I took some time to talk to Danielle Morrill founder of refer.ly, a revolutionary new website that will smash all of those GTP sites out of the water. I will let you into a little secret. The way to make money with Refer.ly is to create “collections” for example, “80’s memorabilia”.
The main idea of the site is to shorten and share links to products/services and you get paid for it!!! PLUS you don’t have to manage the affiliate relationship, it’s as quick and easy as bit.ly.
Your shares will go on refer.ly in their categories, my advice is to maybe create a twitter page and share awesome stuff that you can find. All sorts!!
You can see Danielle’s personal website here: http://www.daniellemorrill.com/. Read on to find out more about the site and how it got started:
Oliver: You were named as a Forbes 30 Under 30 for Social/Mobile Technology in 2011
Oliver: How did this make you feel, and has it inspired you to fufil that position more?
Danielle: It was an honour, I try not to let too much of my motivation come from external factors, but its always nice to get recognized publicly for what you’re working on
Oliver: So, is Refer.ly your first business?
Danielle: No, I founded one company previously but it was more of a consulting business – not intended for high growth like Referly. That was in 2008, and as the market crashed I began struggling to find clients and then the opportunity to join Twilio came along so I took it.
Oliver: How vital do you think your consulting business and working at Twilio have been in helping you to start Refer.ly, for example if you’d done it the other way around instead and started refer.ly before working for anyone else or having started a previous business. Do you think it has benefited you?
Danielle: Yes, I’ve learned a lot from both experiences – particularly at Twilio I think I began to see what it would really take to run a company from working directly for the CEO for 3 years
Oliver: Would you recommend young people to work for other people before starting their own business?
Danielle: It all depends on what you want to do. What I think young people should do it start doing *something* as soon as they can, and use that to learn what they do and don’t like working on day to day. I think people idealize certain roles, but then when they find out what it actually entails on a detail level they don’t actually like it. That self-discovery is really important early on as you’re setting the groundwork for a career
Oliver: I as a consumer can share products that I like, from major retailers without having to directly manage the affiliate relationship correct? And I would earn commission.
Danielle: Yes, that’s how it works
Oliver: How did you come up with this idea?
Danielle: It was mostly because I was looking at the affiliate and lead generation space as a vertical for Twilio customers and realized how old and lacking of modern web technology it was
No one had really made it accessible to consumers.
Oliver: That is so true, I noticed that striaght away. Very clever You received funding from ycombinator.com correct? How did this come about? Was it a planned decision? Could you have done it without the funding?
Danielle: It was a last minute decision to apply, I had already raised some other funding so I would have done it regardless. Some friends who had done YC encouraged me to apply
I figure I might as well, I had always been curious about the program and since I knew I would keep working on the idea no matter what it didn’t feel that risky
Oliver: Would you recommend Ycombinator to young people looking to get funding for their business ideas?
Danielle: Sure, Although I’d also suggest they diversify. I think YC has lower than 2% acceptance rate.
Oliver: Do you think Referly is a good way for teenagers to make money who aren’t old enough for a job? Or is there a minimum age to using refer.ly? It makes perfect sense to me, if they don’t have to directly manage the affiliate relationship.
Danielle: The minimum age is 13 in the U.S., I am not sure about elsewhere. You would need to have a PayPal account which is 18+ I imagine that you could do it with a parents consent.
Oliver: How many retailers are you planning on working with?
Danielle: About 400 at the moment, you can see the whole list here: http://refer.ly/merchants.
Oliver: Have you seen people making much since you started? How has the idea been taken so far.
Danielle: Yes, there are people making money with Referly. We haven’t released numbers. People have responded well to the idea, I think we just have to keep getting it out there in the hands of more users.
Oliver: Do you have any plans to expand refer.ly. New features etc..
Danielle: Not that I can share publicly :). But we always have new stuff coming.
Oliver: I have seen a few “social shopping” sites popping up recently, like shopow and fantasyshopper, obviously you are very different do you think that social shopping and sharing is going to keep becoming more popular and mainstream?
Danielle: There is definately a big move towards social integration with web-apps, people like to share their findings with friends and family online, a lot of online-retail is moving towards social integration.
Oliver: How long did it take to develop the site?
Danielle: You can read about this here, I started properly developing this February and initially came up with the idea in 2009 whilst working for Twilio, http://www.daniellemorrill.com/2012/05/starting-referly-took-me-three-years/.
Oliver: How would you describe Refer.ly in 1 stentence?
Danielle: Bit.ly with affiliate codes.
Oliver: Are you going to bring Refer.ly to other countries?
Oliver: Thanks so much for your time Danielle.
Danielle: Thanks Oliver!!
Visit the website to find out more: http://refer.ly.