businessman doing an online survey

Take a look at your inbox right now. If you’re a frequent email user, it’s likely packed with garbage at any given moment. All those spam messages, unwanted emails or even those coming from websites you’d never even subscribed to… Your inbox is cluttered, and for what? Everybody hates spam. But what if I tell you that you can actually take advantage of this junk to earn rewards? No, it doesn’t sound too good to be true. It is possible, thanks to Small Business Knowledge Center. And here’s a review of it.

The only precondition is that you are a small business owner or a self-employed person. And the only thing you need to do is register for an account with Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC in the further text). But more on that later. First, let’s see who they are and if they deserve your email address. We wouldn’t just want another set of spammy emails, right?

SBKC Overview

The company exists from 2006 and is based in Chicago, Illinois. According to the info on their website, their main area of interest is direct marketing, which is usually executed through materials that companies send via mail or email. They don’t have an accreditation on Better Business Bureau, but they do have an A+ rating there. So, it’s a good place to start.

If you enter their system, you will participate in market research studies by forwarding those materials to them. They work with consumers and producers (such as insurance agents or financial advisors). Chances are everybody is in one of those categories, so you might as well try to use the materials you would otherwise just throw away.

small business knowledge center surveys homepage

How Does It Work?

First you need to sign up for an account. Just provide your basic contact info along with the household income, add another household member if you want, and hit “Submit”. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the registration process. By providing this info, you will just request approval to join their panel. Due to the large number of applicants, they will have to sift through all the requests and approve the ones that they are currently interested in.

I Got Approved. What Do I Do Next?

Upon confirming your account, they will ask you to forward them all of your email or mail communication (one-way or two-way) about following topics:

  • Insurance and investments
  • Mortgage, loans, banking and credit cards
  • Telecommunication
  • Travel and leisure
  • Shopping in stores or online
  • Food and beverage
  • Games
  • Office supplies and sporting goods
  • Auto parts
  • Home improvement
  • Pet supplies

This is just a part of all the topics they may be interested in. And, as you can see for yourself, nearly everyone fits at least one of these categories.

Forwarding your communications is not the only way to earn rewards with SBKC. Periodically, they will invite you to take their mystery shopping surveys for extra rewards. The third and last way of earning is by referring your friends. After a friend successfully opens up an account and gets approved, you will earn some bonus points.

And now with the most important info – type of rewards they are offering in return for your effort. Their basic currency is points. After you accrue enough of them (a minimum of 2,000 points), you will be able to redeem them for a $20 pre-paid Visa Debit card.

According to their website, consumers who participate frequently can earn up to $20 every six to ten weeks. That doesn’t sound like much, but then again, the time and effort it requires are next to zero. If you are a small business owner or self-employed, you will be able to earn even faster.

Where Do I Send My Materials?

As for your online marketing communications, you will need to forward them to either consumers@sbkcenter.com if you are a consumer, or producers@sbkcenter.com if you are a producer. If you do it via smartphone, make sure the entire email has downloaded entirely, including images or any other attachments, before forwarding it.

Now to the old-school direct mail. The moment they approve your request to join the panel, you will receive pre-addressed and pre-paid postage envelopes. Put your correspondence in those envelopes and send them to SBKC. They will replenish them on a regular basis, so don’t worry about running out of those.

Advantages

  • You turn your junk into rewards. I would really like to get rid of my junk emails once and for all. But there’s one thing I like even more: turning them into cash. It’s like recycling, except that nobody would normally pay money for another person’s spam emails.
  • You can also forward mail or email from your household member. That is, if you get their written permission to do it. For example, my wife and I both get tons of junk emails. It’s great to have an opportunity to turn all of that into rewards.
  • Send as much materials as you want (or have). The only requirement is that the materials are recent and that they belong to at least one of the categories.
  • Both consumers and producers of marketing materials are welcome. As a producer, your earning opportunities will be even bigger.
  • No surveys = no frustration. Most paid market research platforms work with surveys. And that can get pretty irritating, since it’s usually connected with lots of refusals due to ineligibility. With these guys, it’s different. If they reject your application, that’s pretty much the only frustration you’re in for.

Disadvantages

  • It’s not easy to get approved. Everybody can try, as long as they’re a US or Canada resident and over 18 years old. But not everybody will manage to join. And there are no clues about their current needs. Since the application form only collects the information about your household income, my best guess is that that’s their basic criteria. But who could tell what category they are currently after?

Final Verdict – Is It Scam?

After an extensive research I did online, here is my verdict. This business is not even near to scam. As weird as it may sound, direct marketing communications can mean a lot in market research, and it totally makes sense that someone should pay for them.

Another question is if trying to join the panel is worth your time. The math is simple here. It takes three minutes to fill out the contact form. If they don’t approve you, those three minutes is all you have lost. If they do approve you, you will spend a few seconds on forwarding materials you don’t need, and get some money in return. Quite a bargain, don’t you think?

So, if you get a chance, join the panel. You won’t get rich doing it, but let it be yet another side income. However small, it will be some of the sweetest money you’ve ever collected.