Does Ebates.com Really Work?


Does Ebates.com work?If you saw the TV promo for Ebates.com you’re probably wondering if you really can get cash back by using their site. With so many sites out there offering all sorts of gimmicks and promises in order to get you to buy from them, it can be hard to separate the good from the bad. So we signed up for their service and kicked the tires so that you can have a better idea of how it works before signing up yourself.

Overview
Online shopping is just getting more and more popular, and we’re always looking for the best deal. Even when you factor in the shipping costs of getting things online many times you end up on top, and have it delivered to your door. Getting cash back is always fun, because it’s a clean process that nets you actual cash that you can use to buy more things, or keep in your purse or wallet for a rainy day.

The Claim
The basic premise of using this Ebates.com is that you can get cash back from purchases you make online. They say that you don’t have to redeem any points, don’t have to fill in any rebate forms, and don’t have to pay any sort of monthly or per transaction fees in order to have it work. They’re basically sharing some of the commission they make by sending traffic to the stores listed. They claim that their members have already gotten over $100M paid out to them.

The Hype
Any time you run a TV ad for an online site, there will be some hype that goes along with it. You have to make the offer enticing enough for people to see the ad, go to their computer and go to your site. Many websites simply advertise online, since all people have to do is click to visit the site. They definitely make it seem like you get can get some good deals, and get enough cash back to make it worth your while.

The Cost
It’s free to sign up and use Ebates.com, and the only time you’ll need to break out the credit card is when you’re making purchases at stores like The Home Depot, Amazon, and Sears, so there’s really no extra costs involved. There’s also no drawbacks to using it, it’s not like you’re taken to a special website that has inflated prices, you’re able to buy all the normal products at their discounted or advertised prices, and then you get cash back in addition to this.

The Commitment
There’s no monthly fee to use the service, so you aren’t committed to staying with the site for any specific period of time, nor are you ever committed to making a purchase. It’s basically just a portal of different online retailers where you can earn cash back from purchases you make. One gripe that people might have is the amount of time it takes to get the cash back. They only pay out quarterly, so depending on when you make your purchase it could be a few months before you’re paid out on it. In the affiliate world, you have to wait to get paid by the companies, so this makes sense.

Evaluation
Ebates.com has a pretty good business model because they’re being up front about how they make their money, and they aren’t making people jump through a lot of hoops in order to benefit from it. This is a bit refreshing because most affiliates will simply try to get you to the website, and will then keep the entire affiliate commission they make. It’s odd to see a company that’s learned how to share.

The site is nice if you’re already going to make a purchase online, since you might as well get extra cash back. But if you’re not looking to make a big purchase, it might just lead to impulse buys, and shopping for things you don’t really need. For example, if you were going to shop online at Toys R Us, you might as well use their affiliate link and get an extra 2% back. Or if you were going to make a big purchase, like a new computer at Dell.com, you can get 4% back. So on a $700 laptop you’d end up getting $28.

The Affiliate Process
So why do big name retailers rely on affiliates to bring them traffic? It’s actually cheaper for them to offer the incentive to have affiliates send them visitors. Since they only have to pay out affiliates when a sale is made, they end up getting a lot of free traffic in the form of people that end up at their site and don’t buy anything. This lets them only pay when action is taken, and compared to running ads where you have to pay regardless of whether anyone buys anything, this is an efficient way to do business.

Final Ebates.com Review

We’re giving Ebates.com the Thumbs Up because of how easy they make it, and how transparent they are about how they make their money. There are a lot of other sites out there that use gimmicks and mislead you into thinking that you’re getting a deal, when really you’re not. This is one site that makes simple claims, and then backs them up with no surprises and an easy way to collect cash back from retailers that you probably use anyway.

Our Recommendation
IF you make a lot of online purchases, you might as well sign up for this because it doesn’t cost anything, and is basically a way to earn a little extra back. You’ll still get the same prices and the same deals at each site you visit, so there’s only a plus side for you. The way they make their money is by getting affiliate commissions for directing you to these sites. So every time you make a purchase, they are getting a commission, but that doesn’t effect your purchase price, and they’re basically sharing some of that commission with you so it’s a win-win.

What do you think? Does Ebates.com work or not?


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

NerdiRoy October 3, 2012 at 4:09 am

It’s an ingenious business concept really. We all know websites get paid for either clicks on the ads or by leads on sales, so why not share the profit with the buyers and lure them to come to you and buy what they need? I don’t know who came up with the idea but he or she is a freaking genius and they’re probably making millions every year. Well, I didn’t invent it but I supposed I could benefit from it when I’m making purchases :P

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Kaila Braley July 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I agree, this seems like a great idea. It’s comforting that you’re buying the products directly from the sites you normally would, too, so you’re not worried about giving your credit card information to some unknown website. Plus, you get some money back when you shop. That’s a really great idea, and a great way to inspire people to go through their site, instead of just directly to the source. People are motivated by saving and making money. During Christmas time, this would save people a lot of money, because with all of the presents you have to buy, a percentage would hike up really fast. I don’t do a whole lot of online shopping, but if I start, I would definitely look into using Ebates.com.

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