I recently found another site that gives you rebates on online shopping named BigCrumbs.com. BigCrumbs.com is pretty similar to Ebates in general. Like Ebates if you join BigCrumbs you can get a % back on purchases you make with retails you browse to via the BigCrumbs website. Simply log into BigCrumbs, find the link for the retailer and click on it, make your purchase at the online retailer and you will then be credited with a rebate at BigCrumbs.
One twist that BigCrumbs has is that they give you the option of earning higher rebates for your own purchases or getting a % cut of the rebates of people who you refer to BigCrumbs. They have two programs the CrumbSaver and the CrumbEarner. The CrumbSaver gets a higher % on their purchases and the CrumbEarner gets more money off referrals. You can choose which program you want to be in and switch later if you want. Most people would do better in CrumbSaver as I doubt most of us will be referring large networks of our friends who would in turn do a lot of shopping for us.
Lets compare the cash back rates at Ebates to BigCrumbs. I'll be looking at the CrumbSaver rate for BigCrumbs since its higher for an individual shopper :
|Target||4%||2.7% to 6.3%|
|Home Depot||5%||3.6% to 4.5%|
|Orbitz||1%||$1.80 to $19.80|
|Newegg||2%||0.9% to 1.8%|
For those 10 stores Ebates gives a better discount in 6 of the merchants, BigCrumbs is better in 2 cases and the two sites are roughly equal in the other 2. Overall based on this semi-random sample I'd say that Ebates rebates are better on average with a few exceptions where BigCrumbs comes out ahead. But don't take my word for it. Go check out Ebates and BigCrumbs yourself and see what rebate rates they each give for the online stores that you shop at most. If your favorite stores have better rates at one or the other then your choice may different than the random stores above.
You might benefit from joining both programs and then shopping at the one that gives the biggest discount. Also consider comparing to the Shop Discover service form Discovercard. Their rebates are also relatively high.
If you know that you can refer a number of friends who would then all do some shopping in turn then you might come out ahead with BigCrumbs. But I think very few of us are in that situation.