Make Money By Searching Online (Really)

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Looking for some extra cash? All you have to do is search for stuff online. You’re probably doing it right now anyway, so why not earn a buck for it?

Swagbucks, a new Web site, offers consumers the chance to win prizes every time they search the web. Users are prompted to register (for free) with the site and have the option to add a Swagbucks toolbar to their Internet browser. Each time you type in a search term, you may win a Swag Buck. When you get enough of these, you can redeem it for gift cards and prizes from big name companies like Starbucks and Amazon.

If it sounds like a giant scam, it’s not. Swagbucks is powered by Google and Ask.com, and it’s been tested and endorsed by some people we think very highly of, including Julia Scott at Wallet Pop.

I played around with the site for a few minutes and it’s very addictive. While it seems doubtful that their search engine is any better than Google (Stock Quote: GOOG), Bing (Stock Quote: MSFT) or Yahoo (Stock Quote: YHOO), there’s no doubt that turning search into a constant lottery adds a certain thrill. I for one haven’t been this excited entering search terms since the first time I Googled my own name.

After about five minutes of trying, I won two Swag Bucks – the first was for the term “gloves” (it’s very cold here in Manhattan) and the other was for the term “mainstreet” (no, I’m not kidding!) The site claims you don’t really improve your chances by searching obsessively or by clicking on various search results; instead you are encouraged to use Swagbucks as you would normally use a search toolbar. But that didn’t stop me from typing in every term I could think of…

The easiest way to earn Swag Bucks is by getting your friends to sign up. Although you can also win up to 100 Swag Bucks in a single search. To give you an idea of what that’s worth in real money, 185 Swag Bucks buys you a $15 iTunes gift card, and 70 Swag Bucks can buy you Yankee’s t-shirt (like I said, I’m a New Yorker, so that’s very appealing).

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