Advantages Rewards are not "impossible" to achieve
Disadvantages Cost of prizes is slowly creeping up
I will start by admitting that I am easily sucked in by these reward schemes. In fact, you would probably be hard-pushed to mention one of which I am not a member. But, of the many sites I sign up for of this nature, there are very few that I actually continue to use.Of course, when I first register, I nearly always intend to remain an active member. There is usually something that has attracted me to the site in the first place, something that appears to differ from the others, like a generous referral bonus or a good amount of free points/money just for joining. However, as I start to collect points/money, I nearly always find a catch, and suddenly the rewards seem almost impossible to achieve. For example, half the time the majority of points to be obtained are from applying for loans. As tempting as the offer sounds, I prefer not to incur thousands of pounds worth of debt just to get a few points/pence. It amazes me that people actually take “advantage” of this offer, but I suppose they must do.
However, with Ipoints points are easy and fast to get. In fact, when you first join, without having to buy anything at all or give any card details to anyone you can obtain enough points to trade for anything up to £10 on Firebox.com. There are loads of other rewards available, this is just one example. And registering takes very little time at all.This is what first attracted me to Ipoints. None of the other reward sites I have signed up for ever gave me enough immediate points to exchange for anything, hence the reason I gave up after the first half hour. Another reason I gave up was because by that stage I had come across a link to another site that I had started to find more interesting, easily distracted as I am!
Back then (3 years ago), you only needed 100 Ipoints to get any CD/DVD from CDWOW.com up to the value of £6.99 (of which there were quite a few). And so, I was able to obtain a fairly regular supply of DVDs courtesy of Mr. Ipoints himself for doing virtually nothing at all.Then one day I was horrified to learn that the cost of DVDs had been raised to 140 points. This still was not too much of a problem, but nonetheless worried me slightly. And then, just a couple of days ago, as I went to collect another free DVD, I found that the points required for a CD/DVD are now no less than 300. Admittedly this is for any up to the value of £15, but I could feel my faith in the generosity of the site fading.
Don’t get me wrong, Ipoints is still a worthwhile site to be a member of. There are still plenty of easily-obtainable rewards, such as those of the aforementioned Firebox.com, but they are not as easy to obtain as before, and I would suspect that in 6 months time they will require even more points to obtain. Therefore I will make as much use of the site as possible before it becomes just another “impossible” points scheme.In general, the only referral bonuses Ipoints offers is that for each person recommended to ipoints, the referrer gets entered into a prize draw to win a large amounts of Ipoints. I don’t know about everyone else, but this does not particularly incentive me to rush out and rally up my friends to become members. However, until October 31st, Ipoints have got a referral bonus by which the referrer gets 10 points for every new member he/she refers, which makes for a good opportunity to stock up on your points.
When you get points, they are usually updated quite quickly. In fact, with some offers, the points update immediately. Those that are going to take a while to be credited generally say so before you sign up for the offer. Some points are earned from signing up for other sites, many of which are free of charge. On top of this, mini polls of around 4 or 5 questions regularly appear on the site’s homepage. These take literally 10 seconds to complete, and you earn 1 point for each. Another way to gain points is by applying for an Ipoints credit card (that’s right, more debt!). With this, when you first begin spending on it, you get a free 100 points, and then an extra 1 point for every pound spent on your card. They also have their own ISP, if you’re still into your dialup connection. For using them, you get 2 points an hour for daytime surfing, and 1 point for every 2 hours of evening surfing. Of course, you’d be much better off getting Broadband!The other way to earn points is, of course, the points equivalent to cashback on any purchases made on any of the sites linked through Ipoints. These are generally reputable sites, such as Amazon and CDWOW, ones that I would usually find myself purchasing from anyway. Therefore, when I do, I do it through Ipoints and so the extra points are just a bonus. Some of the sites listed are actually really cheap, notably Choices Direct, which has the cheapest collection of DVDs I have yet to find.
It always irritates me when I find a site difficult to navigate, having to search for an FAQ section or suchlike, and this will usually put me well off straight away. Thankfully, Ipoints is not one of these sites. It is laid out in a very clear fashion, the whole site being available from the homepage via clearly labelled drop down menus.Ipoints even have a search engine on their main homepage, which is quite handy. If you are looking for a particular product, you just type it into the search engine, which will search all of their listed sites for matches, so you can compare prices to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
One possible drawback with Ipoints, as with most sites of this kind, is the amount of spam you find in your inbox. I would say emails average around one a day. You might, however, find these useful, as most of them contain offers from which you can gain more free points. In the years I have been a member, I have never had any problems with my points been credited to my account. In fact, you have the option to view a statement of your account, listing every transaction you have ever made.So, if you have the patience and are bored enough to actually use these sites, I would recommend Ipoints, in the unlikely event you are not already a member. This certainly is a site where the rewards are realistically attainable (although not quite as much so as they used to be). A pleasant experience, until you work out how much time you have spent earning that CD! Happy collecting!
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