How to Earn Over $12,000 Through Referrals

by Linsey Knerl on 21 August 2014 3 comments

Businesses are scrambling to get new customers. The result is competitive pricing for many of the services we've come to enjoy, and a chance to earn freebies and cash like never before. The art of earning perks by having your friends and family namedrop or use your special "sign up" link is officially called a "referral program," but I've seen it online named all kinds of things (including "referraling.") (See also: Ultimate Guide to Cash Back Shopping)

Regardless of how you label it, the chance to get something merely for sending a business new customers can be a big money maker for some. Here is a list of some of the best programs, including plenty that pay cold, hard cash!

Business Services

From graphic design to freelance writers, you'll find a referral program for almost every business service you can think of.

99 Designs

This crowdsourcing service that lets you get graphic designs for far less than hiring an agency is giving customers a $50 refund when they refer a paying friend. Plus the friend gets a $99 bonus on their first campaign!

SmartSheet

A snappier version of the familiar spreadsheet, this project management tool rewards referrers with between $15 - $500 in cash paid via Paypal upon referral signup.

iContact

If your friend is looking for a web-based email service, they can get a $50 account credit for signing up through you; you'll get a $50 gift card for making the connection.

Widen

Know someone with Digital Asset Management needs? Share via LinkedIn or another connected account, and get a $25 Amazon gift card just for making the connection. (And if they actually buy — you can expect to earn a significant commission.)

FatCow

This web hosting and management service will give you $35 when your friends sign up! (iPage offers the same compensation plan.)

Shortstack

This service allows you to build social media campaigns, online contests, and more. When a referral signs up through your unique link, you'll earn a 30% cash commission on services sold, plus 10% commission for each month after. (Minimum payout is $20.)

Digital Ocean

This cloud hosting service designed for developers will pay $25 when your referred friends spend $25.

Eventbrite

If your friend is organizing a ticket-selling event in the future, you can cash in with 25% of their ticket fee sales when they sign up through your link! (This deal is valid for one year after sign up.)

iStockphoto

This stock photography service sells pictures by the credit or as a monthly subscription service. Sell either to your friend and get 20% commission, 20 credits (worth $30 at the site), or a flat $20 fee.

SmugMug

Photos are to be shared, and so is photo hosting! Get your friend to sign up, and get 20% off for yourself via an account credit.

Skimlinks

For friends who use this service for their website affiliate links, you'll get a generous 35% of their earnings when you refer them.

Elance

This online staffing platform for freelancers pays $10 or 10 free credits to those sending over a "qualified referral."

Autotask

Automation isn't our thing, but if it fits your referral, you'll get between $250 - $1,000!

Finance

Earn money by helping your friends manage theirs.

You Need a Budget

This finance tool is currently offering $6 to customers who refer their friends (and the new customer gets $6, too!)

Discover

Active cardmembers can get a $50 Cashback Bonus for every friend who signs up for an account; the friend will get a $50 Cashback Bonus after their first purchase within three months.

Coinbase

This Bitcoin currency platform will give a $5 bitcoin bonus for purchases of $100 to both the referrer and the referral.

CapitalOne 360

Formerly ING Direct, this bank will pay a hefty bonus of $20 per friend who signs up for a new online account (and your friend gets $25). Look for a double offer of $50 in fees during certain times of the year.

Food

Your friends feed their faces with delicious food you recommend, and you stuff your wallet with referral cash.

Seamless

Tell a friend about this restaurant delivery hub and you'll each get $7 to spend!

Delivery.com

This similar service gives a $5 bounty to both referrer and referral.

Technology

Most wireless and communications companies offer generous referral bonuses.

Verizon

Get a friend to sign up for service and you'll both get a $25 prepaid debit card.

Republic Wireless

Share this cell service and get $19 in statement credits (plus your friend will get one, too!)

AT&T

Both the referrer and the referral will get a $25 prepaid debit card upon a new sign up.

T-Mobile

Your friend will get the termination fee from their current cell provider paid by T-Mobile (up to $650), and you'll get a $25 credit, when a successful contract is signed.

Travel

Word of mouth has always been important in travel marketing — so it's no wonder referral programs abound here, too.

Airbnb

If your friends and family travel a lot, you can rake in the credit with this generous program that pays you a $25 coupon when they travel with a $25 credit, or $75 when they host!

Uber

This new app-based driver referral service is offering existing customers the chance to earn credits for every new customer they refer. To see the current offer, sign into your account and click "refer friends."

Entertainment

Free TV for everyone (for a limited time only)!

Hulu Plus

Give your friend two weeks free to try, and you'll get two weeks free when they buy!

DirecTV

Sign up a friend (using your customer code) and you'll get a $100 credit payable as $10 off your statement for 10 months. Your friend will get the same.

Dish Network

This service offers a $50 statement credit to both the referral and referrer.

Shopping

Help your friends sign up to buy stuff, and you'll earn cash or credits to buy stuff, too.

Amazon Mom

Get a friend to sign up through your link, and they'll get $5 to spend at Amazon (plus the benefits of the program, which includes 15% savings on baby items). You'll get a $15 credit.

Amazon Student

Sign up a buddy and get $10 to spend at Amazon.

Groupon

If your friend is new to Groupon, you'll get $10 in "Groupon Bucks" when they sign up and buy!

Living Social

If you've already made a purchase on this daily deal site, you can share it with friends to earn your purchase amount back. It only takes three to make it free!

ibotta

Skip coupons and save with this smartphone app that pays $5 for a qualified referral.

Sierra Trading Post

Have your friend sign up for the deals newsletter and they'll get $10 to spend on their first purchase. When they do this, you'll get a $10 egift card!

Employment

Finally, help a friend land a job and you can get paid, too.

Hubspot

Have a good program developer friend who needs work? Let Hubspot know, and if they get hired, they'll pay you $10,000!

Any referral programs we've missed? Please share in comments!

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Guest

You forgot Ebates

Guest's picture

I did VERY well the the eventbrite referral program. I wrote about it and I guess someone saw it and hosted a major paid event...my referral payout was over $900!

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Chelsea

Instacart also has a great referral program for delivery groceries.