I don't think a single person has joined giffgaff because of me, unless I'm forgetting some from my original account.
The reason is two-fold. One, you have a terrible reputation among people I know who are aware of you. Two, I can only tell people of my own experiences and whilst my experience of your network services is great, my experience of your account support is abysmal.
Vodafone suffer from the same reputation issues, in fact, they suffer more than you do in terms of that, but I have received recruitment bonuses from Vodafone regardless for one simple reason...
I joined Vodafone because of their 30 day break clause, (network guarantee), coupled with the fact that they offered the first month free. They've done the same for others. Once people have actual experience of the network services and the support they offer, they stay, and we both get a £50 bonus.
That £50 bonus by itself is not enough to persuade people to sign up because the reputation they have is so appalling. It's the promise of an entirely free, zero-risk trial which gets them on board, and the excellent network and customer service which keeps them beyond the trial.
Three were really difficult to sell to people as well because of their coverage issues, (the same affects each Three MNVO as well), not many people would sign up with them, despite them offering £25 and despite my own very positive experiences with them).
Tesco were a very easy sell despite no joining bonus and no free trial, because of their network services, their allowances, their support and the fact that they had a good reputation and my own experiences of them were only positive, (the only issue I had was the lack of call forwarding). People were very open to joining them.
People don't care about joining bonuses, they want reasonably priced, reliable services, good customer support and allowances which fit their usage.
Where a company has a poor reputation the only thing which will convince people to give them a go is a totally free, zero risk trial. The only way to keep them beyond the trial period is to meet their network and service expectations during the trial and to keep doing so once the trial has ended.
In terms of who I've "recruited" for which network, by far the most have joined Tesco and the majority of those who joined have chosen to stay well beyond their initial minimum term and have no intention of changing networks. Next comes Vodafone, with all, like me, planning to stay beyond their initial minimum term as far as I'm aware. Next is Three, who I think due to network issues have now lost most of the recruits I sent their way, (some to Tesco, most to Vodafone), how they ultimately lost me, and then there are O2/giffgaff who maybe have one or two but not for a long, long time and I've no idea if they stayed or not.
If you offer a free trial then maybe people would consider joining on my say so but to keep them you would have to offer them a level of support which is far better than you've offered me because if you treated them how you've treated me they'd be off like a shot before the trial is over.
Another thing counting against you is ease of use. People want convenience and you're simply not as convenient to use as other providers, (this is vs SIM only contracts because everyone I know does or would qualify for a SIM only contract and prefer contracts to PAYG), in terms of payment and account management.
And finally, also counting against you is the complexity of use which comes with using your network, specifically how difficult and complicated the website is to use in terms of finding information and how the information is laid out. People want easy access to information about their accounts, they want easy access to account management tools, and neither of those things are available here.
Being brutally honest, there is only one single demographic I can think of where giffgaff would be an easy sell and I can't name that demographic because people here will jump on me.
giffgaff used to be an easy sell because people didn't wanna be tied into expensive and long term handset deals and of the rest giffgaff were a long way ahead of the competition and appealing to many demographics as a result but the introduction of SIM only deals, and especially the changes in the packages over the past three years, has dramatically reduced the appeal of giffgaff, which was further eroded by years of well publicised network issues and this community reputation.
Even with the package changes, which are very good, you're still not going to be an easy sell to most demographics, because whilst you're offering 20GB for £20, Vodafone are giving me 50GB, who do you think people are more likely to choose to go with? You both have shocking reputations, so on that you're equal, but then Vodafone are giving that trial which you're not, and when people ask me for my personal experiences of the levels of support I receive, it's a slam dunk for Vodafone, (if they are even willing to ignore the reputation which many won't, so they'll head off to Tesco or EE who both have a good reputation).
And the truth is, even if people do give you a go, if they get the same level of support from you, (agents), that I have, they'll not stay for long.
But that one demographic, if I knew people in it, I could have them swarm here and they'd all stay, guaranteed. I just don't know anyone in that demographic so recommending giffgaff is a total waste of time. Even my friends kids won't touch you, they're all on Voxi and Smarty, all of them, without exception, (the majority of them being on Voxi).
It's not fair on you lot because you've worked really hard to improve network services and packages to a level where the network SHOULD appeal to more demographics and maybe over time you will if you simplify things and take the steps necessary to repair your reputation but it will take time.
You should be on an equal footing with Tesco because your packages pretty much match theirs from next week and your network performance is equal too thanks to the work you put in to get that up to scratch, but in all other areas except technical support you're behind them, so those who can get credit will always choose them over you and the promise of a fiver isn't going to change that, (I'm not saying that as a Tesco customer either I left them for Vodafone in October last year, this is all coming from conversions with people in the real world about mobile services).