Money For Nothing? Customer Referral Programs Are Suddenly Everywhere

Should Your Startup Pay Existing Customers To Bring In New Customers? It depends.

Joe Procopio
5 min readNov 1, 2021
image by drobotdean on freepik

It used to be that every once in a while, I’d get an email from one of the vendors I use — a credit card, a SaaS app, a subscription service — letting me know that, for a limited time, I could score some quick cash for referring a new customer.

I never once dug into my personal contacts, or copied the choppy sample text they thoughtfully pasted in for me to use, or even gave the idea another thought.

But lately, I’m getting all kinds of referral offers from almost every third-party service I use. In fact, I’m now making a not-insignificant sum from Medium from their new reader referral program. I haven’t even had time to look into the program yet, let alone send an email or put a link somewhere. Money just showed up.

That’s pretty awesome.

It seems like overnight, every company on the planet suddenly realized that the best place to find new customers is through their existing customers.

Or maybe they just all decided that they should start paying for those referrals.

When does a customer referral program make sense?



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at