounge and if you own a small business, you might even use them to broadcast word via the member marketplace. These aren’t sections that I have used as much but I know many review bloggers also run some sort of business so they certainly could be helpful.

Bzz Agent

BzzAgentAt this time, BzzAgent is probably the next runner up. I’m not as enthusiastic about the site, quite frankly, because they require me to do more work. Although I have had the opportunity to review make up and cleaning products, use coupons and learn about brands, the opportunities that really interest me have been few and far between. Part of this is because BzzAgent’s scope is not just product reviews but generating buzz in general. This is why you may have seen some of those #ImaBzzAgent Tweets and Facebook updates. I don’t directly receive anything from generating that sort of buzz but I may be entered into a contest. However, all buzz activity does count toward my rank on-site. The rank issue is the second reason that I don’t quite love BzzAgent.

As you participate in campaigns by reviewing, Tweeting, posting to Facebook and even just talking to people you know, you earn honeycombs and these honeycombs raise your rank. The higher your rank, the earlier they’ll send notification about projects. Thus, you can respond sooner and, when the campaign has limited quantities, you have a greater chance of being accepted. The problem with this is that it’s sloooow going in the beginning and I began to forget that I was even a member of this site. Another requirement is that you participate in on-site reviews (known as BzzScapes) for brands, products and services. This is definitely my least favorite part of BzzAgent as it gets pretty tedious and I prefer to review things on my review blog. Nevertheless, by participating in some of the campaigns that have no direct kickback, I have been able to raise my rank to receive opps a bit sooner.

Like One2One, BzzAgent occasionally sends out surveys and polls to determine if you qualify for a campaign. For some reason, I don’t seem to receive an email for every new survey and this probably has cost me a couple opportunities. It’s not a deal-breaker but it’s a bit annoying, too. On the plus side, even if you don’t quality, you earn points toward the My Points site every time you complete an activity on BzzAgent. These points accumulate and you can trade them in for gift cards and the like on the My Points site. I wasn’t a member before but figured I might as well use those points that I am earning so I signed up.

Business 2 Blogger

Business 2 BloggerThus far I haven’t been a member at Business2Blogger for very long but the set-up is simple enough that I feel comfortable commenting. You receive periodic (daily?) emails from the service that include links to opportunities for which you quality. The opportunities list requirements and a description of the product/service/opportunity and what the business is willing to offer (products for review or giveaway, compensation). However, the opportunities do not include identifiable brand information, links to websites or images so I find it really hard to gauge if I might actually want to take part. A current opportunity describes “silver jewelry.” I like silver jewelry but that’s such a vague description that I might well hate the item for review. I will probably be cautious when using Bussiness2Blogger for this reason.

Blogger Black Book

I joined the Blogger Black Book a while back and then quickly forgot about it. You see, it’s a really passive way to establish business relationships and find review sponsors. You enter your information and become included in a database. PR folk and businesses can purchase a subscription to the site and they then have access to the database. They can perform a search for the types of blogs/bloggers they’re looking for and, if your information pops up, they may contact you. The problem with Blogger Black Book is that nothing really happens on-site so I don’t know if any of the pitches I’ve received originated from there. No one’s ever said so but it makes sense that they had to find me somewhere. It’d be great if we could track that better with Blogger Black Book.

Blogger Networks

Pitch It to MeI am a member of a few Ning groups, mostly created by other bloggers and reviewers so that we can all connect, help one another out and find more opportunities. Currently, I am active in the following groups: Pitch It To Me, Giveaway Blogs, Blog Friendly PR. Depending on the group, members re-post pitches they’ve received, PR pros can join and directly post pitches or they can contact the group administrators who will then post pitches. The only difficult some people may experience is that you have to take the time to go through the posts and pitches, find ones you like, see if you qualify and, generally, send an e-mail to a PR professional. If you’re not good at selling yourself, this can be your downfall. I’ve got a pretty good voice and have received a lot of positive responses, thus far It’s good to have a pitch or media kit ready for these types of situations.

There’s so many other advantages of these groups, however. You can find ways to raise your Alexa ranking, ask blogging and coding questions, find giveaways to sign up for, get advice on a myriad of subjects, gain Twitter followers and make new friends.

Clever Girls Collective

The Clever Girls Collective is yet another network that I have recently joined so my experience is quite limited. I applied and was accepted as a blogger. The collective then sends out e-mails with new campaigns and articles that advertise current partners and events. I have yet to sign up to a review campaign because of the newsletter, however, but I’ve only been a member for a very short time.

Leave a Reply