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. I was a member of Spare5 for a couple of years. The keyword being “was” because they’ve changed their policy regarding which countries they accept members from, without telling users.
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. How charming! I also have a remaining balance in my account which is below the payout threshold, I’m going to have to presume they’re never going to pay it because they’ve not said they will. (UPDATE: over a month later they paid the outstanding balance on my account, no notice it would happen or anything, no email, the money just landed in my PayPal account. It’s good they finally paid what they owed.)
Here’s how it now looks when I login.
Like I say, I received no advance warning of this, or that it was happening at all. 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, which seems a very odd decision. So far none of the replies to their status are positive, all are negative in sentiment. Here’s a screenshot of just a couple of the latest comments.
Which countries do Spare5 allow members from now?
I’m not sure what the full list of accepted countries was before, but I’m in the UK and am 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.
Spot the regular occurences
I’d previously done a post on MoneyCortex when Spare5 had increased their minimum payout to $5, then they swiftly dropped it back down. I always suspected it was due to a widespread backlash from a lot of members. It was badly handled.
Then they removed the referral program, sometime in the middle of 2019 I believe. I’m not sure when, because once again, much like with the geo-blocking, they didn’t send any notice. Or certainly not that I received. In fact, I didn’t even see it in my account until I checked the FAQs to help write this blog post!
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
Call me crazy, but in this situation I’d have thought it 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, and to tell people you will payout every cent in full that is left outstanding. Maybe they have sent an email and I never received it. I’ve checked my spam box but there’s nothing in there either. Judging by Facebook comments I don’t think anyone was told.
A pattern of decline
Just to be clear, I want this industry to 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 I see 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. I’ve just checked their Twitter account now and even that’s not been updated since February 2nd 2018, meaning it’s been almost 2 years as I write this. 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. Here’s the latest tweet as it stands.
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 my experience over the last few years I couldn’t possibly recommend Spare5 to anyone who is thinking of joining, as it stands right now. There’s 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 pay me while I was a member. But earnings have always been low. And actions speak louder than words. The way they’ve treated members multiple times now speaks volumes in my opinion.
I want this company to do well. I want all companies in this sector to succeed. But as things stand, in my opinion, 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 to me, 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.
I hope in the future to do more articles on Spare5 saying how things have changed and they’re accepting members globally again and doing great. But I’m not holding my breath that will happen unfortunately.