I don't have a problem with the promo code system, or the referral system for that matter. For me, the problem is a matter of fairness. Let me give you an example:
Sometimes, I will write a complimentary entry about DreamHost in my weblog. I often do this when DreamHost has enhanced its service in some way, so I like to promote it. Naturally, I link to DreamHost with my referral ID. If one of readers clicks through to DreamHost and then eventually signs up for the service, I get a reward for my efforts. Sometimes, however, the potential customer will spend a bit of time lurking or participating in this forum. I believe that to be a Good Thing, because I think that it is important to do a bit of research before committing oneself to spending money. Unfortunately, the proliferation of promo codes in the forum has meant that nine times out of ten I am losing my referral revenue. This hardly seems fair.
I think referral IDs and promo codes should be restricted to non-DreamHost sites only. I imagine such a policy would be difficult to enforce, but it would be much fairer than the current system.
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