The way this debate seems to me is that there are two sides to it.
The first: "This is a good business strategy on Cryptic's part. Putting a highly sought after item as the carrot at the end of the referral process will get lots of participation, lots of referrals and eventually lots of revenue to keep the development of the game going strong. I like STO, I like the ship, I'll do what is necessary to get the ship I desire."
The Second: "This is a bad business strategy on Cryptic part. I want that ship and the using the referral process to get it is too time consuming and is going to end up hurting STO in the long run since everyone is going rage quit if Cryptic goes through with it. I like STO, I want that ship, and I am going to rage and scream until this decision is changed so that I can get the reward without going through this program. Cryptic promised that they wouldn't add any game changing elements to the C-store, and by extension the concept applies here due to how much of a task it is going to be to get the ship that I want and that money is exchange hands, not necessarily mine to theirs, but Cryptic is still making money off this that isn't related to the Subs. Therefore this is a bad idea. That ship is canon to Star Trek. The players shouldn't have to pay extra for a canon ship therefore this is a bad idea. This referral system looks like a Pyramid scheme, therefor it is immoral and a bad idea and I should get the ship I want by some other means except for this one way that they have stated.
Neither side is going to back down from this argument for one reason, they are both right. And thus the forums explode as they have.
Originally Posted by Lt.Expendable
I take issue with his use of the word recruit, since again this is selling, regardless of what the referral prgram is or isn't.
Tough. The program is what is it is. Often times a recruitment to any organization is exactly like this. You ask someone if they want to join, point out that there is a fee for joining, and that there are monthly dues for doing so. You do this because you are already a member of the organization and know that in some way, shape or form you'll be compensated for your time.
*I am using you as a hypothetical here, not pointing at anyone in particular.
It's not good business strategy at all. That's the funny part.
Word of mouth is a powerful thing, yes. How do you think potential players will react when the word of mouth gets out that Cryptic are attempting to make people shill for an incomplete game, for a GAMEPLAY item (fed cloak + cannon = whole new element for Feds).
Don't give me the "they all do it!" speech.
As has been pointed out, Blizzard waited for years before doing a referral program. It wasn't until after their first expansion that it went into full swing.
Even SWG didn't have the unmitigated gall to use a referral program offering gameplay exclusives within the first 4 months of it going live!