You’ve heard of this Swagbucks thing, haven’t you?  It seems like I know quite a few people into it, including my secretary and my wife.  Basically, it’s a program where you spend a lot of time looking at ads, take surveys, use their search engine, play games and do a billion other weird activities to earn the titular Swagbucks, which can then be exchanged for real-world prizes.

I tried it several months ago and decided that the time-to-reward ratio was pretty skewed — it takes a long while to get any measurable amount of Swagbucks, and you’re not getting something for nothing here, since you’re putting yourself in the front seat of a marketer’s circus.  Considering that my wife uses her points toward $5 Amazon gift cards and it takes her between two to five hours to earn that many points, she’s basically taken on a very crappy part-time job for far less than minimum wage.

Even so, she enjoys doing it and derives some pleasure from accruing “free” goodies, so I leave her alone.  If it’s relaxing and fun for her, who am I to take that away?

I’m a little wary about marketers getting too much information about us, but she swears that she uses fake info and email addresses (although that’s only a stopgap measure).  After doing a little research on it, it seems on the up and up, and there’s even a social aspect to it, as Swagbuckers (Swagbuccanears?) collaborate on Facebook and blogs to share point codes and strategies.

I mention all this because I found myself laughing while playing LOTRO last night and realized that I am, in a way, doing some of the same things.  LOTRO’s fairly unique in MMO space for letting you “earn” Turbine Points — which have real-world dollar value — through play.  Unless you’re a very poor person trying to get TP to unlock content, I don’t think most folks play with TP gain as the primary goal, but it is a nice bonus, particularly if you play multiple characters.

I should start keeping track, but I know that in the past week I’ve earned around 100 TP for doing what I’d normally be doing anyway in the game — 5, 10 or 15 points for various deeds.  Since we have additional cosmetic slots and an expanded mapping system coming up for sale in the next update, I’ll need all I can get, so every little bit is nice.  I just found it amusing that in our own way, both my wife and I are doing the same thing: gaming and getting paid for it.

8 thoughts on “Swaggering

  1. Scopique February 18, 2011 / 9:13 am

    If the things these Swagoneers are doing is something that people would do ANYWAY, then I guess getting something out of it is better then just being a dumb-terminal for marketers to shove stuff at.

  2. Ravious February 18, 2011 / 9:16 am

    Yeah, I earned roughly 10 cents last night in SG. Thought the same thing. Glad I am a lifer in LOTRO, they pay me $5 a month. 😛 Unless theirs a TP sale…

  3. Ravious February 18, 2011 / 9:17 am

    That would be there’s, not theirs… need to finish my morning gallon of coffee.

  4. Tanek February 18, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    I may be in the minority on this, but when it comes to marketing akin to this Swagbucks deal, if I feel I have to enter fake information to protect myself, it is probably not something I should be involved with in the first place.

    a) the company is on the level and you are, in effect, scamming them,
    b) the company is shady and should be avoided even if you are using fake info, or
    c) the company does not really need the information you provide about yourself

    In (c), I suppose you are still giving the marketing company what they want in some way (eyeballs on their advertising, unique hits to the games and websites, etc), but then they should make entering the user information optional. Maybe offer a bit of an extra incentive to enter valid information.

    This isn’t to say I think you should be giving out your main email address. Having a new, legitimate email address that you use just for things like Swagbucks would be good. And if they ask for home address or phone info…why? I mean, that is sooo last century. 😉

    As for the earning Turbine Points, I admit I’m keeping a fairly close eye on how much I am making. Kinda curious to see if regular play (not specifically grinding out deeds for points, just the ones I want for virtues, horses, etc plus the ones that complete naturally through questing) will earn me enough for the next expansion. Probably not, but a hobbit can dream, right? 🙂

  5. mbp February 18, 2011 / 12:09 pm

    I am still reeling at the concept of “your secretary”. Who has secretaries these days?: CEOs of multinational organisations? Are you a secret industry Mogul Syp that we don’t know about.

  6. Bhagpuss February 18, 2011 / 5:06 pm

    Perhaps it’s a personal secretary, like gentlemen have in 19th century novels?

    I used to do those things because I enjoy taking surveys. I never even claimed any of the points or prizes – I was basically just doing surveys for the fun of doing them.

  7. Green Armadillo February 18, 2011 / 5:51 pm

    @Tanek: This was the complaint about the DDO offer wall (and Farmville’s various versions of the same) – giving a fake email did not protect you, because you had already clicked OK on the “install spyware” button. Haven’t heard of this one before, and perhaps they are legitimate (for now), but I wouldn’t bet on it for a payoff of pennies per hour.

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