There is only one mechanism in place to allow DreamHost customers to earn kickbacks for referring new customers, and that is a simple referral ID. If you sign up by clicking a link like this:
or this (which is essentially the same thing):
I will get a kickback from DreamHost of $97 (or 10% of all money DreamHost makes from you), and $5 for anybody you subsequently refer. About a year ago (I forget when, exactly), DreamHost created the promotional code system. That allows me to offer a potential customer some or all of the kickback money I receive as an "insentive" to use my referral ID. The first promotional code I created, [color=#CC0000][b]SCJESSEY[/b][/color], offered 50% of my kickback to whoever signed up with it.
Almost immediately, people began creating promo codes that offered all of their kickback money - $97 - to new customers. These people were gambling on getting the $5 for subsequent referrals you made. Naturally, few are going to sign up for a DreamHost service with a promotional code that offers less than $97 discount, so pretty soon most were forced to create them. Mine is [color=#CC0000][b]SCJESSEY97[/b][/color], for example.
The promo code system overrides the referral system. If you decide to sign up for DreamHost after clicking my http://dreamhost.com/rewards.cgi?scjessey link, but then use somebody else's promo code, I will get nothing. Personally, I believe that the way this works is unfair on the person who did all the work getting the referral, but without scrapping the system altogether there is no way of fixing that problem.
Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000][b]SCJESSEY97[/b][/color]