I have played a grand total of four games online that offer game points that you can buy (yes, with real money) and use to purchase in-game goodies. Three of these games also offer the option of earning free game points: PonyStars (R.I.P.), Horse Racing Fantasy, and Mabinogi from Nexon (which disallows linking directly to the Mabinogi game home page). Tightwad that I am, of course I only want free points. Getting these things is not always so free, however. Many of these offers are email address harvesters for spam. Having learned a thing or two doing a few of these, I thought I’d share. Or at least keep notes for myself, if not anyone else.
The following contains personal speculation on several subjects; it is not to be taken as Word of Law or Ultimate Truth.
These are the best offers you can get from any offer source. Usually they are pathetically cheap, but you can watch them once per day as long as they are available, and there are usually several available at a time. Those little tiny increments do add up, over time.
That, and they are relatively painless to do. You start the video, you let it run. You can watch it, if you want. You can mute it, you can do things in other windows/tabs, etc etc. Yeah… for less than one-fifth of a cent worth of game points, that’s as much of my attention as you get.
2: Peanut Lab Surveys
These are real surveys (usually; I did find one that wasn’t), and don’t require any signing up or email-address-giving. These are usually found at the top of the Peanut Labs list, without thumbnails. There will be a couple of pre-qualification questions. Many will be asking things that you don’t qualify for. (Having a kid is apparently a top priority :X ) Don’t worry if you bomb out on those, there will be more. Be patient.
3: Surveys vs “Surveys”
The next best bet is to take a quick survey — not one you have to sign up for. If you look at a survey offer and it asks for your name, email address, etc etc — close it.
If you are taking a survey and it is pages and pages and pages of questions like–
Do you want us to send you diaper spam?
Do you want us to send you cigarette spam?
Do you want us to send you tobacco spam?
then get out of there. That’s a spam email-address harvester. No matter how many pages of those things you say No No No to, you’ll never get to the end nor get any points. You will get a tonne of spam in your inbox, however.
Also beware of any “Survey” that says you ‘must complete this and 3 other offers’ at the end. Because all those ‘other offers’ wil also require you to complete 3 other offers, and those other offers 3 more, and so on and so on ad infinitum. You will never finish and you will never get points.
Also note: a “Quiz” is not a survey. The quizzes are like cute little personality quizzes, but the last page will usually ask you to fill out a form and yes, sacrifice your email address, to get the results of your “Quiz.” Skip those.
On the Nexon site, there’s a very tempting Mobile Phone Survey going under several different guises. They always want your cel phone number, though, so I suspect they’re harvesting those to send you text spam. Wouldn’t trust it.
So let’s say you find a survey that looks legit, and it doesn’t ask you to sign up for anything, or give your name/address/phone number/email. This still doesn’t mean you will get any points. There are usually a bunch of qualifying questions. I’m not demographically desireable, so I don’t qualify for a lot of surveys :X It is annoying, but the ones that work usually pay a decent sum of game points.
I have found there are some survey companies I like. And some I don’t. Surveyhead, for example (they have orange buttons)… when I see that name come up in the link, I usually click out. I almost never qualify for those. There’s another company or group that have blue buttons and start asking your birth date, and then ask your language only after you enter the first info. I was going to give up on them, too, but I finally DID qualify for a survey there. It did take half an hour, and then at the end they wanted me to sign up for some OTHER thing, a point-doubler deal. I was seriously miffed and quit out of that. However… checking back, I did get the points for completing the survey. Don’t get duped into joining anything at the end, there.
Also note: some of these survey places will tell you that you did not qualify for that survey, but you could qualify for another. And another… and another…. I’m not even sure doing that will get you points. I don’t usually bother.
There were also a plethora of surveys from Lab42, but these guys wanted you to sign in with a Twitter or Facebook thing. There were so many of those, I finally did (don’t tell my buddy Awen) sign up for a Twitter account. Just to take surveys with.
The Lab42 “app” wants to snoop your Twitter posts and who/what you follow. Why? I don’t know. I also don’t give a flying fajita, because I’m not going to be posting or following anything. Are they trying to spam Twits you follow? I don’t know.
I haven’t qualified for any of these Lab42 surveys, either. And half the time they tell me the page or survey I tried to click to doesn’t exist. It could be because I can’t correctly answer the “Who is the President of the United States” question. I suspect that’s a bot-screening tool. Well, I don’t know his first name; nobody ever uses it. Next time, I’ll Google it and put that in. If they’re looking for full name and proper capitalization, it’s no wonder I never qualify. Sheesh.
4: Miscellaneous Things
You can try Netflix’s 30 day free trial if you like. I can’t, as I subscribe to Netflix. I do love it. Of course, if you don’t want to get hooked and have to start paying for it… :X
Horse Racing Fantasy has an option (worth a big chunk of points) to join Second Life. I did do that (make a new account on SL), and it took forever, but finally I did get the points. I do not know if that is repeatable…. I haven’t had the notion to try it. Well. Not seriously, anyway.
5: Things to Avoid Like the Plague
I tried a bunch of those “points awarded upon download” things. They lie. I download, I delete the file, I get no points.
Some of them come out and say you must download AND install them. I’ve installed a couple, and I wish I hadn’t. First, even if you download GIMP, it insists on installing RealPlayer and this other Moss thing you can’t opt-out of. I don’t know why RealPlayer is so hot to get itself on my system. I might even use it, if it didn’t have this other ad-ware/malware/spyware stuff bundled into it. So skip those, unless you like cleaning your registry and possibly reinstalling your OS.
Free jokes/cartoons/coupons in your email box. They will no doubt be accompanied by spam.
Coupons and samples. This is probably another spam/junk mail address harvesting scheme. Though you can try it if you like. I live in such an undesirable area, I don’t even get junk mail. I might be immune. :X
Insurance Quotes. Yeah. If you want insurance agents to call you and try to sell you stuff. I’m tempted to let them, as I never answer my phone, but now that I only have a cel, they’ll probably leave a message and I’ll have to spend air time to delete them. :X
Is it just easier and less mental-anguish-causing to spring for game points? Maybe. I have only been tempted to do so with Mabinogi, however. Getting points from that site is like pulling teeth sometimes. And the horse I want costs 9,900 points. That’s like ten bucks in real-world money. And hey… spending ten bucks on a game I like? Why not? It’s not like I don’t spend 20, 40, even 50 dollars and up to buy a game like Dragon Age or Assassin’s Creed.
But… I have to see how long I plan to play this game, first. It’s only been like 3 weeks. It’s all right so far, but not mind-blowingly awesome. And ten bucks for one game item is kinda steep. Especially since ALL the pets (and any other characters you want to make on the game, too) cost real money. You know how I love pets. :X I almost have enough free points (6200) to buy a falcon pet. Then I’ll be back to zero and wishing I’d just drop the cash. :X