I've begun to see a trend from manufacturers and service providers that can benefit you at home. As the power of the online channel grows and companies become more focused on digital reviews to build brand trust they are turning to you for help.
More and more businesses are offering their products or services for free or deeply discounted in exchange for you posting an honest and unbiased review of their product/service in a timely manner.
Etekcity I ordered from Amazon. In the box was a card inviting me to become an "Etekcitizen". The program lets me select from up to 9 products a year for free (including shipping) in exchange for my posting reviews on Amazon.
Sign up was fast and painless. I think this is a huge win since I tend to review everything I buy on Amazon anyway to help other consumers make more informed decisions, and rely on reviews from others to help me differentiate between similar products when looking to purchase.
Checking out the current offers I can choose from a couple of different digital bathroom scales, a digital kitchen scale, a digital MP3 & voice recorder, knife sharpener (Wish I had known before I bought it!), and a portable digital hanging luggage scale. (Handy for avoiding the gouging airlines do when your bag is 1 pound over the limit) The items change regularly.
Since I get to pick from the catalog it means I'll get stuff I actually want. The fact that they are giving it to me knowing I will use my public voice to help influence other consumers purchasing decisions leads me to believe they are confident in the product quality. (If the knife sharpener is any indication they are right to be confident.) If the products aren't any good I'll be declaring it publicly and what marketing department wants that?
So in the end I get something I wanted anyway delivered to my door without spending a dime.
Pretty powerful stuff, and I hope you avail yourself of it. Call it my little gift to you.
-The Home Geek