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How Do Referral Programs Track Who Referred?

Published on 18 November 13
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Many companies use a referral program to drum up sales. They do this by giving a free URL link to people who go to the site that has a multi-use coupon in it. The original site visitor then gives the link to friends, or even just to random people online. People using the link will then get savings on whatever the product or service is. The original site visitor making the referral would then get some benefit out of it, like an additional coupon or some kind of reward point bonus. The question is, if the people using the link do so from different computers, how do the companies know who made the original referral?
How Do Referral Programs Track Who Referred? - Image 1

The Importance of Referral Programs

Firstly, itâs important to recognize that referral programs are a lot more effective than many people think they are. Thereâs something about human psychology that dictates that anything you get thatâs free in any way or that seems like something thatâs a bonus that other people donât get, even for doing something free, it can be a really strong motivator, especially if it only requires you to do something simple, like post a link. People make a huge amount of money every year bringing people in through referral programs. Almost every major site online has something similar.

Unique ID Generation

One of the primary ways that referral programs work is through unique ID codes. Basically, when the original referrer signs in to a particular site and signs up for a coupon code, a unique ID is generated. The referral link contains the ID code that was generated when the original poster signed up. This means that after the fact, every single person who uses that particular link will inform the site just by using it that they were referred by the original poster. The site will then have an internal mechanism to tell exactly how many times a code has been used. If the number of times it has been used is more than the number that the code allows, then the code will fail to work anymore. The site will also credit the original poster for everyone who uses the link automatically through their unique ID code. No one else has that particular ID code so the site will know exactly who sent it.

Advantages

Using the unique ID code approach to referral programs has many different advantages to it. For example, no matter what computer youâre using, the ID code will still work. It doesnât have to be in a particular browser, or even the same computer or operating system, or even from the same state. This is an advantage because these things could all change based on who is using the code and where they are. They may not always use it directly from the computer where you sent it to them at first. It also makes it a lot easier and simplistic for the original site to track who is using what. Additionally, the site can ensure that the system isnât abused by having the ID code have an expiration date to it.

Finding Programs

Finding referral programs and coupon codes is easier than you think. For example, sites like RetailMeNot have a ton of information about this from all over the web. You can even input particular stores or service sites online to check if they have a referral program or not. It often requires you to sign up in order to get the benefits, but itâs not like itâs hard to just send a link to a friend and you can often get great stuff out of it.


Many companies use a referral program to drum up sales. They do this by giving a free URL link to people who go to the site that has a multi-use coupon in it. The original site visitor then gives the link to friends, or even just to random people online. People using the link will then get savings on whatever the product or service is. The original site visitor making the referral would then get some benefit out of it, like an additional coupon or some kind of reward point bonus. The question is, if the people using the link do so from different computers, how do the companies know who made the original referral?

How Do Referral Programs Track Who Referred? - Image 1

The Importance of Referral Programs

Firstly, itâs important to recognize that referral programs are a lot more effective than many people think they are. Thereâs something about human psychology that dictates that anything you get thatâs free in any way or that seems like something thatâs a bonus that other people donât get, even for doing something free, it can be a really strong motivator, especially if it only requires you to do something simple, like post a link. People make a huge amount of money every year bringing people in through referral programs. Almost every major site online has something similar.

Unique ID Generation

One of the primary ways that referral programs work is through unique ID codes. Basically, when the original referrer signs in to a particular site and signs up for a coupon code, a unique ID is generated. The referral link contains the ID code that was generated when the original poster signed up. This means that after the fact, every single person who uses that particular link will inform the site just by using it that they were referred by the original poster. The site will then have an internal mechanism to tell exactly how many times a code has been used. If the number of times it has been used is more than the number that the code allows, then the code will fail to work anymore. The site will also credit the original poster for everyone who uses the link automatically through their unique ID code. No one else has that particular ID code so the site will know exactly who sent it.

Advantages

Using the unique ID code approach to referral programs has many different advantages to it. For example, no matter what computer youâre using, the ID code will still work. It doesnât have to be in a particular browser, or even the same computer or operating system, or even from the same state. This is an advantage because these things could all change based on who is using the code and where they are. They may not always use it directly from the computer where you sent it to them at first. It also makes it a lot easier and simplistic for the original site to track who is using what. Additionally, the site can ensure that the system isnât abused by having the ID code have an expiration date to it.

Finding Programs

Finding referral programs and coupon codes is easier than you think. For example, sites like RetailMeNot have a ton of information about this from all over the web. You can even input particular stores or service sites online to check if they have a referral program or not. It often requires you to sign up in order to get the benefits, but itâs not like itâs hard to just send a link to a friend and you can often get great stuff out of it.

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