Junk mail. It's the bane of my postal delivery existence. Chances are you hate it too, what with the insurance offers, vacation brochures, and more. It's a waste of paper, annoying, and you wish your mailbox had a chute that sent it directly to the recycle bin. That will all change, however, thanks to a company named Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC).
Why? Because, SBKC will pay you for your junk mail. You read that correctly. This company will pay you to send them your junk mail.
Why would a company pay you to send them your most reviled pieces of mail? Because they conduct market research that focuses on direct marketing (junk mail) in an effort to spot trends and provide "competitive intelligence" to their clients. In other words, they need your mail to do their research and reconnaissance. That's great for people like you and me because it means that we can literally turn our junk mail into cash.
Here's what you need to know.
WHAT KIND OF JUNK MAIL DOES SBKC WANT?
SBKC is looking for specific categories of junk mail. Lucky for most of us, what they want is very common and stuff we all probably receive multiple times per week.
- Insurance: Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Auto/Property Insurance, etc.
- Investments/Annuities: IRA/Rollovers, Mutual Funds, 401(k), Pensions, etc.
- Mortgage and Loans: Auto, Home Equity, Mortgage, Personal Loan, etc.
- Banking: Checking, Savings, Money Market, Certificates of Deposit, Rewards or Loyalty Programs, etc.
- Credit Cards: General Use Credit Cards and Charge Cards, Retail/Department Store Cards, Affinity/Rewards Cards such as Airline, Hotel, Alumni, Club/Association Cards, etc.
- Telecommunications: Wireless (network providers such as Verizon, AT&T or manufacturers such as Samsung or Motorola), Wire-Line (Landline/Home Phone), TV/Cable, Satellite, Internet, IP/Internet Phone.
- Travel and Leisure: Hotels, Cruise Lines, Airlines, Car Rental Services.
HOW DOES SOMEONE EARN MONEY FROM THEIR JUNK MAIL?
SBKC members, called panelists, accrue points which are redeemed for rewards. Points are earned several different ways.
- Direct mail: Once accepted into their program, panelists will receive postage paid envelopes. Simply place the junk mail in an envelope and mail once a week.
- E-mail: Forward any qualifying e-mail to SBKC.
- Bonus opportunities: From time to time, SBKC will offer additional opportunities such as surveys and secret shopping.
- Referrals: Current members can earn additional points by referring others.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN FROM JUNK MAIL?
When panelists accrue 2,000 points, they can redeem those points for a $20 Visa prepaid gift card. SBKC sends out a monthly newsletter which includes point status and any bonus opportunities available. Each person's point accrual rate is different and depends on many factors, but according to SBKC's website, on average, panelists who participate frequently can expect to earn $20 worth of points every six to 10 weeks or so. That comes to about $100-$170 a year for junk mail.