Published: January 4, 2020
The change is live with immediate effect
UPDATE: Spare5 closed down on December 20th 2020. This was expected following a pattern of decline. The original article is kept below for the archives.
Spare5 is a platform that lets you complete micro-tasks in return for small amounts of money. They’re owned by an organisation called Uber Advanced Technologies Group. Without giving any warning to loyal users they’ve changed their policy regarding which countries they accept members from.
Let’s dig into the sudden change and take the opportunity to do one last review of the company as things stand at the start of 2020. You can then make your own mind up about Spare5.
I’m located in the UK, and as a result of the policy, can no longer use the service. I received no advance warning and no notice. I also have a remaining balance in my account that is below the payout threshold, I’m going to have to presume they’re never going to pay it because they’ve not said anything. (UPDATE: over a month later they paid the outstanding balance, no notice it would happen or anything, no email, the money landed in PayPal out of the blue. It’s fair they finally paid what they owed.)
Above is a screenshot of how it now looks when you log in.
There was no advance warning of the changes. They really must care about their users (sarcasm)! I have no problem with them changing policy, that happens in business, but there’s a way to go about it. They have done the same in the past with regards to actions and how they go about them, which I’ll talk about further down this page.
They have done a post on their Facebook page saying they’re also closing down their Facebook group. It seems a very odd step to take. So far none of the replies to their status are positive, all are negative in sentiment. Above is a screenshot of just a couple of the latest comments.
Which countries do Spare5 allow members from now?
UPDATE: as the message at the top of the article says, the entire service has now closed down.
I’m not sure what the full list of accepted countries was before, but the UK is certainly now geo-blocked. Here’s the list of countries members can sign-up from according to the FAQs.
That means members from European countries and other countries like Colombia can no longer be active.
3 times Spare5 have treated members poorly
We’d previously published a news post on MoneyCortex when Spare5 had increased their minimum payout to $5. They swiftly dropped it back down. Probably due to a widespread backlash from a lot of members. It appeared badly handled.
Then they removed the referral program, sometime in the middle of 2019. It’s unclear when, because once again, much like with the geo-blocking, they didn’t send a notice to anybody. It was unless you manually checked the FAQs you’d find out.
Now we have the bad handling of blocking members from many countries. That’s 3 occasions now when it’s impossible not to point a finger at how they’ve gone about something. You can see a clear pattern of behaviour. They either don’t give a damn about their members or they’re a badly run company. Or both.
A quick email would have been nice
In this situation, it’s polite to send a quick advance warning email to all users in those regions informing them of the change and to say thank you for previous work completed. People will be losing income after all. And also take the opportunity to tell people you will payout every cent in full that’s left outstanding. It’s not difficult to do.
A pattern of decline
Just to be clear, it would be great to see this industry thrive, and for the companies that provide these services to be sustainable. That means side-hustlers get extra ways to earn money and companies who need these services have firms they can trust. As things stand I wouldn’t trust Spare5 to even help my nan cross the road in one piece! All that’s clear right now is a pattern of decline.
First, a messy attempt to up the threshold to $5, followed by a reversal.
Then, stopping the referral program without any warning.
Then, geo-blocking without any warning and not even a notice when it happens.
On top of that, they’re now closing down their Facebook page. Looking at their Twitter account it’s not been updated since February 2nd 2018, meaning it’s been almost 2 years at the time of publishing this story. They were never particularly active on their before, but at least do a tweet telling people you’re not currently maintaining your Twitter profile, it doesn’t look good to suddenly disappear.
For a company clearly terrible at sending emails about things that are hugely important, at least have a member of staff take the two minutes it takes to do a tweet now and again. If people need to go looking for communication from an organisation, Twitter is a place they will check.
Would I recommend Spare5?
Based on the experience over the last few years it’s impossible to recommend Spare5 to anyone who is thinking of joining, as it stands right now. There are far better companies to go with for micro-tasks, such as Clickworker, OneSpace, Microworkers, PrizeRebel, Appen, and others. It’s important to say Spare5 never failed to payout. But earnings have always been very low. And actions speak louder than words. The way they’ve treated members multiple times now speaks volumes.
It’d be great to see this company do well. But as things stand, the pattern is clear in the way they treat people. Let’s hope they can turn things around. You make your own mind up. But if you’re from one of the countries they do still allow members from, be very careful. Don’t trust them due to their track record and always withdraw your cash as soon as you can.
We hope in the future to publish more articles about Spare5 on MoneyCortex saying how things have changed and they’re accepting members globally again and doing great. But let’s not hold our breath.