EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 314 - July 08, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Earn Cash Rewards by Recommending Products to Friends with Referly

By Mark O'Neill

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When it comes to selling goods and driving sales, nothing beats word of mouth. Businesses may spend lots of money on TV, newspaper and Internet advertising, but the one form of advertising money can't buy is when a friend recommends something to another friend. Because if you had to choose between a trusted friend and a slimy shifty salesman, who would you naturally turn to?

How many times has your mother changed her washing up liquid because her best friend told her about a better one? Or when did you change your mobile phone because a friend recommended a cool new one to you? We make purchasing decisions based on friends recommendations all the time (whether we are conscious of doing it or not) and now wants to harness some of that advertising power into helping you make cash commissions based on your recommendations.

Affiliate sites are of course nothing new and is purely that. You make recommendations on goods, spread the links around, and when someone clicks on the link and buys something, you get a cut (according to the site, it's on average around 5%). So what makes different from say Amazon's very popular affiliate program?

The one thing that immediately jumps out from the start is that you can cash out when you've earned as little as $10. You can either have the money for yourself, it can be gifted to a friend or you can send it to a designated charity. The second biggest difference is that you are not limited to just one retailer. Over 1,000 retailers are working with, and we're not talking about Mom & Pop corner stores. We're talking big players such as Amazon, Best Buy, Apple, Motorola, Radio Shack, French Connection, L'Oreal, The Body Shop and lots more (and I mean, LOTS more). You can see the full list here.

This wide range of choice when it comes to retailers means that you can recommend a wide variety of items to your friends and family. You are not stuck with the one product,or one retailer with a limited selection.

So how do you get started with Referly? To find out, I signed up and went through the motions to see how user-friendly the whole site was.

You have three options to sign up - Facebook, Twitter, or for those of us who fall into the "I hate social networks!" category, you can sign up with good old fashioned email and password. Once you have signed up, you will see your main screen. This is where the action starts.

The next step is to find your product that you want to recommend. Make sure it is one of the participating retailers and if so, get the URL of the shopping page where your product resides and paste it into the box. For the purposes of this article, I am going to recommend Steve Berry's new book, "The Columbus Affair" which really is fantastic.

In the next step, you have to explain why you're recommending it. What makes the product so good? Why should the person buy it? Pitch it to them in this box.

You will then receive your special code that you can pass along to friends, family and others in order to generate sales. You will also have a convenient Twitter button so you can tweet your recommendation right away.

All of your recommendations will be placed on your own unique page where everyone can see what you are currently recommending. This makes it very convenient if you are linking to your recommendations from another webpage. Having everything central in one place helps you to promote your stuff easily.

This is the one area though where I feel that Referly falls down. Check out the URL: dfbac616c60711e183df22000a1cc67a

Not exactly search engine friendly now is it? How are you supposed to rise in the Google search rankings with THAT? When someone asks to see your recommendations page, how on earth are you supposed to remember a URL like that?

Now there are two possible solutions to the problem. First of all, if you have a website of your own, you can set up a URL such as "" and have it redirect to the Referly page. This is what I did with mine - Try it out and you'll see what I mean.

If you don't have your own website, then another possible solution - although not the best one - is to use a URL shortening service. I recently talked about URL shortening services on EcommerceBytes, and you can use a service such as or to turn that unwieldy Referly link into something more manageable (TinyURL even allows you to customize the link).

So to sum up, Referly isn't a new idea by any means. We've had affiliate programs since the Internet began. But this tries to breathe new life into the idea with a low cash-out amount and a huge number of participating retailers.

Let us know what you think of it. Would you use Referly?

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

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