Some more developments for Referly, the Y-Combinator/500 Startups company co-founded by Twilio's ex-head of marketing, Danielle Morrill. In what may be a hat-tip to the adept use of APIs at her former employer Twilio, today Referly
is launching an API program
that will let any online merchant create a referrals program powered by Referly's pay-per-action marketplace. At the same time, the company is launching a service that will drive more traffic to its own retail operation: a new shopping directory for people to browse products being recommended by users of Referly's referral program. Referly describes the new API scheme
as "customer acquisition as a service." Free to use while the product is in beta, it is constructed loosely around a Google AdWords-style business model: businesses decide how much they are willing to pay to get a new customer (represented by a signup, or upgrade or whatever else is chosen). The businesses "fund their account with a pre-paid deposit," the company says. Referly subsequently takes from that account with each reward that is paid out: users get cash rewards when they generate actions like sign-ups or sales.
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