Guys who do reviews?

I would like to ask the guys that do reviews of lights a question.

I was contacted by a manufacturer to do a review on 2 lights.
It was very strange though as they contacted me via private message and linked the two products on Amazon.
Then they gave me a coupon code for one of the lights that was a 99% coupon and requested that I purchase the 2nd product at full price from Amazon and that if I sent them the transaction I.D and my PayPal info , that they would reimburse me?

Does this even sound close to legit because it seems a very odd way to try and get your product into people’s hands for review.

Thoughts or opinions welcomed.

When they make you buy a product on Amazon at full price, I guess that counts as an actual sale which will be eligible for an Amazon review.

I have seen this before (the buy at full price and then reimburse via PayPal). I’ve done it without problems.

OK, reading your message makes me think I may have gotten the same PM (from T#######, yes?). I wasn’t interested so I didn’t get to the Amazon email step.

Had I gotten the the second message my thoughts would have been that if a manufacturer has a code for one light (the 99% thing is apparently a legit Amazon condition), they could just as easily offer a second 100%/99% code. I would not have proceeded.

As for reviews, I have purchased lights outright on my own and created review threads with zero compensation but these were for lights I wanted/liked. Doing reviews takes considerable time and effort. Testing, measurements, photos and write-ups take time and effort. A complimentary light, particularly a low cost one that one might ordinary not purchase anyway is hardly worth the effort.

I have had this occur and I did get the lights and create reviews, although I was not asked for my paypal info, I only got lights at a steep discount or “free” provided I did a review.

You are correct on the company and I felt pretty much the same way

I got one a month ago, here on BLF. It was Soonfire and it was for their 1000LM Tactical light.

I went through a couple of steps and then just stopped.

After that, I read somewhere where they can sell the light and retain the ability to actually write a review under my name, for instance, so the sky’s the limit for their product review.


If someone sends (or rebates a sale price) in exchange for my HONEST review- I see nothing wrong with that. But I myself won’t do a review on a light I’m never heard of (here) before.

If third rate sellers takes paid for (dishonest) reviews from a BLF member— to another place, that would be the only problem I could foresee. They are using the BLF trademark in bad from in this case. Simple solution to that: don’t review manufacturers who have not at least initiated BLF in some way and recently.

I too have been contacted (as have many here via PM) for a review opportunity- here OR Amazon. So to each their own… and remember light reviews kinda’ drive this place if you think about it.

And if you review a light and it has problems (or unique cool features) and you tell us about it… then you are doing us all a favor— telling the truth! :+1:

And to those who do the hardcore reviews HERE on BLF… my upmost appreciation for your time. You certainly are not equitably (or financially) compensated for your AMAZING reviews. — THANK YOU!!!

OK, back to doing my taxes :expressionless:

I got guessing the same PMs from 2 different companies. One wanted to do paypal reimbursement and the 2nd was a 99% discount.

Personally I’m doing the 99% discount. I know people that have gotten burnt on posting honest reviews and the company not liking what they said so they refuse to do the paypal refund. I’m in no way saying any of these companies will do that just not a risk I’m willing to take and deal with.

The PayPal reimbursement cannot be contingent on the review. The PayPal reimbursement must be issued immediately after you purchase the product from Amazon. The review can come later. If the vendor insists you do the review first, do not get involved at all. Pass.

If you don’t get the PayPal reimbursement soon after you bought it, send the product back to Amazon for full refund.

I got a 99% discount at to review one flashlight for its manufacturer, and wrote a review both here and on Amazon. The manufacturer later again asked me to write a review on Amazon, which was when I went back and found that Amazon had deleted my review. So, I told the company that the review was probably deleted due to Amazon considering a consumer receiving a discount on an item to constitute a “paid review.”

I later had a different company contact me to do an Amazon review in exchange for buying the light at full price and then getting reimbursed through PayPal after completing the review. So, yeah, this method lets the review stay up on Amazon, but it kind of allows the manufacturer to hold your reimbursement hostage if they don’t like what you say in the review (especially if the light is an expensive one). But at the same time, I understand that companies don’t want to be giving out free lights to people who say that they are going to write a review, but have no intention of doing so. Anyway, I gave the light 4/5 stars, which really ruffled some feathers, but at least they came through with the reimbursement without demanding that I change anything in the review.

So, I did take a risk, but both companies were ones that seem to genuinely take feedback from this forum, so I wasn’t hugely worried.

I’ve done a few reviews here before on lights that I got with a 99% discount on Amazon. That seems to be a legit thing. The ones who offered those review opportunities to me said it was because it’s faster to send it from Amazon’s warehouse in USA than the slow boat from China. In fact, most of the time, they didn’t even ask for an Amazon review, just a review here at BLF. I usually post it at Amazon as well, since the review system exists, and I’m technically getting it from there. My reviews are always my honest opinion. I’ve never been asked to just shill a product.

I too have had reviews pulled from amazon due to so called being sponsored (received discount or free product). I understand why they do it but I only give honest reviews good or bad. It slightly ticks me off when they pull an upfront honest full review with clear pictures and leave one that only says “great product, fast shipping”.

If you wanna deal with the headache of boxing it up and sending it back (often on your dime that you never get back) then more power to ya. I’m just not gonna deal with that method of reimbursement. I’m lazy and just take the discount (easy) route.

Don’t even open the box until you get reimbursed, then you’ll have nothing to box back up. I have Amazon prime, so I can send stuff back without incurring shipping charges, but I hear ya.

If I had a choice between 99% discount up front or PP reimbursement, I would obviously rather do the former. But for reasons stated by others earlier in this thread, the 99% discount might not always be an option.

i did that for thorfire for 2 lights on amazon, they paypalled right away

the ‘paypal info’ is just your email address, that’s pretty safe

they are doing that trying to get around free merch for reviews, amazon has rules
not sure how they don;t find out about this but that isn;t my problem :slight_smile:

they don;t mind if you are honest and have dislikes

they told me ‘it helps the engineers fine tune future releases’

my reviews even said ‘they gave me one’ and they didn;t care


It’s worth reading Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.

People can give you a gift, that you don’t want, that you know they are giving you for the purpose of manipulating you, and you’ll still feel an obligation to reciprocate in some way.

Most people think they are special, and they may even be right, but they are still people. The best way to avoid or mitigate inbuilt cognitive biases is to acknowledge that you probably have them too, and act accordingly. The best way to avoid giving in to temptation is to avoid it in the first place.

From a pragmatic perspective, I think people giving their perspective on lights they’ve received for free can be sufficiently unbiased, and I think they can provide useful information to people making buying decisions. On the other hand, I know that these schemes result in an overabundance of bogus or just lazy reviews that down out useful reviews. I know too that a lot of consumers are some combination off too busy and too ill equipped to separate the useful reviews from the useless, and end up making bad buying decisions as a result.

As it happens, this morning, I wrote an Amazon review of a BLF Q8 I purchased with a ~40% discount I got from Thorfire. A few days ago, I’d thanked the Thorfire rep who’d given me the code and she responded, asking me to do a review. So, I did, because I think it is a fantastic light, and one I probably wouldn’t have purchased if the chance to buy it for less than $50 hadn’t come along when it did. But, if she hadn’t asked, I probably wouldn’t have written the review, because I didn’t think I had much/anything new to add. I think my review was truthful. I don’t think it would be any different if, say, a family member had given me the light as a birthday gift. However, if I didn’t think it was a fantastic light, there is a good chance I just wouldn’t have done the review at all. Also, if it sucked, and had been free or cheap (say less than $20) I’d be less motivated to write a disapproving review than if I’d paid $40+ for it.

If nothing else, I think this is how free or dramatically discounted products skew review systems, the aggregate impact of people being more likely to say nice things, and less likely to say bad things.

+1 what eas and others have said.

My principle in life is to be true to oneself and to others and never compromise on integrity.

Getting free stuff is fun but paying for stuff that isn’t great, isn’t.

If you’ve ever purchased a well rated product only to find your particular copy disappointing, then you know how inflated reviews can be detrimental. It is entirely possible that you got a bad one, mistakes in manufacturing quality happen. Good products deserve to praise and bad products deserve to raze. For everything in between, that’s where there’s room for improvement.

+1 what wle said, honest review/feedback ‘helps the engineers fine tune future releases’ and to me that’s how we collectively ensure better products for the flashlight community.

Getting off my soapbox now, just got another freebie offer, gotta run :zipper_mouth_face:

Hi Hotled,

That is often how reviews are requested. I can’t say for sure that the vendor who contacted you is legit, but I’ve had many amazon sellers ask me to purchase the products and then they send a payment back via paypal.

The reason they do that is to skirt the amazon review policy. Amazon used to encourage sellers to “insensitiveize” reviews but it basically back fired on them. People began to distrust the review system as a whole, so they changed the policy. Now insensitiveizing is forbidden. I’ve heard that if you say you were given a discount our anything in your review it can even be deleted.

I post my reviews on Youtube, and make a point to mention it verbally during the video, if I forget while filming I write it in the upper part of the description. Some sellers will balk at not getting a rating posted to amazon, but most of them will send you product anyway as long as they know your reviews are driving sales.

Since you said opinions are welcome, mine is that you should keep posting your reviews, and only accept products from sellers who agree to YOUR terms. Say what you really think and don’t change your review because they asked. I send all companies a policy they must agree to before sending any product that states what they will get is a “review”. If the product is good the review will show that. If the product is bad, the review will show that as well. Even after agreeing to that some of them are going to ask you why you criticized something about their product. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the input .

They contacted me again and are just sending me one of the lights to review.
I will and always will be honest in reviews.
I will not get very technical, I stick to what I know and 90% of what other average users will want to know.
Does it work, does it work well
Any quirks about it, how easy is it to use, does it get hot etc.

It’s probably best to just keep it very basic/generic if you can’t jump through all of the hoops for a ‘real’ review.

Let people know up front that you were approached by the manufacturer and given the light for free, in return for your impressions.

That way, the reader of your review will have an idea of what’s up. Compare and contrast with other similar lights you might have in the particular class.


Yeah, the comparison to other lights can help take out some of the ‘subjective’ viewpoint from your review. I try to do that now in every review that I post.