So today I opened my email to see a message with the headline "company I work for member." I'm a little confused. "Okay, what did I do now" ran through my mind. I open up the email to see this message:
Hi Michelle - It's [name deleted],
Hope all is well. I'd like to recommend clients to "company I work for" so I've added you to my referral network.
Simply click the link below and we can start exchanging referrals. Thanks!
There is a link to a business called Referral Key. Since I always do my research (because I can't imagine a person who is in the writing business wants to refer his clients over to someone else in the writing business so he makes less money while I get his clients), I Google the heck out of all of this.
A good article that talks about this is here. Another good article is here.
Basically, people from LinkedIn are asked to refer their client contacts with other people. As an extra incentive, you can receive prizes such as "money" or money that can be exchanged for gifts like clothing or steak.
Wow! Isn't that just a great service! Makes me want to sign up in a heartbeat. And while it sounds like good business sense, there are several things that jump out at me immediately.
Why would I refer clients to other businesses that I don't know, have never done business with, and can't vouch that their services are any good?
Why would I refer clients to other businesses for "supposed cash" that can be used to buy things from the website's collaborators?
Why would I work with a referral service that is in collaboration with a competitor of "company I work for?"
Why would I work with a business that spams the crap out of all my LinkedIn contacts?
Of course I didn't sign up to the service or even click on the link. I'm debating about deleting the contact, but they may not know that Referral Key spams the crap out of contact lists. Just a heads up! Think about things before you click on them.