Apps & Software

Google Offers $15 for App Referral Sign Ups

Douglas A. McIntyre

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is desperate to get businesses to use its apps. It has gone to a great length to add customers. Under a new plan, it will pay $15 to people who refer others to its business app.

Google described the new program:

Share Google Apps. Benefit when the businesses you know sign up.

In detail:

By joining the Google Apps Referral Program, you’ll receive $15 for every user who signs up based on your recommendation. No IT experience required, no systems to manage — just an interest in helping people experience a better way of working.

Google claims the process is “quick and simple”:

  • Receive a unique referral link after registering for the program
  • Start with email and website templates that we’ll provide
  • Get rewarded when customers sign up using your unique referral link

What Google does not say is why it began such an aggressive program. Probably because its Apps business has never taken off. It was created as a means to get businesses to abandon Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows. One of the reasons Google has done poorly with its App for business problems is that they are “feature poor” compared to Microsoft’s. The Word-like cloud product is unreliable. The Google spreadsheet product is primitive.

Google’s real challenge is not whether it can get hundreds of thousands of businesses to try its Apps. The $15 bounty should bring in some portion of what is needed to reach this goal. What is much less certain is whether people referred to the products will remain. Based on the lack of adoption in the years since these apps were first launched, they are of little long-term use to those who need robust, basic business management software. Until that problem is resolved through the creation of better features, Google may as well save its money.