Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting the most from Swagbucks

I've already discussed Swagbucks in this blog (see: legit free stuff part 2), and I strongly recommend using it. If you've signed up, or are thinking of signing up, here are some tips for making it work for you.

be patient
I have been on Swagbucks about 3 months, and I've found it takes me 2-3 weeks to get enough SB for a $5 gift card payout (hands down the best reward on the site.) Sometimes you get lucky, though (I actually made $10 worth this past week alone!)

play often
Doing a search on SB every 4 hours or so is the easiest way to get points (once you get some points for a search, wait another few hours before trying again.) Don't spam or keep refreshing the same search; you'll get served with the "rules" screen and eventually booted from the site.

There are a few things you can do daily to earn small amounts of points. They have a toolbar you can download, and at least once a day just opening your browser yields 1 SB. I use Firefox most of the time, so I just installed it (and other such rewards toolbars) on IE. I only open up IE when I feel like paying attention to those particular sites. You should also participate in the daily polls (1 SB per day) and the "no obligation special offer viewing" (1 SB per day. Go to Ways to Earn > Special Offers and click on the red "Go Now" button. Skip everything and get 1 SB.)

special offers
Swagbucks has tons and tons of "offers" you can complete for points. Some of them are sketchy, but some of them are quick, easy, and painless. I avoid anything that involves downloads or credit cards, but there are plenty of email mailing lists (hint: make a hotmail, etc account just for these types of things) and other random sponsored activities you can do with little trouble. They change often, so I check at least once a week. Lots of "install this Facebook app" ones have popped up lately, so I made a "just for games" FB account to install them. Instant easy points.

Get matching points from people you refer with banners or your referral link (points for their searches only, up to 1000 SB.)

Yes, it involves pestering everyone you know, but if you don't want to do that, just place a link or banner on your blog or website. You never know when someone is going to click it. Try not to spam people. I start by addressing my friends personally, telling them how much I've made from the sites and suggesting they join. If they don't want to, shrug and move on.

shop & earn
Swagbucks gives you 2 SB per dollar spent in certain online shops when you click through to the website via their shop & earn page. The key here is not let this cause impulsive purchases, thus totally defeating the purpose of getting *free* stuff. However, if you shop online often anyway, see if the sites you frequent are listed on the Swagbucks shop & earn area. I get many of my household items (cheaply) from It's a poorly designed site, but occasionally has epic discounts and free sample pack offers (hint: be on their email mailing list and keep an eye out for sample offers and discounts.) If I start by clicking through Swagbucks, I'll get (essentially—see below) 2% back. It takes a month for them to clear (which is kind of annoying), but hey, nice surprise a month later.

These pop up usually at least once a day (mostly on weekdays) somewhere around the Swagbucks site/blog or on their Twitter/FB. You just copy and paste the code and into the box on the homepage. Each code yields a predetermined number of points and is valid for a limited time (usually a couple hours.)

analysis: what are you really earning?
If you exchange your Swagbucks for $5 gift cards (450 SB), that means that each SB is worth $0.011. If you just do those minimal daily tasks, you'll earn $0.033 a day. That sounds like shite, I know, but over the course of a month, you've made $0.99. A rewarding search usually yields between 8-14 sb (you have a greater chance of winning a higher amount on Fridays), and you can get that at least 2-3 times a day. Let's say that without special offers, swagcodes, shopping, or referrals, you can get a minimum of 30 SB per day. That amounts to $9.90 a month. Sounds a little sweeter, right?

To sum up: Play often, get referrals, always check SB shop & earn before making any online purchases, look for swagcodes every few hours, check the special offers once a week or so. Then use your gift cards to buy something useful, like boxed macaroni & cheese.

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