I just received an email today saying almost all of my credits are going to automatically be purged and lost a week from now because they are removing credits that haven't been used in 12 months.
Here's a quote from the email:
We recently discovered unused referral credits on your account that were issued more than one year ago. We are writing to inform you that, starting on May 25th 2021, we will be expiring credits earned through the referral program that have gone unused for 12 months.
I've been a long time user and advocate of DigitalOcean, ever since about 2014.
I asked nothing in return for promoting their product, I talk about them positively because I've had good experiences using them.
Over the years I've created a number of courses focused on deploying web applications and have used my DigitalOcean affiliate link in those courses because it's a double win. New users get free credits when signing up and I get credits when those users spend money on their platform.
I'm not going to lie, I've amassed thousands of dollars of hosting credits over the years because I've referred many many hundreds of new users to their platform and they are going to disappear 7 days from now.
In my opinion this is effectively stealing. I referred so many folks to their platform and got compensated by hosting credits in return because that was my only option. Now they are taking away those credits but all of those hundreds of folks who signed up through my account are still customers. In other words, DigitalOcean (a publicly traded company) has benefited and continue to benefit from those users and now I lose all compensation for that.
They don't have an option to accept payouts over ACH / PayPal for referral credits like most companies. They only offer paying them out in hosting credits.