Virtually everyone likes swag , the loot you collect for just showing up at something such as the Academy Awards ceremony or trading in points that you’ve earned for doing everyday things online. Swag is often compared to frequent flyer miles, except that with swag, you don’t have to undergo a TSA pat-down to reap the rewards. That’s the idea behind Swagbucks, a website that lets businesses reward consumers for their online activities.
Here's how it works. Swagbucks lets users earn virtual currency that can be traded for gift cards or products and real-life rewards such as discounts and coupons for the everyday actions they take online — from searching the Web and playing games to buying daily deals, watching videos or answering surveys.
The site currently offers more than 50 different brands and gift cards from household names such as Amazon, PayPal, Barnes & Noble, Macy's, Chili's Restaurants and Southwest Airlines. But Swagbucks also affords promotional opportunities to small businesses such as World of Watches, Valley Sports Cards, Eco Mom and Crazy Dog Tees.
Eco Mom, for example, which sells safe, healthy products for the family, offers a $5 e-card in exchange for 349 Swagbucks.
The site currently has more than 3 million active users each month who are saving money on everything from back-to-school supplies to Christmas gifts. Last years, users were awarded more than $8 million in gift cards.
The company, which was launched in 2008 by parent Prodégé, a developer of more than 150 online reward programs, is on track to make more than $20 million in revenue this year.
"We're monetizing every activity," Scott Dudelson, the chief operating officer of Prodégé, told BusinessNewsDaily. "When a user downloads a coupon, we get paid for that download. It's like an affiliate relationship."
It's a pretty compelling value proposition: Consumers get rewards, businesses promote their products and services and Swagbucks collects a small fee for each activity.
Because the company was bootstrapped by Prodégé, he said, it has been making money from day one.
The company, Dudelson said, started with two people and now has a staff of 45.
"We're a one-stop portal where you come to do what you need to do and get rewarded for it," he said.
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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.