Is the £50 refer friend scheme operated by Bulb coming to an end?

I’ve just been looking at Money Saving Expert.com website, and note that in respect of Bulb, no mention is made of the current referral scheme where the referrer and the person being referred each get £50 on joining Bulb. All that is mentioned is a £25 cashback after 3 months. Is the current referral scheme finishing or is it that Money Saving Expert have got it wrong?

@PeterS The referral program is still going on and will be in the future, but is not eligible if you come through a switching site.

So you can either get the cashback through MSE or £50 by being referred.

Thanks for that Dan.

So does this mean that a person who actively does research and ethically chooses Bulb as a potential supplier is penalised for not going via MSE or having a friend already using your services? This seems rather unfair. A lot of people are promoting their referral links on TrustPilot and even on your own site I believe. This is costing you £100 a time. Yet you aren’t offering genuine new users £50 credit for simply joining from their own research. In other words you are actually encouraging people to use these links instead which doubles the cost for your company. As a “green” company, I thought you would want to be more fair.

@DanP at Bulb please read above

@DanP at Bulb please read above

@James_Gardner The referral program is a way for people to help share Bulb around and it is a method that can help Bulb grow as a company.

We want members be able to freely share but not in an unfair manner, which is something we are constantly trying to deal with. Members who refer or are referred are more likely to stay with us long term and so this is why the £100 investment is worth it from our side.

I understand it might seem like it is unfair that someone who joins might be missing out on £50, however, they do then have their own referral link which they can use to invite more people to switch to Bulb and that way get some money and also help more people use green energy.

If you do have any suggestions on how we can improve this process we would love to hear so we can make the referral program better.

@“DanP at Bulb” I will not be joining Bulb unless I receive the £50 credit for doing so. I have actively researched and found cheaper tariffs with fixed costs and no exit charges. I had wanted to join Bulb and pay slightly extra on the basis of the Green Energy and using the £50 credit to subsidise the difference (which it still didn’t completely absorb). However, I feel this penalises people like me and rewards those who use false links to take advantage of this offer. As I don’t want to be dishonest in order to achieve the £50 credit, but also feel aggrieved to have to miss out, it makes joining Bulb less sensible as it will cost me a projected £80 more than a smaller rival based on my (low) usage. If Bulb are willing to apply common sense and provide me with the £50 credit, then I would be happy to join the community. I would also then refer friends genuinely, rather than posting on Trustpilot etc.

@James_Gardner I’m pleased to hear that there are people like you around. I shall probably be leaving Bulb because of the way it tolerates (and encourages?) the behaviour you mention above, yet penalises genuinely interested customers like yourself. I’d choose a more ethical supplier.

@xxx & @James_Gardner The reason we don’t have a £50 non referral link is because we wanted to give members an exclusive reward that they can give their friends. A way of sharing Bulb and getting rewarded for doing so.

We discussed it at length internally and then asked the community and the response was that members in general didn’t want us to offer a non referral £50 reward.

If you do want to join but not give a referral reward to a random person there are people offering their £50 to charity on Twitter.

@“DanP at Bulb” The fact that you asked existing members whether they wanted to restrict benefits to existing members seems a little farcical. Also, the notion that random people on Twitter (which I don’t personally use) who are specifically advertising their codes to receive £50, will then actively donate this, is also somewhat far-fetched. Furthermore, it doesn’t attempt to redress the imbalance that new customers who exploit the loophole of “friend referrals” benefit, while those who attempt to join honestly are penalised for doing so.
A “Green” company, presumably wanting to be seen as ethical, while also wanting to grow it’s business and good reputation, should presumably want to welcome prospective customers such as myself.
Also, as explained on another thread, finding a new customer who does not have any friends currently with a Bulb account would surely be worth more to Bulb anyway, as it would facilitate a wider exposure of potential new clients. Otherwise you risk saturation with your existing market and the limitation of their respective friends.
I would be intrigued to hear the comments of any more senior individuals who direct the marketing and sales of the business, as not only do you forgo the business of new clients such as myself and thereby my network of many more prospective new customers, but such decisions actively cause negative goodwill.
A quick search on USwitch, as I did, yields plans with Utility Point, Economy Energy, Outfox the Market, Usi, People’s Energy, Breeze, Tonik etc which are cheaper for me than Bulb. Yet I still attempted to offer the olive branch of joining if Bulb were willing to “level the playing field”. I would suggest a review of your business strategy or you may find further customers like @xxx leave you, while more people concurrently join rivals instead.

I echo @James_Gardner 's opinion, it seems daft that people have to hunt for a referral…

I suggested charity donation’s last year, which seems like it would also keep you happy in this instance?

@xxx, despite all the discussions that have gone on and the situation as it is, I’m still surprised that you’re still thinking of leaving.
I will admit I have also been disappointed by an increasingly large number of things since joining, and I still do periodically look around for the ideal “Monzo of energy” seeing as Bulb do not seem to have managed to up their game to that level.
Where have you been looking at?

@James_Gardner, it’s been interesting seeing people’s opinions on the referral system over the last couple of hundred thousand customers.
It’s obviously been hugely successful for Bulb in terms of getting customers and money but I wonder what bad it’s done to their image and whether they can truly recover from it.
It’s always good to have discussions with those who are not members as it’s tricky to see the outsiders perspective when you are already a member (like myself).

@“Will at Bulb”, could we get updated percentage figures on how customers have been joining Bulb over the last 6 months or so? If the percentage of comparison sites and customer referrals is the majority, it’d seem like there’s little downside to offering people a bonus for joining without being referred.

Hi all,

Sorry for not getting to this conversation sooner.

Historically we haven’t had a £50 non-referral reward in order to maintain the exclusivity of the referral reward. We had a discussion about it internally a little while ago and had people on both sides of the fence. So we asked members here on the community where we saw the majority of members preferred to not have the £50 non-referral option. And we don’t mind at all if someone uses a link from someone they don’t physically know. So we didn’t considered it much further. This was a pretty minor decision, as either way we didn’t expect a lot of people to use it and I can only remember 2 other people ever bringing it up. So we didn’t think much more about it.

Obviously, this is a much more important point to you than we thought @James_Gardner. I’m sorry that we haven’t considered it with the importance that it’s due.

I’ll promise you two things. First, we’ll revisit it early next week and get back to you on Tuesday. I’ll talk to our engineers and see whether it’s something we could create within the current system, and I’ll talk with other people around the business to make sure there aren’t any other reasons we wouldn’t want this.

And second, if you want to join Bulb with something like this, you can use my referral link and I’ll donate my £50 to a charity of your choice and email you the receipt for the donation.

All the best,
Will

PS: Incidentally on the note of Trustpilot, here’s an email I sent to our contacts at Trustpilot earlier today. It’s something I realise we need to do more to combat. Trustpilot has far more ability here o actually make a difference, so we’re hoping to work more closely with them to improve the amount of referral links in the reviews.

PPS: @James_Gardner You asked for someone who can talk about this stuff from a marketing point of view. Just so you know, I sit within the Growth team and I’m responsible for the referral programme amongst other things, so if you have any questions about anything like this you’re always more than welcome to mention me any time.

@“Will at Bulb”, I understand that you’re simply asking Trustpilot if there’s anything that can be done but don’t you feel that you’re just pushing your problem off onto them?

There are also always going to be other review sites around, being similarly filled with referral links violating Bulb’s terms. Focussing on Trustpilot will only potentially solve the issues in that small corner of the internet.

@mowcius As Will says the Bulb team is on both sides of the fence over this issue, and the problem as I see it is that the ones with the authority to make the changes are sitting on the opposite side of it to us.

At least Ed Sheeran realises that you’ve got to upset a few people if you want to tackle the touts …

@mowcius , @xxx , @Will at Bulb

From Will’s contact email with Trustpilot it is asking to work together rather than pushing the problem onto to Trustpilot.

I don’t think we should prejudge the outcome of any call or meeting between Bulb and Trustpilot.

Just some thoughts, if Trustpilot were to add text filters to catch the quoting of referral links would this mean Trustpilot would automatically delete the posting, this really is what should happen. I’m not sure how text filters would catch hidden referral links such as mybulblink.com
used by Paul, or bulbreferral.com used by Thomas or in some cases asking potential new customers to email for a referral link.

@mowcius As Will says the Bulb team is on both sides of the fence over this issue, and the problem as I see it is that the ones with the authority to make the changes are sitting on the opposite side of it to us.
It sounds like they're on the fence regarding the £50 reward, not the Trustpilot issue.
From Will's contact email with Trustpilot it is asking to work together rather than pushing the problem onto to Trustpilot.
Unless the referral link system changes in some way, it's all on Trustpilot to fix. Bulb could compensate them monetarily but that's still not really them working together.
Just some thoughts, if Trustpilot were to add text filters to catch the quoting of referral links would this mean Trustpilot would automatically delete the posting, this really is what should happen. I'm not sure how text filters would catch hidden referral links such as mybulblink.com used by Paul, or bulbreferral.com used by Thomas or in some cases asking potential new customers to email for a referral link.
As Trustpilot already forbid the posting of links, the text filters would need to be pretty complex even to catch the non-links that people are posting at the moment.
It sounds like they're on the fence regarding the £50 reward, not the Trustpilot issue.
They're connected. If there was a non referral reward there wouldn't be the demand for the TrustPilot links and it would become much less lucrative for the abusers.

Quick update, we’re happy to create a non-referral £50 link. We’ll build it over the next few days as it’s a bit more complex than referrals and has to use a different system.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Trustpilot on what they can provide. I’ve spoken to a couple of people there and they’re going to put me in contact with the right people. I’d love to be able to solve this problem on our end, but we need to work with Trustpilot to change things on their platform.