Is the Affiliate Industry Doomed?

Discussion in 'Affiliate and Program Issues' started by footballaffiliate, Sep 8, 2017.

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    footballaffiliate

    footballaffiliate Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    With Slybet, sorry, Skybet pulling their affiliate program this week and robbing affiliates' lifetime rev shares under the banner of "regulatory" concerns, there's no doubt more programs will probably follow once the dust settles on this one.

    There probably is some truth that regulatory bodies are putting pressure on operators to control how they advertise, and yes it does seem that the authorities are going after operators and not affiliates. Put that way, how can operators run substantial affiliate programs with the risk of millions of pounds of fines hanging over their heads. Too much risk?

    Another thing that might come out of this is affiliate programs shutting down on the back of this because they've wanted to for a long time. Ladbrokes for example - the CEO is already saying that they want to be more selective with who they work. William Hill are saying similar. It's a perfect excuse to stop x million pounds in commissions going out of the door each month to pesky affiliates that are draining the bottom line.

    Worrying times, and we should have seen it coming. Yes, affiliate programs come and go all the time, but Sky has shaken the industry. I know of a few affiliates who are already closing down and quitting.
     
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    Biti

    Biti Active Member

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    The affiliate industry is not doomed, most gambling sites will simply need affiliates, but I think commissions of 50% or more or hybrid deals like 125CPA45RS are not sustainable in the long term. That kind of deals are simply not profitable and a too high cost.

    Regulation is like throwing some stones in a group of pigeons. Once, the pigeons have taken their place again, they're going to have a look if the market is profitable on the long run for them and how they can reduce costs.

    Besides that, there are so many crappy sites around. Get a free theme, write some crappy info about gambling, put some banners and there you go. Giving betting tips and getting paid if customers lose, is also a conflict of interest. Serious brands will have a better look at with who they work and with who not. Dodgy behaviour of affiliates can seriously harm gambling sites, with fines but also reputation damage.

    Besides that, most programs are losing on smaller affiliates if they're on NNCO-deals and you can't build a brand on bonus hunters only. And some sites are giving simply incorrect and misleading info. A no deposit offer that isn't a no deposit offer, bonus terms wrong explained, outdated info, false game strategies, wrong tips, reviews written by content writers of the casino, etc, etc, etc. I see so many affiliate sites I wouldn't even want to be associated with if I had an online casino or betting site.

    I've worked a while as affiliate manager, just to help a friend and see the other side of the business a few hours a day. Disaster. Guys with freebie bonus sites of 3 pages and 57 banners asking for x.xxx fee / month to get listed (and they really don't give a shit who they promote, if I didn't pay, some notorious dodgy brands were places) + 45% rev share, guys that bring in 1 NDP in 6 months asking daily annoying and time-consuming questions, etc. I would spend time and money just in websites that do deliver or websites that do have potential / are seriously ran.

    That goes pretty similar with developments in the affiliate markets. Super affiliates taking over, leaving just space for niche affiliates or guys that are really good in something, like premium quality and honest information, premium quality strategies, etc. Perhaps some extreme good SEO-guys.

    But for guys that order their content at Indian Fiverr-writers, provider non-, false or misleading information, have 3 pages with content and 63 banners, run a website in the weekend when they do not have to be in the office, party will be over mid-term. They will lose their positions in matured markets and more and more brands do not want to work with them anymore in the future. Now they do because affiliate manager need to reach their targets and don't care too much on which crappy sites they are.

    There will always be space for a real quality website offering useful information to visitors and sending valuable traffic to brands.
     
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    TheGooner

    TheGooner Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    A shakeout is never bad. I wouldn't be upset to see 90% of the affiliate rubbish that I see posted on social media disappear.

    I'm comfortable with the reviews and advertising that we do for our gambling partners - attempting to identify the "best of the best".
    I don't see any issues with our work - and I am not worried about the longevity and ethics of our partners either.
     
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    LandofOz

    LandofOz Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    The only thing that is doomed are rogue affiliate programs that do their best to steal from affiliates with their predatory and unreasonable terms and conditions.
     
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    slotplayer

    slotplayer Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I don't think the industry is on it's last leg.
     
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    footballaffiliate

    footballaffiliate Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Points accepted, but I'm hearing in the industry that there are several different motivating factors that are driving operators to be falling out of love with working with affiliates:

    1) Regulatory - people like Skybet just didn't need the headache of managing tens of thousands of affiliates worrying a few of them were going to do something dodgy and inflict a heavy fine on them. This sort of thinking isn't going to matter whether you're a spammy affiliate or one that is producing great content and honest content.

    2) Cost - some operators still believe that they're paying affiliates way over the odds (it's actually one of the cheapest forms of marketing). I know a CEO of a leading company that described affiliates as "leeches". Operator attitude towards affiliates isn't great in some cases. Again it doesn't matter how good you are as an affiliate, if operators seem to think they're paying you too much money then they'll want to cut it and move to other forms of advertising. Perhaps affiliates are more expensive - those who squeezed massive CPAs and hybrids out of operators, who then lost on the deal, are setting a bad example for affiliates.

    3) Get out of jail free card to just steal - the regulatory excuse could now be used by unscrupulous operators to just shut you down if they don't like you or want to steal the hundreds of players you've referred to them in the past. It's a nice excuse they can now use. In fact, Paddy/Betfair, Betvictor, Coral, Ladbrokes have all been squeezing out "underperforming" affiliates. In many cases they're screwing long term affiliates who referred thousands of players, but didn't refer a player in a calendar month over the summer.

    4) Big media companies - Catena and the likes can now negotiate with operators and offer them millions of clicks per month for a cost. Why would an operator want to bother with small affiliate x who does 100 clicks per day? It's more efficient and simpler to just deal with a handful of big guys and play them off each other. As time goes by the big 5 media companies may control 80% of the market. Why would an operator want to bother with the bottom 20% which probably amounts to tens of thousands of people, when the top 80% of traffic can be had from 5 companies?

    5) More Advertising Outlets - Sky obviously have more outlets to advertise on than most, but they too are in the market for acquisitions - oddschecker, football365.com, sportinglife.com. Other operators set up fake affiliate sites and hit the SEO to drive traffic to themselves - william hill, ladbrokes etc, most of the bunch in Israel. It's a much cheaper way to get traffic than paying affilaites 30% rev share lifetime. Other companies are merging and acquiring and trying to build their empires so that they're big enough to be able to get meetings and deals with the main operators. The worrying thing therefore again is, why would an operator want to bother with working with tens of thousands of "one man in his bedroom" type affiliates when they can get traffic from other outlets, and higher volumes of traffic at that?

    Agree with Gooner that opreators should want to work with people who are honest etc, but sometimes it doesn't work like that. Decisions taken upon high by CEOs don't always reflect the relationships and logic that has already been in place for years. I could see for example, operators putting a blanket ban on working with Twitter only affiliates, no matter who they were. I know for a fact one of the largest sportsbook operators is already categorising and saying "we don't like to work with affiliates of type a, b, c".

    Put another way, it's ok as affiliates to think - operators always need us - sure, i've been in jobs where everyone said that and then we all got made redundant! What are operators sat there thinking now? Surely the likes of the big sportsbooks are now having internal meetings saying - "did you see what Skybet did? Do we need to be worried about our x thousand affiliates getting us fined by the authorities?". I'm meeting with quite a few operators in the coming weeks to gauge opinion on whether they're bothered by the Skybet shake up. Will feed back any comments
     
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    inspiration

    inspiration Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Well all true ofcourse but the part of google that has the a.i. aka self learning module will make it harder to find /easy to penalize links / domains and content quality will become more important.
    But without good links you are nowhere in this massive swamp of affiliate competition.
     
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    RazorGamer

    RazorGamer Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I also don't think the industry is on it's last leg. I completely agree with you on this one here. :)
     
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    NDG

    NDG Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I don't see an end to the affiliate industry. I've heard a lot of stories about how this industry was
    doomed over the past 15 years, but it has continued to evolve and adapt to whatever changes
    are made. There may be UK regulated casinos that choose not to work with affiliates because
    they are worried about penalties, but there will be smaller UK regulated casinos that will.
     
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    bettingappguide

    bettingappguide Member

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    Maybe a rough patch but certainly not doomed
     
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    Evil Homer

    Evil Homer Member

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    Doomed is a bit strong, but it's getting harder all the time especially in the UK sports market, simply because there is virtually nobody left worth promoting.
     
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    footballaffiliate

    footballaffiliate Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Exactly. It's very hard to work in the saturated UK market already, without having no one decent to work with. About the only guys left are bet365, but you need to be turning over millions in bets to make any money on their margins.
     
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    Biti

    Biti Active Member

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    In saturated markets you need to look for other ways of generating income.

    I got a market with just a few brands, going on for years now. Doesn't make sense to talk about hybrid deals, as every player has already an account. I'm actually doing a bit of their retention with all those promos, bonuses and reviews... I focus on rev. share and flat fees now.
     
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    buddy m

    buddy m Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I am a small operation with no inside info at all and I have been in the industry since 2004. It seems to me that this topic comes around every few years and when it does it lingers for awhile, but usually disappears. Sometimes it picks up steam along the way, then slows down a bit, goes away and hibernates for a several years before it comes back. With all this news on hurricanes it's kinda like that, and it usually does leave some damage and trash behind. Im sure most of you remember the good ole sunny days back early and mid 2000's. I would say since then this topic came up maybe 3 or 4 times. Some of us go, some stay, but it does get harder and harder with time. At least thats how I see it.
     
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    AussieDave

    AussieDave 17 years & still going!

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    This latest upheaval (correct me if I'm wrong) originates from the UKGC. Which, only governs UK territories. It maybe a concern to those affiliates who promote to UK.

    I only see it would be an issue if you don't keep your promotions up to date (aka current), or are currently using dodgy methods of false ads, click-baits and spamming social media. If none of this applies to you, I wouldn't be worried!

    The way I see it, a "shake up" is a good thing.
    If this becomes a reality, I see it as a positive, not a negative.

    It would certainly decrease the number of crappy aff sites, which (FYI) your currently competing against in the SE's ;)
     
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    Casino-Matt

    Casino-Matt Yes No Casino

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    A shake up is definitely in order but how about the UKGC concentrate some of their efforts on the thousands of awful gambling sites they give licences to. The Nektans and Progress Plays of this world, etc. Surely it is a red flag when an operator opens a new site 3 days a week then closes 2 and merges 4.

    All the complaints and dodgy terms floating around do nothing for players (see Nektan, Small Screen Casinos etc) and in turn these shitty clip joints are part of the wider toxic mess ruining the industry.

    Kudos for hitting Cassava and their rogue network but the rest need stamping out too.
     
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    casinonewbie

    casinonewbie Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    For those that did not see this regards the OP's slybet comment about these thieves this video nails it.

     
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    PROFRBcom

    PROFRBcom Rakeback affiliate and professional poker player.

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    It's also not just the regulated sites pulling this garbage. Just a couple years ago Carbon Gaming (Chipsplit program) ceased allowing affiliates to sign up new players. A few short months after that they shut down the program and stopped paying all legacy revenue. To add insult to injury, while they were shutting down they implemented huge withdrawal fees for both affiliates and for players. When players withdrew, suddenly affiliates were losing 5% of that amount directly out of their commissions! It wasn't just Carbon Gaming/Chipsplit either. The Jazette group, which controls Sportsbook dot com and PlayersOnly dot com pulled the same shit at the same time.

    I don't think the aff business is going to die off immediately, but I think we're in for a slow decline on the whole. Social media makes it easier for sites to directly reach out to potential customers and take a lot of marketing in house.
     
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    Biti

    Biti Active Member

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    Not just that. Also, markets are getting saturated. If you see the market shares some websites have at saturated markets with almost no new entries... Many casinos also have their own blogs and websites. They can do better than 95% of affiliates. No offence to nobody, but they can also buy links, buy $0,02/worth-articles, etc.
     
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    Lacy

    Lacy New Member

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    This thread is quite an eye-opener to a new affiliate like myself, but I feel I must apologise, it's all my fault you see, everything I touch turns to sh*t! :oops:
     

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