In the business world, there’s an unwritten rule that says if you’re doing something for your business that’s proving popular with customers then you should probably keep doing it. From free WiFi in coffee shops to a free haircut every fifth time you visit your hairdressers, businesses who find a perk that works generally keep offering that perk until it’s no-longer beneficial for the business.
So it’s no surprise then that California automaker Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TLSA] has just launched the third round of its popular Tesla Referral Program. A program first launched back in July 2015, the Tesla Referral Program was initially announced as a pilot project to see if Tesla could leverage the natural evangelical enthusiasm many of its customers had for the company and its products.
In exchange for encouraging friends and family to sign up to buy their own Tesla Model S, Tesla promised to offer existing owners vouchers towards after sales service and maintenance, while simultaneously knocking $1,000 off the purchase price of any new customers referred to Tesla by a Tesla owner. To incentivize customers further, Tesla promised prizes for the Tesla owners who made the most referrals, ranging from a brand-new Tesla Model X through to a tour of the Tesla Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada.
Save for a few owners who tried to game Tesla’s referral system by offering financial incentives to those who used their referral code rather than those of another Tesla owner, the program proved incredibly popular. Consequently,Tesla decided to repeat the program last fall, changing the perks slightly and offering the prize of a brand-new Tesla Model S P90DL for the person in each of Tesla’s three key market regions of North America, Europe and Asia who made the most referrals, as well as an all-expenses paid VIP trip to see the Tesla model 3 unveiling this spring. Follow up prizes also included VIP invitations to the Model 3 unveiling or the Tesla Gigafactory opening in Reno, Nevada, depending on the number of referrals made. Follow up prizes required winners to pay for their own flights and accommodations, however.
Although popular, Tesla’s first two referral programs came under criticism for being unfair since they gave those with a large social media presence an unfair advantage over other Tesla owners. Indeed, the European winner of the second round, YouTuber Bjørn Nyland, was successful in earning so many referrals due to his excellent YouTube videos and large follower list.
This time, Tesla has changed the rules — and the prizes.
The new Tesla Referral Program round announced this week was spotted by eagle-eyed fans at the Tesla Motors Club forum (via InsideEVs), and offers Tesla customers the chance to win a Ludicrous P90D Model X as well as an all-expenses paid tour of the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles. Usually closed to the public, Tesla is only able to offer this as a prize thanks to its close ties with SpaceX, and the fact that they share the same CEO: Elon Musk. Follow up prizes include an all-expenses paid tour to SpaceX.
Unlike previous programs however, Tesla says winners will be picked at random in a prize draw. To become eligible, customers only need to make one referral by April 15, 2016. What’s more, Tesla is changing the referral value and what it is used for. Instead of offering newly-referred customers a $1,000 discount off the price of a new Tesla Model S, the new Tesla Referral Program offers customers $1,200 off the price of a home charging installation for their car, provided they purchase a new Tesla model S as well, of course.
To prevent the same kind of crazy referral program spammers we’ve seen in the past, Tesla has also limited the number of times a customer can enter the Tesla Referral Program. In short, each referral code is good for up to three referrals.
As one of the many voices which had expressed concern over the fairness of previous referral programs, we’re glad to see the change in rules and hope it will encourage a more organic referral process. And given the popularity of Tesla’s electric cars, we’re hoping it will also help Tesla gain some extra sales to boot.
As always, we’re keen to hear your thoughts on this story in the Comments below, but due to previous problems we’ve had with a few
idiots over-enthusiastic Tesla owners posting their referral codes in the comments box, we’d like to remind you to refrain from such practices — or your comments will be moderated.
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