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Remember how I promised to share my new favorite program after announcing that I no longer recommend Crowdtap?  Well here it is.  Expo is a great program that earns rewards quickly

The main program:
The main point of the program is to provide short 1-2 minute video reviews.  When you go to your "dashboard", there are two different places you can look to see what videos they are looking for at the time.  One is "Invitations" and the other is "Most Wanted" on the right.  For both of them, there is a little "see all ___" on the top right of the column that you can click on to see more.  Points vary from 300 points to a few thousand (usually those are for specific models of more expensive items but hey, you never know, you might have the item) that you turn in for rewards.  Most videos are reviews of products (some are very specific model numbers, others are "any ___ product" types) but they do have some that are asking you questions.  Recent examples of that type would be "what is your favorite thing about the fall?" or "how does your schedule change for back to school?" Occasionally there will be a quick survey in the invitations section that will give you points (I recently took one on solar panels for 50 points that was very short).

There are many rewards to choose from but the one I always go for no matter the program is the gift card section.  For Expo there is a "Gift cards" section, an "e-gift certificate" section that will be emailed to you, and an "Amazon e-gift certificate" section.  Applebees $5 gift cards start at 550 points, printable $5 Brinker (Chili's, On The Border, etc) e-gift certificates start at 563 points, and $5 Amazon gift certificates start at 600 points just to give you an idea of the value and how quickly they add up.  You get 500 bonus points for your first approved video so even if you do a video that is only 300 points, that is 800 points right off the bat.  There are many other rewards as well from movie tickets to electronics to household items.

Tips for video approval:
--The video *must* be horizontal or it will upload sideways.  I use and ipod Touch so I had trouble with this at first because I am used to holding it vertically.  Even if it autocorrects on your device, it will still load sideways to the site.
--Don't forget that you must be in the video and if it is a product review video, the product must be shown as well.
--Write down on a sticky note the information that you will need so you won't forget when shooting the video.  You must state the brand name, product (or model) name, and model number if applicable, as well as any info that particular video might ask for.  I had a small appliance that I just stated the model name but not the actual number and it was not approved so don't forget all of those details.
--Have somebody else hold the camera or prop it on something so that it is steady, they do not like shaky videos.
--Don't know what to say to fill the time?  After stating the above info, you can say how long you have had it, what color/pattern you chose, what you like about it, what you dislike about it, where you bought it, what you would change about the product if you could, etc.  If it's not something really loud (or with copyrights for things like dvds), you can demonstrate how it works as well.
--Smile, have fun.  I have only done a couple videos and was stiff and nervous in them.  They still get approved (as long as they follow the above, my first couple did get rejected because I forgot things here an there) but it's kind of painful to watch your own boring videos.     

Other ways to earn:
--Referrals.  When you refer a friend AND they upload their first video, you get 200 points.  The link I posted below IS my referral link.  If you don't feel comfortable, you can always just go to ExpoTv's main site to join.
--Surveys.  They have a survey panel called Outlook Panel where you can take surveys for sweepstakes entries or for points.  I only do the ones for points and even though they have a separate sign up for this part of the site, the points still go to your Expo account.  I used the same email but not sure if that is required.
--Tryology.  Tryology is their product testing program.  There is not a separate signup, it is part of the Expo program.  Every once in a while they will have a Tryology program where they will send out a free product in exchange for a video review of it.  When you have an invitation to apply, it will appear in the Tryology column on your dashboard right above Invitations.  If it is something that you would like to try, you fill out a short screener.  You get 10 points just for filling out the screener (they are very quick) and if accepted, you'll find out a while later, usually a couple weeks.  They will mail you the product, you try it out, then make the video.  Sometimes the product has not been released to the general public yet so you will have to sign a confidentiality agreement saying that you won't talk about the product (online or in person) until the product launches.  I have gotten a couple neat products from this program.  Since they want an honest review, you do not receive points for your video but a free product in exchange for a 1-2 minute video is still a great deal.

If you would like to join, you can click here.  I will be doing other write-ups like this on the other programs that I use as well in the near future so that you can see the pros and cons of each before making a decision to join or not.  

As you all know, one of my favorite programs ever has been Crowdtap.  Not only did I earn Amazon gift cards to use for Christmas shopping just by participating, but I earned some great sample shares and hosted parties.  My love for them has faded however and I can no longer recommend them.  Every few months as they have grown, they have made big changes to accommodate the growth.  They all stung a little.  The bigger problems started late last year.  They had a lot more people earning the gift cards through heavy participation but the number of gift cards did not seem to be increasing.  So they made a once per month redemption rule where there would be a huge rush at the two times that day for people to cash in.  They sold out quickly and people were mad.  They announced that they would be changing the system for the better and we held out hope.  Then in January, they sent out notice that they were DOUBLING the amount of points needed to cash in.  You would now need 40,000 points to get a $10 gift card instead of 20,000.  Crazy person say whaaaaat?!?  Do you know how much work it took to get 40,000 points?  Probably not.  I'll fill you in... a LOT.  The absolute worst part of that shady move?  It was effective for the February 1st redemption!  So it was not a "this is going to happen after this last chance" type thing.  Lots of people were justifiably angry.  A couple more months of redemptions then the new "improved" system came.  

The improvement?  That the whole reward system was changing to a drawing based system.  So you could spend hours and hours a week to win top awards on the discussions, dozens of quick hits, and going out of your way to participate in photo challenges and then still not win anything or maybe win $5 for the whole month.  The top 100 for the brand in the current month get a bonus amount of points but it was such a trivial amount that it did nothing.  I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt for a few months and see.  Results... AWFUL.  The most I won in one month was $10 and that was only once.  I was one of the few good tappers left that put thought into their submissions.  I almost always received stars for my posts and had several top awards (from back when there was stiff competition with a lot of great tappers).  Then you would go on the Crowdtap facebook page and see people with less than half of the entries, few top 100 finishes (or worse... none), and no top awards getting 5,6,7, even 8!! prizes.  We tried to show Crowdtap how flawed their new system was.  If they don't want to put the money into rewarding people how they were in the past, they needed to at least fix this type of system.  Some good suggestions were given like increasing the amount of points you get for time consuming things (like top awards, top 100 finishes, "excellent" rated reports, etc) by a very considerable amount or by matching top 100 finisher's points (for instance if they earned 7,000 points that month, they get a bonus 7,000 for the drawing), etc.  They always say they are listening but no changes for the better ever came.  

The absolute worst part?  No more OLD NAVY!!! :(  They pulled out of the program.  This was the one "crowd" that I was amazing enough for me to stay with Crowdtap no matter the rewards because the Sample Shares and hosted parties were that amazing and that frequent.  The amount of samples and parties has gone down in general (and the quality of the packages for the ones they do have, have gone down for most) so to take Old Navy out of the mix... not worth it anymore.  I am still a member and I will still go on once or twice a week (hey maybe I'll be one of those lucky "do little, get lucky and win" people, if not, I didn't waste a lot of time) but don't recommend it for others as most people don't have as much patience for these types of programs as I do.  Fear not though, there is another program that I have not blogged about yet that is actually my new favorite (reward wise not product wise) that I will be posting soon.  Stay tuned... it is definitely worth it :)