Comparing Rebate Sites

Nov 7, 2003

The Bottom Line MoreRebates offers the highest sign-up and referral bonuses. NetFlip offers the highest rebates but has a limited selection of stores.

Apparently millions of people have signed up for Ebates, the granddaddy of rebate sites. But should you?

Rebate sites work like this. These sites partner with hundreds of online rebates sites, usually through affiliate programs. They get a commission for every purchase you make through their site, and then they share a percentage of that commission with you. So when you see a site offering 3% rebate on your purchase, they are probably earning 5%. But of course they built the site, the technology, have customer service, and investors to repay.

Note this is different than manufacturer rebate sites which offer mail-in rebates on certain merchandise.

Rebate sites generally pay their members in three different ways.

1) A sign-up bonus. That's right, you can make money just for signing up. Of course, you have to earn a minimum amount before they pay you so it is not really free cash.

2) A referral bonus. Refer your friends and if they use the rebate site, you can get a bonus.

3) The rebate amounts. Different rebate sites offer different rebate percentages, but it can be time-consuming to look at multiple sites.

Here is a quick assessment:

Sign-up Bonus

MoreRebates offers $6
NetFlip offers $3 (but you only get $2 unless you opt-in to a lot of commercial email)
AskMrRebates $2.50
Ebates $0
Upromise $0
Fat Cash $0

Referral Bonus

More Rebates $6
Ebates $5 and the new member gets $1
AskMrRebates 20% of your referral's earnings
NetFlip N.A.
Upromise $0
Fat Cash $0

Rebates (highest)

1-800 Contacts 7% (MoreRebates)
1-800 Flowers 8% (NetFlip)
Barnes and Noble 4% (Fat Cash, Ebates and NetFlip)
Dell 2.5% (MoreRebates)
Gap 4% (NetFlip)
KB Toys 3.3% (Fat Cash) 24% (NetFlip)
Spiegel 6% (NetFlip)
Staples 2.2% (Fat Cash & MoreRebates)
Zappos 7.5% (MoreRebates)

Generally speaking, the sign-up bonus and referral credit are highest at MoreRebates, while each site battles it out for highest rebates. Although NetFlip has some high rebates, they generally don't have all the stores that the other sites have, and you actually have to request to be paid. The interesting thing to note is that Upromise, although popular among the crowd that is worried about putting their children to school, generally has poor rebates. AskMrRebates also has low rebates.

Last, many of the rebate sites are starting to publish coupons as well. Notably, eBates, MoreRebates and FatCash do this best.

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