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I feel like the time has come to write a review on Swagbucks. All of the information in this review is correct as I understand it as of March 2013, but like many reviews on Internet sites, certain data, such as the price of a voucher, may not be correct in the future, so please be aware.
Swagbucks is an American subsidiary of Prodege LLC, a multi-million-dollar Internet company. Swagbucks is a site where you can earn points (inventively called swag bucks, swagbucks, swag-bucks, et cetera) for filling in surveys, participating in the daily poll and NOSO, searching, playing games, watching videos, and fulfilling third-party tasks and special offers.
To be completely conclusive, below I will cover the various ways to earn with Swagbucks, including payment and other details. For reference, 1 swag-buck = 1 cent = 0.67 pence (as of March 2013).
Easy earns are the NOSO (no obligation special offers), simply clicking along rows of adverts (2 SB) daily poll (1SB), and toolbar (1SB) all of which you can only fulfill once a day.
Swagbucks is also a portal to various surveys: Daily Surveys are worth 70 SB, likewise, you can only fulfill one a day.
Trusted Surveys are worth variable amounts of SB, but you can do however many a day there are.
There are also surveys on the third-party special offer walls: Peanut Lab (PL) surveys are generally worth 60 SB, and you can do as many as there are a day; Ampario surveys are worth 85 (used to be 90) SB, Trialpay's opinion surveys are worth 24 (used to be 25) SB. You can do the latter couple once a day. Paymentwall has various surveys of variable amounts; you may fulfill them only once a day.
Special offers: from signing up to free trials to liking Facebook pages, they are varied amounts paid and frankly, erratically-crediting. They are third-party portals to various offers where you will often have to sign up for things - it is worth making a spam email account especially for this. You will have to learn how to put a support ticket in; generally PL (Peanut labs) and SP (Sponsorpay) are good with crediting; the others, less so. I have had experience with all wall customer service staff I think - some are rude, some are dismissive, but others are good, I suppose it depends on the time of day / type of issue you have. Occasionally entire walls have known to have spontaneously disappeared and reappeared at will.
Games and SBTV: Games pay 2 SB per 2 plays, and there is a wide range of games, with copyright-avoidant names like Four Leaves In A Row (Connect 4) and Klondike Solitaire. There are also game tournaments you may wish to participate in for 10 SB entry fee. SBTV pays 3 SB per 10 videos viewed, and generally the videos are of a mind-numbingly boring quality, such as 'How to chop an onion' (a favourite on the MSE thread).
Searching: You may win up to 4 times a day for searching (known as dubs, trips and quads consecutively). Usually one in the morning, two during the day and one during the evening; though full quads (and even trips) are as rare as their foetal counterparts. Swagbucks often seems to credit search terms randomly, so there is no precise word or phrase which will get you points every time. You can win anything up to 59 SB (the largest win I have seen).
Referrals: you can earn matching points for every referral's search win. Say you get your friend to sign up and they win 29 SB searching "why are there no surveys?" Both you and your friend will have earnt 29 SB. Occasionally Swagbucks will do a special period where you can match your referral's every point, from survey to poll, but this is exceedingly rare and I believe has only happened once, for their birthday. You can refer your friends or family via a special URL found on your account information.
Codes: occasionally Swagbucks will release a special time-limited code you can enter on the washing machine (shield, apparently) next to your total SB or alternatively via the side-bar on your ledger page. Codes are usually released via Facebook, twitter or hidden in Swagbucks blog posts. Codes are usually of low point worth, around 5 SB a time, but they are effectively 'free money'.
Shop & Earn: I've not personally used this but a few MSE thread people have. It is basically cashback in swag-bucks if you shop through certain sites, such as Holland & Barrett or Littlewoods. Personally, though it varies per £ spent, you are better shopping through cashback sites like Quidco or TopCashBack as Swagbucks does not offer a competitive rate of cashback compared to them. But still, it is a relatively easy way of earning SBs.
Daily Goal + Bonuses: not strictly a revenue stream, the Swagbucks site rewards frequent usage. Every day there is set a new target to meet, for example, to earn 80 SB in 24 hours, and if that target is met it will award you a bonus of 8 SB next month. If you fulfill a weeks' worth of goals, it will reward you 25 sbs extra; 2 weeks, 100 sbs extra; 21 days, 200 sbs extra; a months', 300; all + daily bonuses. Every new day (and the end of your time to earn the daily goal) starts at 8am UK time.
Videos: sometimes there are videos on the home-page that credit for an SB or two. Make sure your ad-block is disabled so you can see them.
Social Networking: You can also earn a little bit from participating on the Facebook or Twitter, for example, during set 'games'. I once won 100 SB for a joke - so it is possible, but it doesn't go towards your daily goal.
Tasks: Like many sites, Swagbucks has a portal to CrowdFlower, where you can do tasks for a small amount of money, such as searching for a site and recording information about it, judging the relevance of questions and answers, ect. Swagbucks doesn't pay the best for CrowdFlower tasks - only 4 SBs for Fisher Tasks (searching for Ken Fisher or Fisher Industry related websites) and about the same for the casino tasks (searching for various casino sites, released at midnight GMT), whereas other sites pay more for doing the same thing. Tasks also error a lot - not Swagbucks' fault, but annoying all the same.
Those are roughly all the ways you can earn with Swagbucks. But what can you spend it on? While Swagbucks would prefer it if you spent your heard-earned SB on their rewards store (Miley Cyrus digital wallpaper, anyone?) or prize raffles for TVs, games, ect, (enticingly called Swagstakes), the main attraction for me is exchanging SBs for gift vouchers and Paypal.. Many people go for either £5 / £25 Amazon Gift Cards, but there are Marks & Spencers, iTunes, Starbucks, et cetera as well as Paypal cash in equivalent denominations. You can also choose to donate to charity from as little as 5 SB.
As of 2013 the price of some popular gift cards are as below:
AMAZON / M&S: £5 - 849 SB (currently on sale, full price - 999 SB) AMAZON / M&S / iTunes: £25 - 4199 SB (currently on sale, full price - 4699 SB) PAYPAL £5 - 1049 SB PAYPAL £25 - 4949 SB
This may just be a jumble of numbers to non-users, but generally it is feasible to earn £25 AGC in a month without the monthly bonus. Others earn more; others, less. It takes around 7 - 10 days for a gift-card to arrive in your email, and longer for Paypal funds to be transferred.
Now, on to my experiences with this site and staff. As I said before, Swagbucks is an American site, and there is no British offshoot proper. However there is a British Facebook page (SwagbucksUK) and vouchers/Paypal available in £, so there are several Brits who use the site. I found out about the site through Money Saving Expert forums (MSE) and since then I have been an avid poster on that particular thread. Very simply I could not have stuck out the site without them - they are a big support network for me. Practically speaking, many people alert others to available special offers, codes, ect ect and just make it easier to earn with Swagbucks. So - to the people who know me off the Swagbucks thread - thank-you.
Another important aspect of the Swagbucks thread is moaning. Whining. Ranting. Because, very simply, Swagbucks is a frustrating site. There are many times when offers do not credit, surveys do not credit, surveys aren't available, there are site errors upon site errors, and of course the customer service, in a word, is lacking. For example, you could complete an offer or survey legitimately and through some site error, it could fail to credit, and after contacting support nothing would be done - effectively you have lost money as well as time and effort. Of course the best way to avoid this is to screenshot everything and cross your fingers when you click 'submit'!
There's also the fact American users have a lot more opportunities to earn bucks - print-out-and-use coupons, earning points for listening to the radio and even (the holy grail of cashback sites) shop and earn with Amazon (though official word is that 'it is just a trial'). This is not surprising considering where the site is based (California), but it is frustrating because British users have to earn more just to cash out at the lowest possible denomination.
As for the website layout, it is very slick, but slightly confusing, and reminds me of an old saying - all fur coat and no knickers - which is to say, it is very stylish, but many members would prefer Swagbucks plough their money back into enriching the site for its current users, rather than making things all nice and pretty to attract new ones.
Overall, Swagbucks is a relatively easy way to earn money. Since starting on the 12th of December 2012 and up to today, 3rd of March 2013, I have earnt a fair amount in gift-cards. However, my opinion of Swagbucks is less than glowing. As a website it is riddled with errors and irritating Americanisms, especially in the patronising nature of the mascots, Swag Guy and Swag Girl.
If you seek surveys, there are sites that pay more than Swagbucks does after commission, and likewise for tasks and special offers (I do like the games feature though). Special offers can sometimes contain spyware and viruses, so be careful what you download (I download nothing from it just to be safe). Not to mention that Swagbucks staff do seem very over-run with complaints and can take a very long time to get back to you - if they get back to you at all.
I am not employed at the moment due to health problems, and I must admit Swagbucks is something of a crutch for me - but ultimately, Swagbucks is a business, not some kind of game to play, and it is not always fun. There are often bad patches with surveys or offers, where nothing is available to do or everything seems non-crediting, and making the daily goal is impossible or takes hours and hours. For a pay-to-click site and search-to-win site, there is a lot to improve upon, but for the hour or two everyday I rack up on it, I do enjoy the rewards and I have met some great people from it.