Last September, I wrote about using Swagbucks a service that awards you points for searching and shopping through their site. I’ve kept using the service since then and spent my points entirely on Amazon gift cards which I’ve used to buy things for me (which is nice because I don’t have a budget for fun stuff) and my family.

After 6 months I’m still finding it a useful search engine and like the payoff, but there have been a few changes lately that I thought I should write about.

Changes in Swagbucks Currency

About a month ago, Swagbucks made a big change in the way it does currency. It multiplied everything by 10—users’ Swagbucks and prize costs. So if you had 60 Swagbucks in your account at the time of the change, you’d have 600 after the change. And a prize that cost 45 SB (like an Amazon gift card) now cost 450 SB.

It was a one-time change, so after that every Swagbuck you got was worth one Swagbuck.

The powers that be did this so that they could award Swagbucks in smaller-than-one (or at least smaller than 1 old SB) units. And they’ve started awarding SB in more ways, like when I login to my toolbar I tend to get 1-3SB.

Possible Upside

When the change happened, they promoted it as a way for people to earn more Swagbucks since you could earn them in more ways. Also, they said (or implied) that they’d be giving away more Swagbucks more often in the old channels too. Recently, they created newer “currency” to reflect this.

Possible Downside

Well, you can probably imagine the same downside that thousands of Swaggers (I don’t really count myself as one, but I follow the news to make sure it’s still working) thought of when the announcement was made: this is also a way to give less and it’s impossible for users to tell.

Which Way Has It Gone?

In the short-term, it seems to have gone up. I think I earned a few more more SB in the last month than I did in the month before—and my habits didn’t really change. However, I think it’s entirely possible that in the long-term Swagbucks will go down. If I were rolling this out, I would probably make sure that it was at least business-as-usual for a month or two.

I really don’t know how it’ll go in the long run. I assume that too few SBs would cause an outcry and people dropping it for being un-useful.

Limits on Redemptions-Per-Month

This one has been around for a little while, since just before Christmas and it ticked me off.

Instead of letting you redeem any prizes you want, Swagbucks created the rule that you can only redeem 5 of any kind of prize in a given month. So I could get 5 $5 Amazon gift cards, but then I’d have to roll over my points to the next month.

The good news is that Amazon gift cards are also available in $25 units (though the price is a bit more than 5x the $5 gift card). So if I end up with too much in a month, I can redeem it for $25 cards instead of $5 ones. Still, it’s something to consider and strategize about when planning on how you’ll handle the points you earn.

How Has Swagbucks Treated You?

Anyone else got thought on the changes on Swagbucks?

I’m a compulsive searcher, so I find myself using the engine a lot (though for really complex stuff I tend to stick with Google). Having the toolbar on my computer makes it easy to search and retain my Google search built into Firefox (actually, I use Quix for most of my non-Swagbucks searches.

So far I haven’t had any trouble with the redeeming the points, at least.


LaShaune March 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

MyPoints ( also has a search engine which provides you points (as well as shopping online).

Mrs. Micah March 29, 2010 at 10:07 am

@LaShaune It’s true. For some reason I never got the hang of MyPoints, but if I ever don’t like the way SB is going, I’ll probably give them a shot.

Melissa March 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

I casually use both to rack up a few Amazon dollars that I use for Christmas gifts and kitchen gadgets. I find both search engines to be fairly pathetic and only useful for opening up my morning gmail and inundations by whoever is paying the most to have their link show up first. I do tax research by day and neither search engine is even remotely useful for this. Google for the win there.

I’m disappointed in Swagbucks for resorting to Special Offers as a way to boost your points. MyPoints has always been like that, so I’m used to it, but the quality of Swagbucks is going down the toilet. Not that its a huge deal for me. As I said, I mostly use it to pick up odds and ends and not as an income supplement or budget saver.

Mrs. Micah March 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

@Melissa yep, for serious stuff there’s still no beating Google, at least not with either of these.

I should add that on Swagbucks my numbers stayed pretty constant after the change without resorting to “special offers.” That’s the reason I preferred them to MyPoints initially.

Gina March 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I feel like that awarding less than 10 is pretty cheesy, but on the other hand, we’re all getting something for FREE so we should be grateful. I certainly am–not only did I pay for Christmas with Swagbucks, I’ve since bought new carseats for my twins and plenty of other goodies off Amazon. I just with they’d increase the limit-5 on the prizes.

Mrs. Money March 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

It’s funny- I have a post scheduled this week about Swagbucks.

Personally I think that they should have left it alone, but that’s just me. 🙂
.-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Verify Your Checks Before You Deposit using DDAMP =-.

seattlegirluw March 31, 2010 at 1:17 am

I didn’t love the change, but they did make a couple others. Now, you can win amounts between 10 and 20, in addition to other denominations. The other day, Tim won 15. And today he won 30, so it seems like we do win a little more often or a little more.
.-= [email protected]´s last blog ..A bankruptcy story… redux =-.

Money Reasons March 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I didn’t realize that the changes was happening, so when I logged onto my 1 laptop and saw the toolbar balance, I was excited! It was like Christmas all over again!!!

I’ll have to check out the Amazon gift certificates… I don’t want any those expensive posters!!!

thanks for the info!
.-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..MoneyReasons Weekly Cache 2010, Mar 28 =-.

Blue Cactus Pool August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

I just started using Swagbucks so I didn’t know that there was any change. Thanks for the info.

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