Affiliate Union

Discussion in 'General Casino Affiliate Area' started by ThePOGG, Mar 5, 2018.

  1.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    This conversation seems to have petered out, as such I'd like to get it moving again.

    At this stage it would be great to firm up numbers of who would be interested in taking part in this type of organisation, so if you would be interested can you please provide an email address that you can be contacted on. I will be doing some press related to this endeavour over this next few days so hopefully we can get enough like minded affiliates together to achieve something worthwhile.

    On a related note, we've just published an article on the recent changes that Genting Affiliates have made to their contract. You can read it here. This is exactly the type of issue where this type of collective could have made a difference. Imagine how much more effective this type of post would be if it had been complimented by dozens of other affiliates posting similar articles.....

    TP
     
  2.  
    AussieDave

    AussieDave 18 years & still going!

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    These days I only partner with a few programs. Those who I've known the ownership of program/casinos for literally years, or others where they've maintain the status qou of my T&C's since joining, literally years ago.

    While your proposal for a "union" per se, is a good idea, it seems it's designed for affiliates marketing to the UK/EU (legit territories). Bit hard to bring legal action against a program who is targeting a "banned" country like Australia, or for that matter, accepting players from the USA.

    I don't promote to the UK/AU/US (UK/AU are blocked), the casinos I promote, don't accept US players either. Hence, while I think your idea has a chance at being established, seems all I'd be doing is digging into my pocket, to support legal action, which would never benefit my business.

    I do however, wish you all the best :)
     
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    TheGooner

    TheGooner Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I understand your desire for a collective. I can see the need to pursue legal cases on contract terms that need to be challenged.

    But - I'm not a fan of a socialised fighting fund for individual affiliate cases unless the fund costs are going to be replenished from awards (and costs) won in those cases. This makes no sense for me.

    Given our disparate views on this basic issue - I can't join a group and agree to be financially bound to the wishes of 55% of the membership.
     
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  4.  
    Biti

    Biti Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Let's say you're cut off by a program and estimated damage is $100k. Let's also say legal costs are $50k. 100 people are chipping in $500. The union wins in this example.

    Why should I get in that case my $ 500 + $ 1.000 and not you the money that this program has stolen to you? That sounds more like betting on legal cases than like an union. I think in legal terms, it's a discussion between you and the program, not between the union and the program. If you won in the end, the program has to pay you.

    @AussieDave: I think, indeed, regulated and non-regulated will be more and more separate worlds. I can't speak for my others, but I don't know if I will vote for a case against a program hiding after some post box company in Costa Rica. It sounds to me like that doesn't make any sense. That said, I can imagine also that if you're for example in the Italian market, it will be difficult to get 55%, as just a few people of the union will be active there.
     
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  5.  
    TheGooner

    TheGooner Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Biti - I have no idea what you are trying to say about betting on legal cases.

    If Legal costs are paid by the group (say) $20K - then the first $20K of any award / costs should repay that cost.
    If the award is less than the fees - then the award is paid in total to reduce overall fees cost.
    If the case is lost then nothing is repaid - and there are probably extra fees for the group for other party costs.

    That's a lot of liability for the affiliate group to cover - and if there is any award above the fees (much more unlikely than you seem think) then of course that should go to the affiliate.

    That not "betting on legal cases" - it's getting the fees repaid for successful cases.

    ----------------

    That enables a fund to be more self sustaining - and also some sense to be exhibited by affiliates and the affiliate group before taking a case for (say) $5K to court - knowing that the fees are going to be way above any award.

    It doesn't really matter whether it's an individual or group funded legal effort - taking a small commercial claim to court does not have any financial winners.

    If an affiliate doesn't like that then they can always take individual action - but as I say - commercial cases are expensive and unless you are chasing $50K or more - there seems little value in going legal on it.
     
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  6.  
    NDG

    NDG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    The biggest problem is "legal issues" can get very tricky and very costly, and they can involve dirty politics and under
    the table deals in some countries.. where the governments have less oversight and they suffer from a lot of corruption.

    I would be more inclined to support an affiliate union that used PR as a means to stop the affiliate programs from
    quietly changing up their terms, etc. If affiliates could get together and spread the word about what certain
    affiliate programs are doing.. and set-up campaigns to inform existing affiliates that are promoting the rogue brands,
    etc.. then it could begin to cut off the revenue for those affiliate programs that are using the dirty tactics.

    Unless the casino is a huge brand or has very deep pockets, they won't last too long without affiliates promoting them.
     
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  7.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Before answering anyone individually I do want to again stress that a number of people seem to be focusing on the 'law suit' option as the primary strategy to be applied. Initially this idea did take root in trying to find a way of reducing the expense of such actions for affiliates. However it is NOT to my mind the real strength of such an effort. Large quantities of articles being posted by the membership is a strategy that is significantly less risky and and more likely to have the desired consequences of a) putting programs off making these changes in the first place and b) undoing those changes at least for the membership.

    Personally I hope we would never see the day where we actually had to take on a case. But I know that having enough of us working together to ensure that we have the financial scope to do so if required would be a significant deterrent in of itself.

    Aussie Dave - I would encourage you to consider the above, but I do understand that if you work with a small number of programs and have a very high degree of confidence that they'll never do anything to you that's problematic the benefits of membership may be small in your case.

    TheGooner - Obviously I disagree with your pov however I entirely respect your opinion and feel that regardless of anything else you have made some very good points in a clear and concise manner while putting it forward. Where I feel your argument fails is that you aren't acknowledging that if the time came where you were mistreated by a program and wanted to take legal action, you would have the same rights as any other member to seek the union's help. If you feel that's never likely to happen to you then it would be a very strong argument for not joining.

    I have been contacted via email by a number of affiliates so far who are lurking in this conversation rather than participating, so we're actually off to a reasonable start in terms of numbers. But we are still a good distance off so anyone here who is interested please drop me an email at webmaster@thepogg.com to confirm. I am going to extend the deadline until the end of April as I'll be doing an interview on this topic for iGB in the near future and I hope to speak to Calvin Ayer as well. I'd rather ensure that their readership got the opportunity to come on board as well.

    TP
     
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  8.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    NDG - I think you actually see something close to what I'm driving at :)
     
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  9.  
    TheGooner

    TheGooner Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I agree that taking a legal case and pretending that it's "affordable" because a group pays is NOT a strength it's a huge weakness. I have little interest in being forced to fund other people tilting at windmills. And the fact that I'd get nominal access to this legal fund facility that I'd never use is not an enticement.

    While I'd like to support the initiative with sweat equity and publicity - the outlined financial rules and 55% majority make it something I would not commit to - it seems poorly conceived to me.

    Have you considered the scope for a non-financial and/or non-legal case membership ?
     
  10.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I had not considered a two-tier membership. That's actually a really interesting idea. Is this something you would be interested in if put in place?
     
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  11.  
    TheGooner

    TheGooner Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Of course.

    I support the concept of the group that helps to organise and centralise affiliate effort.
     
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  12.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Well I'll change the structure to accommodate both view points then and consider this a worthwhile conversation :)
     
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  13.  
    AussieDave

    AussieDave 18 years & still going!

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    For the record, I don't promote casinos from unregulated jurisdictions. I simple don't market to the USA/UK/AU.

    I've always aligned myself to this mindset too.

    In the past, there's been a long list of negative PR campaigns against affiliate programs. However, the drive and motivation applied to each campaign (by the majority), last, at most, 2 - 3 weeks. Around that point, the campaign is encroached on by a lack of motivation, and subsequently, the gusto which fueled its commencement, quickly fades.

    There's also this problem, which, Lots0 (an old timer like myself, and friend) said here, way back in 2010.
    Ironically the post I pulled that quote from, was from a thread topic about affiliate programs essentially stealing from, and or stiffing their partners. That thread was 8 years ago, and nothing has changed. In fact, the predictions in that thread, have come to fruition!

    IMHO the reason these negative PR campaigns generally fall in a heap, is because, the campaign itself, has no real foundation. They're akin to building a house on sand, as apposed to constructing a house on bedrock.

    What seems to be missing, where these good intentions fail, is the lack of a centrelised 'campaign management' per se. While I agree affiliates are like "herding cats", I also believe anything worthwhile, needs organisation.

    Hence, I sincerely believe, if negative PR campaigns against wayward programs were initiated with structure, then we'd see more of these initiatives succeeding, with there intended payload having the intended affect.

    Edit:
    An SEO campaign take time to gain positive/rewarding results. The same goes for a negative PR campaign ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  14.  
    DaftDog

    DaftDog Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    As a small affiliate I would most certainly be interested in the "2nd tier membership" idea.
     
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  15.  
    Zuga

    Zuga Administrator Staff Member

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    Hiya AGD'ers, thanks Duncan for starting this topic.

    I wish to add that we at LCB are happy to support this project by offering AGD as platform ( can create dedicated board for this, where things can be discussed, decisions made, reports published etc ) .

    We definitely need a consensus on major points, if this stands any chance to be successful .

    cheers
    Zuga
     
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  16.  
    dfiocch

    dfiocch Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Sorry for telegraphic posts.
    Here to support the project, thanks Duncan.
     
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  17.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Hi Zuga,

    First let me say that it's great to hear that LCB and AGD are willing to support this project! You're a big player in the industry and your support is always going to be significant.

    With regard to your offer, it's very much appreciated but Dave Sawyer has already volunteered a very relevant domain in his possession to host this project and I've already started putting together designs for a custom voting and communication system to streamline the whole process. We would still very much appreciate cooperating with AGD in the distribution of information to your members though so we could perhaps put our heads together about that.

    I'm going to try and update the suggested structure later today to include the two tier membership.

    TP
     
  18.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Revised organisational structure:

    I'm changing a couple of thing that were originally suggested to accommodate the desire for those who would not be willing to participate in collective legal action to have a space at the table in terms of press releases. The more I think about it the more I feel this is actually the far more important group. So here goes:

    The collective will now be split into two tiers as detailed below:

    First Tier: These are the affiliates that are willing to participate in press released to cover programs that change their terms for the reason of reducing the revenue they pay affiliates.

    The system works the same as previously suggested - all members get a vote all votes are counted equally. Any member can table an issue for consideration, a brief is distributed to members, members vote on the issue. A majority of 55% is required before any action is taken. If a majority is achieved a template press release is put together and distributed to members who can base their own articles on it. All members who voted in favour of the action will be expected to post an article.

    Each participating member will be asked to link to one other member's article within their post. Order would be randomised each time so you're not always giving/receiving links for the same site.

    Upper Tier: As discussed before - those members that are willing to engage in the socialising of legal fees when a serious enough case arises that the membership considers it worthwhile. Only Upper Tier members would be eligible to request help with legal fees.

    ------------------------------------------------

    A few other musings:

    - A potential issue with the First Tier membership is affiliates that are also operators consistently voting against action simply to frustrate the union. Personally I think that most operators are self-interested enough that they would likely vote FOR action against one of their competitors. Regardless, I suspect that they are unlikely to represent a large enough proportion of the membership to prevent action in any case that was even close to clear cut.

    - With a cleverly designed interface voting could actually be coordinated easily. As could reporting on the vote, distribution of the template press releases and ensuring everyone links to the right site in the chain. In short, I'm not sure I see a need for an upper bound on membership for the First Tier.

    - ThePOGG is currently seeing a steadily increasing number of affiliate complaints coming through. Mostly about slow/no payment and often about smaller affiliate programs. It does occur to me that this organisation might be better placed to deal with these issues rather than ThePOGG. Where an affiliate just isn't getting paid the threat of a mass PR release is likely going to be far more significant in pressure terms than just ThePOGG putting out a complaint report. However, managing these issues is time consuming and requires resources. For a start, a conversation with the operator has to take place before information could be distributed to members to ensure that any subsequent public statement is factually accurate. I have no strong preference on this, I simply think that the affiliate union would likely have greater leverage on these issues, but if the union were to take this up there would have to be some degree of funding given to the party responsible for coordination. ThePOGG is happy to fund the initial set up of the site and perhaps maintenance of the site, but long term staffing's an entirely different thing. A small membership fee as suggested previously (€5/month) could be put towards maintenance and coordination.

    - Initially my hopes had been that administration could be rotated between members. With the introduction of the two tier membership the numbers of members involved could quickly rise beyond what I'd initially anticipated. Coordination then becomes more of an issue and I do have to agree with Aussie Dave, if there isn't clear leadership directing the efforts it's unlikely to maintain momentum. There likely would have to be some type of elective system reviewed annually to allow the membership to select the people coordinating the project.

    ------------------------------------------

    What does everyone think?

    TP


    P.S. this idea's received some media coverage over the last few days - http://www.casinonewsdaily.com/2018...iliates-against-predatory-gambling-operators/ and http://www.gambling911.com/online-c...on-propsed-industry-grows-more-volatile-.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  19.  
    ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  20.  
    Biti

    Biti Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    That publicity is a good thing. For sure, programs are reading this too.

    I would join for sure the "First Tier".

    Upper tier, I'm a bit in doubt. Not because it's not a good idea, because it is a very good plan, but because of:
    - I (and perhaps nobody) have no concrete view about what this will cost me per year.
    - there's a risk it will be a "UK party", where, because of the target markets of the participators, every UK-issue will reach 55% and every Czech, Spanish or Itaian issue will not reach 55%.

    What could also be worth something is getting pro-active, legale advice as an union. More in sense of legal tips & tricks. Would make life also easier.
     
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