Consumer research is becoming an increasingly more popular way for companies to reach out to their target customers. After all, who knows better what a consumer wants from a product than the consumer themselves? The advance of technology and the use of the internet has made it easier than ever for companies to get in touch with their consumers, particularly in the form of online surveys, and something some of us call "try and tells."
A try and tell is a program in which the consumer is a sent a product, usually for free or at a good discount and in return the consumer shares their opinion about the product (both positive and negative) with the company and with people they know. Sometimes you get additional compensation, and sometimes it's just the free product. Since there are products out there for pretty much all ages, many of these programs are open to anyone who wishes to participate. I would like to share a few companies I am familiar with that facilitate these type of programs.
BzzAgent--BzzAgent is probably one of my favorites. The way it works is that you get an invitation to join a BzzCampaign, you accept it, BzzAgent sends you the product to try for free (and I'm talking full-size products here), then you "spread the word" via the BzzAgent website. You can do this by review, Twitter, Facebook, blog or word-of-mouth.
If you sign up for BzzAgent, I advise you to also sign up for MyPoints, since BzzAgent gives MyPoints for completeing various activities. It's not much, but after a while the points can add up and you can get a little something, like gift cards. The real perk, however, is getting to try out free products!
Vocalpoint--Vocalpoint is a review site that occasionally sends out free samples. Often you must opt in to these as there are sometimes a limited number. Vocalpoint will send out an email to its members asking them to claim a sample if they want one. Many of these are trial size items. Sometimes you will get full size samples, and in this case, they will send you a coupon to get the item free. In exchange, Vocalpoint would like for you to share your opinion about the product, either by review or survey.
ExpoTV--ExpoTv is a video review website. Note: I have only recently joined this one and have not actually "verified" it. It seems promising though. ExpoTv gives you "points" for doing video reviews on things you already have and you redeem these points for things like gift cards. 600 points equals approximately $5 and most reviews seem to pay 500 points.
ExpoTV have a program called "tryology" in which they will send you products to try and do a video review on. This site deals only with video reviews, so if you do not have a camera with video capabilities, or are unwilling to post videos, this program isn't for you.
These programs are fun, rewarding programs and completely free to sign up for. You won't make much (if any) money off these, but you can get to try products for free which is always nice. So, try away and have fun. :-)