This post is part of TechAirlines' biweekly PrizeFly series. Every other Monday, we compare key features of 2-4 similar products and crown one as the "prized flyer".
Do you search online? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to earn rewards for searching (and other online activities)?
Services like Swagbucks and Bing Rewards let you do exactly that. Simply by searching online, you earn virtual currency, which can be redeemed for various prizes, such as gift cards.
Both services are free to join, and you can always participate in both, but let’s explore the features of each and crown one as the “prized flyer”.
Table of Contents
Disclosure: I have been a member of Swagbucks for 15 months and Bing Rewards for 7 months. The logos link to my referral URL. If you prefer not to sign up through my referral link, use the text links instead. Thanks.
Swagbucks was founded in 2008 and is run by a company called Prodégé. Users earn virtual currency, called Swag Bucks (SB), through searching, completing surveys and offers, interacting with the site’s social network profiles, as well as other activities around the site. The company claims to give away millions of dollars worth of prizes every year and continues to grow each year.
Bing Rewards is a loyalty service for Microsoft’s Bing search engine. It was launched in 2010 as a successor to SearchPerks! and Bing Cashback. Users earn reward credits through searching and participating in daily tasks. These credits can be redeemed for sweepstakes entries or gift cards.
1 – Earning Points
Swag Bucks are earned randomly through searching. Most searches will not result in a win. The site says to search as you would on any other site (search naturally) and you will be rewarded. Users can get search wins multiple times a day, although it has been reported getting more than 4 is highly unlikely. The number of SB awarded each time is random and can range from 6 to 50 and higher.
In addition to searching, users can be awarded SB through other tasks, such as completing special offers (from watching free video ads to purchasing a product), watching videos (3 SB per 10 videos), and answering polls (1 SB daily). The company is also active on social networking sites and randomly holds special events and releases “Swag Codes” which award a certain number of Swag Bucks.
Because of the numerous methods of earning, there is no limit to how many Swag Bucks can be earned daily.
Bing Rewards credits are earned through searching. At this time, users are awarded 1 credit for every 2 searches they make, for a maximum of 15 credits daily. The maximum amount daily may change sometimes. For example, prior to June 2012, the maximum was only 10. In June 2012, the maximum was 20.
There are also daily tasks to complete each day, which are usually just clicking a link to explore a special Bing feature or current event. These usually award 1-2 extra credits daily. Again, the amount awarded can change.
Bing also gives bonus credits for being a member for a certain amount of time, such as a month or 6 months.
Round 1 Results
Swagbucks gives the potential to earn more each day because of the numerous methods available to earn, however it does require more time. In order to earn more, users would have to interact with many areas of the site. Furthermore, search wins are random.
Bing gives a guaranteed number of credits for searching, but it is difficult to earn any more credits beyond that. Unlike Swagbucks, there are no additional methods of earning beyond searching and a daily click.
2 – Redeeming Points
Swagbucks provides a large collection of prizes users can redeem Swag Bucks for, ranging from Amazon gift cards and PayPal cash to game consoles. There is also a monthly charity users can choose to donate to. There is no set conversion rate between Swag Bucks and real life currency. Some $5 gift cards like Amazon.com costs 450 SB while others like PayPal costs 700 SB.
Users can only redeem 5 of the same prize each month and 2 daily.
Update: As of November 1, 2012, except for the $5 Amazon.com Gift Card (which costs 450 SB), all gift cards are priced at 100 SB for $1. The prize limits have also been lifted.
After redeeming Swag Bucks, it can take a week or more for the prize to be delivered. E-gift cards are usually sent in about 6-8 business days. Physical items might take even longer.
E-gift card codes are stored permanently on the user’s Swagbucks account.
Bing provides a collection of gift cards, sweepstakes entries, and charity donations users can redeem their credits for. It is significantly smaller than that of Swagbucks. Again, there is no set conversion rate, but 100 credits roughly equals 1 USD.
Unlike Swagbucks, gift cards are delivered almost instantly (or within 24 hours).
Loyal users who complete a set of goals can become a “Gold” member and receive a discount on prizes. For example, as shown above, Gold members can get a $5 Amazon.com gift card for 475 credits as opposed to the regular 525.
Round 2 Results
Swagbucks provides a significantly larger selection of prizes compared to Bing, from restaurant gift cards to large electronics. Its only disadvantage is that the prizes can take a long time to deliver.
Bing e-gift cards deliver very quickly, but it suffers from a very limited selection.
3 – Search Engine
The Swagbucks search engine appears to be based on Google, using the same general design. However, it does not provide any special features of Google, such as weather, calculator, or any other special queries. Swagbucks is a meta-search engine, so it fetches results from multiple different sources.
Bing is a major search engine, so it provides many special search features, including special queries and integrated news stories. It also integrates with Facebook to display pages that friends like.
Round 3 Results
Swagbucks’ search engine is decent but it lacks the special features found in most major search engines. The relevancy of results sometimes also seems slightly weaker than that of major search engines.
Bing wins this round for providing the best search experience.
So what is the weighted average score of each service?
Therefore, with a score of 4.0 to 3.5, the “prized flyer” for online rewards (for search and other activities) goes to…
Do you prefer Swagbucks or Bing Rewards? Or do you prefer a different service? Vote in the poll above and share your reasons for choosing that particular service with us in the comments.