Industry is going to the Dogs!

Discussion in 'Affiliate and Program Issues' started by Aussie-Dave, Nov 22, 2010.

  1.  
    Aussie-Dave

    Aussie-Dave Former AGD Member

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    Hi All,

    What with mojo coming out and exposing her Playshare shaving(?) issue and now the unethical cross marketing in this thread:
    http://www.affiliateguarddog.com/forums/playshare-cross-promoting-players-t3476.html

    Not to mention numerous affiliates (including myself) making claim to being had, the industry as we've know it is changing day by day. Aff programs I once considered trustworthy, I now hold grave doubts to their legitimacy in respect to my stats. I'm honestly running out of programs.

    To make matters worse, I've realised a program that claims they don't bundle, does. Which in my case, spells lose of a good chunk of income spanning over a few years.

    It seems most days I open AGD or GPWA to find yet another case of an affiliate busting a program for shafting them & or others. Although I believe in some degree a % of shaving has always taken part at majority of programs in the industry from day one.

    In essence, we've all been able to offset these loses because we've been making decent income. Living fat from the pig and having a decent lifestyle to boot. I've never really concerned myself with a few players not being tagged or what not.

    However, those few players being shaved each month IMO have turned into multiple players not being tagged. Run that across the board of casinos promoted and it starts to heavily impact your monthly income - least that's what I'm seeing now.

    Reiterating a few here and there didn't concern me before because I was making a decent income. But now, although my traffic is up I watch as my income gets eroded month by month. I know I'm getting shafted but apart from blowing the whistle and making a HUGE issue about me being scammed and my rightful income stolen, what else can I do...

    I've decided to take the suggested lead from GFPC and consider only doing media buys. Granted not all my sites are suitable - most don't bring the kind of traffic required to gain media buys. However a couple do.

    Personally I'd rather know I'm making X amount guaranteed each month, paid in advance, than to lay in bed each night tossing and turning wondering what affiliate program is shafting me today!



    Cheers

    :)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
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    6digits

    6digits Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I agree with you.

    At least you know what you are earning. I must point out that I have been dealing with AffEurope for almost a year now, and its the only brand that I am working on a rev-share basis. They also include s-tracking so cross selling is a not an issue and their reports are fantastic as well. I suggest that you speak to Nir Katshall at AffEurope.

    But as for the others, paid media is the way to go.

    Regards

    Dwaine
     
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    Adrian-LiveCasinoPartners

    Adrian-LiveCasinoPartners Affiliate Program Representative

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    Here's my theories of why and how this is a growing trend.

    (1) Maybe it's not a growing trend. Maybe the turnover of reliable programs has always been like this. I would love to hear the comments of a true vet in the industry. What have the "turnover" rates been? Is this a growing phenomenon?

    (2) Non-sustainability: When starting LCP I've felt an enormous pressure to offer what's not economically viable. Put it this way, ANY brand using the same software platforms who offer more are only sustainable with accelerated growth. What happens when you reach market saturation or your tapering on the growth curve?

    Many programs have decided to be super aggressive by offering non sustainable commissions that were possible until the growth is stifled or the dynamics of the industry change. I'm not certain. I haven't seen any proof of real numbers, but that's what I think.

    (3) Change in affiliate roles in the gaming industry? I know we depend greatly on affiliates, but I can see how some programs feel they don't need them. We need affiliates to keep up with the market growth. What about those programs who've been around so long that the word of mouth and media advertising is the dominant revenue source? Is it possible that the affiliates have created the monsters? I've felt the need to promote programs I don't believe in just because they were the only means of converting my specific traffic. I promoted them and received some revenue, but in the back of my mind I knew I was being used. Today, that program (one in mind) won't even let me log in to see my stats! Let alone get paid. I've sent them 100's if not thousands of players and they simply don't respond to my emails. I do feel sense of communal responsibility every time I see an affiliate promoting them. I even send PM's to warn them of the program and share my experience at the risk of sounding like I'm trying to sell them something (ie. join our program).

    I feel that affiliates are a critical part of any brand. Both the affiliates and the brands have to be reasonable in what they expect the other to do. A balance has to be met in order for both to be successful. I've got lot sof respect for those programs who have found that balance and are the standard of the industry. (RewardsAffiliates and brightshare to name a few)
     
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    lots0

    lots0 Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I don't know about being a 'true' vet, but I been doing this for a decade or so now.

    In my experience it is not the affiliate program, it is the people behind it.
    If the people running the show are honest, you get honest programs and vice versa for crooks running things.

    The turnover happens all the time, every time a program is bought or sold or management is changed (for whatever reason).

    I've seen it happen more times than I can count. That a good program will go 'bad' or a 'bad' program try to change, simply because of ownership or management changes. (Thats why I get a big laugh at programs like grand privy... that claims they have changed... but the people running it are the same crooks as before...)

    This business is all about people and trust between people, always has been and always will be... but when we sit behind a keyboard all day, sometimes we forget that.

    You can't trust a program... But you can trust(or not) the person running it.

    My 2 cents

    @Dave, sometimes we find the biggest opportunities in adversity. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
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    Adrian-LiveCasinoPartners

    Adrian-LiveCasinoPartners Affiliate Program Representative

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    Thanks for the insight Lots0

    Yes, that makes you a "true" vet. lol

    Yes, I couldn't agree more. It's not enough that the affiliate manager is trustworthy. I've found that they are not the ones who are making the decisions that affect affiliates the most. The people behind the programs have to be trustworthy. I think it takes time.

    Ironically, the people who have earned my trust through out the years I hardly know. They always pay on time and there's never a need for communication. lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
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    Aussie-Dave

    Aussie-Dave Former AGD Member

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    Hi Adrian, (All),

    You always put forward thought provoking ideas and comments. Substance, I like that. ;D

    I believe to get a handle or at least an understanding of what we're seeing now, we need to go back (take a walk down memory lane) to the early days in the industry.

    Bare in mind not too many, if any, casino owners back then would openly admit to owning a casino. 14 years on not much has changed. Secrecy has been the foundation of this industries DNA from day one.

    For argument sake, lets ball park that circa 1996.
    • Affiliate programs didn't exist.
    • There was only a few casinos in operation.
    • Interactive Gaming Council - like eCOGRA it too (IGC) was funded by Microgaming.
    • Casinomeister, Got2Bet, GoneGambling none of these were around.
    • Play though on a bonus was 1x.
    • The internet was still relatively considered a fad.
    To place that into some perspective, Google wasn't around. It commence in 1998. SE's such as HotBot, Altavista, Netscape and others (which slip my mind now) were popular back then.

    Your choice of browsers consisted of IE or Netscape. Netscape was to IE as FireFox is to IE today. Most people were using a 28.8K modem. Ask people what Flash was and I'm guessing you get told "Flash Gordon".

    Not too many saw or realised the potential of this medium. Countries didn't see it as a threat to security or their economy - people could pretty much do what they wanted online.

    Back in 96 I was paying $5AUD an hour to my ISP. However as technology matures it becomes cheaper. Hence more people have access.

    ---------

    Time Line 2001
    • Affiliate programs were in operation.
    • CasinoMeister (Bryan), GoneGambling (John), Got2Bet (Ted) were established.
    • There were over a 1000 casinos online.
    • Online Players Association commence in 2000 (want to know what that was, Google it)
    Back then players were being shafted. Winners not paid - Ma & Pa casinos doing midnight flits was a common occurrence. Even jetsetcasino (Tropika Group - MGS powered) that too was blacklisted at the IGC and numerous other portals at the time for ironically not paying its players.

    I could write a book on all the dodgy goings on within this industry, which IMO has ownership to why things are so screwed up now. But I'll leave writing that to my site dodgy online casino history.

    ---------
    Time Line 2010
    From a players perspective, since the UIGEA fell into the lap of the industry pay-outs have got worse and worse. Being a bonus slots player MGS software is pathetic these days. RTP is generally tight - $100 that once gave a decent run; at least a chance, now more times than not gets sucked with little or no return. The same is seen at RTG and other gaming platforms too.

    Less people (due to Country bans) and new slots being released on a regular basis, equates to less money per slot machine being dropped. This scenario exasperates the crap play time. Turning what was once an enjoyable pastime with a real chance of bagging a decent win, into deriving greater entertainment in players flushing their cash down a toilet and watching it spin around the S bend!

    Closing Thoughts

    Without players there is no industry.

    Putting everything into perspective - JMO but the industry is its own worst enemy. The inherent secrecy that has generally been synonymous with online gaming, added to less players and more casinos/gaming venues, eventually something has to crack.

    Unfortunately it's the affiliates who IMHO are again wearing the mistakes of this industry and being royally shafted for it!


    Cheers

    :)

    Dave
     
  7.  
    arkyt

    arkyt Calling it like I see it.

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    We've all had our suspicions and now that times are tougher world wide, its truly turning into the wild west ... IMO we havent seen anything yet. Its going to get a whole lot uglier!

    2002-2006 I was making (EDIT) every month like clock work; when they tagged that crap on the the port act I seen a drop of about 37% - within months. During 2006-2008 I stayed right there; still doing very well, nothing to really complain too heavily about considering the law. Then in 2008 I seen another 43% drop - uh what the heck is going on? Then this year I have seen another drop of about 40% + ... Now seemingly over night (its not really been over night) I'm living month to month - paycheck to paycheck...(Losing my rear in the stock markets in 2008 sure didnt help much either)

    What boggles me is the programs are all still eager to rush off to parties - the GPWAs / CAPs etc both making a killing off the programs are all still eager join in; as are many of the "conference regulars" ... How they can continue to do that, while I, despite still having good SE rankings, am working on going broke. Something more is going on - thats for damn sure!

    I have zero doubt VA bent me over 6 ways - I'm starting to feel like my other partners have been doing the same.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
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    Aussie-Dave

    Aussie-Dave Former AGD Member

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    You may not know it but that's a truly profound statement.

    The online gaming industry was founded on a "Wild West" mentality. From where I'm sitting it's done a full circle.


    Cheers

    :)

    Dave
     
  9.  
    Aussie-Dave

    Aussie-Dave Former AGD Member

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    Well your shaved income, my shaved income and everyone's else's funds these "parties", trips and what not...

    Partners, sorry but we're nothing more than meal tickets to most programs.


    Cheers

    :)

    Dave
     
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    inspiration

    inspiration Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    That's where the trouble starts as you are no longer considered to be a partner AND the program has to get the MAX of this prepayment they NEED to cross promote players, it is like turning CPA in CPMonth IMO. In the long run you lose out because they are not stupid to offer you these deals. The hazard is that programs do not care much about offering good tracking facilities for others or offering an affiliate program at all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
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    WCD Admin

    WCD Admin Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Imagine a drunk guy in the street shouting out, "free hundred dollar bills!"

    Some people are going over and taking it - although they know its wrong to take advantage of the guy. Eventually the line of people keeps getting longer and longer, people taking money from him. You've watched as his stack dwindles. Anyway you add it up the drunk guy will be broke in the morning. The question becomes will you take some of the 'free' money being handed out? Or just watch everyone else get some?

    The affiliate is the drunk guy. He is giving away the pie by not uniting with other affiliates to protect himself - this will cause his own demise.
    The rogue casinos are the folks who start taking the money because they see easy targets in affiliates that don't band together. (dummys)
    The good programs are the guys watching it all go down
    - the question is will they also feed on the affiliates before they are put out of business by the rogues?

    The answer is eventually, YES, why the hell not? It's going to be gone anyway. Don't forget you're in the casino business! If you start wildly waving your money around, there are people around here who will take it.

    Don't think you're the drunk guy? Read this thread. Count how many people volunteered for a FREE method to command hundreds of thousands of links across a huge network of sites to wield a weapon against the theft we are facing now.

    http://www.affiliateguarddog.com/forums/idea-defend-ourselves-hostile-industry-t3449.html

    What's the point of talking if no one is walking?
     
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    WCD Admin

    WCD Admin Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Another problem with selling flat media is smaller affiliates will be left out completely. No one wants to pay a flat fee to a website with only a few thousand unique visitors a month. Flat media buys will be for the "big guys only" club. So if you don't have a site with massive traffic for branding, the casino won't buy. You have to DO something: you're not going to find an easy fix like this.

    The problem is not with the affiliate model, but the ultimate greed and corruption by (certain) casinos and affiliate programs. The only way to be heard is to have a tool to fight the bad ones with. It needs to effect their bottom line immediately. If you guys agree its the wild west out here, surely you see the need for this. Or are we in the town where the outlaw rides in, takes your wife and goes to get free drinks at the bar? :mad:

    Imagine my above scenario with the drunk guy, but as the first guy tries to get a hundred from him, the drunk guy pulls out a gun, and waving it wildly shouts, "I wanted to see which one of you'd really try it!!!"

    any more takers of this "free" money now?
    probably not...

    http://www.affiliateguarddog.com/forums/idea-defend-ourselves-hostile-industry-t3449.html

    Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
     
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    RedHotLee

    RedHotLee New Member

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    Do you know the person you partnering with?

    It's a great pity that some operators do let the rest down.

    I've been reading these threads for a couple of days now - and as an industry where the main basis of operation is "TRUST" in the partnerships we seek to build longer term - seeing these comments saddens me. (I totally understand the perspectives on both sides)

    I guess the only thing I can say is that as affiliates - make it a point to get to know who you are working with. Good business relationships are still built out of solid "people skills". You can't learn to "trust" someone you don't know overnight, these relationships should be nutured over time.

    A good affiliate manager will uphold industry standards and ensure fairness and honesty above all else. When issues arise - they will resolve and keep the lines of communication open and provide clear explanations and proof of resolution where applicable.

    Those of us who have been in this business for years - still work to this code of ethic. I just hope that affiliates will not "tar" everyone with the same brush - learn from each other's experiences, share insights with each other and gravitate to the operators that do promote honest, trustworthy partnerships and seek to find the middle ground that is comfortable to both parties in the relationship

    That's just my 2 cents worth :)

    Lee-Ann Johnstone
    Roxy Affiliates - English regions
     
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    WCD Admin

    WCD Admin Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    That would be "good casino owner" an affiliate manager can only be as good as the program will let them be. We've been doing this for over 10 years. Each time an affiliate manager switches teams do you ever seem them shilling for their old program? Do you notice that now the new program they work for is better than everyone else? ;D just my observation. I agree there are a few good guys left.
     
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    Renee

    Renee Affiliate Program Representative

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    I'm poking my head in here for 2 seconds.. but if you look at all the affiliate managers who have been at the same company for a length of time, and look at the affiliate programs they work for, you will seldom see ongoing issues with those programs. I can think of just a few off the top of my head..

    I've also seen one aff manager in particular leave the company he worked for because he wasn't happy with the issues they were presenting.. I respect him 100% for that and if I were in that position I'd do the same.
     
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    Aussie-Dave

    Aussie-Dave Former AGD Member

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    Everyone knows including you Renee when I say your a straight arrow!
    Frankly, your a walking and talking NO BS Zone. We've know each other for years - we call each other once or twice a month. I trust you because of who you are and what you stand for.

    Your a young lady with integrity. You sincerely give a toss about your affiliates. Combined with what I mentioned above, is what sets you and handful of other affiliate managers heads & shoulders above the crowd.

    Can't recall his name right now (maybe Guru can chime in) but the catalyst was the Rival/Tradition blow up over at CM...I dare say everyone; you and I included, were impressed with his character by quitting his job.

    However the reason I commenced this thread was not because of ethical programs nor stand up affiliate managers with character. I started it because many other affiliates like myself are getting shafted.

    The suspicions that all is not Kosher has always been on the tips of affiliates tongues. Now however people are starting to talk, provide evidence and others are starting to look at their own stats and ask questions too.

    Maybe it's a turning point for affiliates on a whole.
    The line in time where we all discard our differences and embrace the similarities which bind us to this industry. Either way, we need security and trust that our income is not being tampered with or able to be manipulated. Right now none of these guarantees exists.

    Affiliates have no other option but to place 100% blind faith in these programs.
    9 times out of 10 the affiliate program is owned by the casino(s) they promote.

    That in itself is a recipe for a program/casino/online gaming venue to shave. Knowing it's unlikely they'll get busted, would be a very strong motivator for some to misappropriate (steal) legitimate affiliate earnings.


    Cheers

    :)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010

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