4Loot Offers an Inefficient Way to Earn Facebook Credits through Search

4Loot allows Facebook users to win coins which can be redeemed for Facebook Credits by using the Yahoo!-powered 4Loot search engine. Valid searches count as sweepstakes entries, and users are randomly selected to win coins. Since many of the search results are sponsored, coins awards are few and infrequent, and Credits cost many coins, 4Loot is an inefficient way to earn Credits compared to other Credit earning services like ShopKick, ifeelgoods, and Game Coins.

Currently, the only method of earning coins is through the 4Loot search engine, and the only prize they can be redeemed for is Facebook Credits, but the company says more earning methods and prizes are coming. The site has been gaining traction, and even temporarily buckled under the traffic, possibly due to a post on the Facebook Credits Page touting the service.

Users are randomly awarded between one and thirty coins if their valid search (common websites names, random character strings, repeat searches, and searches which produce zero results are invalid) is randomly selected by 4Loot’s algorithm. Clicking through results, including sponsored results, does not affect a user’s chance of winning. Other restrictions include one account per household, and only US residents are eligible.

Credits cost between 20 and 32.5 coins per Credit at the current $0.10 per Credit exchange rate. The site frequently cites top Zynga and PopCap games where the Credits can be spent.

Users must log in through Facebook and give 4Loot several permissions. After seeing a prompt explaining how to win and redeem coins, users are presented with the search bar. The first page of search results shows eight sponsored results which are difficult to discern from the twelve organic results. Subsequent results pages show slightly fewer sponsored results.

Once a user has won enough coins, they can be redeemed for different quantities of Facebook Credits on the Loot tab. The leaders tab lets users see who has won the most coins that week, as well as a big photo of the weekly bonus winner of 50 coins. Users can invite friends using the multi-friend selector on the Friends tab, and see their past winnings and purchases on the Me tab.

While the interface is simple and intuitive, few will be interested in switching to 4Loot’s degraded Yahoo! search engine for the low chance of winning one coin, or $.005 worth of Facebook Credits. 4Loot’s reward to investment ratio is far below that offered by other Facebook Credit earning services. Therefore, the only foreseeable users are minors without credit cards or steady incomes who don’t want to visit retail locations, install apps, or provide contact information through other services to earn Credits.