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?
Reviewing Free Sample Sites: Are They Legit?
I'm sure there are a TON more out there but for the purposes of this post I'm going to discuss the following free sample sites:
I've signed up with all of these sites myself and I am sharing if I actually got free product and what I had to do to get it.
Free Sample Site Review: Influenster
Influenster 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 sign up you are awarded points for "impact" based on the following criteria:
Adding their badge on your website
Number of Twitter followers
Number of Instagram followers
Number of 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".
Another contributing factor to receiving a VoxBox is the amount of reviews you write, again these reviews are not for products you got for free but products you use regularly. My best advice is to review anything and everything. Add images when you can, like other people's reviews, ask questions, answer questions - the more active you are on the Influenster platform the more campaigns you are likely to get.
If a campaign is on the horizon and Influenster thinks you may be a good fit based on your profile you will receive an email with additional questions. This does not guarantee you a slot in the campaign but it at least shows you that you are on their radar.
What is 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 through Influenster but I have won one through their frequently held Twitter Partiers.
EDIT (June 2019): I have now received a VoxBox, L'Oreal Paris Elvive Rapid Reviver in this box was one full size bottle of the conditioner. When selected into a campaign you are given tasks to complete; Instagram (in-feed) post, Instagram (stories) post, blog post - after you complete the tasks you are given a badge to add to your Influenster profile that shows you completed a campaign.
Additional Ways to Get a VoxBox
Influenster frequently holds Twitter parties in partner with brands that have upcoming VoxBox campaigns.
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.
I have won two Twitter parties.
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.
Free Sample Site Review: CrowdTap
Crowtap claims they provide free samples from major brands as Johnson & Johnson and Revlon.
How do you receive samples?
After you create your account, start filling out applications for upcoming campaigns.
Try as I might, I have not yet been accepted into a sampling program.
Earn Gift Cards Through CrowdTap
Aside from the free samples CrowdTap 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 have earned multiple Amazon gift cards that have been put to good use.
I just have not yet cracked the code for getting selected for samples.
Free Sample Site Review: BzzAgent
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 for Plum Organic Baby Bowls.
EDIT (APRIL 2018): See my post here: 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.
Free Sample Site Review: Pinch Me
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.
I have received samples from this site and they vary from being full size to sample size.
EDIT (June 2020). Sample sizes have dwindled down to laughable. I once was given one packet of ketchup (like the ketchup packets you get a McDonald's.) After a few disappointing rounds of samples I have stopped engaging on PinchMe.
Free Sample Sites: The Verdict
So are these free sample sites 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, then maybe that's okay.