If you are looking for ways to make a few extra pounds online from home, you may have heard of Swagbucks. It’s a website that pays you in points called ‘swagbucks’ for doing a variety of tasks. When you hit 889, you can cash them in for a £5 amazon voucher, making each point worth 0.6p.
If you’re thinking about signing up, you might be wondering what I wondered; Is it worthwhile? This is my review after discovering it for myself. Its completely honest- I wouldn’t expect you to come back if it wasn’t!
Earning money on Swagbucks: My experience
Here’s a brief summary of some of the activities you can use the site for to earn those precious swagbucks and how I found each of them:
When you’re signed into your account, you can use the built in search engine to carry out searches that sometimes award swagbucks. Random searches seem to attract random amounts of swagbucks. The first search term I entered netted me 26 swag bucks, and after that I had a 6pt search and a 16pt search as well. To give an idea of success rate, I’d estimate it took 25 to 30 different searches to earn these three lots of swagbucks.
Once you get awarded swagbucks, they don’t credit without you entering 3 digits into a ‘captcha’ box to prove you’re not a robot. Within 3 or 4 seconds your points are credited.
The swagbucks search facility is powered by Yahoo. I am always open to trying alternatives to the brand leader (Aldi washing up liquid, I’m looking at you), but quickly found that there is a reason Yahoo isn’t the brand leader. Maybe you’ve tried cheap loo roll that you’ve regretted because it’s so thin? There’s a reason why Google is so popular.
So you can genuinely earn by using the search facility, but the amounts are low (In the case of my three examples, around 29p for 25 searches) AND you pay a time premium, due to the quality of the search results. If you’re genuinely trying to find something, you end up using Google anyway.
Searching with the Google add-on
Of course, there is a way around this, and that’s by adding swag bucks as an add on to google chrome. Thank goodness. Or not, as the case may be.
The add on makes everything s l o w e r, causes normal search results to be populated with sponsored links (with no marking that the link is sponsored!) and the sponsored links aren’t swagbucks responsibility. As in, as long as Swagbucks are getting paid to send you there, they don’t care if the page exists or is safe. In the hour I had this installed, one link I clicked on took me to a page that no longer existed, and I had 2 messages that said the page I was trying to navigate to was not safe.
Not only this, but once the add on is successfully downloaded, a pop up message appears, advising that it monitors activity you do on your PC. Not just what you do online, anything you do on your PC, such as what you copy and paste, even when Google isn’t open. Why? God only knows. But I wasn’t comfortable with that.
The first survey I attempted, I was able to complete successfully and reasonably quickly, giving an initial positive view. You know what’s coming though, right?
My second survey attempt took 10 minutes to screen me out (crediting a measly 1 SB/ 0.6p for my trouble).
Survey attempt number 3 was for a short 10 minute survey for 60 swagbucks. After passing a couple minutes of pre-screening questions, I successfully proceeded to the next page which said the survey was about to start; the time taken would be approximately 25 minutes. Somewhat foolishly, I pressed continue, only to be greeted by a screen that said ‘Thankyou for choosing to take part. This survey takes an average of 34 minutes. Is 34 minutes with 60 swagbucks/ 36 pence to you? It isn’t to me.
This seemed a no brainer, so many people have said they let the videos run in the background while they were doing other things online. Plus, I do use youtube now and then, either to have playlists on in the background, learn how to do something, etc.
However, there can’t be many people that would actively choose to watch the reels of videos swagbucks puts together. 10 minutes usually earns 1SB, 20 mins can earn 2 or 3. Good job you can just leave them playing in the background then. Except you can’t.
Now, maybe the majority of users singing the praises of Swagbucks have far better laptops than I do, but even just having swagbucks logged in slows everything down. When you’re playing videos, that just gets worse. So, an amazon page that would normally load in a matter of seconds takes 2 to 3 minutes. Sometimes it even times out. So its not enjoyable to use whilst videos are running.
The other thing no one mentions is the time is the total running time of the videos. When you add the 45 second gap between each video to advertise something and load, it takes a lot longer.
Well, yes, since you ask. I completed another random activity (I’ve forgotten what) that needed my phone number in order to get creditted with something like 50p’s worth of Swagbucks. Yes, I know it seems stupid now, but you get entranced somehow and I wasn’t thinking straight.
My cold calls went from 1 or 2 a week to 3 or 4 per day. The callers were really rude and none would agree to removing me from their list. Fortunately, I learned this could be sorted by registering with the free TPS service (did you know this works on mobile phones?).
I could talk some more but it’s been really tough to write about something I have zero passion for. I just wanted you guys to know the truth. Fortunately, Jenny at cantswingacat.co.uk has shared her honest opinion about Swagbucks, so if this has left you thinking ‘maybe I should try it’, check out what she has to say first. I’m not the only one who’ll tell you straight!
There were a number of title options for this post including “Not making money on Swagbucks: My experience”, “The time I’ve wasted trying to earn Swagbucks I’ll never get back” and “If you’re going to sell your soul, sell it for more than a Swagbuck”. If you have a barge pole, this will give you a good idea of how wide a berth you need to be giving this pile of crap. Focussing on something as small as a swagbuck makes you less focussed on generosity, with your time, money or skills. It makes you quite selfish. Because each penny is so agonising to earn.
I could not, in good conscience, recommend my friend or family to join up, nor could I post a referral link here in the hope that you might become ensnared, just so I could earn a few more halves of pences for having referred you.
There are genuine ways to save and make money online; this isn’t one of them.
Have you wasted precious time on Swagbucks? Let me know if I’m missing something!