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More on how we calculate points

Started by: vincent
On: 15/01/2010 | 12:44
Replies: 399

by: vincent
on: 15/01/2010 | 12:44 edited: 06/07/2011 | 13:49

Hi all,


If you have an activated giffgaff sim card, you might have noticed you now have a Payback Points statement. As this is the first time we've told members how many points they have earned so far, you might have a few questions about it.


So I thought it would be a good idea to explain a bit more about how we calculate these points.


Payback Points are our way of rewarding you for anything you do that helps giffgaff and the giffgaff community.


We calculate these points in different ways for different activities. Broadly speaking there are two ways to earn points:


1) By helping giffgaff grow: activities that lead to new people signing up for giffgaff

2) By helping other giffgaffers: participating on the forum to help giffgaff and existing members



More on helping giffgaff grow


We have three ways in which you can help us do this. We've given each different option a set value of points, which we feel is fair as everyone does exactly the same in the sense of effort and contribution to giffgaff and the community. Currently the 3 ways to earn these points are:


1) Send your friend a SIM card ( and when that friend activates that SIM you automatically earn yourself 500 points.


2) If a friend orders a SIM themselves, remind them to pop your username in the 'recommended by' box when they sign up, and you earn yourself 200 points.


3) Send your personalised order page around to your friends, by using a friend link ( and get 500 points for each activation.


More on helping other giffgaffers (and giffgaff)


There are many different ways to contribute to giffgaff's community, for more information or ideas on how you can help, please look here. For any of these activities it's harder to attribute a specific amount of points and we were also worried about encouraging behaviour that might ruin the forum for others, like posting thousands of irrelevant or meaningless posts. We also recognise that there are dozens of ways forum users can help each other and contribute to the future of the company with ideas and suggestions. So for those reasons we decided not to base points on a formula like: 'x contribution == y points'. Instead we are looking at the overall quality of community contribution, taking many things into consideration.


We then allocate each member into a band, and every member in that band gets the same number of points. For example, let's say we have 150,000 points to give away, these might fit into the bands something like this:


Band 1: Top Contributors get 3,947 points

Band 2: Average Contributors get 1,071 points

Band 3: Low Contributors get 248 points

Band 4: Non-Contributors get 0 points


It's important to realise that this system is relative, the number of points you get in any given period depends on how your level of contribution compares to the rest of the member base. Whatever band you end up in this time is no guarantee of what happens in the next period - even if you do the same amount of activity you may go up or down a band depending on what others are doing.


For an up to date look on what was given out month by month please look here:


We think this is the fairest way to award points for community contribution, but we're open to all your suggestions and we are open to changing the way points are awarded. Remember we're always looking for your input in anything giffgaff :smileyhappy:






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Message 1 of 400
by: simon69c
on: 15/01/2010 | 19:47

Wow - I had no idea the payback bonuses for forum contributing would be so high!  When I first got the email I thought I had accidentally been sent someone else's balance! Smiley Happy  Nice to know that even helping out a bit on the forum actually generates a rather large amount of payback.

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Message 2 of 400
by: ragnorak
on: 16/01/2010 | 04:38

Brilliant system, and it was most encouraging to find myself in the top band. Nice one guys.

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Message 3 of 400
by: bbgmp
on: 16/01/2010 | 11:30

I really like the idea of getting points for participating in forum discussions. I'm just wondering how these particular bands are going to be calculated. Are you looking at the total number of posts within a set period of time or the total posts since the member signed up?


I'm also wondering what period of time was used to calculate the points for the latest statement which was sent out. I have sent out 5 SIMs and also invited 3 users to the giffgaff website, none of which showed up on the statement. I'm sure at least one of those SIMS will have been activated by now. Hopefully these points will show up in a future statement but am slightly worried that something might have happened and they won't show up at all.

Message 4 of 400
by: simon69c
on: 16/01/2010 | 12:26

I believe the statements covered points earned up to 31 december, so any SIMs sent out probably won't count as that facility was only made available on Dec 23rd so chances are you won't have had many people activate SIMs before Dec 31 with Christmas postage.


It looks like the forum participation was calculated using a combination of kudos and accepted solution posts, and perhaps just generally helpful posts.  I was in the top band and yet at the time only had 2 kudos and less than 20 posts - so I think there's a chance to get plenty of bonus with only moderate amounts of posting - you won't have to be on the board all day everyday!  I expect the forum paticipation awards will just reflect posts made during the period that the rewards apply to rather than total posts up to that point since member sign up - otherwise it would unfairly penalise new members.

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Message 5 of 400
by: robbie28
on: 16/01/2010 | 12:59 edited: 16/01/2010 | 13:16

For this first statement we looked at the period of time between when the member registered and 31st December 2009. Provided the member activated a SIM during that time, we counted all points earned in that period.


We're looking to do a statement monthly, on the same principle. So the next statement is likely to be early Feb - which will be for the period of say Jan 1 to Jan 31. And then monthly from then on. So what will happen is that you'll build points monthly until the Payback Day in May when the cumulative total will be redeemed.


Our plan is also to build a more automated 'points engine' that will allow you to see how many points you've earned as part of your account information when you are logged in. That would be more regularly updated - perhaps daily. But that's a few months off as it's complicated to build and we want to optimise the points calculation first, with feedback from the members.


For your account bbgmp I'll get ClaireKav to check our data and she'll get back to you privately. For any other members with questions on their points statement the best thing to do is contact one of our member service agents using the Ask an Agent form.


Thanks very much for your feedback.


PS - simon69c, exactly how we calculate points for forum contribution has to remain a giffgaff secret Smiley Happy because we don't want to risk the forum being ruined by a few unscrupulous types trying to game the system; and also because - as you say -  we want to genuinely reward quality and real helpfulness, not just quantity. Vincent's written a really good post on the kind of contributions we value and Claire has also written a great piece on what we look at for forum ranking progression. If you want to get a feel of what's going to earn you loads of Payback points then these two posts are definitely worth reading Smiley Happy I'll update this post with the links for these posts when I've sorted out a little glitch on my computer.

Robbie Hearn
Ex member of the giffgaff team, still fond admirer
Message 6 of 400
by: simon69c
on: 08/02/2010 | 12:01 edited: 08/02/2010 | 14:53

I see we got another points balance update today - looking good! Smiley Happy


I was just wondering if we'll get another breakdown of how the forum participation points were split up this time and what the total shared out was?  It looks like the statement is showing a running total - i.e. including what we had in last month's statement (up to 31 Dec) in addition to what was earned in January.



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Message 7 of 400
by: adamkang
on: 08/02/2010 | 13:52

i got my first point balance text and email today Smiley Very Happy im surprised to see how much i made Smiley Happy will be good when a online points counter is introduced! im glad we get points for participating in the forum aswell (y)

Kudos ME Smiley Very Happy
Message 8 of 400
by: robbie28
on: 10/02/2010 | 10:52

Here's some more information on the January points email. First point to make is that the statement shows you your total amount of points earned to date - so it is like a running total. The last statement showed what you had earned up until Dec 31st 2009, this latest statement updates that to show you what you've earned up to Jan 31st 2010.


This time we gave away 200,000 points for the community participation element of Payback, and the bands were:


Top contributors: 3,158 points

Average contributors: 976 points

Low contributors: 321 points

Non contributors: 0 points


Eagle eyed giffgaffers will notice that this time the top two bands are slightly lower than last time and the bottom band is slightly higher. There are a two main factors influencing this:


1) We had a lot of new members in January

2) We are calculating points earned over a shorter period this time (1 month this time vs the time between registration and Dec 31st last time)


So what we decided to do was to tweak the distribution of the points between the bands - allocating slightly less to top performers, and a slightly bigger proportion to the lower bands. We also slightly lowered the threshold to qualify for the lower band. As always the driving principle is fairness, we are trying to recognise that even if you only joined recently your contribution to the community is still valued.


And the last point from me is that of course community participation is only one way you can earn points. You can also earn points for promoting giffgaff to other people, and some of our top overall points earners this month made the majority of their points doing exactly that.


Thanks for all your support, no matter how you help out.



Robbie Hearn
Ex member of the giffgaff team, still fond admirer
Message 9 of 400
by: daveysludge
on: 12/02/2010 | 04:49

Have to admit I got a bit of a shock when my points balance came through, didnt expect to be getting that  much just from forum participation! Smiley Very Happy

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Message 10 of 400