Isn’t Referral Marketing What We Used to Call Word-of-Mouth?

September 7, 2009

Recently the amount of requests I’ve had to participate in referral marketing programs has gone through the roof.

From Amazon to Eventbrite to BlueHost to Clancy’s Chips, I’ve been ‘given the opportunity’ to create a unique URL that my friends and business associates can use to set up their own [INSERT book purchase, Web page, domain name, event, frito muchfest or other]. And it’s getting me a little confused.

Aren’t we supposed to be creatures who share good stuff?

The generation of putting one over on the man?

You know, we’re the people who would rush in droves to Lechmere at day 29 to return a microwave, VCR or answering machine because the company was too stupid to change its ‘no-questions-asked’ 30-day return policy.

Now we’re supposed to profit off our community? Where’s the fun in that and who wins?

There’s the rub. If I believe a product is good for someone AND if the referral price they get when they use my name is no different than the one they get by just going online…we all win.

For example, the other day I had a client sign up for site hosting on BlueHost. She got her account for the same amount I paid – I think around $7 a month – and the company still is sending me $65 for having her sign up by using THIS LINK.

That’s crazy.

Does it mean that Web hosting is cheaper than $2 a year? That’s what it comes out to after I get my commission.

What about the Eventbrite deal? I’ll get 35% of the proceeds of any event put on by a group that uses my link – sure, use it. And this 35% continues for an entire year. If I’m right, that’s $.35 a ticket that I get which means Eventbrite can afford to take $.64 per ticket and still remain in business.

Maybe this new way of making recommendations is the new way to stick it to corporate giants. Do you want a good deal? Do you want to also send me some cash while getting a deal? Then go use these links and sign up for some services.

Web Hosting with BlueHost

Event Coordination and Ticket Sales at Eventbrite

Books at…..

Is this as silly as adsense ads on your blog? You tell me.

What do you think of referral marketing? And which companies do you refer for?

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