When we at SpiderOak started our industry leading 50 GB Refer-A-Friend program back in May of 2011, we hoped that it was something that our most dedicated users would see as an opportunity to spread the word about SpiderOak as well as enjoy more usable storage in their account.
The initial response was overwhelmingly positive. While our storage costs increased, it was something we were more than willing to support for the good of the users.
However, along the road we noticed a few alarming trends that have led us to the decision to scale back our offering.
One of the first effects we noticed was a fairly large group of users blatantly misusing the program by creating a massive number of dummy accounts.
This was somewhat expected and something we could very well have dealt with, even though doing so would have made it somewhat harder for the vast majority of honest supporters to refer their legitimate friends and colleagues.
The second event occurred in late 2011 when the devastating floods in Thailand drove storage prices to new highs. This caused the cost of storage to skyrocket.
While this development was certainly unfortunate, we still kept the program open as we valued the input and support of our users higher than the increased cost.
The final event which ‘broke the straw’ reared its head just a few months ago. We began noticing ads on certain black-hat boards and markets selling ‘lifetime SpiderOak 50 GB storage’ accounts to unsuspecting buyers. That was simply unacceptable.
Instead of spending our days chasing down malicious accounts or banning users or possibly having to close down accounts purchased in good faith, we are choosing to scale the program back. At this level, we feel that users can still enjoy a valuable referral program and it is no longer profitable for scammers to sell our free service to third parties.
In closing, we would like to thank the vast majority of supportive users that have helped spread the word through our Refer-A-Friend program and hope that our user community will understand our reasoning behind the scale-back.
Effective 8 March 2012 our refer-a-friend program will re-boot, offering a max of 10 GB through referrals.
Of course, all users that have previously used our referral program without malicious intent will retain your accrued storage. We will deal directly with the others who were maliciously or inappropriately adding GBs to their account.
TLDR; Our refer-a-friend program was too generous and ended up inviting scammers, so we made the decision to scale it back.
We hope you understand. Much love, SpiderOak