ReferralKey: Not For Me

June 8, 2011

This is a guest post by Ari Herzog. He had a strong opinion about ReferralKey and I welcomed his rant here on my site.


If you recently received an email message from your LinkedIn connections about joining a website called ReferralKey, you’re not alone.

The company — which launched in 2007 and Mashable profiled nearly three years ago as a business networking site that enables a person to provide incentives for giving business leads — has an instructional video for LinkedIn users how to bulk message all of their contacts with a ReferralKey invitation.

For a company that has a blog with zero updates since July 2010 and a Twitter account with six updates over the past six months, I’m very curious why I received nearly a dozen email invitations over the past two weeks.

Jeff sent me one of them.

Hi Ari,

In my role as a social media specialist, I thought I’d kick the tires on Referral Key. It seems to be a quick and easy way to share referrals with folks in my network.

So, let me know if you’re taking on new clients and I’ll send you leads through this tool.

Please accept my invite – and let me know what you think.



I should elaborate before continuing. My LinkedIn account is configured with an email address specific to that site, so anytime LinkedIn or a third-party tries to email me, messages are filtered correctly. The above message was such a LinkedIn-filtered message.

My guess, based on the number of other ReferralKey invitations I received with similar clauses in the message bodies, is Jeff did not single me out but ReferralKey felt I should receive it. Thomas Edwards admitted in a tweet that he did not intend to email me but the company spammed all of his LinkedIn connections.

I am already connected to Jeff on LinkedIn. I’ve met him in person dozens of times. If I want to refer or recommend him, I know how to reach him; and he, me. So where’s the value of this networking site — especially when its blog is a year outdated, its Twitter account is fairly inactive, and its news articles are from the past?

You can find me on LinkedIn in the same place I’ve always been, and you can network with me there if you want a referral or want to be referred. But to invite me to a new site? No thanks, it’s just not for me…. unless you can sell me in the comments below why I am misunderstood.

Thanks to Jeff for asking me to share my thoughts.


Ari can be found at his site –