Can You Get Good Returns on Referral Programs?


If you are among the millions who get annoyed by requests for referrals at websites like Groupon, Ebates and others, you need to rethink your reaction. Why? Because referral programs are actually some of the most rewarding opportunities imaginable, and can supply you with remarkably high percentage discounts, big fat referral bonuses, and more.

As a simple example, let’s say you are a savvy user of the Dosh app. It is just a basic cash back app that has more than 100k retailers and brands affiliated with it. You do have to connect a debit or credit card to the app, and whenever you use the card, the app is alerted and finds then redeems any and all coupons or offers. It then just converts it into cash you access through your account.

So, you use it when dining out, traveling, shopping and more. You get the cash back from everything from hotel stays to purchasing a gourmet coffee. However, you also get two ways to earn money via referrals. Share the app with them and get $5 for every single referral acted on. You also a hefty return on referring businesses. If you refer Dosh to a business, and they sign on, you get a 20% cut of their marketing fees, and will continue to get that amount on a monthly basis!

That’s why referrals are so amazing – they are free money for little more than giving an electronic nudge to a family member or friend and saying, “Hey, did you know about this amazing app/site/business, etc.?” If they respond by taking action (i.e. saying, “No, I didn’t, but let me learn more by signing up.”), you get rewarded. And even nicer is that many referrals also reward the person you referred. It won’t be the same cash back but may be discount coupons or very generous incentives.

Naturally, this begs the question of just why businesses are so willing to hand out cash to anyone who gets a referral for them. The answer is simple. In several studies, it was determined that people are four “times more likely to buy when referred by a friend…and that the Lifetime Value for new referral customer is 16% higher than non-referrals”.

Additionally, in another recent report on refer a friend programs, the findings demonstrated that “customers acquired through paid customer referral programs have a higher retention rate and higher initial contribution margin than other customers.”

So, it is well worth their while and their investment to pay you to refer them to your family, friends, co-workers and colleagues. After all, isn’t the online marketplace a very noisy one? Won’t you listen a bit more closely to a message coming directly from a friend or trusted associate? Most of us do tune into our “networks” whether they are social or professional, and if we see or hear someone in that network praising or giving attention to a product or service, we often take note.

And yet, Texas Tech University discovered that “83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience—yet only 29% actually do.” That is why incentives are made available in the form of referral programs.

Now that we have, sort of, answered the question posed in the title, it’s time to give the rest of the answer. Essentially, referral programs are worth your effort and participation and you can get good returns when you use them. The goal, though, is to know which are offer the highest paying referral program

To begin to answer that, though, we have to offer up a single caveat: Many sites and businesses have promotions in which you get much fatter rewards if you can get referrals to act within a specific window of time. For example, the Dosh site mentioned earlier was handing over $15 to every registered customer if they referred a friend who both signed up and added a credit or debit card. That means you need to pay attention to any of the sites you use to see if they are doubling or even tripling the usual referral bonuses, and if so, you should take some action on them.

Who else has the highest paying referral program options?

Interestingly enough, it is often websites that work directly with “publishers” such as bloggers and affiliate marketers that extend the ripest rewards. Let’s first take a look at the firms with the highest paying referral program options for bloggers, and then we’ll consider the more standard consumer oriented options.

  • Bidvertiser – As a publisher or affiliate marketer you are going to eventually use PPC ads and this gives you a chance to refer others to your PPC network. Earn $5 for every $10 your referrals spend and bonuses of $50 if your referrals break the $50 mark themselves. If you refer publishers and they earn $10, you get $10, as well and an additional $40 if they take in $50 or more. This is easily one of the highest paying referral program options and well worth your attention.
  • ClickBank – One of the biggest affiliate marketing sites and online marketplaces for digital products, it has a referral program that gives you a 22% commission on the activation charge for any new vendor who signs on via your referral link. They also give you 5% on each sale from that referral for the first year they use the site.
  • Dropbox – It is astonishing how quickly this company rose in popularity. Even so, it incentivizes referrals by giving you 500MB of additional free space for every single user who signs on via your referral link.
  • G Suite – This site specializes in online business tools like video meetings, shared calendars, shared cloud storage and more. By getting someone else to sign on you receive a $15 reward. If you get a business to enroll, you can get up to $1500.
  • GetResponse – A top all in one marketing platform, it is ideal for email marketing and gives you $30 for referrals, and they also get a $30 credit when they create an account.
  • Infolinks – Noted as being a top online ad network, they provide a 10% cut on the revenue of any publishers you refer. You get this cut for the first year after the publisher joins via your referral link.
  • – If you are already a publisher or affiliate marketer, you get a nice reward for sending other publishers to this site. You earn 10% of the referral’s earnings for 18 months after they sign up, and your referral also gets a bonus of 10%, too.
  • Ninja Outreach – Designed as a “single tool for Influencer Outreach” the site offers a hefty commission on each referral, giving you 50% on a monthly basis.
  • Payoneer – If you want to have a global audience for your blogging and affiliate marketing content, it means you may face some hurtles in terms of accepting payments. Not every country has PayPal, and so Payoneer is there to fill the gap. Refer someone to them and you get “$25 for each referral when the referral receives at least $100 in payments for the first time.”
  • Revenuehits – This “Adsense alternative” has one of the highest paying referral program available and will give you “up to 10% on a user sign up…[offering] 5% share from the earnings of a publisher who has a daily average of up to $50 at the end of every month which continues for the next 12 months…[it also] offers 10% share from the earnings of a publisher who has a daily average of over $50 at the end of every month for next 12 months.”
  • Vigilinks – Enjoy access to one of the highest paying referral program models with this firm. It lets you earn 35% of the commission for the first year your referral is in business through the site. This is a wonderful tool for affiliate marketers, so it is well worth the effort.

If you are a blogger or affiliate marketer, it is likely that you can actually start to earn some substantial sums if you sign on for one or more of the highest paying referral program options listed above.

The Highest Paying Referral Program Options for Consumers

But, what if you are not a professional who writes content and promotes goods or services? Can referrals still give you a nice supply of ongoing income? Yes and no. It really depends how committed you are to the process. Even if they are infrequent or “one shot” options, the following referral programs are extremely generous and worth your attention and effort.

By now, it could be that almost everyone you know is already on board with Groupon and its amazing deals. Yet, if you can get them to sign up, it rewards you with $10 in “Groupon Bucks”. They offer a simple link to embed in a blog or website, but with the click of a button you can email it, share it to Facebook or Tweet it to try and get the rewards.

The Groupon refer a friend is handy, and it pays to put it out there every once in a while to see if you get some nibbles. Another popular site that you might think everyone else is already signed up for is Airbnb, but it is important to make that offer periodically, as well. Why. They give you $20 towards your next visit to anywhere in the world whenever your referrals spend $75.

If you have friends and family in urban and even suburban or rural areas, they probably have access to Lyft or Uber, or both. Both sites give you cash whenever someone uses your referral link to register an account or book and take their first trip. Uber gives you a flat $5 credit while Lyft’s referrals actually vary.

Of course, some of the smartest shoppers use the various cash back sites to get tidy sums are rewards on any and all shopping ventures. Ebates and Ibotta are two of the most common. Ibotta gives you a $5 bonus whenever one of your referrals accepts their $10 sign on bonus. Ebates gives you a hefty $25 when the referral joins and shops. They also get a $10 bonus for doing so. Ebates is also great about cash drawings, such as a $50k drawing that ran through the end of 2017.

Another great place to look for free money from referrals is banks, both online and real world. For example, most are going to send cash into your account whenever a referral takes action by opening an account and making a deposit. Chime bank is one, and it is an entirely online bank that encourages savings and offers a long list of handy programs. They will give you $25 when a referral opens an account and deposits $50.

While there are many banks making referrals available, there are financial firms like Credible that give you enormous sums when a referral refinances student loan debt. For instance, they will give you $1k if a referral refinances $30k or more in student loans. Less than that and you still get a tidy $100.

The point to take from all of this is quite simple – no matter what site or account you have, don’t overlook the opportunity to earn actual money or credit by simply using any referral links available. It is astonishing just how many websites and businesses offer these rewards. Don’t limit yourself to the online options. Many brick and mortar businesses give generous sums if you use their referral system. It could be giving out a sales person’s business cards to friends or taking a coupon printed out on a receipt and passing it on to someone else.

Free money is always free money and whether it is a ten cent commission from a fun site like InboxDollars or that $1k bonus from Credible, the fact of the matter is that by simply using word of mouth, you get cash.


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