Web Apps for Building Business Partnerships and Referrals

Thanks to the web, the old adage that there’s strength in numbers has never been more true than now. Increasingly, web workers are finding ways to establish powerful partnerships with vendors that offer products or services that compliment their own. They’re learning that while they might be good on their own, together with the right partners they can be great. Here are some ways to find what could be the missing ingredient in your formula for success.


partnerupPartnerUp is like match.com, but for businesses. You list your skills and available projects (called opportunities) and can check out the assets of others to see if there’s a fit. There’s a directory in which you can list your business, and add promising-looking contacts to your address book. You can create or join groups that focus on particular topics of interests and different levels of expertise. There are also helpful forums where you can ask or answer questions about business, or anything else for that matter. The service has a free basic account, along with a premium plan




KiWork works like PartnerUp and offers similar functionality. Similarly to PartnerUp you can also join or create groups (called teams in this app). The look and feel isn’t as slick as PartnerUp, but it does provide many more useful features for free. As a matter of fact, the only fee is for unlimited team members (the first three are free).



Refural is a tool that encourages people to make referrals by compensating them for their efforts. It’s a very simple app. There aren’t even user accounts; all you need to get going is your email address. For more detail, check out Thursday’s recent post about the app.


logoReferralKey is a growing network of professionals that focuses on the fine art of the referral, much like Refural. However, ReferralKey has been around a lot longer. There are different types of plans all based on the amount of features you’re after. For example, the basic plan allows you to send unlimited referrals and you’re allowed to receive up to three referrals yourself. After your third referral, you can choose the $10/month (Silver Key) or $20/month (Gold Key) plans, which offer escalating perks and benefits. I like this unusual method of giving new users a way to test drive the service. You don’t have to pay until you’ve actually received referrals and started making money from it.


Elance has been around for a long time — since 1999. We’ve covered it often here on WWD. It’s still basically like match.com meets monster.com for freelancers. You can bid on new projects or find talented freelancers to work with. If you’re looking for a way to breathe new life into a project or if you want to find some extra work, Elance can be very useful.


ifreelanceiFreelance follows the lead carved out by the veteran Elance, but has a look and feel more reminiscent of craigslist. While it definitely doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that Elance does, it does have the basics and might make a good place to post projects and search for business opportunities.

What are some other ways that you use the web to find great resources for projects?


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