"Goodbye Google" By Emily Sears | January 22, 2011 | RSS Students are switching their Facebook addictions for a new search engine called “Swag Bucks.” “I have it set as my home page because I’m addicted,” said Courtney “Pip” Pattison, a freshman who used to spend hours checking her Facebook. “Now I go straight to Swag Bucks and start searching.” Swagbucks.com is a search engine similar to Google, Bing, or Yahoo! with rewards. According to the website, Swagbucks.com allows web users to earn virtual currency by doing what they do every day--searching the web and shopping at their favorite retailers, as well as phone recycling, submitting polls, and completing special offers. “Swagbucks.com is the only place on the web to get what you want without ever having to spend a dime,” states the website. Each key word you type into the search bar has an amount of Swag Bucks tied to it. For example, searching for basketball will earn you one swag buck while peanut butter will earn you nine. Not all phrases will earn you bucks because most words and phrases have a value of zero. Also, some days a phrase may earn you 12 while another day the same word will not earn you any. “I just sit and type as many words as I can think of to try to get as many bucks as possible,” said Samantha Sturgill, a BC senior who spends her free evenings from student teaching glued to her laptop. “They say you’re not supposed to do that, but how else can I earn free stuff?” This is where the addiction comes in. The more Swag Bucks you earn, the more points you have to spend at the Swag Store. Prizes in the store range from 199 Swag Bucks for an mp3 download of Taylor Swift’s new single “Back to December,” to 1,850 for a $15 iTunes gift card, to 57,999 for an LG 32-inch HDTV. Some users download the toolbar for their Internet Explorer or Firefox browser for quicker access to searching. Searching the web is one way to earn bucks, but more swag can be accumulated by taking surveys from sponsors, voting in daily polls, inviting your friends to join, sending in prize photos and videos, trading in cell phones and video games, and more. “I try to play the games for Swag Bucks, but it’s really hard. You have to earn a high score, and I get frustrated,” said Kelsey Arthur, a junior at BC. “So, I usually stick with searching or surveys.” Promoting Swabucks.com earns points as well. After posting a banner on your Facebook, Twitter, or blog, anyone who clicks on it and joins the site will earn you more bucks. “I have it on my Facebook profile, and I message my friends to join under me. My roommate and I are really competitive about it,” said Pattison. The people who you refer to join Swag Bucks also earn you points. Every search they earn bucks off of, earns you bucks as well. Swag TV is another option. Watching videos such as “How to Set Up Your iPod” or “Sweet and Sour Wing Glaze Recipe” earn you bucks just like searching does. Like all of the other features on the website, all of the videos are completely free. Watching them earns you rewards instead of you paying to watch them. Online shopping earns bucks as well. Instead of checking out other websites for your favorite merchandise, check out the Swagbucks.com Shop and Earn Mall to earn rewards as you shop. “I used Swagbucks to order my textbooks for this semester and earned two bucks for every dollar I spent,” said Julie Austin, a junior and frequent online shopper. “I liked that they still had cheap prices from websites I had ordered from before, but I was earning instead of just spending." Regardless if you are addicted to finding out how many bucks you can earn each day or you are a casual swagger, how you are searching is just as important to what you are searching for with a website like Swagbucks.com.