By John Priddey
Although they will not be remembered by history as a group who experienced extreme persecution, U.S. poker affiliates have suffered torrid fortunes and shabby treatment since Black Friday struck. Hot on the heels of the news that many affiliates would not be made whole by the Garden City Group refunds operation for interested parties of Full Tilt Poker, the past week has brought another cruel blow to the plucky affiliates still staggering on, punch-drunk from the endless knock-downs dealt by the industry.
The newly-formed legal online gambling markets in the states of Nevada and New Jersey gave new hope for the U.S.A affiliates. Even when it became clear that affiliates would be subject to strict approval checks, the stability of the new industry offered hope that affiliates could once again be rewarded for their hard work in driving players to poker rooms.
The European Way
The European affiliate model follows the pre Black Friday structure, where any website can quickly register their details with a poker room's scheme. A very brief approval check is then processed to ensure that sites will not damage the reputation of the brand. After this, affiliates can market partner products as they see fit and earn freely within the agreed revenue share deal.
The American Way
Forget 'the land of the free'. This American way in 2013 is harsh, restrictive and insanely demanding on affiliates looking to turn even a small profit. Our insiders have reported that major approved Nevada and New Jersey brands are initially very welcoming to affiliate applications, with many even agreeing in principal to major CPA (cost per acquisition) deals. Only after this agreement are affiliates hit with the news that there are more flaming hoops to jump through. THIS LINK
may give you some idea of the problem facing many small, mid-level or start-up affiliate businesses.
As an ancillary casino business, affiliates must pay at least $10,000 in fees to even gain permissions to earn from New Jersey players. This instant cash hit means that an affiliate must provide their partner site with at least 40 depositing players before even breaking even. This must be done without the use of incentives such as freerolls, welcome bonuses or rakeback - the most effective methods of player attraction. Only approved banners can by used, meaning that affiliates are dependent upon the possession of SEO gurus and social media marketing to have any chance of success. Once again, these services are very costly indeed.
The challenge facing New Jersey and Nevada affiliates is almost unworkable. At least, specialist poker affiliates face a daunting challenge given the low level of traffic most sites bring in. It seems likely that the only 'winners' from these tight restrictions are non poker-related sites who can earn handsomely from banner advertising. News, general interest and special interest sites with millions of unique hits per day are well-positioned to profit here. While these enormous multi-national corporations are sure to line their pockets, low-level affiliates are seemingly kicked into the dirt once again. It seems likely that many will perish in the coming years, as the realities of the affiliate business are reaching a point far beyond what is cost-effective to most small operations.