After seeing so many posts on coupon sites about SwagBucks, I finally looked into it in June 2010. I don't know why I waited so long! Since then, I've received 37 $5 gift cards to Amazon ($185) and currently have enough SwagBucks for 12 more $5 cards! The limit is 5 per month, though, so these will take me into April.
You just add the gift card code to your Amazon account and whenever you make a purchase, Amazon first takes the $ out of your gift card balance. I've used the Amazon winnings to buy gifts for people, a new wireless printer, ink, books, coupon supplies (binder, paper trimmer, etc), memory cards, and more.
How it works:
You search. You randomly get awarded a random # of SwagBucks for searching (at swagbucks.com instead of, say, google.com). Every 450 SwagBucks gets you a $5 Amazon gift card. There are other prizes you can get, but that's the one I get regularly.
If you plan to join, I'd appreciate your using my referral link: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/NatPatBen
Now let's go through the methods of winning SwagBucks:
I typically win for searching just after midnight, mid-day, evening, and occasionally late night. I've never won more than 4 times/day. Only once or twice have I won twice within a short period of time. The search winnings are usually between 7 and 11. Fridays are "Mega SwagBucks Days" where the search winnings are usually 10 and higher. I average approx 30SB/day from searching.
You watch videos (surprisingly interesting ones) on SwagBucks TV. Today, every 20 videos gets you 5 SwagBucks. They have tweaked this numerous times since it started several weeks ago. What makes it awesome is: you can have videos playing while you do other stuff online or offline. Periodically, you have to click a button to say you're still watching. Sometimes, though, you may find the videos so interesting that you DO end up watching for a while! I tend to turn on SwagBucks TV before I leave home or go to bed, and I monitor it when I'm home. I get about 15-25 SB/day on weekdays & more on weekends. Right now, the limit is 75 SwagBucks/day. I think that's only possible if you have constant access to your computer.
Each of these will get you 1 Swagbuck/day, but 4/day adds up over time. I do three of these/day: Daily poll (5 seconds), Click on "Trusted surveys" (5 seconds), and have the toolbar installed (no time). If you go to No Obligation Special Offers (NOSO), you can click through the pages for 1 SB, but that takes too long, in my opinion, for only 1 SwagBuck. Some people actually fill out surveys (which get you about 50-200 SwagBucks each). I used to in the beginning, but now I get enough Swagbucks from other methods, so I don't attempt the surveys anymore. I get 3 SB/day from this.
At least once/day, SwagBucks issues out a SwagCode. It might be directly on their facebook page, twitter page, blog, toolbar, or swidget (See the swidget on the right.). Other times, the clue is in one of those places, but you have to hunt or research to figure out the code (those are more fun). The codes are typically worth 5-10 SwagBucks, sometimes more or less. They're only good for an hour or two, so easy to miss. I maybe get the codes 4 times/week, averaging maybe 4 SB/day from codes.
So I'm up to 62 SwagBucks/day so far. But there are more methods!
If you get someone to sign up with your SwagBucks referral link, then whenever that person wins from searching, you get the same # of SwagBucks. This goes on until that person reaches 1000 SwagBucks, at which time the matching stops. I typically get 35-50 SwagBucks/day from my referrals' searches. (Thanks!)
There are some free and not free special offers you can get from SwagBucks, too. For example, I got the LivingSocial deal last week for the Amazon gift card via SwagBucks, which got me 280SB. We also signed up for NetFlix via SwagBucks, which earned over 700SB. You can also win small amounts for watching ads or installing apps on Facebook (which I usually uninstall right after getting credit). The way to win the MOST SwagBucks from special offers, without spending a penny, is to research auto insurance quotes! For some reason, this is the most common special offer and pays out several hundred SwagBucks each time you [honestly] indicate that you're interested in getting quotes. I've only done this once for about 300 SB.
I average maybe 10 SB/day from special offers.
I explain my methods above for getting about 120 SB/day. That means I earn a $5 Amazon gift card every 4 days or 8/month. As you can only get 5 similar prizes each month, I let them carry over. I definitely like getting this $25/month in Amazon gift cards each month. Some people let them accumulate & use to buy big ticket item, or lots of gifts.
Note: There are other ways to win SwagBucks (printing & redeeming coupons, playing games) but I haven't gotten into those (yet).
If you do intend to join, here's my referral link: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/NatPatBen