Verdict: The latest way to “search and earn,” Swag Bucks lets you earn points (Swag Bucks) by searching through their portal, referring friends to the program, answering surveys and a host of other ways. There are multiple ways to acquire points and there are a number of useful (and not-so-useful) products you can redeem points to get. I can imagine that it would take a while — or a huge network and an overzealous devotion to social media promotion — to get enough Swag Bucks to get the really good stuff, but it’s still a fun way to earn free gift certificates, products, animated avatars and more.

Overview: Like survey sites, websites like Groupon and other programs that work on a referral basis, people really can — and do — save significant amounts of money with Swag Bucks. It helps to have a blog with regular readers or a large social network to really profit. But you can also earn points just by searching the Web through the Swag Bucks portal, so it’s well worth it to sign up.

How this Site Works: First, you sign up by providing your name and email address (no phone number or mailing address required). You’ll get a verification email, and then the fun starts. You’re rewarded right away with 30 Swag Bucks to get started, and an affiliate link that lets you share the good news about Swag Bucks with your friends and social media followers.


Earn Swag Bucks by:

  • Searching the Web
  • Watching videos
  • Completing surveys
  • Inviting friends to join
  • Shopping in the Swag Bucks mall
  • Voting in daily polls
  • Completing special offers
  • Finding Swag Codes
  • Sending in prize photos and videos
  • Trading in cell phones and video games

Unlike many other referral programs, you don’t receive a set amount of points for each friend who signs up using your affiliate link, or even a percentage. Instead, you’ll get matching Swag Bucks for the Bucks your friend collects while searching — up to 1,000. The information is buried on the FAQ page, though, that you don’t earn matching Swag Bucks for your friend’s sign-up bonuses, Shop& Earn activities, sweepstakes, Swag Codes or any other method. So, it’s not enough to get your friends to sign up, you also need to get them to use the Swag Bucks search box to earn points.

You’re provided with a lot of tools to help you market the site, including affiliate banners, radio buttons, an email form to send out to your list, an affiliate link, and an interesting function called “Spoof.” Through this unusual marketing tactic, you can create a custom URL that will “mildly trick your friends into thinking they’ve achieved a high level of recognition and notoriety in their profession or field of interest.”

The link also just happens to include sign up information for Swagbucks.com through your affiliate link. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems a bit mean-spirited and if someone did this to me, the last thing I’d be likely to do is help them out by signing up for a program where they’re an affiliate.

Rewards: Dollar values for Swag Bucks vary widely. It will take careful shopping to get the most out of your hard-earned Swagbucks. You can begin redeeming Swag Bucks when you have only 5 Bucks. For that price, you can get an “exclusive animated vSwag” icon that you can post on your Facebook profile. The fun, unique vSwag contains, you guessed it, your affiliate link.

In a brief search of the site, I noticed you can get a $25 Restaurant.com eGift card for just 400 Swag Bucks. That’s a good deal. Or you can spend 450 Swag Bucks for an Amazon.com eGift card. That’s what I mean when I say points values vary widely! The FAQ page says Swag Store prices are set based on availability, cost-of-prize acquisition, shipping fees and the dollar value of Swag Bucks (which varies.)

It’s also worth noting that you can’t use Swag Bucks earned on one Swag “Search&Win” website on another Search&Win website, so your points are not good for everything SwagBucks.com offers.


Pros:

  • Earn free Swag Bucks, which can be redeemed for valuable merchandise, gift cards and more, for free, doing things you’d normally do like searching the Web
  • Lots of ways to earn points
  • Website offers multiple ways to promote the program to your social network
  • Some of the prizes are a very good value


Cons:

  • Your friends have to use the Search function in order for you to earn Swag Bucks as an affiliate
  • It seems confusing to redeem Swag Bucks, since Bucks are not transferable across the entire website
  • Pricing of prizes seems very inconsistent; you have to be a careful shopper to get the most value from your Swag Bucks