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Author's profile photo Mark Finnern

SDN Member Referrals

To get more clarity into the referrer points earned on SDN we ran a one time query regarding it. The list further down are all email URLs, which we are using to determine the company of an SDNer, with 2000 referral points or more.

Leading the pack are the three biggest anonymous email provider: Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail. (I totally forgot that there is Hotmail. Man am I glad that I don’t have to use that anymore.)

Then there is Wipro with over 17K points. You need to have referred 850 SDNers to earn this many points. Wipro has over 50K employees, true not all of them in IT, but there are many many active Wipro employees on SDN. That they are able to get 850 referrals is very plausible. These points are only 17% of their overall points record. There are companies with a worse record.

Email URL
Referral Points
Total points
Referral / Total Points

Why do we give out points for referring new members to SDN? Unfortunately the number that is always asked first regarding an online community is it’s size. How many members do you have? That we are much more active than communities that claim to be10 times the size of SDN doesn’t matter for most. It is sad, but Analysts and Press judge us primarrily on number of members.

Word of mouth is our favorite way to get new members. “SDN is great. It helps me a lot all the time. Go check it out.” If I get such an endorsement from a friend I don’t walk, I run with my browser over to SDN. Putting your reputation on the line by endorsing us is very generous and we are honering that with 20 points.

With 400,000 members there will always be some that try to game the system and usually they get cought. To make it harder we introduce a new simple rule: Only your first 5 referrals every week are counted. If you have more than 5 friends who want to sign up within a week, tell them to space it out.

My dream is a system where you get 5 points for referring a friend, but you get 50 points if your friend crosses the 250 points mark, because you mentored him or her to be an active participant on SDN. Unfortunately we are not set up for that. (Yet?)

Beyond SDN: The National Youth Leadership Forum for Technology (NYLF) invites every year hundreds of promissing kids for a week of talks and games to the Silicon Valley. I do my little part by holding a 1.5 hour interactive session on July 13 at 2:45pm. This time I call it the Come Alive Session as in: What the world needs is for you to come alive. Check out the Good to Know blog where I collect stories and insights that help while growing up. I am collecting these. What was the one thing that made the biggest difference for you in your youth? Or what is the one thing that you do know now that really would have made a differnece when growing up. Send me an email (see Business Card) or post a comment to the blog .

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I think it's very strange that you link a company to a wikipedia entry which is very questionable with respect to the wikipedia's quality standards and NPOV(neutral point of view) policy.

      *nodding my head*


      Author's profile photo Mark Finnern
      Mark Finnern
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Anton,

      Actually I searched for 'Wipro employees' spent two minutes on the Wipro site and didn't find the information, so I could not link to it on their home page. Only then I went to Wikipedia. I knew that Wipro has in the 10s of thousand of employees. Is Wikipedia's claim of Wipro having 50K employees accurate? May be not exactly, but close enough for my argument.

      Best, Mark.
      P.S. The more people use and improve Wikipedia the better it will get. I think it is still young. Do you improve it?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      hi Mark,
      The head count of different companies come out (officially) during any of their annual reports, press releases... I would suggest you may google it to find the count than wiki-ing for the same.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      The dream of yours which u had mentioned in the end, we hope that comes true.. that will mark the true sense of SDNing!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      As a point redemption programme, is it not possible to use the referral points for redemption for SAP TechEd tickets,T-Shirts, press books, or what-have-you and promote referrals? Would encourage more referrals - At the same time, retaining TRUE contribution points for tracking.

      Thank you and best regards

      Kartik Iyengar~

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      what is 'tracking'?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I like the idea of doing more differentiating based on referral points and contributor points.  They really serve two different purposes, one is for spreading the word about SDN, the other, about making SDN the place to be.

      Not exactly sure how that plays out in terms of recognition, but the referral points really seem to be more for SAP's purposes. Not complaining, just don't think that community size has a strong correlation to the value of the community to it's members.  It's a dual-edged sword, having a larger community allows SDN to provide more resources and receive more recognition, but as is frequently mentioned, the quality of blogs, and  problem/question threads seems to decline with the growth. I don't think this e-entropy ( think I ought copyright this term ) is unique or unexpected.  The same arguement is used in education all the time - smaller schools and classroom sizes are often cited as a key factor to improving the quality of educational systems.  Yet, some premier universities, are very large. So how does that happen?

      Communities of any size almost always end up relying on a very small percentage of their members to perform the majority of the work, be it school PTA's, Scouting organizations, youth sports, or any common interest clubs.  Sometimes these groups self-destruct because the small number of leaders and significant contributors get burned out.

      So that's the challenge, how to be a large community and still maintain the reputation for quality. Can we find the mechansims and motivations to keep the strong contributors involved and excited, and cultivate the development and involvement of new members?

      If the solutions were easy, we'd have world peace.  The solutions are hard, and believe me, if I had them, I'd be publishing books and running seminars, rolling in $$$, rather than posting something like this off in the recesses of SDN.

      So, here's a big thanks to those underappreciated folks that help keep the wheels on the SDN bus "going round and round".       

      Pizzaman 😉