Monthly Archives: October 2016

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Essential Oils Wooden Storage Case – Holds Up to 74 Bottles – Large Capacity Box with Customizable Slots – Bonus Color-Coded Bottle Cap Stickers and 25 pips


Nice case with plenty of room!

Please note, I received this case for free but all opinions expressed in the following review are my own. 

essential oils storage boxI love working with essential oils and have acquired a fairly large collection. My favorites I keep on my bedside vanity with my diffuser, but I have others stored all over the place. I have wanted one of these storage cases for a very long time now because it is frustrating to have to look for the bottle you want and not be able to find it! I like to keep my things organized and this is the perfect case to do it with.

Advantages:

Able to hold 68 (5-15 ml) Essential Oil Bottles and 6 (10ml) roller bottles

Case is divided with a wooden grid to keep each oil in its place. 

Box comes with a secure latch to prevent accidental spills

Bonus materials include 25 pipettes, aromatherapy eBook on a cd, and a pack of colored sticker labels

essential oils storage box

Disadvantages:

When the box arrived, the wooden grid of squares for each oil was jammed into the box and was too big, making it stick up at an odd angle. My husband had to remove the grid and sand one of the sides to make it fit. 

One of the slats was broken, but my husband was able to glue it and fix it. 

essential oils storage boxOther Highlights:  This box is made of white pine and comes unfinished so you can customize it to fit your needs. Right away my husband had plans for this, he is going to spray stain it in a rich mahogany color. I am also going to place some felt in the bottom of the box and under the lid. Now, of course, you don’t have to do any of this. You can use it exactly the way it comes. This just gives you the option of making your box more decorative or fancy if you would like to. 

Other ideas you could use to dress it up would be painting it or even using decoupage to dress it up in your favorite theme. 

This box wouls be useful to store other things besides essential oils. Right away my son thought it would be perfect for his Lego people.  It would actually for any kind of small collection. Any person that is into crafts could find a myriad of uses for it. Jewelry making is a hobby that comes to mind. 

Recommendation:

I love this box and will undoubtedly get a lot of use from it. I do feel the quality control could have been better. This should have never shipped to a customer like it did with the grid not fitting and a slat that was broken. If I didn’t have someone familiar with woodworking to fix it for me, I might have sent it back.

  #anjinaturals


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Double Hammock #XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock

Product Review :: Double Hammock #XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock


YUEDGE Lightweight Portable Durable Nylon Hammock for Outdoor,Traveling, Camping, Hiking, Backpacking (XL Blue)


Durable enough to stand up to several rambunctious kids!

Please note, I received this at a discount in exchange for my review. 

I ordered this hammock for my grandchildren to use in the back yard and on camping trips. Our family really loves hammocks and everyone seems to always gravitate to them when they are out. I thought if I got this double hammock it would be big enough to hold a few children and I was right, it is perfect. Two adults can even snuggle up in this for a nice nap.

Advantages:
* Accurate size at approx 108″ x 80″
* Big enough for 2-3 kids under 10, 2 kids and 1 adult, or 2 average sized adults
* Made of breathable nylon, easy to clean, dries quickly
* Carabiners and thick nylon ropes came already attached to the hammock
* Easy to hang and comfortable to use

Disadvantages:
* I wish the carrying case, which is actually attached to the hammock, was just a little bit larger. I found it difficult to get it all packed back up into the bag but it is possible. If you are the methodical type, you will have no problem.

double hammock

This hammock comes in 4 different sizes and 2 different colors so make sure you are ordering the size that you need. I ordered the XL in Blue and have been very happy with it. It does match up to the product description very well so as long as you are aware of what is described in the listing and that is what you are looking for, you should be very happy too.

I think the smaller sized hammock would make a great reading nook hammock in a closet. Kids love hammocks and any small space would do. You could even make a reading area in an unfinished basement or attic by hanging one of these from the beams and simply putting some tumbling mats below it in case of a spill from the hammock. These hammocks are lightweight and durable, perfect for all kinds of different projects with kids, indoors and out.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this YUEDGE Lightweight Portable Durable Nylon Hammock for Outdoor,Traveling, Camping, Hiking, Backpacking (XL Blue) on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon has once again made changes to their Promotional Content in Customer Reviews. I thought there would be some changes to their policy, some fine tuning. I never imagined that they would go in this direction.

They have added some “clarification” that seems to negate their last changes, especially what was in the changes on Seller Central which I didn’t even talk about on here.

Here is what is relevant in the new policy:

Amazon Customer Promotional Content Reviews

So what does this mean? To me, it seems like they are going back on their previous ban on getting products through third party websites or groups. However, the Seller can still not ask for a review. They have also put in further clarification prohibiting other benefits besides the product and added that the review can’t affect your membership in a program or club and that the Reviewers ratings or referrals in any club can’t be affected by whether or not they write the review.  It seems also that there can be no monitoring of whether or not a review is written for the product.

If you do decide to start reviewing right away, you MUST include a disclosure (disclaimer).  If you don’t, you could be facing hefty FTC fines. I would go with something simple like “I received this product for free, I was in no way obligated to leave a review.” If you got it at a discount, use that word instead of “free.” DO NOT use the word “exchange” in your review. 

promotional-content-in-customer-reviewsWhat do you think? I am not sure I will jump right back on the bandwagon. Things are changing too quickly, one right after another, and the day to day wondering whether any review I write will remain on Amazon or not is not worth it at this point. After another short period of “letting the dust settle,” I may jump back in… I am interested now in looking at any trends in the reviews that are deleted from our accounts now. Were they from products that we got through a club? Were they from Sellers who just aren’t on Amazon anymore? Has anyone heard of any other bloggers who have been looking at that? Would love to know if anyone has.

I would also love to know what you think and what your plans are!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant

Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant


In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, a positive review is never guaranteed or implied.

Crystalline Salts Premium Crystal Deodorant

All Natural Deodorant Made From Natural Mineral Salts Harvested From the Pristine Mountains of Thailand – Ideal for Athletes. Combats Odor Naturally. No Stains, No Synthetics, Aluminum Free. For Men and Women. Natural Salt Rock

After I started getting interested in essential oils, I realized that there were so many other natural products that I had never given any consideration. I came across this all natural deodorant and thought I would give it a try.

I have had this for over a month, and I must say that I am very impressed with it! It is a little different to apply, you get the mineral stick wet and then apply it. It takes a few seconds to dry but once it does, this deodorant has staying power.

It is very dry, once you have applied it and it dries there is virtually no residue that you find with other deodorants. If you are going to be wearing something special I would recommend this so as not to end up with any residue on your clothes. I can also see where it would be very beneficial for people who sweat lot like I do. It does not wear off until I wash it off.

This stick of deodorant is also going to last a very long time! After repeated applications, it still looks brand new. Instead of monthly, the product listing claims you will probably only have to buy this again once every year, and I can believe it from what I see so far. What a time and money saver.

The only thing to be careful of is to be sure and not apply this if you have just shaved. It is made out of salt so will sting against cut skin.

This product has a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied in any way. The best thing about this deodorant is that part of the proceeds from each sale goes to Avoda – an orphanage in Thailand dedicated to helping children with food, shelter, a home and education.

A great product all around, good for you, the environment, and they help out a very good cause!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

#crystaldeodorant #naturalproduct #beauty #deodorant #mineralsalts


Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Don't give up hopeWhen change happens and it is unexpected, it can often seem overwhelming and tragic. Sometimes even when we know a big change is coming, it still tears us up, leaving us angry and/or depressed.

Have you ever lost a job that you really loved? A job where you worked so hard and put everything you had into making someone else’s business a success, and then were let go without a word of thanks?

What about an unexpected break up? Were you ever in a relationship that seemed to be going along fine, things were progressing, but then one day it was over and you weren’t really sure what happened?

Were you one of the people that had your Amazon account wiped or do you know someone who had their account wiped? It can be a devastating experience for some people. In a sense, many people feel like they have been wiped by the recent changes at Amazon. They haven’t lost their reviews or their privileges, but they have lost the way they do things. For many, reviewing was their main hobby and how they spent their free time. Now to not be able to have their routine, how will their lives change?

Change can be hard, but life is full of change. I want to share this story written by an inspirational person who I happened to met along my own Amazon journey. In it, she shares how she handled the major change in her life when her review account was wiped. She actually wrote this guest post two months ago, but something always seemed to come up and I never got it posted. It must be Serendipity because now is the perfect time for it.


It happened.

After reviewing on many of Amazon’s sites between 2010 and 2016, I woke up one day to the dreaded email. You know the one, it reads something like, “You may have violated our terms of service and are no longer permitted to post reviews…” Gotta love that ‘may have’. See, they’re smart. By not giving any specifics, our sue-happy society is hard-pressed to find anyone willing to take on any type of civil case. They did not specifically accuse me of anything – they claimed that I may have done something to violate their very ambiguous terms of service.

Personally, my theory on why this happened to me is basically that I outstayed my welcome. I redeemed literally thousands of promotional codes for free and deeply discounted items on their site. But I’ll never know for sure – perhaps I did violate their terms. In the 2400+ reviews I posted on just their American site, there’s a really good chance that I made mistakes along the way!

I started reviewing when a product royally pissed me off and I felt the need to share my poor experience with anyone I could. The review quickly grew in popularity and Amazon requested I write more. With just a couple of reviews on the site, I was ranked in the 12,000s. Being a huge fan and frequent shopper of the site, I complied, writing reviews from everything from complex reports on books to two-liners on groceries and household goods and everything in between.

I didn’t think too much of my rank, having a good time helping independent authors by sharing my thoughts on their work and I like to think, fellow consumers by sharing my experience with various products. The majority of my reviews included photos and a few had videos.

Eventually, I believe I was in the 8000s window when sellers started contacting me, requesting I try their products. While most people seem to get totally rabid at the mention of “Free Stuff”, I was always pretty selective about what I’d review. I’d stop and think, Do I really want to write about this? If it was something myself or a member of my immediate family could honestly use and something that wasn’t going to be too much of a pain to write about, I’d go for it. As long as it was at least 99% off. That’s another thing I was selective about – it had to be free or pretty darn close to free.

I’m not gonna lie – having dozens of packages show up seven days a week was super fun. I definitely became addicted. My apartment, at times, looked like it belonged on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive and sadly, that’s not an exaggeration. I joined some of the Facebook groups and watched for opportunities to snag even more free stuff. Many were shady or dramatic or just plain annoying – I left those ones quickly. However, I found some that I really liked, whose admins didn’t nag too much and who tried to keep their terms compliant with Amazon’s. Of course, Amazon’s terms are so ambiguous – there is much debate over how exactly to do that. That’s a long discussion worthy of its own post – so I won’t open that can of worms here.

My reviewing habit definitely got out of control. I was never late on reviews, never legitimately on those naughty lists. I always got them done… but it was extremely time consuming. At one point, I installed Grammarly and according to my weekly reports, I was writing over 50,000 words per week. That is insane. I edit novels that are around that length. Since I’ve stopped posting reviews on Amazon, I’m only writing about 5,000 words weekly. That should give you an idea of the volume of reviews I was posting just on Amazon.

Remember – Amazon isn’t the only place to post reviews. I still review on numerous other sites such as other retailers, traveler sites, etc. I’ve mystery shopped, I’ve test-stayed for Disney – this sort of thing is far from foreign to me. But Amazon is definitely the easiest and seemingly the most popular. Though, many sellers I’ve spoken to are exploring and moving to other avenues because of the mass ‘wipings’ Amazon seems to be doing lately.

Sometime in the last year or so, Amazon became really infamous for wiping accounts, seeming to “crack down” on the scammers, cheaters, etc. (You might notice this is around the same time they publicly came under fire for being infiltrated with fake reviews.) As a result, I watched this wave of panic take over the reviewing circuit. I realized that my time as an Amazon reviewer would run out – the question was when. It could be in an hour or another year. So I decided to make the most of it – hence those 50,000 words per week!

There wasn’t anything that triggered this attitude for me, other than the reality of the fact that – Amazon isn’t stupid. While I shop for literally EVERYthing that isn’t perishable on their site – at full price – I figured they still wouldn’t take too kindly to the thousands of promos I was using. Talk about taking advantage of my Prime membership – that free shipping isn’t cheap for them.

When it got to the point that people were creating Amazon accounts and buying Prime memberships just for the sake of being able to get free stuff, I knew Amazon would soon crack down. And they did. Hence all these infamous wipings.

While I, in theory, seemed safe, I figured in reality no one is. I’ve been a customer of Amazon since 2004. I’ve been a Prime member since 2009 and buying ALL of my household items, pet items and non-perishable grocery items on there ever since. Every month, my Subscribe & Save delivery is huge, every week I get several Pantry boxes – not to mention all of the other random things and the 8,000 eBooks, movies and TV shows in my cloud… Any time we need anything, Amazon is our go-to. I’m far from one of these bandwagon free-stuff seekers. The thing is, it doesn’t matter.

I reviewed my “legitimate” or promo-free purchases, just the same as my promo-purchases. I’ve never sold review items, I’ve never posted a paid review or a fake review. Amazon doesn’t know that. No one can know that – except for me. Amazon doesn’t know about the pages and devices full of notes I took, legitimately and honestly testing products before gathering said notes into honest reviews. I’m guessing they wouldn’t care if they did.

I did receive one warning. There was one time I reviewed a sleep mask, I remember it well. I got trigger-happy and hit “submit” before I’d finished the review! I thought, Shit! I’d left out the disclaimer! I immediately hit ‘edit’ and of course, added a disclaimer and saved the review. It didn’t matter. They emailed me stating that, because I’d left out a disclaimer, my review had been suppressed and if it happened again, I “might” have my reviewing privilege revoked. I emailed back and forth with them, explaining it was an honest mistake, which they could clearly see by my immediate edit. None of that mattered. I’d given them a reason to put me on notice.

That was over a year before I got wiped and to my knowledge, it was an isolated incident. I was never warned or reprimanded by them again. Until the dreaded message in which I was informed I’d been wiped.

One of my authors actually noticed before I did. I had a message from her, “Your reviews of all of my books are gone.” I knew in that instant that my time had come. I checked my email and found the confirming email. Of course I went through the motions of appealing. I even emailed Jeff Bezos and got a personal response that included an email for the Communities team that differs from the one everyone knows, encouraged to reach out. However, I never heard back from them, unsurprisingly. If they reversed their decision for me, they’d be more pressured / expected to do it for others. They’d lose some of the upper hand they have going on how. Plus, reversing my ‘wiping’ might send out a message that they do make mistakes. We can’t have that now, can we?

They’re citing “relationship with seller/author” in my case. They’re not wrong. When I love a book, if I don’t already know the author, I reach out to them. Social media has made that possible. Obviously, in order to obtain a promotional code from a seller for a free item, I’ve talked with them at least a little bit too. Depending on their definition of “relationship”, we all have a relationship with every vendor/author we’ve ever reviewed. More ambiguity.

While I was reviewing with the realization that it wouldn’t be forever, I always thought that when the time came, I’d be devastated. I had a lot of reviews to lose and a lot of time invested and I was really enjoying all of the free and deeply discounted goods. I was wrong.

The only way to make sense of changeAfter confirming that my profile was gone and I could in fact, no longer post new reviews, I felt relief. SO MUCH time had just been freed up. I realized I didn’t actually need anything. I never pitched sellers, just opted into fun things that came to me. So, I’m not really ‘out’ anything. I looked at it as taking what I could get and enjoying it while it lasted. Now – I do enjoy being able to try out the majority of my purchases without stopping to take notes and pictures along the way!

I had a great time while it lasted, and like most good things, it had to end some time.

There Is Life After Amazon !!!

Sellers still pitch me constantly, even though my profile has been gone for, I think it’s been about 6 weeks now. Many are sellers I’ve worked with before, but many are new to me. If the item is something I’m interested in, I explain that I cannot post to Amazon any more but I’d be happy to post anywhere else (my blog, other retailers, social media sharing, etc.). So I still review a ton – just not at the obsessive hoarder level I was at before. And a weight has definitely been lifted from my shoulders.

L.j. Redding – PelicanFreak


I remember being online the morning L.j. found out she was wiped, I felt devastated! I knew how hard she worked on her reviews and how much she loved doing them. I was so nervous to bring it up, I didn’t want to make her feel worse than she already did but knew I had to let her know that I was sorry she had been wiped. When we started chatting on Messenger, I could actually feel her relief myself! I could tell she was more relaxed and enjoying doing things she hadn’t had time to do in a while. She was baking up a storm, coloring, and of course, reading. And she was truly happy.

Don't be afraid to changeThere are many things that can help us through the unpleasant changes in our lives. Faith and hope come to mind. Sometimes it is our attitude that will carry us through the rough times. L.j. chose to be happy instead of bitter and allowed herself to recognize and acknowledge the actual relief she felt. I think the biggest lesson here is sometimes what we think we need in our lives, isn’t really what makes us happy. 

Thank you L.j. for sharing your story!


How about you? Can you think of a change in your life that you just knew was going to be awful but turned into something else?


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Reviewing 🌟 The Dust Has Settled, What’s Next? Even Better Things!

Reviewing 🌟 The Dust Has Settled, What’s Next? Even Better Things!

keep-calm-and-experience-serendipity🌟”Late Reviews”  🌟ARAT  

🌟Blogging  🌟Social Media

🌟Other Opportunities  🌟Amazon

🌟What’s Next!


 

🌟 “Late Reviews”

Keep calm and just say noI am still hearing about some people receiving pressure from Sellers or admins to finish reviews that you were holding off on. Keep Calm And Just Say No! It will in all probability be taken down by Amazon anyway and you could lose your account. Anything published after the 4th (I believe that is the date, they supposedly gave one day for the policy to go into effect) is subject to the new policy and if you didn’t use your own money to buy it, don’t review it. Let anyone that is pressuring you know that it is against Amazon policy and offer them an alternative posting on one of your social media accounts. If they are still adamant, I would consider reporting them.

If you did post a review after that date for anything that involved any type of agreement, I would delete it. That is my personal opinion only, I have no facts to back that up. I know I have always said in the past not to delete any reviews, but the rules have changed now.

As far as I am concerned, and the consensus among people that I trust, is that the dust has settled and it is time to move on from posting reviews involving anyone else at all, on Amazon. If you haven’t read my post Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews I really encourage you to. If you have read it, you should take a look at some of the Comments people have left.

I always love reading Comments, they are the favorite part of my blog. The additional information, corrections, questions, and insightful thoughts really make for great reading. We have had some really great participation the last 2 weeks, it seems to help when I write a post, lol. I love the interaction with you all, your thoughts and opinions, just learning more about you. Thank you!

🌟 ARAT

keep-calm-and-download-a-copy-of-your-reviews-with-aratIf you still haven’t backed up your Amazon reviews using ARAT, do it now. How To Back Up Your Amazon Reviews Using ARAT  It doesn’t take that long to get a copy of your reviews and you never know when they might come in handy! You have worked hard and you should always keep a copy of your work. Who knows, save it and in 20 years publish it as a “Remember When” funny commentary about products we used in the early part of the century! If you only have an iPhone or Mac and don’t have access to Windows, which is required by ARAT, contact me I will make a copy of your reviews for you. I do not require your Amazon password to do this.

🌟 Blogging

keep-calm-and-enjoy-blogging-5If you are planning on starting a blog and have a copy of all of your reviews from Amazon, courtesy of ARAT or your own foresight, you have ready made content! Just because they are still on Amazon today, doesn’t mean they will be there tomorrow. Remember, Amazon is sifting through the reviews with their new algorithm removing content if the Reviewer was excessive or did not follow policy. Amazon Removing Some Reviews

Even if you already blog, you might be like me and only have a small percentage of your reviews on your blog. Having more reviews on your blog is a great way to showcase your work to potential sponsors (Sellers who either give you products or money in exchange for a potential review or endorsement.)

If you need to start a blog I recommend WordPress. You can get a free account and they even have free templates. They have a great Support Forum too. I can post some places for free tutorials for WordPress and I can offer some support to other WordPress users if you have a problem with your blog. There are other places to get free blogs but I don’t know as much about them, if anyone wants to recommend what you use, I would be happy to add it to this post.

If you are looking for a company for a self hosted blog, I use SiteGround and have been extremely happy with it. It is only $3.95 a month. If you already have a blog but want to move for some reason, you can get free site migration and up to 6 months of free hosting bonus added to your new account for unused time with your current host. (Please note, I do receive a referral bonus, but that is not the intent of this post.)

🌟 Social Media Reviews

keep-calm-and-review-on-social-mediaSocial media just keeps growing and growing and Sponsors are taking advantage of people like us who are usually micro-influencers! A micro-influencer can sometimes market products more effectively than an Influencer who has hundreds of thousands of followers and up. (Blogging is technically social media but for my purposes right now I am keeping it separate because it takes more effort to get started.) If you haven’t already, create your social media accounts and start to build up your network, your followers and friends. The number of people in your network is one of the things that Sponsors look at when choosing who to work with. I will share some tips on how to do this if you want, in the meantime I would recommend these as the most popular social media sites to be on: Facebook with a Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. For YouTube you need a Google+ account which you may have already if you use Gmail. Do you have to do all of them, of course not! Especially if you are new to any of them, go ahead and create your accounts but concentrate on 1 or 2 at a time or you may quickly become overwhelmed.

As you are creating your new accounts, or even if you have existing accounts, think about branding. First of all, do you want your personal and review accounts as the same account? Second of all, think about your name. If you have a blog, your social media accounts should reflect your blog name in some way. This can get tricky, especially if your blog name is long, not all social media accounts allow the same number of characters in your name. Some of the services will let you change your name, on others it is harder to do, so think about it first.

🌟 Other Opportunities

keep-calm-and-review-on-other-online-retailersMany other online retailers have successful review programs. There are a few FB groups that I know of that are already working with many retailers, if you know of any that are looking for additional members, please let us know! I will share a list once I have the admins approval. There are also a few websites I can think of that put you in contact with different brands. So if you just enjoy the ease of posting on one site, similar to what many people did on Amazon, those opportunities are out there.

🌟 Amazon

keep-calm-and-keep-reviewing-your-own-purchases-on-amazonReviewing on Amazon is not going away. You can still review books. I plan to still review what I purchase myself. I just enjoy writing and it makes me feel productive. We buy an awful lot of things on Amazon because I am home bound and need an easy way to shop. I know some people feel like Reviewers have been treated poorly by Amazon and I agree that there are things they could have done differently. They have a huge challenge ahead of them to now improve their Customer Service from top level management down, not just at the Help Desk level.

However, they are still the largest online marketplace and a great place to show off your ability to write a well-written review and/or your talent making videos in order to be found by Sellers looking for people to do posts on social media. Don’t forget, you can still pitch to Sellers on Amazon to do reviews on your blog or other social media accounts.

🌟 What’s next for this little blog that started out to help other people learn about Reviewing on Amazon??? Well, it has turned into much more than I planned and I really love it. At times my health gets in the way, but no worries, I always show back up!

keep-calm-and-remember-that-life-is-about-the-map-we-follow-and-the-treasures-we-find-along-the-wayIf there is interest in learning about social media reviewing, I would be happy to share what I know and research what I don’t. There are lots of other things now that I talk about on this site and maybe there isn’t enough interest in reviewing anymore. I plan to send out a survey to see what you all are interested in. so you will really have to let me know what you all enjoy, want, and need. I love still being able to help other people because I learn so much myself along the way.

👑 Coming up I have some inspirational quotes, coloring links to add, craft ideas for colorists, some boring health updates (that help my soul to share, thank you!), and some re-blogging of some really wonderful things from other incredible people I have been wanting to share!

💗 Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


 

Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews

Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews

Last week I promised you I would be asking some specific questions about reviewing to Amazon and then sharing with you what I learned.  

questions-and-answers-with-amazon-about-writing-reviews-frostedI addressed my email to Jeff Bezos himself so that I could be sure that whatever answer I received was carefully considered and not just from someone at the Help Desk who may or may not really understand what I was asking, much less what the right answers are. I wanted an answer from a top-level executive at Amazon that I could trust.

After receiving my email, Jeff asked Jennifer P. (why does no one who works at Amazon ever use their full last name?) to respond on his behalf. Jennifer, who works in Executive Customer Relations, responded right away and let me know that she would need some time so that she could work directly with the Communities team on my list of questions.

Here is the text of the letter I sent to Jeff.  You can see full screenshots of the email that I sent and the emails that I received in response by clicking here.



Dear Mr. Bezos,

There are multiple emails from executives at Amazon circulating among the Reviewer Community that seem to contradict one another. By going straight to the top, my expectation is that I will have the answers that are needed so that responsible reviewers will be in compliance with Amazon’s policies.  I can then help distribute this to other responsible reviewers to share with as many other people as possible.
 
I am going to try and keep this cut and dried so that nothing is left to interpretation. All of these can be answered with a Yes or No.
 
1. Are hobbyist Reviewers going against Amazon policy if they use the services of a website, Facebook group, email group, or other organizations to come in contact with Sellers who are offering products at a lower than advertised price, as long as the TOS or rules of the business state that there is no expectation of a review in exchange for the product? 
 
1a. Once they receive the product and test it, are they going against Amazon policy to write a review?
 
2. Are Reviewers going against Amazon policy if they accept a gift that is shipped directly from the seller, and then write a review for that gift, as long as there is no expectation of a review?
 
2a. Are Reviewers going against Amazon policy, in the same situation as above, except that the gift is shipped via Amazon? 
 
3. Are Reviewers allowed to use gift cards supplied by a Seller to order products if they are for the full price of the item and nothing more, or are only promotional codes allowed to be used? 
 
3a. Just to verify, a gift card ends in 4 digits and a promotional code in 6 digits correct? 
 
4. Is a disclosure (disclaimer) required when you leave a review if it is written for a product you received at a lower price than what is currently advertised on Amazon if there was no expectation of a review when the product was offered?
 
4a. Does the disclosure have to stipulate whether it was free vs whether it was received at a discount, or is a general disclosure permissible? 
 
5. If no disclosure is required, isn’t that against FTC guidelines? 
 
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I know that if Reviewers have some concrete answers to these questions, you will find that every effort is made to follow the policy by the vast majority of people who write reviews. 
 
In the past, problems have gotten out of control because there was too much left open to interpretation. In fact, it would be wonderful that if a disclosure is required, you gave us a specific one to use. Just as the Vine Program is clearly identifiable by their badge and no disclosure is necessary, if hobbyist Reviewers had a common disclosure to use it would make things much easier for everyone. 
 
With My Sincerest Gratitude,
Lynn Marie White


As you can tell, I really took into consideration the questions I have read going around in all the different groups I belong to, questions anyone sent me, and things I read on message boards and forums.
I wanted everything to be very clear so nothing would be left to interpretation and no one could argue the facts. I really did try to  make it so specific that a Yes or No answer would be easy for Amazon to provide. Many of these executives are so used to speaking in legalese that perhaps they forget that for the average person, reading their TOS, Community Guidelines, or page about Promotional Content can leave some of us confused at times. I must say, they are getting better and I do think this last change in wording helps define our role more than it did previously. 

At times, change comes with chaos, though. There are so many emails from Amazon executives making the rounds that contradict one another, messages from the help desk that also contradict one another, and some that don’t even make sense. Maybe we should have a contest to see who has received the craziest answer to a recent question about reviewing from Amazon!

That chaos is only taking into consideration the written content from Amazon that I have seen. The rumor mill is out of control with all kinds of crazy speculation from Reviewers, Sellers, Admins, and website representatives too. I will caution you strongly to not believe everything you read and I hope that you have followed what I suggested when the news of the changes started making the rounds, Wait Until the Dust Settles! 

So what are the facts?


First email I received from Jennifer P. 

Hello Lynn,

I’m Jennifer of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your e­mail and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thanks so much for sharing your questions regarding Amazon’s review policies ­­ we appreciate our reviewers wanting to be in compliance and I’m happy to answer your questions.

Lynn, because I want to ensure you’re provided the most accurate response to each of your questions, I’m collaborating directly with our Communities team and it’ll take a bit longer than usual. I truly appreciate your patience and I’ll have a thorough response by 4 PM PDT on Tuesday October 11, 2016.

You’ve been a valuable member of our Prime family for 5 years and we appreciate your patronage. I’ll be in touch Tuesday and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

Best regards,

Jennifer P.
Executive Customer Relations

Second email I received from Jennifer:

Hello Lynn,

As you recall, I’m Jennifer of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations. I appreciate your patience while I collaborated with our Communities team regarding your inquiry.

We updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.

We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review, whether or not a review is expressly required. These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, promotional content is only allowed in limited circumstances, and must always be clearly and conspicuously disclosed as promotional content if not obvious from the context:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&…

Please note we do not have information in addition to what is already provided in our help pages and we’re not able to offer additional insight on these matters. We appreciate your understanding.

Best regards,

Jennifer P.
Executive Customer Relations

Thank you.
Amazon.com


 

blue transparent checkmarkThe fact is that unless you are in the Vine Program, do not write a review on Amazon for anything* that you have not purchased yourself with your own valid credit or debit card.  

I would recommend that you not even load up gift cards anymore and use those to make purchases, especially if you might write a review for the product. I know loading up gift cards can often entitle you to a credit, but now, your gift card purchase could result in a loss of your account privileges if you forget and write a review for something you ordered with it.

* There is one exception to this policy, if you are a bibliophile like myself, you will be happy to know that this does not apply to books. The following statement is from the Community Guidelines page. “Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.” A disclosure is required to be in compliance with Amazon’s policy in regards to Promotional Content. 

I understand that there are people telling us that it is okay to write a review because no one has asked for a review. Here is what Amazon has said that addresses that statement:

“We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review,
whether or not a review is expressly required.
These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review:”

I have been going through the multitude of emails I have received from websites and some of the groups that I have belonged to that ran promotions. I am sure you are getting them too. They are all saying that the rules have changed and they have changed with them. 

Many are changing their rules, guidelines, or TOS and saying that a review on Amazon is in no way required in order to receive a product promotional code through them. They are claiming that the choice is totally up to you whether you want to leave a review, and in fact, you won’t be breaking Amazon’s policy if you do leave a review. They are calling sellers and reviewers 2themselves shops and stores and you are now a shopper or some other similar term, anything but a Reviewer.

It is true that their rules have changed and they don’t require a review to get a code. You can go to Amazon and order the product, the code you get will work just like it did before. But if you write a review on Amazon, you are in breach of Amazon’s policy. I know some of you are thinking that there is no way that Amazon can track people who are doing this, there are so many Sellers and so many Reviewers that they will never be able to find out if you do,

My background is in software development and business management and I am telling you straight up that I know for a fact how easy it would be for Amazon to track this and wipe the Sellers and Reviewers who are participating in this type of activity, It is my opinion that the long periods between updates in rankings have not just been computer glitches or periods of time to just wipe groups of reviewers. They have used that time to upgrade their servers, work on their database structure, develop algorithms (software scripts that analyze data to do things like track Seller and Reviewer interactions, reviewing patterns, review content, Reviewer to Reviewer relationships, and anything else you can imagine), write and develop new software, test it all out, and assuredly have it up and running by now.

Amazon has already let us know that some of our reviews will be deleted retroactively if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy. You can read about that here in my post, Amazon Removing Some Reviews.  I really believe that the operative phrase there is “if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.” I do not think they will remove every single review all of us ever wrote in exchange for a promotional code. As long as both the Reviewer and Seller were in compliance when it was written, it should not be deleted. I know many people didn’t think about what a Seller might be up to and were just concerned about being in compliance themselves. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and it has been and always will be a symbiotic relationship, remember the article about Keyword Searching, Wishlisting, and Other Seller Requests where I talked about how working with someone who did these types of things put your account in jeopardy, even if you didn’t do the special request but did a review for them. It is too bad that at times we weren’t aware of some of the tactics Sellers used or the ones to avoid.

So, do we all stop writing Amazon reviews? No, if you really enjoy writing reviews there is no reason to stop, as long as you write the review for something that you paid for yourself. In fact, there are many reasons to keep writing reviews on Amazon, one of the most important reasons being your ranking. Having a solid ranking is still a great way for Sellers to discover you. I will share more about the other benefits of continuing to write reviews on Amazon later, this post is long enough as it is!

Promotions and free products are not going to go away. They have always been a successful way of marketing, especially for new products. In the future, I will be writing more about other social media reviewing and how to market yourself to Sellers differently now. 

Looking at the facts that Amazon provided, do you agree? Even here on my blog, I urge everyone to look at the facts. I always try to show some evidence if I am saying that things should be done a certain way or in explaining what something means. I can be wrong just as well as the next person, so don’t feel shy about speaking up if you disagree. None of us can learn if we don’t share our knowledge and beliefs with others and be open to discussion about those differences.

I am looking forward to this next stage of development and feel more confident knowing whether I am doing the right thing when it comes to writing reviews on Amazon. The uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of Amazon’s former TOS can be put to rest and we can move forward together. Even those unfortunate Reviewers who were actually honest and good at what they did, but lost their accounts, have huge opportunities moving forward.

Those reviewers who took advantage of the system are out of luck. A  Seller won’t be giving anything to someone who does nothing valid to promote their product.  On Amazon, some Sellers put up with it because perceived sells, the number of positive reviews, and many other metrics improved their Amazon ranking.  Social media reviewing is a whole other game, you need to know what you are doing and not just be a number to the Seller.

if-it-looks-like-a-duck-and-quacks-like-a-duck-then-it-is-probably-a-duck


Thoughts? I would love to hear what you think about this post and how Amazon responded. Do you agree with my conclusion? Do you disagree, if so, why? I love hearing from you all, it is the most important reason I do my blog so let’s hear from you!

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

We have a new map going forward with Amazon and Reviewing in general. You all are the treasures I have found along the way!


Reviewing :: Backing Up Your Reviews With ARAT

Reviewing :: Backing Up Your Reviews With ARAT

keep-calm-and-back-up-your-reviewsARAT, which stands for Amazon Reviewer Analysis Tool, was developed by Kirk Hodges as a tool for his wife to use. She is a hobbyist reviewer who enjoys writing reviews on Amazon like many of us. Talk about a great gift for your wife, way to go, Kirk!

In light of Amazon’s announcement (read more here) that they may be deleting some of our previously published reviews, many people are wondering what they can do to get a copy of their reviews. Having a copy of your reviews is always a good thing to have and is especially important right now. If you have copies of all of your reviews, it will be easy to turn those into a blog if you haven’t already. 

If you haven’t downloaded it yet, here is the link: ARAT kghodgessoftware  I use the full version myself. Kirk has provided excellent documentation on his website on how to download and use this great tool. 

I know most of you are just going to use it to download a copy of your reviews. It has some great functionality built in though that I will talk about when I post about being a well-balanced reviewer. 

I think this information posted on his website is a great overview:

Currently, ARAT provides functionality to:

  • Extract data from existing reviews in order to graph rating tendencies across reviews.
  • Store data from previous ARAT extractions in order to graph rating tendencies over time.
  • Organize data from extraction in order to chart voting behavior on reviews over time.
  • Analyze Vine selections to chart the reviewer’s review percentage on received Vine items.
  • Extract unrated purchase data in order to help the reviewer decide what to review next.
  • Automate extraction runs through a command line interface that can be programmed to run on schedule.

Along with the wonderful documentation, Kirk has provided, another reviewer recently made a video on how she uses it. A huge shout out to Meghan Robledo for allowing me to use this on my blog! Please take some time to check out her blog at Robledo Reviews. She is just transferring over from a different service, so give her a bit to have it moved and fixed up, but be sure to check it out! It is so kind of her to share this with us!

In regards to Downloading and Saving your reviews, Meghan shows you an excellent way. I do it a little bit differently so that everything is easier for me instead of being in Notepad. Once you have all of your reviews displayed on the ARAT screen, go to File ~ Print ~ Reviews. It will process everything into a file but it isn’t saved yet. Go up to the Print icon in the top left corner and click on that.  You could print everything out onto paper if you want, but I use the dropdown menu that will now be displayed and pick Print to PDF instead. I can then save an electronic file that is easy to work with, I just have to copy and paste the text into what I want. 


This will not work on Apple products. If that is all you have, let me know and I will see what I can do. You will have to give me your Amazon profile ID though in order for me to run a report for you. I don’t need your password, just the letter/number combination from your profile. 

Please let me know if you need any help. 


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon Removing Some Reviews

Amazon Removing Some Reviews

If you are a Reviewer on Amazon, some of your reviews may be removed. The key word here is may. Make sure you read until the end of the post to find out how to tell if any of your reviews have been removed and one way to save a copy of your reviews if you don’t already have one.

 

Yesterday Amazon sent out a copy of this email to all Reviewers.

amazonemail-we-may-remove reviews

Please read this carefully. It says that reviews are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy. If you followed policy before, you should not be affected too much, if not at all.  What is excessive? Of course, we do not know what they believe excessive is. If you are submitting more than 100 a month, that is probably excessive, but that is only my opinion. What was the policy they will probably be looking for? Having the correct disclosure displayed prominently on all of your reviews.

There is one other thing that may have been out of your control and could have gotten you wiped before now or will affect whether some of your reviews are removed.  Remember, you are not in this alone. Think about who you got the product from and what Amazon is also looking for when it comes to Sellers.  There are many Sellers who are losing their accounts too now. If a Seller loses their account, all of their product listings are taken down and so that means that your review is also removed. I know I have mentioned in several different posts about working with Sellers that you know do things that are against Seller TOS. Even if you don’t do their special request but do a review for them, Amazon only sees the data relationship between you.  They aren’t going to go to each Reviewer and ask you if they fulfilled a request for something special. They are just going to wipe those reviews that are associated with that Seller and product.

Remember, your disclosure has to have said if it was for free or if it was a discounted item. Having a general disclosure was not acceptable. An example of a general disclosure is: I received this as a promotional item. I received this for free or at a discount. I received this in exchange for the sample. The words free or discount(ed) had to be in the disclosure according to Amazon. For the full article about Disclosures, please click here. 

free-vs-discount-product-for-review-amazon-tos-changes

How will you know what Amazon deletes, if they delete any of yours? If you have not been keeping copies of your reviews or at know how many reviews you have written, now is the time to take notice. You can find the number of reviews you have written by looking at your Public Reviews Written By You page on Amazon. You have to be signed in to see this page. If the link is not working for you, you can get to it by going to Your Account and scrolling down to the bottom to Personalization. 

I use ARAT to keep track of my reviews, I will get a quick tutorial together on this asap for anyone interested. The directions the developer has written up are actually very good.  In the meantime, you can download it here: ARAT kghodgessoftware  It is a great analysis tool that not only lets you keep track of the reviews you have written, but run various reports on your reviews. You can also print copies of your reviews from ARAT.

keep-calm-and-dont-write-reviews-until-the-dust-settles
For now, I recommend you to take a break and relax. Do not do anything. At this point, we need to set back and see what happens in the next few days. I know some people and groups are urging you to write your reviews with no disclosure (or disclaimer as it is sometimes called). It is against the law to write a review without a disclosure according to the FTC. The FTC trumps Amazon. The fines can be very high if you are caught doing this. Even if you are writing short reviews on social media, they need a disclosure. 


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Valentia Fresh Mist Calming #Toner

Product Review :: Valentia Fresh Mist Calming #Toner


Valentia Fresh Mist Calming Toner – Natural and Organic Ingredients – with Witch Hazel and Vitamin C – Refreshing – Balancing – 4.0 Oz  from Valentia Skin Care


This toner makes me feel fresh and cool!

Valencia skin tonerI really love a good toner. If you don’t currently use toners in your beauty regime, I highly recommend you give one a try. This one is a fantastic one for anyone new to toners or a toner true believer like I am.  I love that it is full of natural ingredients that I have learned about and know from experience that they work. Magnesium, Witch Hazel, Vitamin C and Tea Tree Oil are all proven natural ingredients that are great for your skin and many other things.

Toners provide your skin with multiple benefits. If you use them as part of a beauty routine, it is best to spritz it on after cleansing your face and before applying moisturizer. A toner helps take your clean routine one step further by removing any remaining oil or dirt from deep down in your pores. A good toner like this one will help balance the PH in your skin, which helps it stay clear of bothersome acne. My favorite thing about a toner is that it helps minimize enlarged pores. The Witch Hazel in this toner is the perfect ingredient for that. It is a natural astringent. 

Valentia facial toner radianceI actually keep this toner by my sink and another on my nightstand and use it anytime I pass by, and especially when I need something to help cool me down. This toner has a light fresh scent that I love. If I am feeling the heat, I just spritz some of this on and then as the fan circulates by my bed, the moisture on my face and neck help to cool my whole body.  I actually use toner so much in the summer that I don’t need a lot of my moisturizer anymore.  In fact, for the last few months, I haven’t done anything special to my face beyond using a cleanser and then toner multiple times a day. My skin looks fresh and clear, and most importantly to me, my pores are smaller. 

Thanks, #valentianatural #toner

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this Valentia Fresh Mist Calming Toner – Natural and Organic Ingredients – with Witch Hazel and Vitamin C – Refreshing – Balancing – 4.0 Oz  for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon TOS :: Fact or Fiction, Again!

Amazon TOS :: Fact or Fiction, Again!


Amazon TOS ChangesAre the words Amazon TOS and change coming up in your thoughts and in discussions too much lately? Are you having trouble keeping up with the changes and don’t know where to go for answers right now? Are you feeling more and more confused? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone and I do have some great advice for you. 

I took a quick look around on the internet today and stopped in at some of the “watering holes” where reviewers congregate. I have read multiple emails from different companies and individuals involved with the Reviewer Community, many of from the Seller side of things also. I have read and re-read the new Guidelines for Amazon.com Community ParticipationThe section that affects those of us who love to write product reviews is under the Promotions and Commercial Solicitations section. 


Promotions and Commercial Solicitations

As that reads, it seems that writing a review is no longer allowed on Amazon if a review has been, or is, requested. I know I have many open reviews that I promised to do on Amazon, three of them are very expensive products and now the Sellers are left without a review. I have been trying out the products so I can’t return them, they are no longer new.

Do I publish them with a different disclosure, or maybe no disclosure at all?

Are the different sites where we often find products going to shut down and if they don’t are they breaking TOS?

Can Sellers contact us directly and ask us to review a product? Can we pitch to Sellers?

What about the FB groups and email groups, so many of them are handing out conflicting information, who is right?

The best thing any of us can do right now is to sit back and wait for the dust to settle.  My advice to you is to take a break and do not to publish any reviews on Amazon at all right now.  If you are on a deadline for something, contact the Seller and discuss different options like posting to social media. If you go to them with a plan in mind I think they will readily agree with you.  You do not want to make a mistake at this juncture and jeopardize your account.  If there is someone pressuring you to publish a review on Amazon, please consider whether or not that product, that person, or that group is worth the possibility of losing your account.

In the meantime, I am sure there will be more information forthcoming from Amazon, or at least from different people that have contacted Customer Service and have some verified answers to these questions and more. Consider this a vacation, you deserve one anyway! Take some time off from Reviewing and relax. Enjoy the Fall weather and the changes all around us. Do something special for yourself or a neighbor who could use a helping hand.

I will let you know what I come up with, probably sometime over the weekend or at the first of next week. I know that may seem like a long time when we are so used to being on deadlines and in a hurry. This is really going to be a time to reflect on if you want to continue writing reviews and then consider the best way to go about it if you do want to continue. If you still have an account after all of the wipes the last few months, so many of them senseless, then you really do need to do everything you can to safeguard your account. Giving yourself a few days to consider what you have learned and what I can verify is more than fair enough considering the major changes that have been made lately.

If there are other specific questions you are concerned about, please leave them below so I can gather lots of feedback at one time as I go about verification of  my own questions and yours. It is easier if they are shared here instead of individually through email, thanks!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon has once again changed their TOS. If you currently write product reviews in exchange for free or discounted products, the rules have changed and we will no longer be allowed to do this on Amazon. You can certainly still publish your reviews on other outlets, but it seems like the average reviewer will be out of luck when it comes to finding products to review.

If you have huge followings on social media sites, you may still have many opportunities available and it is not too late to build up those social media accounts if you would still like to review products.

If you enjoy reviewing books, you may still receive an advance copy, but they can not ask you to write a review. The Amazon Vine program is also not going away.

I see more emphasis being placed on their new badges of Enthusiasts but who knows where that will go. Encouraging people to ask and answer questions about products is not the way to go in my opinion. How many times have you read 6 answers to one question that all tell you the exact same thing or someone who answers that “they don’t know” to every question posted!

For myself, I am going to hang back and see where this leads. My blog gets pretty good traffic at times so I may still have the opportunity to publish reviews here. I have several commitments to finish in the meantime also.

Even without reviews, my blog won’t be going away. 🙂


Product Review :: Home Security Camera

Product Review :: Home Security Camera

Smarson HD WIFI Home Security Camera, Baby Monitor, App Controlled, Up to 5 Viewers

Easy set up, fantastic child monitor, loads of functionality

I ordered this WIFI camera to use in our kitchen and dining room area. We have had it about a month now and I am so happy with how it is working out. I have it paired with my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Bluetooth 4.0, Android 5.0.

We have other security cameras set up in the house and have tried to work with a few inexpensive cameras that were better off returned. My husband and I are both amazed at how easy this was to set up and with the functionality of this.

Advantages:
Easy to set up
No wiring needed, everything is through WIFI
Camera is easy to operate through app and camera
I can have 5 preset views
I can pan and zoom, left and right, up and down
Two-way communication
You can set up motion alerts

Disadvantages:
The directions could use some refinement when it comes to details. With a little common sense though it is easy to figure out.

If you are looking for a baby monitor I would highly recommend this. We have a camera in our youngest son’s room just so I can easily keep an eye on him. He is old enough now he doesn’t really need it but since my health makes it difficult to get around, it really helps. Since it is a fixed mount camera I can only see certain areas of the room. When he is anywhere on the floor playing or in his reading nook, I can’t see him. A camera like this would be much more helpful in a young child’s room as a monitor. With the two-way audio, you could soothe a young child back to sleep with a few comforting words without always having to get up.

The reason we wanted a camera in the kitchen once again has to do with my health. Since the stairs are almost impossible for me at times, my youngest does a lot of the leg work around the house for me. Now that he is in middle school, his chores have increased, especially in the kitchen. With the great features on this camera that make it possible for me to follow his every move, I can ‘virtually’ help him out with his chores by lending advice on the best ways to clean certain messes or where certain things need to be put away. He can hear me great without any added speaker on the camera. If you are handicapped, a camera like this can be extremely helpful with your older children as well as your younger ones.

We also like to be able to send our son to the kitchen for a snack and not have to worry about him getting into something he shouldn’t have. He loves sugary snacks but is borderline diabetic. If there is sugar in the house, I swear that child can smell it! Now I can watch and make sure he isn’t searching through the baking supplies or sneaking a treat his dad has saved for a special treat.

I haven’t been able to use it with any Kindle tablets but those are compatibility issues that many apps and hardware combinations are finding. A Kindle, or should I now say Fire tablet, runs on a hybrid Android system so not everything works as it is supposed to.

As far as rating this security system goes I would normally deduct a star for poor instructions but the actual ease of set up and use more than makes up for it. If we were able to rate with partial stars, this would probably rate at around 4.80 all things considered.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Smarson HD WIFI Home Security Camera, Baby Monitor, App Controlled, Up to 5 Viewers on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#smarssen


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way