I'm sure you've seen them, the free sample sites. Sign up today and get free samples from brands you LOVE. Once you get the free samples you are meant to show your loot on your social platforms and review the products. Sounds easy enough, right? Sounds a bit too good to be true, right? What do you really have to do to get free samples and are these sites even legit?
I'm sure there are a TON more out there but for the purposes of this post I'm going to discuss Influenster, Crowdtap, BzzAgent and PinchMe. I'm not being compensated in any way for this post from any of these sites, the thoughts expressed here are my own based off of my interactions and experiences.
This site offers great content, they share articles about new items in a wide variety of categories and on their site real people leave reviews from products they've tried in their life, not necessarily products they were given for free.
When you make your account you are awarded points for "impact" that are based on different things; having their badge on your website (see my homepage), the number of Twitter followers, Instagram followers and Facebook friends you have. It states right on your "impact" page that the "higher your score, the more likely you'll be chosen for a VoxBox". A VoxBox is their box of free samples they send to participants. You can also earn badges for leaving reviews for products on their site; "Pet Lover", "Beauty Junkie", and "Mega Parent" are badges you can earn based on the type of products you review.
I have yet to receive a VoxBox based off of my score. I have however, won two Twitter parties that they hosted. At least once a week you'll find a Twitter party over at @InfluensterVox. Parties hosted are an open discussion about products that have recently been sent out in samples to people and this party gives away five of the boxes to people who may not have received one.
Both times it was exciting to be announced as a winner and both times the prizes were a disappointment. The first time I won, there was a mixup, the tweets during the party stated we were going to win a specific set of items and what we received was very different and not even the correct brand. The second time, well, I just never received my prize at all.
They provide free samples from companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Revlon. How do you receive samples? Fill out the application. Try as I might, I have not yet been accepted into a sampling program.
Aside from the free samples they also allow you to earn gift cards. When you create an account you are given a variety of questions to answer each day, each question has a point value and as these points add up you can redeem a gift card for Amazon, Target or Walmart.
It is super easy to rack up points and earn gift cards, I just have not yet cracked the code for getting selected for samples.
BzzAgent, like Influenster gives you a score, a "BzzScore" if you will, based on your interactions with the site. How do you raise your "BzzScore" if you are selected to receive free samples, complete the campaign tasks, connect your social accounts and answer survey questions. These survey questions are also said to help pair you with a Bzz campaign.
I was selected for a campaign not too long ago, Plum Organics Baby Bowls. I received 7 full sized Baby Bowls to offer to my daughter and to review and discuss on BzzAgent's website. Some of the tasks included writing specific topic Tweets, sharing images on Instagram and Facebook and talking about any "off-line" conversations you may have had with other people about the product.
So far this has been the only campaign I have been selected for but I hope I get to try more things for BzzAgent soon because they made it super easy to complete tasks.
About twice a month, on Tuesdays, PinchMe offers new samples. To get a "guaranteed box" you can complete surveys via QWIZme, linked directly from their site and receive tokens. 500 tokens earned in a week equals a box. There's a counter on the top of the website that shows you how many tokens you've earned. I have found it difficult to get matched with surveys and after spending 5 to 8 minutes get told I didn't qualify and then do not receive any tokens. This is a real bummer to me and I've pretty much stopped trying to complete their surveys due to time.
I have received 6 samples from this site and they vary from being full size to well, sample sized and I never know what will be offered on their "Sample Tuesday" or if I will be eligible for anything. But getting an email in your inbox saying there are samples to add to your cart is exciting.
So are they legit? The sites mentioned above seem to be legit in the sense that I've seen social posts of people receiving free samples, even if I haven't yet.
The only word of caution is to just be careful when answering survey questions. I always skip ones that try to get too personal; needing my full birthdate not just the month or year, wanting to know my annual household income and other financial questions. Maybe skipping these questions hinders me getting samples but I want to keep some information private and if I have to forgo the samples, maybe that's okay.