Forum Etiquette (or not)

I’ve been an infrequent lurker on the MoneySavingExpert (MSE) forum for about a year or so.

Occasionally, there are interesting threads, it’s not a bad read, although I do find it a little cumbersome, too many threads overlapping, too many voices, too many people giving ‘advice’.

I only created my own profile in March 2015 when someone linked my blog in a thread and I wanted to post a comment.

The other day, I came across a thread where someone was asking about peer to peer lending. Someone else then posted saying they wanted to join Funding Circle and if anyone wanted to send them their referral link, they would use it to join.

So I sent a private message to this individual, asking for their name and email address so that I could get Funding Circle to send them my referral email.  They replied with their details.

I then received the following private message from the chap in question:

Yes, it looks like he’s asking me to share with him my £50 referral fee, as well as pocketing the £50 he will receive for being referred! WTF as the kids would say!

I replied that I didn’t know anything about “the deal on MSE” but that the Funding Circle deal was that we each got £50.

I haven’t heard from him again and it remains to be seen if he will follow through with using my referral.

But Really?

This isn’t something I’ve come across before, not when both referrer and the referred were getting something out of a deal. 

Anyway, fearing that I was breaking some hidden rule specific to the MSE forum, I checked the official Forum Guide and couldn’t see that any rules were broken.

Bad Etiquette?

He probably thinks it was bad etiquette on my part for refusing to share my £50 but I think it’s bad etiquette for him to have asked for it! 

In March, I used Cerridwen’s referral link to invest in one of the Abundance renewable energy projects and we both pocketed £50, a win-win for both of us I thought! 

Asking her for part of her £50 never occurred to me – even just thinking about it is so wrong in my mind!

However, I’m wondering if this is common practice on the MSE forum, that the people of that particular community (this individual has been a member of the forum since 2007) have some sort of informal agreement among themselves to share referrals in this way?  

If so, I guess I’ll just go back to being a lurker – seems like I don’t share their expectations and concepts!

Anyone else come across this before, or is it just me?

23 thoughts on “Forum Etiquette (or not)

  1. I've never made any money from referral links but I certainly wouldnt ever expect to split it (or ask someone to split theirs). Unless it was pre-agreed then they are totally free to make their own decision if they wish to sign up and you are free to pocket the referral fee.

    Ive been on MSE forums for a few years but have never heard of this splitting the fee etiquette.

  2. I have never heard of this either. Seem very peculiar especially as both parties receive some cash back in the first place from the company itself. Maybe they misunderstood how the referral bit worked?

  3. Hey Weenie, I'm pretty sure I've seen this happen loads on there and other forums (maybe MMM) in the past. I think its commonplace enough not to feel offended by it, but it would definitely come asa shock if you haven't experienced that before.

  4. Hi weenie, what a topical post – I just blogged myself about venturing into P2P. Referrals didn't even occur to me, and I have annoyingly already created my accounts with RateSetter and Funding Circle but if you have any other referrals going, let me know (or if we can retroactively add the referrals to any of those accounts?!)

    And just to be clear – I totally agree with you, it seems quite poor etiquette to try and steal your cash back on top of the one he was getting already! Plain cheekiness I think, I wouldn't worry about it and certainly wouldn't expect other people to take it for granted.

  5. Hi weenie, I've never sent any referral links via MSE either but I wouldn't have thought it was in any way part of the standard things work and it would have shocked me too if it happened.

    I can't believe people would be prepared to look so bad-mannered and grasping as to even suggest it. Surely that kind of thing would be up to the person paying out to suggest/arrange if it was part of common practise. I'd just forget about it if I were you.

  6. I know, it's just never crossed my mind that anyone would even ask for it to be split, especially not when the referral was equally beneficial to both! Thanks for stopping by, Guy.

  7. Hi DD
    I thought at first that I was mistaken or that he had misunderstood the referral bit but I reckon that he did want a share of mine as he refers to "your £50" as opposed to "his £50", plus he didn't respond to my reply confirming that we both received referral benefits.

  8. Hi Martin
    Aha, so it does happen, I just haven't come across it before. I'm not offended, was just rather shocked by it. I'll be less shocked if it happens again!
    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Hi FF
    No worries, I opened my P2P accounts without referrals too as it didn't occur to me at the time. Unfortunately, referrals can only be activated upon new accounts being opened, not retroactively. Good luck with your P2P investing!

    Yes, I thought it was very cheeky but refrained from telling him that haha!
    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Hi Cerridwen
    As per Martin's comment, it seems that this kind of thing does happen but I don't want to be a part of it – like you say, very grasping and greedy. I know I want to make money from sideline endeavours but doing this wouldn't make me feel good about myself!

  11. sounds like a tosser trying it on. Common manners would indicate the tryer-on declare their grabbing ways beforehand, common decency would indicate if there's £50 in it for referrer and referee then it's fair a it stands.

    There's all sorts on MSE, it's massive. There's bound to be some dodgy sorts in there

  12. Hi Ermine
    Yep, 50/50 so both are winners, what more could you want!?
    There are all sorts on MSE – hard to find voices of reason on there, hence my infrequent visits to the forum.

  13. Thanks for sharing the post Weenie. That reminds me, the FIREStarter still owes me his cut for joining Topcashback. 🙂

    Entitlement is a funny thing. Did you see that 'Lads bible' video where they put free £5 notes in Manchester city centre with a sign suggesting 'free money for people that need it'. They had extreme cases both ends where one chappy stuck £5 from his wallet on the board (legend!), and then 2 chumps later raided the lot and walked off laughing. Free money can bring both the best and the worst out in people.

    Now stop being tight and give him his cut!

    Huw

  14. Haha, it does sound a bit odd. I suppose some people just try their luck. I am sure we all have at some point or another. this one is definitely well into the realm of cheeky rather than just wishful thinking.

    That being said, he could still have misunderstood. We will never know I suppose!

  15. I never came across anything like this with a referral but it just goes to show that you have to be careful in dealing with anyone online. It's probably safest for you to continue to visit the forum as a lurker.

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