Late last year I sung the praises of cash-rebate sites, which pay you back for making online purchases you were going to make anyway.
SwagBucks gives you prizes for doing stuff you already do, like searching the Web, playing games, taking polls, and watching videos.
It may sound a little scammy, but the site's legit: in the past couple years I've redeemed bucks for things like Amazon and iTunes gift cards. The challenge, of course, lies in earning enough bucks for a decent prize.
You now have one more tool in your arsenal: SwagBucks TV Mobile, a new Android app that awards bucks for watching videos.
In case you're not familiar with the service, it works like this: After signing up for a free account, you perform various tasks that can help you earn points (i.e., bucks).
For example, you can start a Web search from the SwagBucks home page, or install the SwagBucks toolbar for Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari (a Chrome version is coming soon) and use that. Alternately, SwagBucks plug-ins are available that merely add the engine to your browser's built-in search bar. Every time you search, you have the chance of winning bucks. Five bucks here, 25 bucks there--over time it adds up.
You can also earn by signing up for services from the likes of Netflix, Discover, and Yelp Deals, or viewing a stream of no-obligation special offers (NOSOs). This is where Swag Bucks starts to feel a little scammy, but keep in mind these offers are entirely optional.
Like coupons? SwagBucks has partnered with Coupons.com to award you 10 bucks for every grocery-store coupon you clip and use. Got an old cell phone, MP3 player, or game console? You can trade them in for bucks as well.
Other earning options include playing games, performing tasks via CrowdFlower, and even watching movie trailers and other video clips. It's this last option that drives SwagBucks TV Mobile, which serves up movie, DVD, and game trailers, as well as one-joke comedy clips. Sit through five clips in any category and you'll earn a few bonus bucks.
If you're into gaming the system, you can just leave the app running all day (provided you've got your charger handy) and bank up to 100 extra bucks (independent of the 150 per day you're limited to on the Web). Not a bad way to pad your account.
So, how many bucks does it take to score a prize? Head to the Swag Store and see. For 635 bucks you can get a $5 Starbucks gift card. An individual episode of "True Blood," delivered via iTunes, runs 450 SB. And a 2GB iPod Shuffle will set you back a cool 6,999 SB. Not all the prizes are gems, but the gift cards are hard to beat--especially considering that the only cost is a little of your time.