How Swagbucks Reshaped the Rewards Marketplace by Offering Consumers a Way to Earn Extra Spending Money
Updated: 2.13.18 Savings

How Swagbucks Reshaped the Rewards Marketplace by Offering Consumers a Way to Earn Extra Spending Money

By: Anne Copeland

The Crunch: By paying out more than $200 million to its users, Swagbucks has become a force in the digital rewards and cash back market. Swagbucks offers its users rewards, such as retailer gift cards and PayPal cash, in return for time spent taking polls, surveys, and completing other simple tasks online. Users can also earn money by playing games, testing mobile apps, and even shopping through Swagbucks. Since 2008, the site has helped its corporate partners gather information on online user behavior, and provided users a simple way to extend their budgets.

From college students to stay-at-home moms to someone with a little spare time on their hands, Swagbucks offers an incentivized, low-commitment option for quickly earning a few extra dollars each month.

Swagbucks was created by Prodege, a digital services company founded in 2006. Prodege’s original product provided charities an opportunity to raise money by way of internet searches. Each Swagbuck is worth approximately one US cent when translated into PayPal cash back or retailer gift cards.

Over time, Prodege’s products, services, and portfolio have evolved — acquiring additional websites, appointing a new CEO, and earning a $60 million investment from Technology Crossover Ventures. But Swagbucks remains one of Prodege’s most successful ventures providing users opportunities to earn rewards based on their own level of time investment.

Rewarding Internet Users for Sharing How They Spend Time Online

The goal of Swagbucks is to find out how internet users spend their time online. The company goes about collecting this information through different channels, including polls, games, and online shopping — monitoring and recording the data its partners seek.

Swagbucks’ partners pay the company a commission for that user data, and Swagbucks passes on some of that commission to users in the form of Swagbucks, which can then be cashed in through PayPal or issued as credit on a retailer gift card.

Users Earn Swagbucks for Completing Easy Online Tasks

Swagbucks posts a single-question poll on its site every day that earns users one Swagbuck upon completion. The poll takes just a few seconds to answer.

Surveys are another easy way to earn Swagbucks and can take from 5 to 30 minutes to complete. The survey begins with a series of screening questions that may include age and location, before the user is directed to the survey.

Screenshot of Swagbucks surveys

Users can earn a predetermined number of Swagbucks for completing surveys on the site.

If a user’s answers to the preliminary survey questions don’t qualify him or her to take the survey, the user will be returned to the Swagbucks survey page. If a user does qualify, the survey begins and must be completed — start to finish — to earn the full number of Swagbucks.

Users can also earn Swagbucks by watching videos posted on the website. The short videos are presented in groups of 20 based on subject matter, and users can choose which ones they want to watch based on their interests.

Searching, Shopping, and Playing are Also Incentivized

The Swagbucks search bar allows users to search the internet — as well as the site itself — to find results related to their query. Each search is tracked, and many will earn Swagbucks if a partner’s result is returned.

Swagbucks also offers a button — much like a browser extension — that tracks the websites a user visits and generates pop-ups with any coupon or cash back offers the site has available. For every dollar spent, users are rewarded with a percentage back in the form of Swagbucks. In addition, Swagbucks has online coupons, printable coupons that can be used in brick-and-mortar stores, and many other product-specific coupons.

Screenshot of Swagbucks shopping

Swagbucks lets consumers earn cash back for shopping with some of their favorite retailers through its website.

Another way users can earn Swagbucks is by playing games. The games are primarily phone and computer applications that may require an initial purchase within the game to qualify for the Swagbucks. If the user is not interested in making a purchase, free games are offered at the bottom of the Play section of the website.

Swagstakes are the site’s form of sweepstakes, and winners are chosen at random. Users exchange a preset number of Swagbucks to enter to win the potential reward, which ranges from games to gift cards to bonus Swagbucks. It’s a gamble, but it’s also one of the options that offers the highest reward.

SwagCodes are codes found on various social media platforms that can be entered onto a particular page of the site to unlock Swagbucks. Many times, SwagCodes are available for new users, offering immediate Swagbucks to get off to a strong start in earning rewards.

Redeem Rewards for Cash, Charitable Donations, or Gift Cards

The builders of the site are always expanding and developing new ideas and adding innovative features to benefit users. Currently, the Swagbucks reward system features many paths users can follow, including charitable donations, re-investment, or redemption for personal use.

Screenshot of Swagbucks charity page

Users have the option to donate their Swagbucks to charitable causes instead of receiving a gift card or PayPal deposit.

When users decide they want to redeem their Swagbucks, they can click Rewards and exchange their Swagbucks for a reward of their choosing. Swagbucks offers a wide variety of purchase options in exchange for Swagbucks.

Charitable donations, Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash, magazine subscriptions, and many other rewards are available. The cost of each reward can range from 5 to more than 2,500 Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is an Easy Way to Turn Browsing Into Benefits

Swagbucks offers an easy way for users to convert spare time into extra disposable income. With minimal effort, users can earn cash or other rewards just by sharing their thoughts or browsing patterns.

By offering users a way to ease the financial burden that comes with everyday life, Swagbucks can help users live better lives and, eventually, even earn their financial freedom.

Most internet users could use a little extra cash, and Swagbucks has created a website dedicated to allowing people to earn that money from their own living rooms.