Google Apps for Business referrals: hard bargain or hard sell?

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Google Apps: always be closing.

Yesterday, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced a new sales program dubbed "Google Apps Referral Program" to help drive sales of the Google Apps software suite. Cheerfully described by some as a way of "sharing so others can benefit", other bloggers describe it as a way of "sharing to annoy others." Designed as a way to complete against growing Microsoft Office 365 adoption, time will tell if the controversial approach will garner sales for Google's application suite.

But why the umbrage from certain bloggy corners? Although a hard direct sales approach sometimes works; too often a socially-shunned salesperson never gets the chance.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers make money the old-fashioned way.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.


Juan Carlos Perez tries his hand at counseling:

Google is trying to recruit college students who used the company's Apps for Education suite in school to become evangelists for the business version of the product as they move on to the workplace.


Called Google Guides, the program is aimed at seniors about to start their careers, at young alumni and at other students who aren't graduating yet but who are headed to internships.  MORE


And Brian Fagioli goes to a masquerade party:

Nowadays, things tend to spread virally, thanks to the internet and social media. ... With the exception of advertisements masquerading as real suggestions, people share discoveries for the sake of sharing -- it is a nice gesture.


While I am a fan of Google Apps and I do suggest them to people, I take umbrage with being paid to suggest it. Google...makes much of its money from advertising, but turning users into tools of said advertising is just plain wrong.  MORE


Straight from the horse's fast-talking mouth:

Many of the millions of Google Apps customers learned about [our] tools...from their customers, friends and networks. To help continue the momentum, we’re launching the Google Apps Referral Program. The referral program makes it easy to share Google Apps with your network and show them how they too can use these tools at work. To show our appreciation, we’re offering a $15 referral bonus for each new Google Apps user you refer.   MORE


Neil McAllister is a steal at two-thirds retail:

[The referral progarm] out to be a good one for Google, which ends up [paying modestly] in user-acquisition costs, compared to what some other companies are willing to pay.


When Facebook shelled out...$19bn to acquire WhatsApp...shrewder analysts observed that the sum was equivalent to $42 per user. ... With its $15 referral bounty, Google will be paying practically a third as much per user.  MORE


We find Ben Kepes cleaning out his inbox:

Watch out for those spammy emails from your friends because Google has just announced a referral program for Google Apps.


I'm not convinced on this one, Google. Referral programs are complicated and tend to just encourage bored harvest massive email lists in order to make some cash.


What it does show, however, is that Microsoft's Office 365 suite is actually gaining some traction -- I'm seeing...businesses moving over from regular Office to the 365 family.  MORE


Count in Billy Steel -- all the way to 100:

Who doesn't like easy money? Well, now you can cash in on those word of mouth recommendations to your colleagues about Google Apps for Business. ... There's no limit to the number of customers you can refer, however there's a 100 user max per customer account.   MORE


Desperate, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols decides to get serious:

Google just got serious--really serious--about taking on Microsoft Office, and Office 365 in particular.


The fine print makes Google Apps referrals sounds like a pretty good deal.


I must say that this sounds like a very attractive deal to me, and I'm sure it will to many other Google apps users as well.  MORE


Meanwhile, Ed Bott tries to learn newspeak:

Trying to understand how setting up a $15 commission for Google Apps means Google is "getting serious, real serious."   MORE

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