So I'm just going to do a quick review on a site that I'm signed up for on Influenster, which is part review site, part subscription box site. It's actually a very interesting concept. I was trying to research subscription boxes (as you know, my new addiction) and stumbled across some girls talking about Influenster. They offer a FREE (yes, as in you pay nothing) subscription box to a few lucky people every quarter to review the products in them. The caveat is that you have to qualify to actually receive one of these elusive boxes.
How do you qualify? Good question.
So when I first signed up, it basically seemed like the more "influential" in social media you are, the more likely you are to receive a box. For example, the more friends you have on Facebook, if you have a twitter (how many followers you have), if you have a Youtube channel, etc, the more likely you are to be one of the "chosen ones". But you could also write reviews of products that they featured on their site to get noticed too. If you do qualify, they send out a survey which you usually have to catch right away and do it ASAP, then they'll decide (I have no idea how) if you are qualified ENOUGH to receive a Voxbox (their subscription box).
I love anything free, so I decided to just sign up and try it. I have social media platforms, but the only one I really use is Facebook, and now this blog! As I was just starting out with my reviewing journey, I definitely didn't think I stood a chance at getting a box, but I figured writing reviews on their site would be good practice.
Well, it turns out that I DID get selected to qualify for one of their new Voxboxes coming out, the Beauty Blogger 2012 Voxbox, and I was SO excited to see THAT in my email. Don't get too excited for me though, since I wasn't one of the final chosen ones (sad face). But it's okay. I'm sure once I can write more reviews, I'll qualify next time *crosses fingers*. I believe they give out about 1000 free boxes which usually have some full size items in there, so it's absolutely an awesome thing to get if you're chosen. Then they just ask you to fulfill some tasks like writing reviews about the products in them to keep being eligible for upcoming Voxboxes. I'll be looking forward to the day when I can receive one of those in the mail to review for you guys. :)
Anyway, on to the review of the actual new site they launched.
So once you sign up, they ask you to fill out a profile, and connect your Influenster account to your social media accounts so they can see how influential you are in the internet community. The first thing you really notice is your "Influenster Score", which kind of acts as a ranking on where you stand in the Influenster community. The higher your score, the more likely you are to receive a Voxbox. But I'm not sure how true that is since I've heard that some people who received the Beauty Blogger Voxbox I didn't qualify for, actually had a low score and didn't have much presence in social media than others who didn't receive the box. I don't know how that works, but it makes me wonder if they just randomly pick from the pre-surveys they email out. I wish I knew. Shrug. My Influenster score at the moment is 38. Pretty low, lol.
Then there are different "badges" you can achieve by doing certain tasks like filling out a survey about a specific topic, writing reviews on products in that category, or being able to answer questions from others about products. There are different categories of badges, including "Influenster" badges, "Lifestyle" badges, and "Expert" badges. I believe you get to choose 5 categories to focus on in Expert badges at first, and when you raise your individual badge score for each category, they'll unlock the ability for you to be able to get more badges. The five badges in this category I started out with were "Eco", "Gamer", "Fashionista", "Beauty Queen", and "Jetsetter". I kind of wish I had held off on the "Fashionista" badge, and went for the "Sweet Tooth" or "Chowhound" badge, as I've come to realize that I know absolutely nothing about fashion. But oh wells, as I often say!
What I like about the site is that the Voxbox is free, which is so awesome in my book. I like that people have to "earn" a box, and that it encourages people to be more active in reviewing things and proving that people actually find their reviews helpful. The layout of the site is okay. It's a little hard to navigate sometimes.
Now to some of the things that I'm not so fond about though. I don't particularly like that they changed their review screen so that everything in the "Verdict", "Pro(s):", and "Con(s):" boxes are typed out to look like a very looong sentence. I can't proofread what I just wrote very well, and that's annoying to me. I liked the way they had it before, with the box with all the abundant space and character count to help you figure out if you were over or not before you submit. I also don't like that there's no direct button (that I've found yet) that shows all of the reviews you've done so far on the site. And when you do submit a product review, it's very chaotic in trying to locate where it's at since it doesn't seem to have a set position it gets submitted in.
.: Update - Another thing Influenster could work on is to give us the ability to revise our reviews for products after we've already submitted them. Just because there have been times where I said I would include a picture or video but forgot and I couldn't go back to resubmit it. :.
The other thing that REALLY, SUPER DUPER annoys me is that you earn points by how many reviews you do and not the quality of the reviews you do. I hate "reviewers" that say one sentence about a product, and then it counts towards their score. "Great product!" is totally NOT a review. This is really unfair to the people who put a lot of time and effort into their reviews, and then gives the people who just click and click writing one sentence reviews the advantage to getting a Voxbox. I really hate it when I'm reading a crappy product review on the site, click on that person's name, and they have a really high score. It's ridiculous, and I hope the Influenster staff is actually very stringent on deciding who gets these Voxboxes because if someone like that got chosen over me, I'd be pissed. Again, just starting out, so I get it. But later on... when I'm well versed in the "art of blog" and reviewing... if someone who wrote one sentence reviews got chosen over me... ooh... someone is gonna get a-hurt. So that was my small rant about the things I don't like about the site. Moving on!
Overall, I do appreciate the idea of Influenster and the Voxbox. It's like a "reviewing community", which is exactly what I was looking for. I just hope that they are really upholding the values and premise of what this program is supposed to be about and are choosing the Voxbox recipients wisely, because I am a really huge believer that anyone can be lucky, but those who work hard are the ones that should truly be rewarded. And with the way that Influenster is set up, I feel like Voxbox recipients should really EARN their boxes.
Despite my slight grievances with the Influenster program, I think it's an excellent idea! If you are a reviewer, have a lot of social media outlets and followers, and like free stuff, I would definitely recommend signing up for it and trying out your luck. You never know if you're going to be one of those lucky few. As for me, I'm waiting for the next pre-survey Voxbox invitation! Hopefully I'll get picked this time. :P
Thanks for reading!
.: Also! Unrelated, Loot Crate is giving out SHIRTS in their subscription box for October. It's supposed to include a high value shirt which pays for the whole box itself, and for some reason, I have a feeling that this month's box is going to be a good one. So if you want to sign up just click here, and try it out! If you have no idea what Loot Crate is, see my other post here. They ship out on the 20th every month, so sign up ASAP if you want this month's box!:.
Oh. And if enough you wonderful people sign up through my link, I will win this awesome talking Chewbacca doll. Yessss.