I just started a forum for forum owners to help forum owners. I've got about 30 members in 3 weeks, so I've decided to run a referral contest. Each member has a referral link in their profile, which they can provide to others or, upon registration, new members can list who referred them. So, I've posted a contest for $20 to whomever can get the most registerd (and posting) members wins. I thought it as a good way to possible get the initial membership to grow, but some (on other sites) have said it seems desperate. I could see it appearing desperate if my site was old and dying, but since it's new, I'm unsure of how to get it going. Does this seem desperate or OK?

is that twenty a referral, i have over 3000 contacts i can refer so i would like to know

$20 flat to whoever referred the most and it's probably over by now since the post is several months old.

It was flat. And that contest has ended. However, I may be having more soon.

So did it result in some worthwhile referrals for you then?

My minimum was 5, which no one hit. But, my membership was still low and I'm not sure if I gave enough time. However, it did produce a few members.

Referral Contests are always a good way to attract new members to the forums.

not bad
but if you can pay per post
u can promote your forum very well