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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Reward Scheme for referring new members
Idea similar to affiliate schemes but with no costs
Wi11

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 10:44 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is an idea I've had for a community building. It is based around existing members getting further benefits on referring members.

Here's an example of how it could work with a site like WebmasterWorld.

In our control panel area, there is a guide explaining rules and the link containing our member id (something like webmasterworld.com/index.htm?id=2.)

We'd then send this link off to our webmaster-type friends who've not heard of webmasterworld.com, explaining what a great site it is and how they should sign-up.

Once twenty of our friends have signed-up they will then post messages etc and hopefully refer their friends as well. At each sign-up the link originator gets their referral count incremented.

Now the part that I figure will make this work is that in return for referring twenty friends, the user is rewarded. This doesn't need to be cash, it could be features not available to standard members, for example free access to the WebmasterWorld Supports forum for say, a month.

(Note: I'm not suggesting that this would work, or be a good idea for Webmasterworld, I just wanted to illustrate the idea with a site we all know.)

With our own sites, we could offer a range of different benefits for those who make the required number of referrals.

Has anyone seen or tried something similar? My site is only gaining a few new members a week and I am keen to come up with some way of speeding things up, could this be it?

 

zigx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 11:04 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

i think vbulletin already does this?

not sure.

What kind of incentives do you offer the top referers?
If its monitary items, it might not be a good idea, but if it is like access to a special forum then that might be a great incentive.

Jenstar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 11:10 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've done it with a phpbb hack as well, with a cash prize offered to the person who referred the most members. Each referred member had to post a minimum number of ten posts, I believe, to count towards the referral total.

Yidaki

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 11:12 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

First thing that comes to my mind is fraud. How avoid it?

Wi11

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 11:13 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking more about custom built sites, it might be hard for the average Vb webmaster to offer interesting enough benefits.

Abstracting the idea from webmasterworld to a photo sharing site, the extra features could be things like higher upload limits, advanced stats views, customising your portfolios with custom css etc.

"First thing that comes to my mind is fraud. How avoid it? "

Check that the referred friend's ip doesn't match records of originator user ip. Stipulate detection systems are in place to check you don't try cheat the system and that if you do try you will be caught and face a ban. Harsh maybe, but for the system to work this could be a big drawback if not prevented.

TheDoctor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 2:30 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that this is a strategy for paying out for low-quality posts - and therefore a low-quality forum.

Surely the way to build a forum is to attract people who want to say something to the readers (including the lurkers) and, conversely, attract those who want to read what has already been posted. I wouldn't have thought you'd get these by a mass of posts that were made purely for financial rewards.

Wi11

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 6:45 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that this is a strategy for paying out for low-quality posts - and therefore a low-quality forum.

It depends what content the site is based around. If it is only forum posts then yes, quality could be a problem. However this is true of other sources of traffic such as search engine referrals.

It could be a gamble between bringing in a lot of people and pruning out the poor quality posts or having a small amount of people and waiting longer for people to come.

Surely the way to build a forum is to attract people who want to say something to the readers (including the lurkers) and, conversely, attract those who want to read what has already been posted. I wouldn't have thought you'd get these by a mass of posts that were made purely for financial rewards.

The rewards aren't financial, they are getting extra features on the site that make it more fun to use. Also no-one is rewarded for posting, only for referring a new user.

At the end of the day, if someone sent an affiliate link in this scheme to someone for say, WebmasterWorld, they are only going to register if they are interested in the subjects WebmasterWorld covers and it's quite likely that their posts will have some value.

Anyway, that's enough talking about the idea for me. I've convinced myself, even if I haven't convinced anyone else. ;) Time to try it out.

TheDoctor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 9:11 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Time to try it out.

That's the spirit!

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 9:26 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wi11, the idea of using site-based rewards is good. There's a lot less incentive to create bad referrals if you hope to be part of the community for time to come.

Each type of forum may have different rewards based on the motivation of its members. Food for thought there...

Good luck, and be sure to report back on how it works!

whoisgregg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 6:21 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that this is a strategy for paying out for low-quality posts - and therefore a low-quality forum.

Your users have to log in to view the forum right? So instead of stipulating minimum ten posts, require that the referred members visit the site at least (for example) two days a week for a period of one month. That encourages getting interested lurkers without requiring ten "me too" posts for the original to get credit. Anyone who visits a site 8 times in the first month is probably going to hang around a lot longer.

For every x number of lurkers, you will have y number of posters. y is directly proportionate to x.

zigx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 4:39 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

lol so its all based on a ratio

whoisgregg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 31 posted 7:36 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

lol so its all based on a ratio

Now that I go back and read my earlier statement I realize that it did not across how I meant it to come across. (It seemed really pithy at the time, turns out it just sounded good in my head.)

Let me try again... If you are going to create an incentive for quantity of posts but are concerned about quality then you should create the incentive based on something other than quantity. Whatever metric you choose is up to you but ultimately, if you can increase the number of people visiting on a regular basis, some percentage of those are going to turn into active participants.

Also, those active participants will know that their and other people's posts are NOT just to get some reward, but actual quality posts (at least, as my last post proved, quality posts in their heads). :)

I won't even try to rewrite my stupid little x y equation...

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