Insiders, punters, media and online casino entrepreneurs, journos and everyone else...
The Media Man and Gambling911 expose of the casino affiliate and affiliate program industry was so well received, and in some cases, highly debated, we're giving you a dose of seconds. We think its healthy to discuss the industry and the issues, even though its sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Fact is, many affiliate programs totally such and are a complete waste of time. Of course, Media Man and Gambling911 would only concern themselves with good ones. The internet is a very big place and its basically impossible to know every single good one or bad one, but we will endeavour to share some of our experiences with you none the less.
The casino affiliate sector, and affiliate sector as a whole, is riddled with bad apples, dodgy companies and individuals a plenty.
Many of the firms are not financially solid to say the least.
We are of the belief that by sticking to big, strong, respected brands and entities can help everyone minimize risk, and thus have a more enjoyable experience.
Not to give a total beat up on the sector, let's swing into championing some brands and companies we can recommended, and know of good experiences...
PartyGaming - PartyCasino - PartyPoker - World Poker Tour
Virgin Games - Virgin Casino - Virgin Poker - Virgin Bingo
Captain Cooks Casino - Rewards Affiliates
Betfair - DGM
PKR - PKR Affiliates
Second Life - LinkShare
Others: Playboy, Penthouse, Ring Divas and WWE (via Commission Junction), plus UFC Shop (via Commission Junction)
*This is not a full list by any means
The reach and power of Gambling911 and Media Man is such, that our last article caused a few ripples in the industry.
Keep in mind that Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company, working across and covering a dozen or so industries, and we participate in just a handful of affiliate programs, having learnt to be very mindful of who and what we associate our name and brands with over the years.
As a result of our coverage, some affiliate companies and casino brands with their own programs went into damage control, and started blogging their own point of view, and well as pitching PR spin job press releases of sorts into the public domain.
Much of the world is in financially challenging times, and this no doubt has a flow on effect to the affiliate industry. It can also lead to folks after a quick buck, with little or no regard for quality.
Legal and banking related issues can also have a major impact on brands, and the affiliate marketers.
Recently an Australia "payment processor" got himself into trouble with the law (and some of the online gaming companies he was dealing with), on a trip to Las Vegas of all places. The gaming firms, pissed off at the operator and his outfit, called the U.S authorities, and that fellow is now looking at potentially life behind bars!
Granted, that was an extreme example, but we need to emphasise how important the legal and financial processing and payment systems are to the sector. If you have budget to engage a legal eagle / solicitor who is savvy in marketing (online and offline law, and better yet, affiliate law), it could be money well spent, and save you money and stress in the long run.
Do your own research and be on the lookout for brands and individuals whose names come up in the wrong way in relation to credit card processors, fraud and the like.
There are many of flow on effects in the sector, so if a website, brand or punter gets it right... makes the right decisions at the beginning states, that can have positive flow on effects, rather than leave a trail of carnage.
Poker affiliates, we think best to stay pretty clear from companies known to have employed "bots" - "robots", and if they have used them, why, and was it legal?
Check out the wording in affiliate contracts. Some are darn right predatory, and that's being kind. Ok, some are totally *hithouse and insulting.
If or when your come across good firms, and have good experiences with affiliates, we think its a good idea to nurture those relationships. It may make business more fun, and possible, more profitable. After all, no one wants headaches, business or otherwise.
In addition, the top sections of high ranking websites are prime real estate. Website owners and publishers obviously want to have only the best in these premium positions. Sometimes simple and effective terms of business can be written up between parties, and this way both entities have the agreement in writing (even if one of them decides to break it)... hello Grand Prive and "Lucky Ace Platinum Affiliates"... the industry has a long memory.
Some industry awards also have merit. PartyGaming and Virgin Games have both won a number of awards from various industry bodies, publishers and the like. Media Man has recently been very impressed with Rewards Affiliates - Captain Cooks Casino,PKR - PKR Affiliates, and DGM Affiliates, but that's just our own recent experiences. EGaming Review aka EGR awards carry a lot of credibility, so we believe, and there's merit in some other groups like GPWA and CAP, but we think EGR is the one to pay more attention to. For the poker sector, Poker News Daily is a great resource of information, even though it covers the poker sector as a whole. Best bet is to check out information from a wide away of difference sources, than draw your own conclusions.
In practical terms, do your research and minimize risks.
Check out some good old fashioned client references and testimonials to help ensure you're dealing with good guys.
Affiliate marketing forums and "watchdog" sites can also be helpful, but be mindful or who is saying what, and why. Some forums have "plants" and "spies" lurking in them, in their constant attempts to try to keep what's left of their name and business. Brands and companies that are really good don't need to lurk day and night in affiliate forums, so keep that in mind.
Readers, check out the official websites of Media Man and Gambling911, and needless to say, brands enjoying prominence are likely to be very good and ethical companies.
We're aware that there's many more elements we could go into here, however they will have to wait for another follow up investigation.
Keep it fun and may all of your affiliate experiences be good ones (even though the odds are against it). Now, check out the front pages Gambling911 and Media Man, and make note of what brands are showcased and who is not... there's likely good reasons for it. Happy web surfing.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen business sectors they cover
*Media Man affiliate brand of the month: PartyPartners, 2nd place Virgin Games, 3rd place Rewards Affiliates, 4th place PKR Affiliates