Prosper announced their referral program one week ago. The details are pretty simple - refer a lender and you both receive $25 after the new lender funds a loan or refer a borrower and you receive 0.5% of your friend's loan amount as soon as your friend's first monthly payment clears. So far, the program has received little attention. Prosper has not advertised it prominently on their site. You actually have to look around a little to find it. Perhaps they want a slow release?
They did send out an email yesterday which revealed a few more details. They said when you refer your first active borrower or lender, they will send you a "stylish" black Prosper t-shirt. They are also running a ticket to "Proper in Las Vegas" Sweepstakes. Each time you refer someone you are entered in their drawing.
They also announced the top 10 referrers after one week. Here's the list along with information on why they might be doing so well.
#1 - loansearchers - loansearchers is the group leader for Loan Searchers. Although the group started in March it does not have any members, listings or loans. Their group description indicates they have many online resources. It looks like that must be true and they have used that same online community to move to the top of the referral list. Here's what their group description says:
While new to Prosper.com, we have over 4 years experience in helping consumers find lenders. We advertise online which helps to bring new consumers into the Prosper.com community. We will be utilizing many of our other online resources to strengthen our group and community. We will strive to create one of the most dependable and marketable wiring between lenders and consumers as possible on Prosper.com.
#2 - nonattender - nonattender is the group leader for -------ians. The group has 6 members and 1 loan.
#3 - TechnologyGuy - TechnologyGuy authors lazymanandmoney.com and often writes about Prosper. I just read through some of his posts and they seem pretty informative. He is also a member of the RateLadder group.
#4 - JaredD - Hmm...Jared's from Nevada. I guess he's not too motivated to win that trip to Las Vegas. :)
#5 - AdvisorGarage - Runs Advisor Garage, a site for entrepreneurs. He advertises Prosper on his site and has started the Advisor Garage group which targets "entrepreneurs looking for micro loans before they get to the angel or venture capital stage." The group has 23 members.
#6 - lifesettlementadvisor - Brand new Prosper member. Signed up on June 11th after the referral program was launched. Looks like he has made more money from the affiliate program than from lending through Prosper.
#7 - FitzNDR - Group leader for New Day Rising Loans which describes itself as "An extremely selective group that is designed solely to get good borrowers funded." He has a strong portfolio with no late loans in the six months since he started lending.
#8 - RateLadder_com - Group leader for RateLadder and runs rateladder.com. He also runs the statistics site ProProsper. He blogged about making the Prosper's top ten referral list and said he has "4 borrowers (3 with listings) and 2 lenders (both with bids) and 10 others without a role yet."
#9 - cardinal04 - Group leader for Stanford Students & Alumni. The group has 42 members and 3 loans. Cardinal04 has a degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford in 2004 and now works in the biotech industry.
#10 - tehc0w - Member of SA Goons, a large group with 166 members, 1 listing and 16 loans.
Not surprisingly, most of the top referrers are already very active in the community. Over half are group leaders. Several of the others run prosper websites or blogs. We wish them all very well. Perhaps we will try to interview some of the referral leaders to see if they have any tips for the rest of us.