The Rackspace Cloud (Formerly Mosso) – need to change their marketing systems rather than gaming Google
I am actually a fan of your new Cloud Servers service. There are some huge benefits in using your service that as both a marketing geek and affiliate I can highlight and potentially drive you a lot of business.
However today you have just introduced a payola scheme that will make every one of my clean affiliate links look like a paid link, thus I am going to have to nofollow every single link I give you, forever.
You want me to use badges like this, and in exchange will give me “Goodies” of an unspecified nature.
The links are visible, nothing is hidden, but all the same it is effectively a paid linking scheme.
Here is what they said in an email sent to customers
Our New “Link-To-Us” Program
We’re also launching a new “Link-To-Us” program today. In essence, customers who post new links or change their old Mosso links on their websites to our new http://www.rackspacecloud.com site will receive special goodies. The more sites you post a link on, the more great stuff you will get. How cool is that? Please check out all the links here: http://www.rackspacecloud.com/links
Thanks so much for being a part of the Rackspace family, and please keep the feedback coming so that we can continue to build the most complete and easy-to-use cloud platform on the web.
The sad thing is this would all be unnecessary if you just made some minor changes to your affiliate program.
The Rackspace Cloud Affiliate Program
As far as I am aware, the Rackspace Cloud affiliate program is effectively “customers only”, as in you have to actually create an account, but you don’t have to necessarily spend anything on their various cloud services.
That being said they have a decent Cloudfiles storage product, and their CDN is reasonably priced, offers incredible low latency, and has a strong API.
The Cloud Servers product is new, the API is still in beta, and on first glance looks to actually be more expensive than using the Slicehost sister service, but if you are looking to create a highly scalable platform, there are significant advantages.
The Mosso Cloudsites service is also highly regarded, though you have to be careful on processor cycles – for an affiliate the referral payout on Cloudsites is much more attractive, just a shame it isn’t monthly recurring.
Problems With Rackspace Cloud Referral Program
Have You Heard About The Rackspace Cloud Referral Program?
Here is how it works:
If someone you refer to Cloud Sites hosts with us for at least 31 days (past their first billing cycle), we will either credit your account $100 or cut you a check for the same (if you want the check, just sign some tax information and that’s it). For all Cloud Files and Cloud Servers referrals there is a $10 referral commission.
There is no need to register before participating, simply have any referral use the primary email address on your account as the ‘referral code’ during the sign-up process online. To give you credit, they MUST enter your email address when signing up. Questions? Don’t hesitate to give us a call anytime. 1-877-934-0409.
One of the big problems is the referral code – you have to encourage people to enter your primary email address as a coupon code.
The obvious workaround is to create a new primary email address for your Rackspace account (and display it as an image)
It would be so much easier if you could define your own coupons
The next problem is incentive – why would someone use my Rackspace referral code?
Rackspace do not currently offer their own incentive to use a coupon, so it would be down to an affiliate to offer something of significant perceived value as an added incentive.
I have something planned for that, that will only be available to people who sign up for a Rackspace Cloud account using my email as a Rackspace coupon. (note: they are still using the mosso.com domain)
I currently have no idea how to make delivery of bonuses scalable, as there doesn’t seem to be a reporting interface for affiliates in the current control panel – maybe they have a dedicated affiliate panel as well, under their original Rackspace affiliate program.
Rackspace might think that not running a formal affiliate system, and just using email addresses somehow removed friction from the referral process, but in many ways it adds friction for serious affiliates.
80% of new customers will be referred by only the top 20% of affiliates, it might even be 90/10 or 95/5
Not Suitable For PPC
There is no way to effectively track this affiliate program offering
- no subids
- no deep linking
- no way to export data (that I can see)
- no thought to integration marketing
This Rackspace marketing campaign seems totally unworkable, especially the direction disclosure is taking.
I am sure Robert Scoble will love the idea of his employers shilling for links.
Izea & PayPerPost have more transparency and better disclosure than Rackspace in this new marketing campaign.
That being said, I always wonder what benefits large blogs have when they frequently have followed links to their hosting providers. Sure they like the service, but that can’t possibly be the full monty.