Saturday, February 27, 2010

SwagBucks: Version 3.0

If you haven't heard of Swagbucks, the best way I can put it is this: You can earn Swagbuck's online currency called "swagbucks" that can be cashed in for actual prizes by searching the web, referring friends, completing special offers and tasks, or entering in "Swag codes".

First off, a little self history. I heard about Swagbucks a few months ago, and it actually sounded pretty good. I've tried other sites like Scour, which coincidentally SUCKED just cause they changed everything and I lost all my points. But Swagbucks seemed legit, and I joined it because it has Amazon gift cards in the store, so I wanted to use Swagbucks to make a little extra money to pay for some music on Amazon every month.

When I first joined, I made oodles of swagbucks. I hit up codes, got a few searches, and filled out several free offers that basically resulted in me getting $25 absolutely free. (Plus, it turned me on to Netflix, which I found that I love, and am keeping.) So if you're saying, "This is too good to be true!", it's not. It's a good system that works, and I really did make $25 on Amazon (that's five $5 gift cards) within the first month.

That being said, there is a catch. See, Swagbucks has what they call "Special Offers" where you can do things like sign up for a stupid recipes site, download a toolbar, or try Netflix free for two weeks, and all of those give you swagbucks. Sounds great, right? The only problem is, when you first join, you have a ton of free offers you can do to get a few bucks. But after that first month, very few new offers are added, so you're stuck with a list of offers that you've already done and can't do again. So your first month is very deceiving. No one should think that they're going to get tons of points every month, at least from special offers.

Another great way to get swagbucks is referrals. I don't know about you, but nothing pisses me off more than someone on Youtube copy+pasting a comment about "OMG!!!1!1! dis site givs u free $ all u gotta do is join", followed by a referral link. I don't wanna be that guy. I felt pushy just posting one link on my Facebook. But that's all I did. I posted a referral link, and apparently no one clicked it.

I dunno. It just makes me feel so greedy. I'm not really active many places on the interwebz anymore, so I'd have to join a new site in order to try to refer anyone else, and to me, that's just like spamming. So after you try to refer people that you know, what next? Two options: become an annoying spammer, or get no referrals.

So really, that's not a viable way to get bucks either. But another way is swag codes, which are essentially codes that you can enter to get free swagbucks, but they expire after a certain amount of time. The catch here is that the codes are posted literally ALL across the internet: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Swagbucks newsletter, Swagbucks blog, Swagbucks toolbar, Swagbucks widget, etc. You get the picture. So in order to really be in the know of where the codes are gonna be, you have to follow every single one. Plus, swag codes aren't the only things being posted, and are actually quite rare. So you're looking at literally dozens of new posts to read through, all of them you must read or at least skim to see if it contains a hidden swag code.

If that wasn't annoying enough, swag codes are always given out at a certain time of the day, that is they usually expire about 6-8PM. That's fine and dandy, except I'm never at home then. I'm always either at class or at work. I know that it's technically free stuff and they aren't obligated to give me free stuff, but it just kinda sucks. The codes are so hard to find in the first place, why not give someone a little more time? Like make them expire always at 12:00 AM? Just kinda shuts me out. All I can do is come home and see how many swag bucks I missed getting today.

The last, and most advertised, is searching. You can get free swagbucks just for searching the internet! Well, not quite. When you search the internet using Swagbucks.com, you have a chance of earning swagbucks. That chance, however, is very slight, and it actually seems like they only give swagbucks to people who search very little. I think 90% of the swagbucks I've gotten from searches is the first one I do of the day. It's like they try to rope you in. "Wow! I just won swagbucks on my first search! I wonder how many more I can win!"

The most annoying thing about the searches is that they SUCK. I haven't been content with Google for a while, but Swagbuck's search engine is downright AWFUL. I searched "eforcity" (a site I bought a few techy items on), and below the two sponsored links (that I rarely look at, because they're sponsored, meaning they pay to get put there, meaning they most likely have nothing to do with my search), the next two search results were about the eforcity eBay shop, the one after was a Epinions search for eforcity, and the next was the "Contact Us" page for eforcity. Not the main page, the Contact page.

That's perhaps not the next example, but try to get my point: the search engine sucks. It just doesn't bring up relevant website results at all. So it's very hard to use as a primary search engine when I have to search there in hopes of getting swagbucks, then switch to Google to actually find what I am looking for. I didn't want to use Scour because -although it had great results- it was slower than Google. There's no way in hell I'm going to use a search engine that's not even on the same plane as Google.


So that's kind of my recommendation/rant of Swagbucks day-to-day. But another interesting topic is Swagbuck's two year anniversary (or is it a birthday?). See, they decided to totally redo the site, which is all well and good. Facebook basically redoes their layout every 3 months, so twice every two years is fine with me. Besides, their new layout doesn't look half bad.

What is bad is the stupid change in points. Basically they changed point values by a factor of 10. So I had 25 points before, now I have 250. Amazon gift cards cost 45 before, now they cost 450. Now at first glance, people are happy, because they think "I have 10 times as many swagbucks!" But then they realize that the prices in the stores went up as well, so they think "Well then it really doesn't change anything."

Oh, but it does. Now Swagbucks can give out less swagbucks. Instead of giving out 1 swagbuck for a search before, now they give away 3, or 5, or even 10! Well that's great, except inflation. Giving away 3 is really like giving away 0.3, or 5 is like 0.5, or 10 is just like 1. So now they throw out codes that give you 6 swagbucks, and it doesn't take a genius to realize "That's really only 0.6 swagbucks in the old system." It just kinda disgusts me. Mostly that they try to pass it off as this amazing new system. It's called being cheap.


All of that being said, odds are, I'm still going to use Swagbucks. Why, you ask? Because it's freaking free money! No matter how slow I accumulate it, if I get $5 towards an Amazon purchase over a period of several months, I'm going to do it. And I'm going to go ahead and do this:

REFERRAL LINK:
I already said, I hate pushing referrals. So if you don't want me to get swagbucks off of you, fine, I don't care. But if you want to, that's fine too, and use this link.
http://swagbucks.com/refer/hewhoeatspie

NON-REFERRAL LINK:
If you don't want to give me swagbucks, it's cool. Swagbucks is still a good site, even if you only score $25-$30 off the first month.
http://swagbucks.com


Peace out.
-Bry

EDIT: 3/06/10
I just spent the better part of an hour uninstalling a bunch of spyware that came with the "special" offers. So PROS: enough points for 1/10 of a $5 Amazon GC. CONS: Computer is now junked, and had to run ComboFix. Hmm.....

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