The Incredible Story Of How Two College Kids Made A Ton Of Cash By Recruiting New Lyft Users

LyftREUTERS/Lucy NicholsonA driver with the ride-sharing service Lyft waits for a customer on a street in Santa Monica, California October 17, 2013.

If making $US50,000 to spend on free Uber rides isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer to make six figures — in cash — by promoting another startup.

That’s what two seniors from the University of Southern California did, according to a story by Fusion’s Kashmir Hill.

In 2013, Myles Hunter and Ari Steigler emailed Lyft after one of Hunter’s fraternity brothers started to recruit for Uber.

In their email, they told the company that Uber was paying its recruiters $US15 a head. They told Lyft they were good at promoting, and suggested Lyft pay them $US20 for every person they signed up to ride with Lyft. It worked. 

Hunter and Steigler became recruiters before Lyft even had an official recruiter program. The two young men signed up “tens of thousands” of new Lyft customers, getting paid $US20 per new Lyft customer in cash, as opposed to ride credit. 

“We gamed the system, but we didn’t screw over Lyft. We did really creative stuff that reached a lot of people,” Hunter told Fusion.

Hunter and Steigler posted job listings on Craiglist to recruit recruiters and ads to sign people up to use Lyft. The two had hundreds of recruiters in 54 cities working for them.

“It’s a crazy story. This is the most money we’ll ever make with this little time put into the effort,” Hunter said. 

“Our brand ambassador program was launched in 2013 as an additional paid acquisition channel to help spread the word about Lyft on college campuses across the country,” Lyft spokesperson Paige Thelen told Fusion. “Ari and Myles were two of our earliest brand ambassadors in Los Angeles and helped build out our brand ambassador teams on the UCLA and USC campuses. Additionally, Ari became a Lyft mentor, a leading ambassador who coached and mentored hundreds of other ambassadors across the nation.”

Lyft eventually paid its recruiters less than the eye-popping $US20-per-new-user rate, and Hunter and Steigler stopped recruiting. However, the two men are still netting about $US1,000 or $US2,000 monthly — they make money any time a user signs up with their Lyft promo codes. 

Read the whole incredible story over at Fusion.

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