01 Sep 14 10:45 pm
There are a few ways around this.
1) Once you've got your site up and running and looking good, approach the merchant and ask for a review copy of the product. If your site looks legit, a lot of merchants will say yes.
2) If you cannot get your hands on a copy, you could write a "roundup" review, where you report on what other people have said about the product. If it's available in Amazon, look at the reviews. If there are testimonials on the merchant site, you could quote parts of their reviews. (If you're quoting other websites, I'd strongly recommend giving attribution so they don't get annoyed or think you're trying to steal their stuff.)
Essentially you can pretend you're a journalist, and your job is to find out what people think of the product you're promoting. Write your article from that perspective. You don't have to pretend that you've tried it yourself.
3) Compare products. You can usually tell from the sales copy what sort of features a product will have. You can compare it to other products in the niche to show how it stacks up. This doesn't require that you pass judgement on whether the stuff is good or bad, you're just talking about whether this particular feature exists or not. If you can't easily find this information in the sales copy, you could email the merchant and ask.
4) Instead of a product name review, you could do a product type review. (Instead of "Amazonian Banana Diet Review" you could do "Best weight loss diets".) Then compile a collection of products that fit into that category and list them on a page. Eg, I was looking at this page earlier today: http://www.testing-web-sites.co.uk/2013 ... usability/
^^^ This site above doesn't even write ANYTHING about the products. It just gives a screenshot of each, with a link to the website. I don't think it's an affiliate site, but imagine if all those products were affiliate links? And this page ranks #1 for "heat map tools".
Even if you can't get your hands on the product, there's no reason why you can't capitalize on the huge buyer intent for these kinds of keywords.