Taking referral links off the Community, to make discussions easier

We absolutely love when people share Bulb with their family, friends and followers, but we’ve had a lot of feedback from members that referral links on the Community are making it difficult to see and participate in all the other helpful discussions. So from now on, we will remove member posts that include their referral link.

We discussed in a previous post that we would limit referral link posting on Bulb’s Community, Facebook page, and review sites. We’re still waiting to finalise these terms and conditions, but we’re going to forge ahead with the Community change from today onward.

If someone accidentally breaks one of these rules, we’ll remove the post from the community and send them a private message explaining why.

I think that’s a great idea to make the community more relevant. Referral links should be for friends and family only.

… you need to take them off Trust Pilot too as it makes the reviews seem biased.

@brooky_agb, I’d recommend having a read of the other thread if you’ve got a bit of time. There are plans for more than just removal off these forums but there are significant complications with places like TrustPilot as Bulb don’t and can’t actually control what is posted there.

I don’t quite agree that referrals should be for friends and family. If you want to take it upon yourself to wander around trying to convert random people to join Bulb, I don’t think anyone should stop you doing that. Posting on the internet hoping that people click on your link is not something I’d personally consider to be referring though. Blogs and reviews are a bit in between, but if you write a post that convinces a load of people to join, should you not be compensated like someone referring in person?

I’ve run a community forum for my company for about 15 years. Managing a community has a lot of challenges.

What if an indirect referral link is used, such as **** - will it still get removed?..

@Bulbilicious, the issue is with the intent, not whether you decide to obscure your link.
Obscuring your link like this, would still be posting it.

(Perhaps you want to edit your comment, you could have made your point without the actual link)

What if an indirect referral link is used, such as **** - will it still get removed?...

… as I said… managing a community is challenging.

..... as I said.. managing a community is challenging.
Yeah...
(Perhaps you want to edit your comment, you could have made your point without the actual link)

The point was to test if an indirect link would be removed. Your ‘like this’ link is just a direct link, so easily detected and removed by software.

The point was to test if an indirect link would be removed. Your 'like this' link is just a direct link, so easily detected and removed by software.

There is no software automatically deleting links. It’s being done manually (presumably just when Bulb team members are at work) so however you obsure it makes no difference.

Constantly posting your link in the thread that specifically tells you not to, is probabably a good way to upset people.

presumably

So you don’t actually know that what you are saying is accurate. I was merely testing the system, which is always more accurate. My original comment was not about what posters are allowed to do, it was about what they might get away with.

So you don't actually know that what you are saying is accurate. I was merely testing the system, which is always more accurate.
I know for a fact that they're being deleted manually however I don't know whether @"Andrew at Bulb" is going to take time out of his evenings or weekends to police things, or if he's only going to do it when he's actually working. I presume the latter.
My original comment was not about what posters are allowed to do, it was about what they might get away with.
Bulb as a whole appears to be built on people trying to be decent and making things better for everyone involved. If people are joining the forums or as a customer with the intention of "trying to get away with" things then they're probably not adding value and don't really have any place being here. Having an excellent community relies on rule 1:
  1. Always be excellent to each other.

So far there are a very limited set of rules and you could probably get away with all sorts of things, but that will change as Bulb figure out what community guidance is required:

But now the Bulb Community is growing to such a size that more guidance is going to be a good thing, so we'll create a proper Community set of rules.
Always be excellent to each other.

That is admirable, but totally naive for the web. If posts with referral links are being deleted manually, then surely they are being looked for with a global search on the common part of the refer link - my point being that an indirect link would go undetected. As a web developer I would use software to detect where links actually land. That is all my original cheeky post implied and sought to test.

That is admirable, but totally naive for the web. If posts with referral links are being deleted manually, then surely they are being looked for with a global search on the common part of the refer link - my point being that an indirect link would go undetected. As a web developer I would use software to detect where links actually land. That is all my original cheeky post implied and sought to test.
Perhaps.

Most of the people on this forum are Bulb members so it’s not really quite like the rest of the internet. Bulb have complete control over your ability to refer, and people might think twice about being terrible when their identity is not obscured.

To be fair to them, it’s been a very recent decision so even if they are going to implement some automated solution to remove links then it’s going to take some time. :bleep_bloop:

Now that you’ve made your point with your cheeky posts, perhaps you would like to edit them to actually remove the links?

Would a simple solution to this be to make the community pages accessible to members only?

@andrena98, I wondered about this. I think it’s probably 99% members already but if a non-member wanted to ask the community a question before switching, restricting it wouldn’t allow this.
Whether this is much of a problem or not, I don’t know.

Hello @“Andrew at Bulb”

There’s one potential change I’d recommend. There’s a loop hole in the rules per @“Will at Bulb” 's post which is:
16.4.9. As an exception to 16.4.8., Personal Links may be shared on Bulb platforms, or Bulb profiles on other platforms as a direct response to a non-Bulb member requesting a Personal Link, as long as the owner of the Personal Link is unaffiliated with the non-Bulb member.

However it does potentially raise another problem. It’s in good spirit (and I’ve even just done it this morning on a post with someone asking) - is it still leads to a lot of Spam. I think the rules need to be clearer to potentially say on the Bulb Community either a limit of one link (ie once the customer has got the response they needed, no one else is allowed to spam it) or strictly PM only.

You can see it first hand here: http://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/2164/anyone-want-free-100
I was shocked to see no one replied all night, so I jumped at the chance this morning (who wouldn’t say no to a chance of a free £100 and keeping within the rules and helping the prospect) - however as soon as I did the thread then got flooded with other users who also wanted to try and get their link out there.
It should be either first come first serve (better user experience for the prospect), or forced on PM only. The only downside to the PM route is I’m pretty sure the prospect will get flooded with about 100 PM’s by the end of the first day (the Referral scheme is that good people just cannot resist trying). The one benefit to people posting the reply publicly is at least then people know that users question has been answered, and that can be solved by a simple ‘First to post’ ruleset, there the lucky one who helps the member out first gets the link.

What’s peoples thoughts?

I mean there is a whole other solution, which I know will not be good for referers and that’s to offer the £100 (or £50 from next week) bonus to customers who sign up even without being referred. That way Referrals will only go to those who actually referred someone :wink: As right now, a new customer signing up is missing out on free cash not to take a referral from a stranger!

@andrew1944, if it ends up as a first come first served, I beat you by about 10 hours as I sent a PM last night :wink:

I think it depends entirely on what Bulb decide the reasoning behind the limitations on posting are. If on the forum it’s simply about keeping things clean, then I don’t see any issue with posts being restricted to one thread.
If it’s to keep things fair, no links should be visible publically on any comments or threads on the forum as this gives an advantage to historic posters, or people who were first in threads.

I don’t believe that public requests for referral links should be allowed either, removing the hundreds of PMs/hundreds of thread posts issue.

Bulb obviously consider it extremely good advertising (and so far it seems like it has been that) and have no issue with referrals not actually being people who were referred, but people have gone to find someone else’s link to get the free signup bonus. Loads of referral posts everywhere makes the company very visible and shows that people seem happy with their decision to switch (even if some of them are simply for the prospect of free money).
I don’t personally believe that enough consideration of trying to be fair to members has been taken into account.

I mean there is a whole other solution, which I know will not be good for referers and that's to offer the £100 (or £50 from next week) bonus to customers who sign up even without being referred. That way Referrals will only go to those who actually referred someone ;) As right now, a new customer signing up is missing out on free cash not to take a referral from a stranger!

I completely agree with this @andrew1944. I’m sure that was the purpose of the referral scheme anyway.

If new customers can only get a sign on credit by using an existing member’s link (and who wouldn’t want £50/100?) that demand for links is what drives the touting behaviour. Take away the demand and the problem should become easier to control (in theory!).

If Bulb is allowed to offer the credit without a referral it would seem a perfect solution, but perhaps there are regulatory reasons why it’s not possible.