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I joined Swagbucks.com approximately four months ago now, and I’ve been paid a total of four times by this site during that period, which is pretty impressive in my opinion. In case you’ve never heard of Swagbucks, it’s basically a rewards site. It offers cash/prizes in exchange for a currency called Swag Bucks which is earned through a combination of web searches, online shopping, polls and special offers. Before you back away in horror fearing a deluge of junk in your inbox, let me reassure you that it’s not like that at all - and you can pick and choose your path through Swagbucks so you receive no junk mail at all if you so wish.
***WHAT IS SWAGBUCKS AND IS IT A SCAM?***
In a nutshell, Swagbucks is a search and win site, with various other rewards on offer too. In their words “Swagbucks.com allows web users to earn virtual currency by doing the things they do every day - search the web, shopping at their favorite retailers,and by engaging in other activities such as phone recycling, submitting polls, and completing special offers. Swagbucks.com is the only place on the web to get what you want without ever having to spend a dime.” Sounds good? Well parts of it certainly are.
I’d say that the main reason why anyone would join Swagbucks is to earn points for web searches. Now I can imagine you’re thinking Paid to Search sites have almost as bad a reputation as Paid to Click sites. You put in hours of work pointing and clicking, reach their payout threshold and then sit back and wait for a big fat nothing as the site fails to respond to your ever-increasingly irritated and desperate emails demanding payment (did anyone mention Bux.to?). Some of you may have been a member of the now defunct Paid to Search site Home Pages Friends (also known as My Search Funds), which was ever so slightly dodgy (Home Pages Friends did pay me in the end, but it took an age and constant emailing, and I was never entirely convinced I’d ever get my dosh). Then there’s another Paid to Search site called InterADmedia, which a Google search reveals many have found to be a scam and recommend avoidance. However, I’m happy to say that Swagbucks does seem quite genuine and the programme does work on many levels. I can offer no better proof than the fact I’ve been paid a total of four times by this site in less than four months of participation.
***WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?***
At Swagbucks you can earn points…not surprisingly known as Swag Bucks… and you use your Swag Bucks to purchase rewards in their store. If you don’t want to spend your rewards in their store, you can gamble them away on their Swagstakes. Swagstakes are where you use your Swag Bucks to enter prize draws to win various different prizes on offer. For example, at the time of going to press you can spend 20 Swag Bucks as your prize draw entry for a $2,500 Amazon.com gift card, or try your luck with using 1 Swag Buck to win 25 Swag Bucks, or use 20 Swag Bucks to enter and win a Glee DVD (why would you want to?!? I’d rather put my head in a rabid dog’s mouth….).
I’m not much of a gambler so I tend to save my Swagbucks up until I have 700 of them and then exchange them for $5 into my PayPal account. If you prefer an Amazon voucher you can redeem 849 Swagbucks for a £5 gift voucher at www.amazon.co.uk. Annoyingly, you can get a $5 gift voucher redeemable on Amazon.com for just 450 Swagbucks….but us UK residents are not eligible to request this reward, and we have to use more of our precious Swag Bucks to cash out via PayPal or Amazon UK. It’s rather mean of Swagbucks to penalize us like this as I’d be more than happy to get vouchers for Amazon.com (that way I could order the DVD for Season 6 of Grey’s Anatomy when it’s released
Pictures of swagbucks.com
later this month…). Unfortunately many of the rewards on offer in the Swagstore are only available for US residents, so before you get too carried away looking at all the electrical booty, it’s best to click on the prizes for UK residents section. After all many of the games and accessories are likely to be formatted for the US, and may not work in the UK and also, you will be responsible for any incoming taxes or duties if the Customs and Revenue man doesn’t believe it’s a free prize/gift. In the UK residents section, there are a lot of posters on offer which will probably not be of much interest to non-US residents, being mainly baseball or basketball players we’ve never heard of. However, if you click on the gift vouchers section, then you’re more likely to find something to your liking.
Once you’ve chosen your prize Swagbucks will email a confirmation to you quoting 14 business days before delivery. However, I’ve found that funds tend to be transferred into my PayPal account within 7 to 10 days at the most.
***HOW DO I JOIN?***
So now I’ve given you a brief rundown on the site, you may wish to join. Signing up is at www.swagbucks.com and you click on the link entitled “Want to be a Swaggernaut?” (err no not really…I’ll just have a normal account please….), or you can ask a current member to invite you (please ask me if you would like a referral). Registration is simplicity in itself - name, email address, country of origin and date of birth. Membership is for anyone aged 13 and above and is limited to one account per household only. At the moment they are only accepting members from US, Canada and UK, but that may change in the future.
Swagbucks will give you 30 Swag Bucks as a welcome to the site, and you can then start earning from that moment forward. I must say that the Swagbucks website is massive and there’s a lot going on at all times. I can still find it rather bewildering four months on, and it takes a while to learn how to navigate your way around it.
***THE TOP WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SWAGBUCKS***
OK, so you like the sound of Swagbucks and want to join. How do you amass as many Swag Bucks are you possibly can? There are numerous ways to rack up your Swag Bucks, some of which I’ve tried…. and many of which I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole for fear of an invasion of all things junk mail like. Below are my top seven ways of collecting Swag Bucks in order of success and frequency.
Number 1 - Search and Win Doing the odd random search (I often find famous actors or actresses win for me!) will reward you with Swag Bucks. This is by far the quickest and easiest way to earn Swag Bucks. The site has a search engine which is powered by Google and Ask, and gives you the chance of winning Swag Bucks for random searches. Now it’s no good undertaking 10-15 searches in quick succession as you are unlikely to win anything at all…or only 10 Swag Bucks at most. I’ve been keeping an eye on my searches in the last week or so, and I reckon there’s a definite limit on the amount of winning searches you can undertake in a day in this site. I reckon you can only *ever* win a maximum of three times in the space of 24 hours. So it’s best to just use their search box every now and then; but you’ll still be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you can rack up the old Swag Bucks.
When you search and win, the least you’ll get is 5 Swag Bucks, but it’s more often 10-12 Swag Bucks. On Fridays, Swagbucks hold a Mega Swag Bucks Day, where they double the points on offer and you could find yourself winning up to 50 Swag Bucks. The most I ever won was 51 Swag Bucks and the least just 5. When you win, a congratulations message comes up on the screen with an image of some Swag Bucks bank notes showing the amount you’ve won. You are then given a choice of returning to the full search results or you can click on a link requesting a confirmation of your reward to your email inbox. Your name also appears on Swagbucks home page showing you’ve just won….and your Swag Bucks total points are automatically updated. One word of warning about the Swag Bucks search engine though, the results are very geared to the good old U S of A, and you are likely to have to have to trawl a good way down the page to find a seemingly relevant UK link.
Number 2 - Daily Points = 4 Swag Bucks per day
• Tool Bar = 1 point per day - When you join Swagbucks, it’s a good idea to download the Swagbucks toolbar. It’s very easy to do and it sits unobtrusively at the top of your screen. Swagbucks will reward you with 1 Swag Buck a day just for using it. Added to which, it’s an easy tool to search with and it gives you an up-to-date total on your Swag Bucks account. It also has links/buttons on it to take you directly to different parts of the Swagbucks site.
• NOSO (stands for No Obligation Special Offers) = 1 point a day - A daily view of their NOSO gives you 1 Swag Buck. Most of these offers require you to sign up so that they can send you junk emails for the rest of your life….but you can be cunning and just click “Skip Offer” or “No” and you’ll bypass the junk and get 1 Swag Buck. You need to skip 5/6 adverts which takes literally 30 seconds.
• Trusted Surveys = 1 point a day - By clicking on the link to Trusted Surveys, you’ll get 1 Swag Buck just for visiting. Sometimes there will be some surveys you can take part in (usually offering anything from 50 to 100 Swag Bucks *if* you qualify). However, the operative word here is *if* - some of the surveys are very hard to qualify for, and if you do complete the survey, the points are not automatically credited to your Swagbucks account, but sit pending somewhere in the ether forever and a day. When Swagbucks first introduced surveys, the Swag Bucks were immediately credited to your account upon successful completion of the questionnaire. Nowadays you get a message telling you your answers need to be verified before you’ll get your points…and that never seems to happen.
• Daily Poll = 1 point a day - There is a daily poll every day at Swagbucks, which credits you with 1 Swag Buck for answering. They’re easy enough to answer, but tend to be very US focused. No matter if some of the questions and answers are bizarre – you still get your Swag Buck!
Number 3 - Swag Codes Swag Codes are available randomly on the site and only for a limited period. Finding a Swag Code and entering it on the site usually gives you 5 Swag Bucks. If you download the Swagbucks toolbar, it will alert you if there is a message from The Swag Guy with a Swag Code (all very gee whizz I must say….). I’ve managed to find and enter about 5 or 6 Swag Codes during my four month membership of the site, but most of them have expired by the time I spot them. Being a US site based on the West Coast of USA, many of the codes become live whilst we’re all tucked up and asleep in good old Blighty, so unless you’re an insomniac or a night owl, then chances are you will miss out on a good few of their Swag Codes.
Evidently there is a Swagbucks Facebook page and all sorts of mobile phone Apps that can alert you to the possibilities of additional Swag Bucks or Swag Codes, but I can’t be bothered with that amount of phaffing about just for a few measly Swag Bucks.
Number 4 - Invite friends If you invite your friends to join Swagbucks, then every time they win some Swag Bucks you will too. This process has no time limit and continues until your friend has earned 1,000 Swag Bucks. Referrals are carried out by you giving your friend’s email address to Swagbucks who will then send your friend a one-time email inviting them to join the site. If you would like to be referred to the site then do please ask me.
Number 5 - Special Offers Similar to many a cash back site, there are all sorts of special offers on Swagbucks, where you can sign up and earn Swag Bucks. The usual suspects like Love Film, SnapFish or Weight Watchers are there. However, do be aware that before you get busy signing up to everything under the sun, that many are US based, and you may not get your Swag Bucks as a UK resident. Also, do be aware that signing up to everything may result in a lot of junk in your inbox, so it’s always best to use a throw-away email account rather than your main one.
Number 6 - Shop and Earn There are around 200 stores on Swagbucks where you can earn 2 Swag Bucks for every $1 you spend. However, they are mainly US based stores and not particularly relevant for the UK shopper.
Number 7 - Trade In I’ve not used this part of the site at all, but evidently you can trade in your old mobile phone, MP3, video games or console player in exchange for Swag Bucks. I keyed in the details for my 6GB purple iPod Mini and they offered me 275 Swag Bucks…..not an offer I’ll be taking them up on!
***WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD?***
The site is very US orientated - the language, polls, shopping opportunities - in fact everything is geared to the US account holder. Many of the gifts on offer are only eligible for US residents and you do need to pick your way carefully through the site to make sure you actually qualify for any specific prize or gift, or that they will ship it here. A prime example of this is the $5 voucher for Amazon.com costing you just 450 Swag Bucks but only being available for US members. Us Brits have to save a further 350 Swag Bucks in order to earn $5 via PayPal….and that’s rather unfair :o(
Once again, UK members will find themselves penalized through simple geography. The site is located in California and the eight hours difference in time zones means that any Swag Codes tend to appear on the site in the early hours of the morning and they have usually expired by the time we get up in the UK.
Although the search and win aspect of the site is good, some of the search results are very much geared towards the US market and you will need to scroll down the page to find a UK relevant link. Sometimes the search results just make no sense at all, and it’s easier to go back do a proper Google search and bypass Swagbucks totally.
If you’re in the habit of undertaking simple online searches you could do a lot worse than using this site, as there’s always the chance you’ll win the odd Swag Buck or ten. Navigate your way around the bits that are not applicable to UK residents and Swagbucks becomes a very easy way to earn a regular gift voucher or PayPal payment. I recommend downloading the Swagbucks toolbar as it’s a simple reminder to use Swagbucks to conduct your online searches, and a great way to watch those Swag Bucks mounting up. It’s quite a fun site to use and winning Swag Bucks or finding Swag Codes is quite satisfying….. in a geeky sort of way. Recommended with three stars.
Some simple Do’s and Don’ts to make the most of your membership
Do Download the Toolbar - it’s a handy way to search and you get to spot any new Swag Codes Do Remember it’s a US based site so you will not be eligible for some opportunities Do Use a throw-away email account to sign up - that way your main address inbox won’t fill up with too much junk mail from any offers you sign up for
Don’t Undertake 97 consecutive searches in the hope of winning masses of Swag Bucks - you won’t ever win more than three times a day…and you may possibly get banned for site abuse Don’t Take too much notice of the search results - they can be a bit odd for a UK resident Don’t Take the site too seriously…it’s only a bit of fun :o)
*** THE DETAILS ***
Swagbucks is owned and run by Prodege LLC, which is one of the internet's “leading providers of branded and incentivized reward portals” (their words, not mine…far too much spin in that sentence….)
Swagbucks.com P.O. Box 2748 Redondo Beach California 90278 USA
i signed up to this a few months ago and have earned just over 500 swagbucks so far. the website is okay but i seem to get rejected from lots of surveys and the fact that i have to watch an advert every time i want to play a game is annoying. i guess i will like it more once i have built up enough swagbucks for a paypal voucher