OzBargain 101: Lesson 3: Referral Links
Last edited 09/05/2016 - 02:22
This is an often confusing and provocative subject. It’s also an area that moderators have spent a lot of time seeking feedback, changing the guidelines as well as creating mechanisms to assist the system.
What is a referral link or code?
A referral link or code is something a company gives out to enable a customer to invite their friends. The company gains another customer, the existing customer earns a credit, and sometimes the new customer also gains credit. A win for all 3.
Uber offers a referral code and link that existing customers can give out to others. Both the referrer and referee will receive a promo ride up to $10 value.
What is an affiliate link and how is it different?
Affiliate links are similar to the above but instead of getting paid in credit, they pay out in real money. One example is Amazon, where they pay a commission from every sale. Affiliate links are what the majority of websites use to monetize their sites are are usually run by affiliate networks such as DGM, Commission Junction, LinkShare, etc.
Referrals on OzBargain
The original simplistic idea was that if a member posted a deal and the store has a referral system, then they are free to mention that link or code in the deal. But like any true bargain hunters, the temptation to push their referral links everywhere meant that the site needed to come up with guidelines which are to this day still evolving.
Do I need to have special permissions to post a referral link/code in a deal?
Due to numerous users signing up to SPAM their referral codes/links, only members who don’t have a , or plate against their name are permitted to put referral links or codes in their deals. You will be off your P plates 6 weeks after posting a deal.
OK, I’m ready to post a deal and would like to include a referral link. How do I do this?
- Make sure the non-referral link (e.g. a clean link) is posted in the URL field.
- Add your referral link to the bottom of the post with a note letting others know that it is a referral link. (NOT in the coupon code box, NOT in the title)
- If you list a code that can’t be used in conjunction with a referral link, it is best NOT to include the link.
- Please don’t change the price to factor in the referral. The deal should stand on its own.
Referral Deal Etiquette:
- Do not mention ways to circumvent a sites referral rules - eg multiple sign ups.
- Do not add your referral link to your deal post if it was posted more than 7 days ago.
- Do not post referral links from a merchant, retailer or service provider different to the one for the main deal.
- Either put your referral link at the end of the deal description or don't mention it at all - do not solicit referrals.
I have posted a deal and put the referral link in the description. Now what?
Your deal will now be marked with a R
and the referral link will be made grey.
I’d like to post another deal with a referral link. Can I?
Once you post a deal marked as a referral, you will be subject to posting limitations as follows:
- Users are limited to 1 referral post (deal + forum) every 24 hours or 2 referral posts (deal + forum) every rolling week, however
- Users that have posted referral deals that have low votes will be further limited. The vote average is calculated by taking the sum of (positive vote - negative vote) for each deal post, divided by the number of recent deals.
- If the vote average across the recent deals is 0 or below, the user cannot submit referral posts until the vote average is corrected over time.
- If the vote average across the recent deals is between 0 and 3, the user cannot submit referral posts for 2 weeks from the last post.
- If the vote average across the recent deals is between 3 and 8, the user's limit is reduced to maximum 1 referral post per week.
- Users who have posted good deals with referral links are rewarded - if the two most recent referral deals made the front page, the limit is increased to 3 posts per week.
- Users who have reached their referral posting limit will see a warning on the deal submission page. If they continue to submit posts with referral links despite the warning, their account will be placed in the penalty bin.
- Users who have exceeded their referral posting limit will not be able submit further posts.
- Users who have reached or exceeded their referral posting limits will be able to see further information on the vote average/breakdown of posts in their post history page, visible to themselves and moderators only.
These are the same posting limits as a rep has.
Why are there posting limits for deals with referral links/codes?
The top priority of OzBargain is serving members with good deals. If you are posting good deals that have referral links, then you will likely not be affected the the posting limits. However, if you are posting bad deals with referral links, you will be limited. Moderators constantly monitor deals and if we see a store that continually has poor performing deals that have referral links, we may ban users from including referral links for that store.
Has OzBargain banned the posting of referral links for some stores?
Yes. One example: Referral links in Vinomofo deals have been banned. See discussion .
I saw a grey box in some deals mentioning referrals. What is that?
Any user can add their referral link into OzBargain’s automated system. If you are not the deal poster, your link will be among other users in the random link section. This doesn't count as a referral post as this is an automated function.
How do I put my referral link into the system?
Go to My Account - Edit - Referrals.
What stores are in the automated system?
|Amino Z||Dropbox||Naked Wines||ShopandMint|
|ArtsCow||Giving Assistant||Nova FM (Competition)||The Home|
|Beat The Q||GreenManGaming||OFX||Top Cashback|
|Catch Of The Day||ING Direct||Paula's Choice||Uber|
|Cracka Wines||Kleenheat Gas||PricePal||Vinomofo|
|Digital Ocean||LivingSocial Australia||ReShip.com|
I’ve added my link to the referral system and posted a deal but it is not showing in the grey box.
The OP’s referral link only shows after
5 votes (Now 25 votes). This is ensure that only good deals are posted.
Will having my link in the automated system and posting a deal count as a referral post?
No. Since you aren’t mentioning the referral link or code, it doesn’t count as a referral post.
I noticed there are some stores that have wiki pages for referrals. What is that?
Only stores that provide a link can go into our automated referral system. For businesses that only give out codes or require other non-URL information, wiki pages are made. Feel free to add your information to any of the wiki pages.
OK. Deal description, automated system, wiki pages. Anywhere else?
|Link||In Deal Link||In Post Content (Deal or Forum)||In Comments||Coupon Code Box|
|Affiliate Links||Not allowed||Not allowed||Not allowed||Not allowed|
|Referral Links||Not allowed||Allowed||Not allowed||Not allowed|
|Other Links||Allowed||Allowed||Allowed||Not allowed|
That’s it. Referral links are not permitted in comments. You also shouldn’t link to your deal elsewhere on OzBargain if it is a marked as a referral post.
Can I post a deal that is about a store’s referral system?
You may post a deal that is for the retailer's referral system, under the basis the referee also earns credit and it has not been posted previously (unless it is a temporary offer that had previously expired) or is already included in the OzBargain referral system.
Referral links or codes are not permitted in deals that are for the retailer's referral system (As of March 2016). Create a Referral Wiki Page and add your link or code there. See the ZenMarket Referral Deal as an example.
In the case of long running referral only deals: All subsequent “announcements” about the referral program shouldn't be posted as new deals, including updates to the referral program. This does not include limited time referral only deals where the previous offer was expired/ended and is now being offered again. You may post a forum topic about any updates to a referral program (with a link to the referral wiki or referral system only).
- Examples: (1) Airbnb update their refer a friend credit from $32 to $34. As this is a long running referral only deal, updates to the referral program should not be posted as a deal. (2) A Bank has a promotion for the month of April, sign up to a new account and both the referee and referrer receive $50. In July they have the same promotion again - this can be posted as a new deal as it is not a long running referral deal and the previous offer had expired/ended.
I've noticed some deals are marked as a referral but don't link to a referral but rather another site.
Third-party price comparison/tracking, cashback sites, blogs and product review website operators need to follow the Third-Party Website Operator deal posting guidelines. The same guidelines as referral links apply and should be mentioned at the bottom of the deal. Referral posting limits will equally apply.
Fashionlane is a site that scrapes fashion retailers for price changes. The deal is for Van Heusen while Fashionlane is mentioned in the description.
Tightarse is the rep for Cashrewards however he posted a deal for Lenovo.
OK, but I've noticed a Cashrewards deal posted by Tightarse and he is marked as a rep.
That's right. Cashrewards is a unique situation in that it offers deals and also can be a supplementary bonus (cashback) to deals. So if the deal itself is a cashback, then the deal is linked directly to Cashrewards, and rep posting limits apply. If the deal is for another site, like Lenovo, and there also happens to be a cashback mentioned in the description, then it is marked as a referral.
So a rep for a company, a user who posts a referral link/code in a deal, and 3rd party sites are all restricted to the same posting limits?
Yes, that is correct. We want the focus on posting good deals.
If the deal is popular, then that allows the user to post more deals.
If the deal is not popular, then that restricts the user from posting.
So that is a very long summary of referrals. The guidelines always evolve but this is what currently works to ensure good quality deals are posted and users are able to add referral links.
With that said, we are always looking for feedback to improve OzBargain. In a couple of recent threads, there were some different (and very heated!) opinions on referrals. Basically the following camps:
- People who don’t care either way (most users).
- People who don’t care if there is a referral link as it doesn’t affect the deal.
- People who do care if there is a referral link as there is a perception that the user is posting for referral credits (irregardless of whether the deal is voted popular or not).
I hope this summary at least explains the big picture of referrals. Referral deals make up a very small % of overall deals. Feel free to ask for any particular stats and I'll see if I can track them down.
Deal Posting Guidelines: Referrals
Posting Referral Links
Referral Posting Limits)
List of Referral Codes and Links
User-Submitted Referral Code Updates (Updated March 2016)
OzBargain 101: Lesson 1: Commenting and Deal Formatting
OzBargain 101: Lesson 2: Tagging Deals and Forum Posts
Questions, comments, feedback?