This idea is based on TrialPay. Basically with TrialPay, after you buy a movie ticket at Fandango or a concert ticket on Ticketmaster, they tell you “Get $20 cashback, try one of these great offers!”. That’s the gist of what TrialPay is. If a user signs up for Netflix through them, it might be a 30- or 60-day free trial of Netflix, which Netflix pays TrialPay like $14 (let’s assume) for each signup. TrialPay then might pay $10 to a Publisher (like Fandango or Ticketmaster) that can bring in those signups.
On the other side of the equation, Netflix runs their numbers and knows that the lifetime value of a subscriber is $90 (I’m making all of these numbers up), and maybe that 1 in 5 free trial signups result in an actual subscriber. Thus $14 x 5 = $70. Thus, they earn a $20 profit over the lifetime. It’s money out, profit in for Netflix, so they want as many signups as possible.
Anyhow, I think there’s an opportunity for another middleman. You could have a selection of 1,000 of the top products, like a new XBOX game that retails for $60. For those people that want that game, but maybe can’t afford it at the moment, … if they were to work for you to get 10 people to try Netflix for free (no strings attached), then TrialPay would pay you $10 each, which is $100. With that $100, you could pay Amazon.com $60, send the XBOX game direct to the person that got you 10 signups, and pocket $40 in profit.
Initially you might use TrialPay, but in reality you could go somewhat direct to Netflix, or use another middleman that is an affiliate network like Commission Junction, LinkShare, Pepperjam, or AzoogleAds. (There are others out there). The programs use API’s and subIDs, so that you can track actual signups to a particular user account in your system.
Thus, the user that wants that XBOX game, they’d signup for an account with you, and then you’d simply provide them a link that they could share for Netflix, or any other free trial offer (that pays you). You could even give them banner ads, if they wanted to put those on their website. But anyhow, I think a user could push the link to their twitter and Facebook, “Help, I really want the new Halo game. This is legit, I can get it if I can get 10 people to try Netflix for free. Netflix is awesome, here’s a video of me showing how great it is, what TV shows and movies you can instantly stream, etc”.
(this idea is from November 28, 2007, but is being shared with you today)
I’m going through the past few years of ideas that are in my moleskine notebooks. Some of the ideas are really lacking, but might give you an idea? All of these ideas are yours for the taking. Don’t forget my archive of 100+ web startup ideas.