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Swagbucks.com Review
Old 03-09-2010, 09:48 AM   #1
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Swagbucks.com Review

Summary: In essence this web site pays you a very small amount to use their search engine and view ads. It's probably not worth your time, but it can be fun to try the dangerous game of beating the web site at its own game.

So what's an ad-phobic guy like me doing looking at ads? Well, I learned about this at heyitsfree.com, and was curious, so I joined it.

Mainly, if you use their toolbar and/or web site to perform your searches, they pay you. For you psych majors, they put you on a VR20 schedule (variable reinforcement averaging one reward for every 20 or so searches). That is, every 20 or so searches (with daily limits) you are rewarded with 10 "Swagbucks."

swagbucks.jpg

Their trick #1 is that although the search engine uses Google and Ask, it may put sponsored links at the top of the searches. Actually, when I compare it with Google, it's about the same:

Swagbucks search of "recliners"
SwagbucksResults.jpg

Google search of "recliners"
GoogleResult.jpg

Sometimes the things at the top don't seem relevant to the search. In any case, I prefer google.

Trick #2 is that 1 swagbuck is worth about a penny. The mathematically challenged will be excited to see that they won $10, even though it's really only 10 cents.

Trick #3 is that their Swag Store has overpriced stuff. It's always smarter, I've read, to use your swagbucks to get an amazon card, and then buy what you want on amazon.

You can also win 1-2 swagbucks (once per day) by paging through a list of five special offers (like this):

swagbucksoffer.jpg

(on the home page click special offers/no obligation offers and skip through them).

There are other ways of getting swagbucks that I won't bother going into.

There are ways to beat them at their game. For example, you can get paid 4 swagbucks to watch a 15-second promo video for some product or movie (see special offers, wall 2). But if you open five browser windows, turn off the sound, and play the video in each of the windows simultaneously, you can get 20 swagbucks (that is, 20 cents). There is a limit of 20 swagbucks with this procedure, and you can only do it once per day.

Also, you could write a macro to use their search engine while you are not at your computer. However, sometimes, when you win some swagbucks, you need to enter a code to prove that you not a bot. I'm not sure if there's a time limit on entering the code. If you get caught, you'll be banned for life, and it will go on your permanent record.

You could write a macro that will do about 8 quick searches (displaying the results), run it a few times per day, and enter codes if necessary.

What I've done is spend a few minutes using their search engine each day, plus a trick or two as described above. After 10 days of this, I earned 450 swagbucks and traded them in for a $5 Amazon gift card. I'm not sure I'll continue this, now that I've gotten one card. It can be fun to get points, but it seems silly to view some offers and get 2 cents. My time's worth more than that. Isn't it?
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:33 AM   #2
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:42 AM   #3
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I can fervently thank the spirits above that I am not, nor will I ever be, THAT poor. I will never have to use swagbucks, live under a bridge, or do my grocery shopping in dumpsters.

You could probably earn the equivalent of thousands of "swagbucks" by just turning your thermostat down one degree in the winter (or up one degree in the summer) and wearing a sweater (or bikini).

Al, I know you aren't that poor - - I think you're bored!
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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Can you spend these Swagbucks on psychotherapy?
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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I'm glad to see you are exploiting the heyitsfree.com site to the maximum.
Did you..um...get banned for life?

I'm still cooped up in the house in late winter, but I think I'll pass on the Swagbucks thing.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:28 PM   #6
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No, I haven't been banned. But I'll be more bold now that I won an amazon card.

The book, Amazon.com: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (9780061353239): Dan Ariely: Books, has a chapter exploring the allure of FREE. You have to be careful to not get stuff you don't want/need just because it's free.

An experiment from the book: the author gave kids three Hershey's Kisses, then told them they could have a small Snickers bar for free, or a very large Snickers bar for one Hershey's kiss. They always chose the free one, although the other deal made much more sense.

Similarly, one kiss for a penny or one fancy chocolate for 15 cents: shoppers usually chose the fancy chocolate. But make it one kiss for free or one fancy for 14 cents, and the free one was the winner.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
No, I haven't been banned. But I'll be more bold now that I won an amazon card.
That's the spirit! Boldly go where no Swagger has gone before.

I was just kidding you about being banned. At least I think I was...
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:57 PM   #8
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Hmmm, that's a lot of work for the payout. I'm not sure how long Swag$ has been around but many others didn't last very long. It was typical to get close to a payout and then the site would be out of business or gone.

I'm still a member of Start Sampling and have received a number of samples over the years. I have about 15,000 points, however everything I can redeem them on is always sold out. This has been the case for several years now.

There was Fat Shoe at one time and Red Lobster started a program. I was able to get a Red Lobster gc once and then they changed the rules. I also used to be a member of Pinecone and got $5 for each survey or evaluation. That went well for several years and then they cut the incentive back to $3 and tried to get me to agree and I wouldn't so I'm no longer a member there. I guess many of these incentive sites don't seem to hold much interest for me these days even though I have the time now if I choose to.

I do use FW's fat cash program when I'm shopping online and that can provide some decent refunds depending on the vendor and their offering.

Keep telling the story of your experience with Swag$. It's fun to read about.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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I'll be more bold now
They caught me today. I ran my multi-search macro and went to have lunch. When I came back I saw that I'd won 10 SB, and it was asking for a code. But when I entered it, it said, and I'm paraphrasing, "You are so busted." I don't know how many strikes you get, but it doesn't matter because I'm really not going to continue with it.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The book, Amazon.com: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (9780061353239): Dan Ariely: Books, has a chapter exploring the allure of FREE. You have to be careful to not get stuff you don't want/need just because it's free.
I just read that book last week. Fascinating to read, and I got it from the library because, well, it's free. I've always been interested in economics because of the psychological issues in financial decision-making.

I'll take a pass on the swagbucks though. I'm not that bored.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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Well, I thank TromboneAl for the Hey, It's Free! site. I signed up for the piddly 7 eating/drinking places here in Podunktown, but I've already done well with Denny's:

1. Friend came thru from San Francisco on his way to Pennsylvania and used the first letter I got from them worth 20% off. Since this friend only knows how to get off the main highway at the spur here--and Denny's is there--this was a good deal to me. Saved $4...wow! Now Grandma can get that operation she's always wanted.
2. Denny's just sent me a letter giving me a free birthday meal of burger and fries worth $7. I got this for use the first week of March even tho my birthday is the last week of August, but hey! it's free! Okay....that sorta shot the low carb eating for the day I confess, but hey! it's free! And I do confess I took advantage of it reasoning I'm entitled to one day of eating off this low carb thing and even ordered the brownie with ice cream for dessert. Think I overdid it?

Most of the rest are a rip in that you have to buy one full entree to get either a second one free or some dinky appetizer with two full meals; however, Denny's is okay by me!

Dunkin Donuts gives you a free coffee every day in March, which would be useful if it was near my house but it's not.
Dairy Queen offers a free blizzard which I probably won't take advantage of as it's far away and I don't really like them, but they did offer anyway.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
No, I haven't been banned. But I'll be more bold now that I won an amazon card.

The book, Amazon.com: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (9780061353239): Dan Ariely: Books, has a chapter exploring the allure of FREE. You have to be careful to not get stuff you don't want/need just because it's free.

An experiment from the book: the author gave kids three Hershey's Kisses, then told them they could have a small Snickers bar for free, or a very large Snickers bar for one Hershey's kiss. They always chose the free one, although the other deal made much more sense.

Similarly, one kiss for a penny or one fancy chocolate for 15 cents: shoppers usually chose the fancy chocolate. But make it one kiss for free or one fancy for 14 cents, and the free one was the winner.

This story so reminds me of a famous CPA who used to write those annual books on how to beat the IRS legally out of tax money. Well, I used him in Chicago and he told me he had 2 little girls. He'd offer the girls their choice of $1 or a handful of change, and they always picked the change because it was more (pieces). Pretty cute.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:02 PM   #13
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I just read that book last week.
Yes, I got it based on your recommendation.

--------

Even though I decided not to use swagbucks anymore, it's just too hard to resist taking 30 seconds to grab some now and then. It's a lot like a treasure hunt.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:39 PM   #14
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I signed up for a free bar of soap on heyitsfree through Costco. It came yesterday and is so tiny that I don't think that a hamster could lather up with it.
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