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  1. #1
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    Why Are Some Wary of Casino Affiliates?
    Someone asked: > "Is the attitude toward casino affiliates a widespread thing and if so can you enlighten me as to the reason?" <

    Many "mainstream" publishers (affiliates), affiliate managers, and merchants are wary of "casino affiliates" for several reasons:
    • As Connie noted, some of these folks have traditionally relied on marginal or disfavored practices such as "pop-ups," "exit pops," "pop-unders," and/or misleading or deceptive ads. Many of these activities are prohibited by many affiliate merchants and networks.
    • Since many of us strongly believe that online gambling (by US gamblers) has been illegal all along, we are concerned about doing business with casino affiliates who have thus been engaged in illegal activity. The assumption is that "some" casino affiliates may be quite willing to break other laws in their future activities.
    • Some casino affiliate programs allow "questionable" affiliates to continue as active affiliates, even though they may engage in improper activities such as "parasite" activity, content piracy, or improper poaching of competitors' customers. Traditional affiliate programs can't tolerate such conduct by affiliates, or they'll lose their legitimate affiliates.
    • Some casino affiliates have relied on very "questionable" content web sites that may perform well to drive traffic to casino sites, but which may perform quite poorly for "traditional" retail marketers. Some merchants may view some of these sites as inappropriate for display of their brand.
    • Some casino affiliates (like some porn affiliates) are comfortable with extremely low conversion rates, sometimes very far below 1% conversion. Many merchants worry that by sending a large volume of traffic with only modest sales, "casino affiliates" may push down the merchant's published EPC rates and thus make the merchant's program appear less attractive for traditional publishers.
    • Casino sites usually experience a much higher rate of fraud and chargebacks than "traditional" retail sites. Some traditional merchants worry that casino affiliates might continue to attract these same "illicit" customers who might drive up the merchant's fraud and chargeback rates.
    • Casino affiliates (like porn affiliates) are used to very high commission rates, often 50% and more, and may aggressively seek higher commission rates than are typical in "traditional" retail affiliate programs. This may be perceived as distasteful or even unscrupulous by some affiliate managers.

    I don't know if any of these arguments are valid, but they are all comments that I've heard over the past few years.

  2. #2
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    I think you pretty much covered it Mark.

    I'll add to your list my observation that since the casino industry collapsed we've had a huge increase in spammers on ABW. Now what does that teach us, class?

  3. #3
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    Wow, Rhea I hadn't made that connection.

    I can't remember when the gaming industry started its downward spiral with new US laws and arrests etc. But at that time there were numerous articles in the mainstream press about how sophisticated and aggressive these affiliates were. Articles described things such as high-powered computer models to monitor PPC campaigns and affiliates who worked mind-numbing hours in front of computer screens to devour hundreds of gaming keywords.

    The articles suggested when gaming finally imploded these affiliates would take this technology and mindset and apply it to other areas of affiliate marketing, and the other "unsophisticated" affiliates would be eaten alive.

    I must admit these articles caught my attention and I figured I better be ready for an onslaught of agressive competition. So I spent mindnumbing hours of my own learning about numerous economic sectors, affiliate programs, and developed an action plan.

    So I guess this is why I am wary.

  4. #4
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    Aunt Lily wrote: > "I must admit these articles caught my attention and I figured I better be ready for an onslaught of agressive competition. So I spent mindnumbing hours of my own learning about numerous economic sectors, affiliate programs, and developed an action plan." <

    Do you regret this? I sure don't.

    I wasn't worried about an influx of gambling affiliates, but I was certainly aware that I needed a more sophisticated system for managing "datafeeds," my growing web content, and my PPC campaigns. Things were getting unmanageable, and I was losing opportunities (and money) because I couldn't keep up with the data. So I set aside some time and went to work on designing and now implementing a system.

    While I've certainly experienced some unexpected snags and delays, I've also learned a great deal that is helping me to earn more money while reducing risk, and I'm also learning things that are helping my consulting clients.

    Sometimes, getting scared is a good thing. Many folks wasted a lot more money than was actually needed on the Y2K scare, but many of us developed better systems and now plan more intelligently than we did before that scare.

    Even if the recent influx of "forum and blog spam" isn't related to the casino affiliates (and I doubt it is), we are all learning from that experience, too, and designing better systems.

  5. #5
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    Mark, I don't regret a minute of learning and planning. My biz has grown a whole lot more than it would have.

    I'm just finding it ironic that the industry that made me go into hyperdrive, is now trying to find out what I've learned.

  6. #6
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Your points are valid Mark, but they could be applied to any affiliate in any field and not just gaming affiliates. I'm sure there are 100% honest stand up people in that field.

    Is it fair to say all coupon affiliates are bad because there are parasitic coupon sites out there? Do the networks do anything about them?

    I can understand why merchants would not want their products advertised on gambling sites. Gambling is an adult activity. So is porn but that is a whole different category.

  7. #7
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    Mack, you made the point I was going to make before I got down to your post. Saves me a little typing.

    I would never put anything non-gambling related on my gambling sites, nor would I put anything gambling related on my non-gambling sites. But if someone doesn't want to work me me because I happen to be in that field, then it's probably not someone I would want to work with either.

    I made more in one month off my gambling sites than I've made off of everything else combined for the last 3 years that I've been doing this. And I did it with little to no promotion or resorting to lowering my standards to gain traffic.

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  8. #8
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    Hi Mark
    I understand the mind set a little better now but there a few things which seem to be misunderstood as well.

    Online gambling is not illegal for most US players.
    It is illegal in 11 states which are all heavily populated by or next to states which are highly populated by land based casinos. Their laws are in place not to stop people from gambling but to keep the gambling revenue within their own states. These are state laws and not the US law which you refer to.
    The federal gambling law is directed at the casinos themselves and the services which conduct the business of transferring money from players to the casinos.
    The casinos which do business in the US are in a jurisdiction which is outside the influence of the US and are violating no laws at all.
    A few companies tried to ignore the laws which governed them and they got busted for their violation of the laws.
    The people being sited here as examples of the gambling affiliates are in fact as disliked by us as much as the slime balls in conventional affiliate sales are by you. These guys, no matter what they sell make it harder for all of us.
    There are also unscrupulous casinos who allow these practices just as there are their counterparts in other fields of affiliate sales.
    Every casino, poker room, etc for which I recruit would close my account, block my ip, and withold any commissions for just 1 act considered to be any kind of spam.

  9. #9
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Mark, I know you posted a caveat that the points listed weren't your own, so to the people who made those points over the years, pffft!

    In my experience, most gaming affiliates aren't much different than any other affiliate. They write content, worry about rankings, try to convert, build links, write articles, set up blogs, build community, juggle PPC, etc, etc. Many of them are talented marketers to boot.

    Again, not directed at you, but the whole list sounds like a case of uninformed people being afraid of something they don't understand and making business decisions based on fear over fact...
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mack
    Your points are valid Mark, but they could be applied to any affiliate in any field and not just gaming affiliates. Is it fair to say all coupon affiliates are bad because there are parasitic coupon sites out there? Do the networks do anything about them?
    Your points are interesting too Mack, though I will say that as I read Mark's post, I read it as him saying that "some" gaming affiliates . .

    I did not interpret his post as implying that "all" gaming affiliates are unethical. Although there are probably many who would categorize it as "All".

    An analogy....

    I live in the mountains of Colorado. There are a few places in the mountains where pine beetles have infested large sections of forest. It ravages the trees in those areas.

    When you walk through the infested areas, it is difficult to notice the small number of pine trees that are still green and healthy. They exist, but it is much easier to see the damaged trees and have the damage stand out in your mind than it is to notice the healthy trees that resisted the infestation.
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  11. #11
    Newbie ronaldmarva's Avatar
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    You pretty much covered all the reasons/inhibitions by the merchants.
    This is quite a competitive affiliates sector and a lot of these affiliates would not hesitate to make their hands dirty to get a slice in the pudding.

  12. #12
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    i have made a bit of cash with casino/gambling related services in the past, and I think part of the problem is that there are so many legal issues surrounding these companies now that affiliate commissions could be pulled out from under their feet at any time. It was enough to send me running from this type of company!

    N

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