Product Type: Survey Site / Offers Site
Scam or Not: Not a Scam
Overall Rating: 7/10
In general, Swagbucks is probably best viewed as a rewards site. It is a site where you earn money doing surveys but at the same time, there are also multiple other ways to earn on the site.
Writing a Swagbucks review is actually a bit complicated, just because there is so much involved on the site. In general, the aim is to earn Swagbucks, which is also referred to as SB and is the currency for the site. You can then trade those SB in for a variety of rewards, which I’ll come back to a little later on.
So, to start off with, this is the general menu that shows you all of the different ways that you can earn:
As you can see, answering surveys is one option but there are also a number of others. I’m going to go through each of these briefly and show you what you can expect.
The shop section is essentially a cash back program. This means that as you spend money at different places you earn SB.
This approach has its advantages and its disadvantages. For one thing, if you end up spending money at these stores specifically to get SB, then you aren’t really helping yourself earn money. Unfortunately, people do sometimes find themselves doing just that. Likewise, some people might find that they are more likely to buy a product if they know they are getting SB for it. That pattern could have negative consequences financially.
However, if you already spend money at the stores that Swagbucks works with, then you’re basically earning SB for doing nothing. That’s pretty cool.
For many people, this is probably the most efficient way to earn SB, especially if they do a lot of shopping.
The watch part of the site lets you earn points for watching videos.
That sounds great but it isn’t actually as good as the idea suggests. For example, these are some of the options:
Most of the ones I saw are more like the one on the right, where you watch 20 videos for 3 SB. I’ll go into the conversion between SB and dollars later on, but needless to say, 3 SB isn’t a lot.
In fairness, the videos are often pretty short with many being less than a minute in length. However, others are longer. You could also just run the videos on another screen while you’re doing something else on the computer. Even so, that time does add up. Plus, you would probably run out of interesting videos fast.
The next section is answer, which basically refers to surveys. Swagbucks offers this information to get members started:
The idea that you get 1 SB even when you don’t qualify for a survey is nice, especially as most survey companies don’t offer anything when this happens.
However, the process is still pretty slow going, especially as it might take a minute or two to fill out the qualifying questions for a survey. Likewise, you’re likely to see issues like this pretty frequently:
For example, I applied for about 10 different surveys on the site and was only eligible for one, which just earned me 5 SB.
Some people try to get around this by guessing what answers the surveys are looking for. But, doing that is a bit risky as there is a chance that you will get your account banned if the site figures it out.
According to Swagbucks, the discover component of the site refers to ‘exploring special offers’ – and there is considerable variation in the offers.
The approach is a common one and I’ve also seen it on other sites. In general, only a fraction of the offers are actually free. Most will involve you buying something or will require you to sign up for a free trial using your credit card.
A good general rule is that the more the offer awards, the more it costs. For example, The Nature Conservancy offer on there takes you to a page that includes this information:
In this case, completing the offer costs you at least $25 and earns you 2,500 Swagbucks. That ratio is actually kind of funny, because as I’ll show you later, 2,500 Swagbucks earns you a $25 reward anyway. So, you’re spending $25 to get $25.
That seems a little pointless.
In theory, you can focus on just the free offers or the ones with good returns. If you do this, you could make money through the offers section. But, as with the other sections, it’s a lot of work for relatively little return.
The search component of the site does what you might expect, it allows you to earn money by searching the internet. However, it does want you to search through the engine that Swagbucks provides (which is basically Yahoo), so that can be a pain.
The site doesn’t offer much information about how much you earn by searching this way, but it’s probably not a lot.
The final section is play, which refers to playing games. This might sound fun, but it isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
For example, this is the information given about Bejeweled 2:
So, you have to pay at least $9.99 to get any SB at all, and then you earn SB for the money you spend. In fact, I only saw three games where you earn money without having to spend any and those weren’t particularly good:
Other Ways to Earn
There are also a few other ways to earn on the site. For example, there is a Daily Poll and something called Daily Crave (although the link didn’t work when I tried that one). Additionally, there are a few one-time offers that let you earn points, such as filling out your profile or getting 50 SB by adding the Swagbucks extension to your Chrome browser.
So, you might be able to earn a few points these ways, but most of your points are going to come from the six key categories that I discussed above.
In general, you can earn SB through whatever method (or methods) that you like on the site. You can then redeem these in the Swag Store.
There are actually a lot of different options for rewards, most of which come in the form of gift cards. For example, you could get a gift card for Steam or Starbucks.
There is some variation on how much you get for your SB, and from time-to-time, some rewards are on sale. However, as a general rule, 500 SB will get you roughly $5 in rewards.
You can also cash out via PayPal or a prepaid Visa card. With these, the ratio seems to be similar, but you do have to reach a higher amount of SB to be able to cash out with PayPal (the lowest option is 2,500 SB).
Benefits and Advantages
Swagbucks might seem a little overwhelming at first but it does offer users a large number of options and this is certainly an advantage. Most survey sites suffer from the issue where you don’t get very many surveys. That issue makes it difficult to earn money because you spend so much time waiting.
The large number of different options at Swagbucks makes it much easier to actually accumulate credits and, in turn, make money. In fact, I doubt you would ever actually run out of ways to earn.
Additionally, the ability to earn SB from shopping at some stores is pretty cool. If you already shop at some of those locations, then you could end up getting cash back with minimal effort.
Finally, I imagine that some people find Swagbucks pretty fun to use. After all, some of the approaches don’t take a whole lot of effort and it would be easy to do a task or two when you had 10 minutes to spare.
Issues with Swagbucks
The biggest disadvantage with Swagbucks is the same one that other survey sites and offer sites have – time. There might be lots of different ways to earn SB but most of them are pretty time consuming.
For example, the average amount per survey was 75 SB.
You would need to complete around 7 of those surveys to get enough for the $5 reward. With how often you actually get rejected for surveys, it would take you well over an hour to get 7 surveys completed and it’s likely that at least some of those wouldn’t pay as much as 75 SB.
Likewise, you tend to earn only a few SB at a time by watching videos, searching or playing games. Over time, this might all add up but you’re still not making much money for the time you put in.
My Personal Swagbucks Review
I don’t have an especially high opinion of survey sites or offer sites in general but out of all of these sites, Swagbucks does stand out. The large amount of options means that you probably wouldn’t ever run out of things to do to earn points. Likewise, many of the options don’t require you to spend any money.
For many people, Swagbucks could be pretty fun to use. The company also has a relatively good reputation, which suggests that a lot of members do actually get paid out from the company.
In general, I would say that Swagbucks is one of the best examples of a legitimate survey and offers site and that it can be a good way of earning a bit of extra money. But, I do want to make one thing clear – the amount of money you earn from Swagbucks doesn’t equate well to the time you put in.
If you’re using it here and there, that probably isn’t an issue.
But this does mean that you can’t realistically make a full-time income from the service.
So, whether or not Swagbucks is a good idea all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a little extra money and something to mess around with when you’re online, then Swagbucks might be for you.
However, if you want to find a long-term source of income, then you need to take an alternative approach. One of the most powerful ways of doing this is through a method known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing lets you take advantage of the online environment and make money by promoting products from other sites. A good place to get started in learning this field is a training site called Wealthy Affiliate. This is entirely free to try and you can learn a lot about what’s involved and whether it is right for you.