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Student News

How one guy blagged £1500 worth of free Uber rides

Ex-Save the Student employee rakes in £1500 in Uber credit through the taxi app's 'refer a friend' scheme – and here’s how he did it!uberheaderMark Rofe, a 26-year-old self-made internet entrepreneur and former Save the Student deal spotter, has managed to blag £1500 worth of free Uber rides by scouring twitter to find referral code requests... and with the help of one simple but ingenious little trick.

Uber’s popular referral scheme allows passengers to get £10 in Uber credit for every new rider they refer using their own unique Uber referral code (and the newbie also gets £10 free credit to use on their first ride).

Please note: Uber have since reduced their referral credit from £10 to £5.

Save the Student even have our own code that gets you money off your first ridegrab the code here!

How he did it

mark rofeCredit: Mark Rofe
Rofe had been using the Uber app for years, and was a big fan of the service. After noticing one of his friends put a shout out for a referral code for their first ride on twitter, but missing his chance as someone else posted their code before him, he began thinking about how he could find more Uber newbies to scadge free credit from.

Initially, he started searching for more code requests manually on twitter, but quickly realised it was pretty time consuming, and that timing was everything in this game.

How to get in there with his referral code before anyone else did?

He got on the case by reaching out to a freelance web developer on Upwork. He paid the developer a fee of $20 (£14) to create a bot that would scrape twitter in search of any referral code requests, and automatically post a short tweet including his referral code in response to their query.

The result of this? Since April 2015, Rofe has managed to rack up almost 150 referrals, giving him £1500 in Uber credit to use on taxi rides around his current home of Dubai.

That's a lot of free rides!

Is this against the rules?

rule-breakingTechnically, Rofe’s trick doesn’t break any of Uber’s referral scheme T&Cs, as the credit he's accumulating is solely for his own use and has no commercial benefit.

The current rules are as follows:

[Y]ou can share your invite link with your personal connections via email, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, personal blogs, etc. where you are the primary content owner. However public distribution on sites where you are a contributor but not the primary content owner (e.g., Wikipedia, coupon websites) is not allowed. Promoting your referral code via Search Engine Marketing (e.g., AdWords/Yahoo/Bing) is also not allowed.

Rofe told Save the Student not only is his trick in line with Uber's rules and regulations, but that he's actually helping the taxi app by recruiting new riders for them.

He elaborates:

Uber let's you share your code on social media which is pretty much what I've done (admittedly in a way that they probably didn't expect to happen), so as far as I am concerned I haven't broken any rules. I just happened to be sharing my code at the precise time that people needed one which has obviously meant that it's worked well.

As far as I'm concerned everyone wins: The user was already looking for an Uber code and was mostly likely going to find one eventually, I was just able to provide them with my code almost instantly, and Uber got a new customer.

Why isn’t everyone doing this?

uber free ridesCredit: Mark Rofe
At the time, Rofe said he was surprised that no one else was using bots to scrape twitter for referral codes like he was doing.

However, he's revealed that since starting is mission last year, the frequency of his code being used has declined as others have caught on and started doing the same trick.

We're sure he'll still have enough credit to get through the next year at least without having to pay for a single ride anyway, so not to worry!

Read Mark's story in full over on his blog.

Final money-making tip

One of our most popular articles on Save the Student is our extensive money-making guide.

So, we asked Rofe what his number one tip would be for anyone looking for new ways to make a buck or two online like he did here...

This 'money making' idea (if you could call it that) came by chance because I missed out on an opportunity to share my code with a friend because someone else beat me to it. I think by being inquisitive and curious I was able to identify an opportunity that many wouldn't have spotted, so I think that's generally the first step to a money making idea or any good idea really.

Speaking of money-making tips, ever thought about becoming a part-time Uber driver yourself? It might be an easier way to make pocket money than you think! Find out how much you could earn by checking out our complete guide to becoming an Uber driver.

Do you have any money-making stories you'd be up for sharing with us? We want to hear from you – get in touch!

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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