Tuesday, December 08, 2015

My opinion on modern referral

To me modern referral can be considered abstractly in some simple ways. Where I want to put some opinions down in writing, partly as that helps me check them, and also it helps me see how my thinking evolves on certain subjects over time.

For someone with a potentially global audience it might seem easy to suggest products or services, but I think you have to be more careful, as with modern networks people can rapidly assess your behavior, motivations, and share information which can challenge the validity of that referral.

That efficiency is in a small group as well, as your friends can maybe talk about finding out that, say, your girlfriend is trying to boost her sales if you recommend something as if out of the blue for them to buy. Whether they tell you they found out is a different matter entirely.

IN THE PAST, connections were easier to hide, and do remember being fascinated at times when they'd get outed with someone famous, where didn't suspect ulterior--as in hidden--motives for things they were doing. But in the modern age the web relishes outing such things.

To me best referral happens if you find something relevant to the target audience, which you honestly believe is helpful, where any benefit to you in giving that referral is known.

Like I have an open source project, and have no problems recommending it to people. I use it myself. To me that is optimal referral, and in general if I promote it at all it is to people who might need it. Though also talk about it in general as a concrete example of attention my efforts receive, justifying claims like being global.

So to me, proper referral involves real benefit to those who get it, and information on any benefit to the person giving it. Though I also think that if someone does get compensated for some kind of product or service referral the amount is not necessarily in the public good. But knowing someone got paid can be critical.

And came up with my own rules for when people should get paid for things.

By those rules then someone like myself should get paid for an endorsement for a business entity NOT a community entity, always, which I find fascinating, and wonder if in actuality I hold myself to that one, and have no such endorsements. Just questioning my own opinions. But then again I don't think I actually endorse any business entity. Will mention some at times. May like a product or service, like am a big fan of Twitter. But like that mention in my opinion does not necessarily represent a material benefit to Twitter the company. Though it may be important for branding.

But wait, really do push Chrome OS, but only because I have my own ideas in that direction, where I like to talk the BOS. So that's transparent. To me I'm promoting my ideas as I see them in someone else's. That feeling is natural I think, and very transparent.

So what makes something a referral anyway?

In my opinion for a potentially paid referral there has to be a contract involved as that's how money should flow legally anyway. Emphasizing is my opinion. So involves some thought and work upfront with two parties getting something worked out and signed, and then can be completely legit! As otherwise no way to help promote some product or service to people who might want and need it, so appreciate the effort, without taking a loss, if could make money on it and should.

Oh yeah, may sound strange, but a loss on NOT having a contract in place for what should be a paid referral hits the economy, like in my case is a loss for the US economy, since I'm a tax paying citizen here.

Figuring out actual material benefit of a referral can be a problem to be solved I think, though have addressed this before with my ideas for a limited endorser. Wow, wrote on that over 3 years ago, back February 2012, so was still in San Francisco. Ha ha, kind of full of myself reading it now! That guy.

And yup, talked material benefit. Am guessing that is HUGE in my thinking as spans so much time.

James Harris
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