These programs seem to be designed mainly to get you to shop through their websites so they can accumulate their own affiliate rewards. The way they entice you is by offering you a share of the rewards by giving you a rebate either in the form of cash back or points. However, the thing that works for us frugal folks is that they also give out small amounts of rewards simply for opening the advertising emails they send you about their affiliates.
I recently mentioned these programs in my post Found Money. Jacob (who has a fantastic blog if you haven't already seen it) wondered if clicking these emails was worth the time it took. I decided to find out.
Here's what I discovered:
It took me just under one minute to go through three emails. This involved opening the message, clicking on the one (or two) required buttons to confirm that I had read it, and then deleting the message. I do use tabbed browsing with Firefox so while the advert was opening in another tab I was easily able to move on to the next message in my inbox.
At Inbox Dollars my earnings seem to be averaging about 3.5 cents per email read.
At the rate of 3 emails per minute, that's 10.5 cents per minute or $6.30 per hour.
At MyPoints each email earns 5 points.
At the rate of 3 emails per minute that's 15 points per minute or 900 points per hour.
What's the dollar value of 900 points? See this discussion at I've Paid For This Twice Already
for some interesting details. If I go with the most expensive redemption value (which means I could earn more) then I can get $1 for every 150 points.
So if I have 900 points, that's worth $6
Isn't that interesting? It looks like my hourly rate for clicking emails is more than the federal minimum wage.
By the way, the Inbox Dollars links here are referral links. You can get $5 for signing up (and after you reach a certain earnings level I will get $5 too... so thank you for joining!)
- I use a separate email account for these kinds of programs so their emails don't clutter up my regular inbox.
- I used tabbed browsing with Firefox (I believe the newer versions of IE have that too) which makes it easier to zip through the emails.
- I'm not a shopaholic so I don't get tempted by the offers. Many of the offers are from your standard retailers and the deals can be pretty good.
- If you are already planning to buy something and can't get a better rebate froma different program, you may want to shop through these sites and earn rewards a LOT faster than just by clicking their emails.