Is RebateKey Legit or a Scam

RebateKey is a digital platform that provides cash back, or a rebate, to consumers in exchange for purchases.  Often, the process encourages buyer feedback that sellers hope will encourage more consumers to buy their product.  Gone are the days of clipping coupons and watching for sales in order to save dollars on our favorite purchases.  Companies once relied on word-of-mouth and promotional tactics in hopes of acquiring new customers.  With the emergence of new technologies over the years, companies have been challenged with the task of being able to provide their loyal consumers with these same money-saving or reward benefits in digital form, as well as tackle what word-of-mouth has become digitally, which is reviews.  As a result, consumers are flocking to the use of rebate portals.  

Headquartered in San Diego back in 2018, RebateKey’s eCommerce sellers provide rebates to buyers on products as part of a campaign.  It began with a team of 30 different merchants who sought the opportunity to get in touch with the buyers most likely to enjoy and then promote their products.  Ian Sells, RebateKey’s CEO with a fitting name, once ran his own Amazon business and discovered that he could showcase new products, drive sales, and increase exposure with such a means.

All they needed was a platform.

What is a rebate portal?

Rebate portals provide buyers with the opportunity to receive up to 100% cash back on their favorite items.  Discounts often vary by portal.  New products are constantly being added.  Users can create profiles that allow them to search for their favorite products.  If a seller has a campaign featuring said product, buyers can sign up for the opportunity, place their purchase, and await their rebate.

Why does it work?

Everyone wants something for free, or as close to free as possible.  Rebate portals are attractive to buyers because they are able to purchase their favorite products either for free or at any exceptionally discounted cost.  It is generally encouraged, though not required, that buyers provide feedback for the product.  It is that (hopefully positive) feedback that sellers hope will help motivate others to buy their product(s).  The situation is a win-win for all.

It is suspected that the reason why RebateKey has grown so exponentially in the 4 years it has been in business is because small to medium-sized businesses were in need of a cost-effective way to get their products into the hands of consumers who will openly and willingly speak to the product’s benefits.  Sells, the CEO, understood how difficult it was to get products in front of customers.

While customers are required to pay up front for their product, that requirement is actually a huge benefit.  It indicates that the buy is genuinely interested in acquiring the product for use and not that they are looking for a quick deal.  Also, perhaps because of the additional steps it takes to build a rebate portal profile, submit proof of order, etc., it is presumed that these particular buyers are willing to go the extra mile and put in extra time and effort surrounding a purchase that others may not, such as leaving a positive review.

How does RebateKey work?

For an Amazon campaign, sellers can initiate campaigns within RebateKey  and then submit them for approval.  

  • Once approved, products appear available for purchase at the rebate price 
  • Buyers click on link for product purchase directly on Amazon.com
  • Buyer has one hour to provide RebateKey  with Amazon order number or “rebate key”
  • After 35 days, RebateKey  sends a check for the rebate amount to the buyer
  • Seller monitors approval or notification of cancellation within that 35-day timeframe

RebateKey even has solidified a partnership with Chrome with the introduction of an extension.  The extension alerts the users who have it installed when products that they are reviewing on Amazon marketplace are available as a campaign on RebateKey.  One of the best features of an extension is that consumers do not need to log into the rebate portal separately, or remember to research within the portal, or search for campaigns that apply to their needs.  The Chrome extension simply informs the consumer whether or not the product under their review qualifies under a campaign in the rebate portal.

Does RebateKey work with anyone besides Amazon?

Yes!  RebateKey has partnered with several conglomerates in order to stay competitive.  These include:

  • Walmart
  • Etsy
  • Shopify
  • eBay
  • Jet

Is it legit?

Yes!  Amazon is super strict regarding sellers that dish out free or discounted products in exchange for a positive review.  On RebateKey, buyers only need to provide proof of purchase by submission of that Amazon order ID, or rebate key.  They do not need to leave a review at all, let alone a positive review, nor do they need to provide proof of such at time of rebate request.  The platform does not even encourage reviews, unlike some of its competitors.

According to reviews that have been provided online, users have successfully received the intended product as well as the rebate check, so the site can be trusted. There have been some instances of sellers claiming that orders were cancelled when in fact they had not been, and no amount of proof from the buyer was sufficient enough for the rebate portal who ultimately sided with the seller.

These issues, however, are few and far between.  For the most part, both buyers and sellers alike are seeking a genuine opportunity to help each other out.  The buyer gets the product they want, they also acquire cash back, the seller gets a promotional opportunity, as well as a possible future returning customer, and everybody wins.

What’s in it for the seller?

Plenty.  Some might wonder why sellers are willing to give away free or highly discounted products with no real pay-off for them.  To sellers, it is no different than setting up a table at a festival and giving away promotional items in hopes that the consumer:

  • Will enjoy the product and trust their brand
  • Will promote and discuss the product openly, maybe particularly because it was free
  • Will trust this particular company for future related product needs

In short, giving away promotional items could result in future customers across both the recipient of the product themselves as well as their friends, family, and everyone who reads their potential online reviews.  Rebate portals are responsible for millions of dollars paid out over the last few years.  Over one million rebates have already been claimed.  A great deal of consumers will admit that they are likely to search for promotions or coupons prior to making a purchase and even more shoppers are more likely to buy a product at all if a rebate is being offered.  The bottom line is that people love saving money, and 95 million of those people are Amazon users.  Amazon sellers should use rebate portals to their advantage, getting their products into the hands of positive, influential consumers who may help to increase revenue and exposure.

Should I promote my products on RebateKey?

Of course!  Marketing is crucial to getting your product name out there, and rebate portals such as RebateKey guide you by putting you in touch with your target audience.  Marketing efforts need to evolve as much as products and technology have over the years, so rebate portals are just a platform for doing so.

As is the case with most options in this world, there are pros and cons to the system.  Not every rebate portal system is flawless, nor is the rebate process. 

Pros

  • RebateKey provides payment instead of seller
  • Does not violate Amazon TOS
  • Messaging feature between sellers and buyers
  • Window allots for cancellations/purchases are valid
  • Promotes traffic to your Amazon store

Cons

  • Customer service is available via online chat only
  • Rebate checks can be capped per product
  • Fee of $2.95 per product sold

Should I use it as a buyer?

Absolutely.  Particularly when used for products you are already likely to enjoy, RebateKey is a convenient means of getting cash back.  It is natural to assume that some things are too good to be true, but it is relieving to know that rebate portals are just using a modern means of providing coupons and deals to its consumers.  People used to physically walk into stores and share paper-clipped coupons with the cashier.  Now that people are buying so much online, there’s no reason why sellers can’t extend the same sort of discounts and coupons they had in the past.  Now this just happens to be in digital format.

Pros

  • RebateKey provides payment instead of seller
  • Your favorite products are up to 100% cash back
  • No need to leave a review
  • No additional fees beyond your Amazon purchase

Cons

  • Customer service is available via online chat only
  • Rebate checks can be capped per product
  • Waiting period before receipt of rebate
  • Questionable sellers claiming orders were cancelled when they were not

Are there other rebate portals?

There are several other rebate portal options beyond RebateKey.  Some of RebateKey’s competitors include topcashback, Rebaid, ExtremeRebate, FullyRebate and more.  As noted previously, the amount of cash back opportunities varies by portal.  Most generally aim to stay within Amazon’s TOS since they risk being banned if they were to go against these.

Samurai.Social is a newer rebate portal that combines rebate opportunity with today’s influencer fad.  It encourages users to participate as they already naturally influence the friends and family around them.  It does not require buyers to leave an Amazon review, so it fits ideally within Amazon’s TOS.

What’s particularly attractive about Samurai.Social is the opportunity to promote for sellers above and beyond via a potential positive review.  While companies are using platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to hire influencers specifically to promote their products, Samurai.Social is turning the promotional opportunity into a social mission.  

What other campaigns does Samurai.Social offer?

As is suggested in the name, Samurai.Social offers more than the opportunity to earn a rebate check.  It encourages sellers to connect with buyers on a level more personal than cash back and positive reviews.  It encourages validity and therefore indirectly promotes quality within its sellers’ products.  On a platform where every end user is considered an influencer.  Buyers can elect to use their own social media profiles to promote products in exchange for receiving the product at a fully or largely discounted rate.  Options range from Pinterest to Instagram to Facebook.  There are also options to create blog posts.  The intent is to morph followers from any of these platforms into consumers.

Final thoughts

While rebate portals are currently running rampant, some portals are more reliable and moral than others.  For example, competitors such as ExtremeRebate encourage the creation of positive reviews in order to continue to use the platform to access products.  Its locking mechanism prevents buyers from acquiring too many products without first leaving a review.  While the review does not need to be positive, ExtremeRebate’s algorithm will rate you as a negative buyer.  Therefore, sellers will be less likely to work with you in the future.  So, while competitors are still adhering to Amazon’s TOS, some of them have more questionable means than others when it comes to providing a moral, 100% reliable and truthful service.

If you are looking to generate sales then consider Samurai.Social, SnagShout, Jumpsend or Vipon

Samurai.Social’s genuineness is evident to both buyers and sellers.  It is obvious how impactful it is for an “everyday person” to openly share a product on their actual social media page than it is for someone to be able to hide behind a user name and a few stars on a site as general as Amazon marketplace.  It is clear that Samurai.Social seeks to adhere to Amazon’s terms of service and that its makers are looking to support genuine partnerships among buyers and sellers.  Through the promotion of honest, unsolicited feedback, Samurai.Social’s unique take on the rebate portal era is unparalleled and they will surely grow to make a name for themselves within the rebate portal realm.

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