Freebies—who doesn’t love them? And they’re easier to get than you think: many companies are happy to send out free samples to potential customers, in return for feedback and online reviews. Indeed, many brands actually pay sample box companies to be included in their monthly mailouts. It’s a win-win scenario, with the only cost being the few minutes it takes to jot down a review of your free product.
It’s surprisingly simple to apply to become a Nike product tester. All you have to do is complete an online survey, and then wait to hear whether you have been selected. If you’re successful, a new Nike product will arrive by mail which you’ll be expected to test for a period of time, sometimes several months. All you need to do is submit feedback online and return the product to Nike, in order to be eligible to test again.
2. Vogue Insiders
The Vogue Insiders Community is a forum where readers of the legendary magazine can “sound off” on soon-to-be-released fashion collections while getting the opportunity to test new beauty products and attend exclusive Vogue events. As with most similar schemes, membership is only a survey away.
3. Johnson & Johnson Friends & Neighbors
To improve their products, Johnson & Johnson continually seek feedback from customers. A key part of this dialogue is the company’s Friends & Neighbors program, which extends invitations for its members to take part in on-line surveys, discussion forums, focus groups, consumer panels, and product testing. Any commitment that requires you to travel and be physically present is likely to attract compensation, such as in the form of a Prepaid Visa® Card.
4. InStyle Trendsetters
InStyle Trendsetters is an online community that invites lucky members to personally evaluate samples of the latest fashion and beauty products, in addition to giving feedback to the magazine itself. Everyone who completes a survey or product review also gets entered into the “InStyle Quarterly Panel Sweepstakes,” for the opportunity to win other exciting prizes.
Influenster is an online resource boasting over 25 million honest product reviews. Members regularly get the chance to receive a “VoxBox” full of free samples from the biggest beauty and food brands. To be in the running, you’ll need to register and create an Influenster profile including your lifestyle and product interests, and then make sure you’re fully connected to the site on social media.
Become a “Wear Tester” for Brooks and get a free athletic kit, including sneakers! All you need to do is complete an online survey detailing your exercise habits and clothes sizes. Brooks will then let you know if you qualify for the role. You won’t always get to keep the test products, because Brooks may want to see how they wear with use, but in that event, they will cover the return shipping.
MomSelect recognizes that moms are the most powerful consumers in the world, connecting mom influencers with brand campaigns so that everyone benefits. Sign up, tell MomSelect a bit about you and your family, and start participating in a review program—often a great excuse in itself to host a party where you can share free samples with friends.
8. McCormick Consumer Testing
McCormick Consumer Testing runs regular sessions throughout the week at its center in Hunt Valley, Maryland. There, individuals who fit the target demographic are asked to sample new food and beverage products. Simply apply online, and wait to be notified of a suitable event by email. Registered panellists are entitled to participate in four product tests per year, and are compensated up to $100 per test.
SheSpeaks is another online forum where members discuss their experiences and views on everything from lifestyle choices to home products. There are plenty of surveys and polls to participate in, and members are regularly offered test products for review, along with invitations to VIP events. You might even get to appear on SheSpeaksTV!
10. Glamour Glamspotters
Glamour’s Glamspotters reader panel is a lively online community where members can share their opinions on all aspects of life, style, and beauty. All that’s required of you is to complete the occasional poll or survey—based on your responses, you may be asked to test a brand-new product, which will be mailed to you for free.
Any teachers among you would do well to join the Mead4Teachers program, which offers free Mead products—Trapper Keepers, student planners, calendars, etc.—to try out in the classroom. All you need to give back is an honest evaluation.
12. Betty Crocker
Add your address to the Betty Crocker email list and you’ll be notified weekly of sample giveaways and other offers. Just be sure to get back to them quickly, because samples are handed out by order of response, and stocks are invariably limited.
Vocalpoint is an online community for women to discuss exciting new brands and products. It’s not just about freebies: members are encouraged to forge real-life connections by hosting parties based on a particular product, such as playdates incorporating Fisher-Price toys or a girls’ night in with a new brand of wine.
L’Oreal hasn’t become the world’s biggest cosmetics company by accident, and it continues to seek essential customer input through its Consumer Participation Program. As a panellist, you will be asked to test (and keep) the latest beauty and skincare products from L’Oreal and its subsidiaries, including Garnier and Kiehl’s. Often, you’ll also be sent out a selection of popular products as a reward for your time. Apply online, and remember to keep checking for new surveys, as completing these promptly is crucial to qualifying for a study.
Crowdtap allows you to build a direct relationship with your preferred brands by answering their market-research questions. From time to time, they’ll reach out to reward you with free-product offers.
16. Snuggle Bear Den
If you’re a fan of the Snuggle line of fabric conditioning products, then join the Snuggle Bear Den online community to share your feedback, learn of special offers first, and enjoy access to free samples. The more you participate in the community, the more points you earn, entitling you to extra benefits.
17. Marie Claire Magazine
Marie Claire’s Velvet Rope Club is a space where VIP readers can share their opinions on anything from the latest in fashion to careers. Plus, as a member you’ll be the first in line for special offers, prize draws, and other insider events.
Like Influenster, Smiley360 is a website that sends its members free products in return for their honest opinions, which are shared publicly on various websites or social media. Simply sign up, create a profile, and start completing surveys and participating in community discussions. Smiley360 allocates its testing “missions” according to a point-based system, so stay active on the site in order to keep the free stuff coming.
PINCHme is another website that sends out boxes of free samples from diverse major brands, with the expectation that you complete short feedback surveys for each product within 60 days. Once again, the more active you are online as a member, the more points you’ll receive, thereby improving your chances of receiving another round of free samples or winning a gift-card draw.
20. Minute Rice
Minute Rice has a “Recipe Club” which emails members directly with exclusive offers, coupons, and sweepstakes. It also offers free samples for testing—just be sure to opt in for “in-home product placement” when you join online.
21. The Pink Panel
The Pink Panel is a Facebook-based consumer panel that invites members to test new beauty products. Anyone selected not only gets to keep the test product; they also get up to $25–$100 in gift cards or other beauty products as a reward. All you need to do to become a member is click “join” on their Facebook page and like the page itself. Then, you’ll receive loads of notifications about new testing opportunities.