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







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?


Ian Ippolito

Another site is http://www.RentACoder.com. If you are a freelancer, then unlike Elance, there is no charge for the privilege of bidding (which also results in more choices for buyers). If you are a buyer, then there is also the ability to require the seller to guarantee completion (which is not available on elance).
Ian Ippolito
Rent a Coder


Good post Paisano.

I am wondering what it says about the lifestyle choices of being a work-at-home freelancer when you see an online dating website as a reference point for connectivity and interraction though. ;)

On a serious note, how did you find these products interracted with other professional social tools like LinkedIn?


There’s also http://www.MyJobReferrals.com, which pays people for referrals that end up being hired. The goal is harder to hit but the payouts range from $1,500 to $7,000 per successful placement. People can track the status of their referrals and see how they progress towards being hired. Think there is some kind of vetting process for recruiters to keep the unscrupulous ones out, not sure how that side works.

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