It’s been two years now since I first started blogging about money and since then I’ve heard so many people talk about Swagbucks. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s essentially a website which rewards you with digital points (Swagbucks) for completing online tasks such as browsing the internet, watching videos, and completing online surveys.
Once you’ve earned a certain number of Swagbucks, you can swap them for gift cards at places such as Amazon. As the image below shows, once you’ve got 170 SBs, you’ve got the equivalent of a quid but you need 849 SBs before you can redeem your first £5 gift card. I’ll explain how long it takes to earn these points later in the post.
Not gonna lie to you, I’ve always dismissed this sorta thing as a scam.
But then again, whether I’m questioning the couponing craze or rolling my eyes at the idea of picking up receipts in supermarket car parks (sorry womblers), I’m sceptical of a lot of money making hobbies. Often, I dismiss these things without actually trying them myself. I’ll be the first to admit that’s a little unfair.
So I’ve decided to embark on a 7 day Swagbucks challenge. I pledge to use Swagbucks as much as possible every day for the next week to see whether it’s worth its weight in gold or whether it’s just one big con. If I manage to survive the next 7 days without completely losing my mind, I’ll report back to you to let you know how I’ve gotten on.
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The day is Sunday 4th September 2016 and it’s been a couple of hours since I first signed up to Swagbucks. Already, I’m questioning my sanity and losing the will to live. Why do people do this to themselves?
The first thing I did was watch a few random videos but they were so mind numbingly boring that I switched off after a couple of minutes to see if there are any better ways to sell my soul for this completely made-up currency.
Next, I decided to take a look at the survey side of things. I was offered an introductory tour and, although I’m not usually the type to read instructions, I figured the tour might be the most engaging thing I’d do in the next hour. The tour said this…
So let me get this straight…
- It can take up to 20 minutes to complete a survey
- I will earn around 75 SB for that survey
- 170 SB is worth £1
- I need 849 Sb for a £5 gift card
- There’s a risk I might put effort into a survey only to be disqualified anyway
My maths may be a little rusty so please correct me if I’m wrong but by my calculations, I’d need to complete approximately 11 surveys to earn £5 and those surveys would take me up to 220 minutes to complete.
That’s more than 3 and a half hours!
3 and a half hours of surveys for £5!
Seriously, have I worked this out wrong because if I haven’t I really want to know WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS TO THEMSELVES?
I’m a little concerned that having done the maths above, those of you who are smart will come to the conclusion that Swagbucks is simply not worth it. I wouldn’t actually blame you for clicking off this post and getting on with your lives. But stick with me anyway, you big brained beauties, because I need your love and prayers. I suspect this is going to be a lonely week and by the time it’s over I might be drawing a face on a volleyball and calling it Wilson.
Besides, despite my doubts and scathing review so far, plenty of people do use and make money off Swagbucks. And I want to know how and why. Who are these people? Are they ordinary humans like you and me? Or are they in fact messed up masochists on a path of self destruction. Watch this space to find out…
Today I decided to sit down and actually take my very first Swagbucks survey and oh boy, am I pissed off! I’d describe my current mood as a Michael Douglas Falling Down kinda mood. I’m angry but I also feel kinda sad – sad that people honestly think Swagbucks is a decent way to make money. Let me explain…
The survey started off harmless enough by asking for my gender and my age.
But it then asked for my date of birth and my postcode and my income and my partner’s income. By this point I was already making up my answers because I don’t have the slightest idea who is asking me these questions and what my data is going to be used for. It asked me whether I smoke and whether I’m pregnant or planning on making a baby in the next six months. It asked me so many damn intrusive questions that I started to feel kinda creeped out.
I had a quick look to see how much I’d earn for this survey. 2 Swagbucks. Remember how I said I’d need 849 Swagbucks for a £5 gift voucher? Exactly!
Then I had this thought: “My personal information is worth so much more than this”
I’m no fool. I know that I give away my personal data all the time to companies online, whether it’s through a social network or an app on my phone. But this feels kinda different and so much more sinister. When I give my data to an app or a social network, I’m kinda getting something in return – a free service or product. But with this incredibly intrusive survey here, I’m getting nothing but 2 Swagbucks. And not only am I giving them my data, I’m giving them my time too! I don’t know which is more valuable and precious – time or data.
It’s interesting how it’s all packaged as money making reward system. It’s as if this is a fair exchange. A mutual relationship in which both parties win. I’ve not even finished the survey yet and already I’m feeling like a loser.
There are forums and Facebook groups and subreddits devoted to sharing Swagbucks tips and I think the fact people get excited over these virtual reward points speaks volumes about our financial situation today. Where’s our self respect, guys? What happened to our dignity? I’ve not felt this low and degraded since the time I accidentally pissed all over my leggings while squatting round the back of a tent at Leeds Fest.
Until next time…
As soon as I got in from work today I decided to go all in and binge watch a ton of videos, even if it meant forcibly pinning my eyes open like something from A Clockwork Orange. I poured myself a drink, settled down on the sofa, and put my feet up before clicking on a button that said I’d be rewarded with 1 SB for every 6 movie trailers I watch. A whole SB! Oh Swagbucks you’re too kind!
The first trailer was Bridget Jones’ Baby and if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to endure an advert urging me to adopt a snow leopard before the trailer would even start. Seriously! Considering every single thing on Swagbucks is some kinda messed up advert, why am I having to watch adverts on top of adverts?! I could feel my chest tightening…
Once Bridget was out the way, I polished off another 5 movie trailers. And yes, I had to watch the exact same snow leopard advert in between each one. Admittedly, some of the movie trailers were actually quite good. I even rewound one of them to show Jake. “Shall we go and see that in a few weeks, babe?” I asked.
Waiiit a second…THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT!!! They act like they’re helping me make money but in reality, I got paid a 6th of a Swagbuck to watch this one particular trailer and it’s now going to cost my boyfriend and I £20 to see a movie we would never have seen if it wasn’t for this Godforsaken website.
Let’s break this down… (please do correct me if my maths is wrong)
- It took me 12 minutes to earn one Swagbuck
- If I spent an hour watching these movie trailers, I would earn 5 Swagbucks
- Since 849 Swagbucks = one £5 Amazon voucher…
- It would take me 169 hours to earn a £5 Amazon voucher
- It would take me 676 hours of movie trailers to earn enough Amazon vouchers to cover the cost of mine and Jake’s cinema trip. That’s the whole of February. Unless it’s a leap year, in which case I’d get a day off.
See you tomorrow!
I hear that one of the most popular ways of making money on Swagbucks involves using its search toolbar as an alternative to Google. So today I added the Swagbucks Search extension to Google Chrome and decided to surf away.
Sliiight problem. Swagbucks’ search engine is super annoying. If you’re a regular Chrome user, you’re probably used to clicking to open a new tab and instinctively typing your query in straight away without actively waiting for Google to appear – and I bet it always works. With the Swagbucks extension installed, it makes that little bit slower. Every time I open a new tab and start to type, my search is interrupted and I have to wait a couple of moments for Swagbucks to compose itself before I can try again with my query.
I also don’t like the fact that I’m handing Swagbucks all my search engine info. Yeah yeah, I know that websites track our usage all the time and my search history is never completely private (cringe), but in the same way I felt the surveys were intrusive, I feel that Swagbucks’ search is intrusive too. I don’t like it. I’m banishing it from my life forever.
Shortly after waking up, I decided to do a little Swagbuckling. I logged back into my account and spotted a huge banner at the top of the page which said ‘Check out this activity and earn 2SB’ (Translation: Do some work for us and we’ll give you enough money to by a 25th of a Freddo).
I decided to give it a whirl anyway and clicked the banner to see what was in store for me. It took me to Mashable’s technology section and a timer counted down as I perused the articles. I was asked to read about heart rate sensors, wireless earbuds and other gadgets (all of which were way out of my price range). Of course, I didn’t actually read any of this nonsense. I just stared out the window for a few seconds, gazing longingly at the world outside, before clicking through to the next page as soon as the timer reached zero. These ads couldn’t have been more wasted on me.
Considering Swagbucks users are seemingly so desperate for cash that they’ll sit here doing mundane online tasks for no more than a few pennies, I can’t help but think Mashable needs to sack its marketing manager. We can’t afford your stuff, bro! The type of people who can afford to splash a few hundred quid on a pointless gadget are probably making much better use of their time.
In the top right hand corner of my Swagbucks account I have an inbox which Swagbucks sends messages to.
“Win big with Starspins!”
“Play Heart Bingo”
“Watch & Earn!” – just a few of the subjects trying to lure me in.
That’s right. If I watch 106 minutes worth of travel videos, I can earn a grand total of 14 Swagbucks. I’m sure you know by now that this isn’t a good deal. And guess what? The videos were boring AF.
I’ve finally reached the end of my 7 Days of Swagbucks challenge. And may I say THANK GOD!
I decided to read up about Swagbucks’ referral scheme as I’d heard you can earn quite a lot of points by referring the site to your friend. This is what Swagbucks says…
Sounds pretty decent if you ask me. There’s just one problem…you have to actually *recommend* Swagbucks to a friend and tell them how good it is.
Personally, I think Robert De Niro would have a hard time convincing people that this steaming heap of junk is worth bothering with – and he’s arguably one of the best actors in the world. So I really don’t know how I’m going to persuade any of my friends to sign up. I’m also not a complete arsehole who likes to make money by wasting other people’s time and energy.
I’ve seen a lot of people writing about how amazing Swagbucks is but having used this rubbish myself, I can’t help but wonder whether the money they earn through referrals and affiliate links has partly influenced their recommendations. After all, every single Swagbucks-related blog post I’ve read over the last few days has included affiliate links.
TL;DR – I used Swagbucks for a week and I absolutely hated it. It’s not worth my time and no matter who you are or what you do, I don’t think it’s worth your time either. There are SO many better ways to make money and there are much more profitable ways to use your time. You want my opinion? Don’t sell yourself short – don’t use Swagbucks.