Monday, December 15, 2014

Earning Money with Swagbucks: Pros and Cons

Note: This article originally appeared on my Hubpages Site.

 What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is a website-based rewards program that pays you virtual currency for doing basic tasks, such as checking in on their website, doing web searches, taking surveys, filling out profiles, watching videos and shopping online.

Every time you fulfill one of these tasks, an amount of virtual money, known as “Swagbucks” or “SBs” is credited to your online account and that is how you earn money (the Swagbucks can be swapped for goods or money later).

There is also a Swagbucks toolbar that they will pay you to install, should you want it, which is supposed to help you to keep track of your SB account balance and increase your prospects for earning money online. So what are the pros and cons of earning money online with Swagbucks?

The Pros of Swagbucks

1. Swagbucks is free to sign up to and to use. You just go to their website and fill out a form and then you can start earning money straight away.

2. You often receive SBs for performing tasks that you would do anyway, for example, searching for something on the web, or buying an item you need online through Swagbucks, which means you make easy money sometimes.

3. The daily Groupon deals provide some great bargains and sometimes you win twice, because you buy a bargain through Swagbucks and then they award you lots of SBs on top of that, which is great when you’re making a purchase that you planned to make anyway.

4. Another good thing is that with most earn from home sites, you need to earn a minimum threshold before you can spend any of your money (Mechanical Turk being a notable exception to this) but with Swagbucks you can start redeeming your SBs straight away (although you will still have to build up a reasonable amount of SBs to afford anything half decent!) That means that you can earn money online instantly with Swagbucks.

5. Swagbucks encourage you to redeem your SBs at their online store. But if you can’t find anything you want in there, you can either convert your SBs into Amazon Giftcards (450 SBs for the $5 giftcard), or buy the PayPal cash (700 SBs for the $5 PayPal) which goes directly into your PayPal account. (From your PayPal account, the money can be transferred to your bank account, if you wish, although there are so many places nowadays who accept PayPal, you might well find that it’s not necessary. If you are unfamiliar with PayPal, you should definitely consider getting an account as there are many earn money online websites who use it.)

The Cons of Swagbucks

1. The concept has always seemed a little gimmicky to me. What’s the point of earning money that's in a virtual currency that you then have to convert or redeem? Why not just have real dollars and cents from the start?

2. Another criticism I have is that the Swagbucks online store just isn’t that great, in my experience. As there is nothing there that I want to buy, nine times out of ten, I end up having to swap my SBs for the Amazon gift cards, or PayPal money, so that I can take my trade somewhere else. (At least they give me that option, I guess!)

3. I have also seen some people criticize Swagbucks online for having issues relating to malware. My wife and I have used Swagbucks regularly for a long time, however, and never had any problems in this area, so I can't confirm this.


People can and do make money from Swagbucks. But you have to work at it, in my experience, even if it’s only for 20 minutes each day. Over time, you’ll see your earnings and account money grow.

I probably make around $30-40 in a typical month nowadays, but I made far less when I first started. You will never become a millionaire from Swagbucks, but it can allow you to buy a few of life’s little luxuries and treats that you might not have been able to afford otherwise.

For more ideas regarding maximizing your Swagbucks earnings, I would recommend that you read my wife's post: Swagbucks tips and tricks.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bubblews Problems and Frustrations!

I am still writing on Bubblews.  It doesn't really make me much money, compared to other places, but generally I find it fun.  Every now and then, I get a payment for $50, and even when I don't write, I earn about 20 or 30 cents/day from people looking at my previous work. 

I've made about $300 so far.  You could probably make $50 to $100/week if you dedicated lots of time to the site (rather than just writing 3 or 4 "bubbles" per week, like I do!).

As well as fun, it can also be a very frustrating website too, however.  There is always some sort of problem happening.  I have listed some of the most recent frustrations I have experienced below.

  • Not getting paid.  This has only happened to be once, and not recently, but it was still annoying.  Unfortunately, the site has got itself a bad name for this.  I have to say that I have been paid successfully on 7 occasions, but I am never fully sure when I click the redeem button whether I will receive my money
  • The minimum redemption figure increasing from $25 to $50.  I think this was introduced by Bubblews so that they could process payments more easily, but it made the work needed to achieve the payout threshold take twice as long for users.
  • The payment process is taking much longer than it used to.  Early on, Bubblews said that they would reply within 4 days, if I remember rightly, and then you would receive a Paypal check which would clear in 3 or 4 days.  That meant that from redeeming to actually having the money took about a week.  That same process now takes about twice as long.  One issue is likely that Bubblews don't have many staff, I suspect.  I guess I am happy if just to get paid, and not too concerned with the time factor.  But it is no longer true that Bubblews is a quick way of making money.  Not as quick as Amazon MTurk, anyway.
  • Bubblews can be very glitchy.  A recent example is the comments on people's profile pages, where instead of the relevant comments, there has just been blank spaces for some time.  All websites have glitches from time to time, of course, but Bubblews seems to have more than average and they go on for a long time.
  • The site is also extremely slow at times - so slow that it quite often fails to load altogether and you just get error messages.  Again, when I first started at Bubblews, I thought the problem might just be a temporary one, but there seems to be no improvement over time.  There have been times where I have just had to walk away from my computer, it was so frustrating.  It doesn't exactly fill me with confidence or enthusiasm when I go to Bubblews and the site fails to load repeatedly.  I expect it puts off many writers and readers.
  • The standard of some of the writing on the site is very low.  I don't mean the subject matter so much, although that can be pretty poor too, but rather the low levels of basic English skills, things like grammar and spelling.  There also seems to be quite a bit of blatantly spammy content, spun articles etc.  (spinning is when software is used to reword a copied article, usually churning out only semi-literate results)  If the low quality material cannot be filtered out some way, then the future of site is undermined, because they need readers as well as writers if they want to succeed.

This post probably sounds like one big moan about Bubblews and maybe it is - but most, if not all the frustrations I've highlighted I believe to be legitimate concerns.  I do enjoy writing and earning money at Bubblews, but I do think that the experience could be improved.

If you are not a member of Bubblews already and would like to join and earn from the site, may I suggest that consider going to the site via my referral link below (it won't affect you in any way, but it will earn me a few extra cents)?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Your View on the Best Way to Make Money Online?

I thought it might be interesting and fun to take a poll of blog readers' favorite way to make money online.

Of course, there are hundreds of ways to earn money out there so I can't list every option available, so I figured that I would include 5 of my current favorites and an "other" option.  If your favorite falls into the "other" category, please feel free to say what it is in the comments.

My current favorite ways to earn online and what I like and dislike about them are:

Amazon MTurk - This is the one that I started out with.  I like it because it is easy and free to use, plus there are always lots of choices and you can sometimes get paid within a few days.  I dislike the fact that the payment rates have got lower and lower over the years. 

Bubblews - The "new kid on the block", Bubblews is easy and fun.  I like it because there is a social element and the payments are reasonably generous for this type of site, plus the "bubbles" rank reasonably well in Google, all things consider.  I didn't like it when they raised the payment threshold from $25 to $50 however, and their website can be very glitchy, plus they occasionally don't pay you and there's no explanation.

HubPages - HP is free but demands more long term commitment than MTurk and Bubblews.  It is basically a writing platform where you share in the advertising revenue, which comes from sources such as Google Adsense, Amazon Affiliates, and HubPages own advertising scheme.  I like the community at Hubpages, who can be very helpful if you want help or an opinion on something.  I dislike the fact that HubPages has been consistently hit by Google since 2011 and is nowhere near as lucrative as it used to be.

Squidoo - The main rival of HP and another open platform writing site, or "content farm" as these sites have been labeled by their detractors.  Like with HP, you write and post articles and share in the advertising income.   You could make quite a bit of money off Squidoo and HubPages at one time, but they are both suffering under the Google changes to their algorithm.

Creating My Own Hosted Blogs/Sites - I've been running my own earning sites the last few years, with some remarkable successes, as well as some dismal failures.  Hosting your own earning blog requires quite a bit of commitment, mainly time wise but also financial (buying the domain and hosting services) but pays off if you stick at it.  The technical side is actually pretty straightforward nowadays with hosting services like HostGator and Bluehost enabling you to easily download and install free blogging software from Wordpress for you to use with your domains.

Anyway, here's my poll, and an opportunity for you to give your vote (and comment?) on which online earning site is the best?

What is your favorite way of earning online? free polls