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feb/mar 2011

New Jersey: the Signature State Law and Order: the Changing Affiliate Marketplace Link Building: Choosing the Right Path SEO and Google: Old Dog, New Tricks

feb/mar 2011

Surviving the Republic A French market insight

INFORMATION, INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS FOR THE BUSINESS OF INTERACTIVE GAMING

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CONTENTS 04 Affiliate Events Calendar 06 Webmaster News 10 SEO and Google: Old Dog, New Tricks 13 Link Building: a Long Story 16 The Greenlight Online Bingo Report 18 The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Gaming Business 20 French Market Focus A Tale of Two Cities… sort of. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. While New Jersey looks to become the first US state to modernise its laws to include iGaming, France is struggling through its freshman year as an iGaming regulator. While New Jersey is looking to leverage its forward-thinking approach into new job creation and becoming the technical hub of the industry in the States, France’s well documented teething problems due to high taxation and over-regulation may be holding back what could be Europe’s biggest market.

29 Online Bingo Supplement 40 Becoming an Operator: the Next Step for Affiliates? 41 Revenue Share’s Best Friend: Finding the Llama Within 42 The Global Business of Affiliate Marketing 44 The Casual Gaming Report from MECN 46 Mobile Gaming Application Markets 48 Affiliates in a Converged Industry 50 iGaming Super Show Preview 54 New Jersey: the Signature State 56 Law and Order: the Changing Affiliate Marketplace 58 The Top Five SEO Moments of 2010

Nonetheless, both markets are and will continue to be hotspots for the clever affiliate. In this issue, you will gain insight into the New Jersey legislature and hear from affiliates on the battlegrounds of France.

60 Starting Tips for Affiliates 62 Why Social Suits Bingo 64 Market Place 66 Ask Connie: the New Affiliate Q&A Column

Michael Caselli, Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief: Michael Caselli

FREE SUBSCRIPTION email: alex.pratt@igamingbusiness.com

michaelc@igamingbusiness.com

Published by: iGaming Business,

Editor: James McKeown

33-41 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0BB

james@igamingbusiness.com

www.igamingbusiness.com

T: +44 (0)20 7954 3515 F: +44 (0)20 7954 3511

Publisher: Alex Pratt

© iGaming Business 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this

alex.pratt@igamingbusiness.com

by any means, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature

Designer: Magdalena Wielopolska

under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Application

publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or without prior written permission, except for permitted fair dealing

Production Manager: Craig Young

for permission for use of copyright material including permission

craig@igamingbusiness.com

the publishers. Full acknowledgement of author, publisher and

to reproduce extracts in other published works shall be made to

Production Assistant: Laura Head

source must be given. iGaming Business Affiliate Magazine is

laura@igamingbusiness.com

London EC1V 0BB, UK. The views expressed by contributors and

Sales Manager:

magazine are not necessarily those of the Publisher.

Richard Wanigasekera richard@igamingbusiness.com

Join 3,000 iGaming Professionals Dublin, 24th – 26th May 2011 iGaming Attendees FREE! www.iGamingSuperShow.com

Printed in the UK by: Pensord Press, www.pensord.co.uk

published by iGaming Business Limited of 33-41Dallington Street, correspondents are their own. Editorial opinions expressed in this The Publisher does not accept responsibility for advertising content. Cover image: istockphoto.com ISSN: 2041-6954

http://tinyurl.com/igbaffiliate @igbaffiliate

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affiliate events calendar Due to their popularity and wealth of information, analysis and discussion, conferences have become an integral part of the affiliate industry and a key communications bridge between affiliates and affiliate managers. Whether used for networking, education or just an excuse to meet up with friends, the affiliate conferences listed below provide all the tools you need to improve your business.

iGaming Super Show

iGaming France,

Symonds Courts, RDS, Dublin

Marriott courtyard neuilly Paris, France

May 24-26, 2011

March 24 – 26, 2011

The biggest event in iGaming features exhibition spaces for both interactive gaming suppliers looking for new and existing operators as well as operators looking to attract affiliates and marketing partners. The conference is two-tracked, with track one focusing on global regulation, the legal landscape, best practices in operations and marketing and the convergence between interactive and land-based gaming. The second track is focused on acquisition and will feature SEO professionals, latest e-marketing techniques, industry trends, social media marketing tactics and more. The goal is to bring together the entire iGaming community, from affiliates and operators through to regulators and vendors. This is the largest networking and learning opportunity in the sector.

The iGB Affiliate events team will be working in partnership with iGaming France to host the first affiliate event designed specifically for the French market since it legalised online gambling in 2010. This event will look at and offer insight into the key factors for success in this marketplace and provide the best networking opportunities for executives working in or thinking of entering the French gaming sector.

www.iGamingSuperShow.com

GES LatAm 2011,

iGaming Asia,

Panama City, Panama

Grand Hyatt, City of Dreams, Macau

February 22 – 24, 2011

March 1 – 3, 2011

The Gaming Executive Summit LatAm is an executive-level conference that brings together senior decision-makers from both online and offline gaming operators to discuss the opportunities found within the Latin American gaming industry.

The iGaming Asia Congress 2011 provides the ideal opportunity for bringing together the best of Western technology and experience with the market knowledge of those really doing business in Asia. www.beaconevents.com/2010/iGamingAsiaCongress

http://www.terrapinn.com/2011/geslatam/

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WEBMASTER NEWS

IGAMING IN NEW JERSEY JUST ONE SIGNATURE AWAY THE IMEGA-BACKED Intra-State Internet Gambling bill has finally found its way to the desk of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has until March 10 (approximately) to sign it into law.Either way it would give the green light for New Jersey to officially become the first state in the US to regulate Internet gambling, allowing casinos in Atlantic City to provide online versions of their games to state residents. Bearing the co-sponsorship of Senators Ray Lesniak (D) and Joe Kryillos (R), the bill was approved in the New Jersey Senate by a majority of 34-2 – the vote in the assembly was approved by 63-11-3 margin. iMEGA, the major force in getting the bill this far released this statement through Chairman, Joe Brennan Jr. “Congratulations to New Jersey’s legislators on their overwhelming vote in favour of the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill. It’s clear that New Jersey’s representatives want their state to be at the forefront of the online gaming industry, both in the US and globally.

“With the combination of the top regulators in gaming, great information technology infrastructure, a highlyeducated workforce, and the strong foundation and leadership of the Atlantic City casino industry, New Jersey is certain to lead this industry’s growth in the US, while creating high-paying, skilled jobs in the technology sector and also attracting investment to the state.” Writing in his article, “New Jersey: the Land of (iGaming) Opportunity?”, in the current issue of iGaming Business magazine, Brennan lays out the reasons why New Jersey would be “the best state in the entire US for establishing a permanent base of operations for existing firms to eventually extend their reach into the next states to permit online games. “New Jersey, which is the second largest casino market in the US after Nevada, has arguably the toughest regulators in the gaming industry,” he explained. “The value of NJ licensure to an iGaming firm is the regulatory surety it demonstrates not only

to players, but also to subsequent state governments that may permit the activity, as well as to the financial markets, which would likely place a higher valuation on NJ-licensed firms. “New Jersey also has the highest IT infrastructure density of any jurisdiction in the world. This is due to the massive post-9/11 build up of capacity to support the financial centre on Wall Street, creating surpluses of bandwidth, storage and servicing firms.” California has previously hogged much of the limelight from European-based operators seeking a state solution in the US, largely because it boasts the largest population. However, the 36 million inhabitants of ‘The Golden State’ represent an 11 percent shortfall on the potential 40.8 million people that New Jersey (8.7m), in combination with New York (19.5m) and Philadelphia (12.6m) would provide for a regulated iGaming market, should both latter states follow in New Jersey’s regulatory model and create compacts allowing inter-state gaming.

GAMING VC FORECASTS POSITIVE 2010 FINANCIALS GAMING VC HOLDINGS SA has released a trading update stating that it expects its financial results for the whole of 2010 to be "in line with market expectations". The Isle of Man-based firm revealed that it anticipates being able to declare a final dividend "in-line with the ten cents dividend paid in October of 2010". The company declared that its core German-

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facing and roulette-dominated casino business is proving to be "resilient" over the final quarter of 2010 with daily net gaming revenues of €78,000 against €81,000 for the same period in 2009. “CasinoClub.com has had a particularly strong December where daily net gaming revenues have averaged €83,000,” read the update from Gaming VC. The firm announced that sports wagers

have increased by 41 percent year-onyear over the fourth quarter to €205,000 while margins over the twelve months have averaged 12.6 percent compared with 16.8 percent for the same period in 2009. However, it stated that its results in this sector have “been soft” over the final quarter of 2010 at six percent “following a run of unfavourable sports results”.

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SPorting indeX aPPointS new chairman SPorting indeX has announced the appointment of former senior Thomson Reuters executive, Mark Redwood, to the post of Non-Executive Chairman. The company revealed that 50-year-old Redwood headed Thomson Reuters’ sales and trading activities until stepping down at the end of December and he will now replace Richard Glynn who left last year to take up the post of Chief Executive Officer for Ladbrokes. “We believe the sportsbetting landscape is rapidly changing and is mirroring the way the financial data services industry has evolved,” said Warren Murphy, Chief Executive Officer for Sporting Index. “We deliberately sought to bring in someone with a strong financial technology background. From that perspective, Mark coming on board is a real coup for us. His unrivalled expertise in developing and

commercialising financial trading data and transactional systems will further strengthen our business as we continue to position Sporting Index at the forefront of the sportsbetting industry.” Sporting Index is backed by leading European private equity investor, HgCapital, and stated that the appointment of Redwood was “further evidence” of its “ambitions in the wholesale data services space”. Redwood continued, “I can see so many parallels between the financial and regulated sportsbetting markets. If Betfair is the exchange of the sportsbetting world, Sporting Index is the market maker and data provider. I am genuinely excited by the prospect of working with the management team to help them further leverage their renowned trading skills and world-class technologies, pioneering a range of services for modern sports books.”

gaming firmS increaSe uS Lobbying SPend igaming conSuLtancy firm, BolaVerde Media Group, has released a report into the amount spent by the online gambling industry on lobbying government officials in Washington, DC, over the third quarter of 2010. The report revealed that 58 different parties spent an estimated total of $4.66 million over the three-month period, an 8.5 percent quarter-on-quarter increase and a 46 percent rise when compared with the same period in 2009. Details of the parties involved and how much each spent are available in the latest instalment of BolaVerde’s Internet Gambling Federal Lobbying Report along with an explanation of what may be at stake and how contributions could potentially influence the political process. “The increase over the third quarter of 2010 was driven by a positive vote in July on Representative Barney Frank’s licensing bill, which authorises Internet gambling between and among participating states and Indian nations,” read a statement from BolaVerde. “Significantly, that vote was the first on any such bill in Congress, a watershed in Internet gambling’s 15-year history on Capitol Hill.” BolaVerde revealed that gambling industry operators spent around 35 percent of the total lobbying amount ($1.64 million), which represented an

increase of 4.1 percent over the preceding quarter. This was followed by trade groups including the American Gaming Association, which dished out $1.21 million, representing almost 26 percent of the entire sum, although down by 3.3 percent quarter-on-quarter. Trailing these trade associations were companies and interest groups that do not fit neatly into any of the categories used to organise lobbying spend. This ‘other’ group and its members accounted for $771,685, which represented a 97.9 percent increase over the preceding quarter. Financial services companies laid down an estimated $662,114, which BolaVerde stated was down by 21.6 percent quarteron-quarter. Technology suppliers GTECH and Walker Digital Gaming spent around $145,000 lobbying members of Congress over the third quarter of last year, which accounted for just over three percent of the total. This was followed by financial services trade associations including the Financial Services Roundtable which shelled out $132,934, which was up by a massive 216.5 percent when compared with the previous quarter. Finally, BolaVerde declared that professional and amateur sports leagues accounted for approximately $95,333 of the total monies spent, which represented a decrease of over 20 percent when compared to the prior quarter.

ctXm and cake eXPand PartnerShiP Software provider, CTXM, has announced the addition of its casino games system to seven domains running on the Cake Poker Network. CTXM stated that its casino games system is available for instant-play through a download or client with online poker sites KakuyPoker.com, WingNPlay.com, PokerXRC.com and PokerPlayerCafe.com now featuring

software from the Latvia-based firm. In addition, BroadwayTables. com, UnleashedPoker.com and Poker4Green.com have added online casino sub-sites utilising CTXM software. “We share the same corporate values as CTXM and have a complementary business model, which makes our partnership a natural one,” said Andrew Turner, Marketing Director for the Cake Network. “We believe that providing casino games alongside poker

assists our partners in differentiating the poker players’ experience and maximising their players’ value.” heLLmuth and duke Leave ub.com

Prominent professional poker players Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth have parted company with UltimateBet.com with immediate effect. Sponsored by UltimateBet.com since 2001, the pair’s departure follows those made by professional players Billy Kopp, Michael Binger and Matt Graham only a few months ago. Numerous sources have speculated that Hellmuth, who is an eleven-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, has left UltimateBet.com in order to sign for rival site WSOP.com while Duke cited ‘professional and personal growth’ for her exit.

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webmaster news

Betsson Leaves Turkish market

Betsson AB has announced that it has ceased operations in Turkey while selling its client list to operator, Realm Entertainment, for €1.9 million. Betsson also stated that its Business Solutions independent business-to-business subsidiary has agreed a five-year deal for the provision and operation of an online gambling portal on behalf of Realm containing a sportsbook, casino and poker rooms translated into Greek, English, Dutch, Turkish, German and Spanish. The new Malta-licensed portal is to be based on Betsson’s platform, which allows for the white-labelling of its entire product range, while approval and operational start-up is expected during the first quarter of 2011. Entraction Enters Chinese JV

Entraction has revealed that the new operation is a joint venture between a European company and a licensed Chinese gaming firm. Entraction stated that the deal with the anonymous operator will also see it develop a ‘stand-alone and locally adapted version of its leading poker software’ for integration into the Chinese gaming platform. “This is a ground-breaking project for Entraction as it is our first deal outside Europe,” said Peter Astrom, Chief Executive Officer for Entraction. “The flexibility and scalability in Entraction’s poker system makes us an attractive supplier in new markets.”

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Paddy Power Acquires Control of Sportsbet Paddy Power has agreed to purchase the remaining minority shareholding of Australia’s largest corporate bookmaker, Sportsbet Party Limited. Paddy Power has held a majority stake in the Melbourne-based firm since May 2009 and will now take over the remaining 39.2 percent in a deal that will initially cost it AU$132.6 million (€100.9 million) with a maximum additional consideration of up to AU$25 million payable if Sportsbet’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation exceed AU$80 million in 2013. Paddy Power revealed that the deal is subject to shareholder approval but is expected to be completed by the end of February. “When we acquired 51 percent of Sportsbet in 2009, we were confident that

we were investing in a business with strong potential in a growing market,” said Patrick Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer for Paddy Power. “That confidence has been borne out-and some. It’s a cracking business. The team has made great strides in marrying the best of both Sportsbet and Paddy Power. This is a good deal to acquire the remaining shares early, which will allow us to drive development and investment and secure full participation in the upside of the business.” Paddy Power stated that it will be funding the deal by paying just over AU$110.10 million (€83.8m) in cash from existing reserves while also issuing 18.5 million of new shares priced at €29.17 each.

Third BetOnSports Figure Sentenced Some 13 months after Gary Kaplan was sentenced to over three years in an American prison for his part in the failed BetOnSports online wagering firm, a third man involved in the case has heard his fate. Norman Steinberg pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy during a 90-minute hearing in Eastern Missouri District Court in January, and was sentenced to probation and fined $10,000. Steinberg was considered the ‘number three man’ at BetOnSports and was charged in July of 2007 alongside Kaplan and the

firm’s former Chief Executive Officer, David Carruthers who was sentenced to 33 months in prison. While Steinberg’s lenient sentence appears to be connected with a mysterious sealed civil lawsuit he filed in Federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania following a Missouri indictment that has subsequently been dropped. The judgements on Kaplan, Carruthers and Steinberg mean that there is now only one remaining indicted target for the St Louis prosecutors, Gregory James Haggard, who is considered a fugitive.

Ask Jeeves launches AskBingo.co.uk Leading online question answering service, Ask Jeeves, has announced the launch of a new domain at AskBingo.co.uk that is offering players the chance to win cash prizes of up to £100,000. AskBingo.co.uk has been created in response to the high number of questions Ask Jeeves receives about bingo and features free and real-money live games powered by interactive gaming software and services provider, GTECH G2. “The mass of questions we receive – 360,000 questions every single day – gives us an opportunity to really get to know our customers’ interests so we can develop products that are completely in line with them,” said Rob Sheppard, Senior Product Manager for Ask Jeeves.

“The launch of Ask Bingo is the first of many customer focussed products we are planning in 2011.” William Scott, Commercial VicePresident for GTECH G2, explained, “It’s an honour to be associated with such a respected brand. We’re proud that our games and our responsible gaming provisions meet its standards and look forward to introducing its players to many new instant-play games as we move forward.” AskBingo.co.uk will be part of GTECH G2’s International Bingo Network and will enjoy the benefits of instant liquidity, large jackpots and live bingo presenters that chat with players via streaming video during and between games.

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traffic

SEO and Google: Old Dog, New Tricks This article looks at a handful of techniques I’ve learnt in recent months to be effective in helping your SEO. While there are no real secrets in SEO, this article does reveal some of the biggest secrets in the industry. As ever, all my recommendations come with the following caveats. ●● I do not claim to know exactly how Google works. ●● I do not claim to be able to see the future. ●● I do not claim to have a ‘pet’ Google engineer. ●● I do not claim to have magical powers. Everything I recommend is purely what I believe to be true, based on isolated and gestalt analysis, plus 13 years of experience. This is what I prescribe in my working day and recommend based on its success.

No website, no problem If you want to get started with your SEO but don’t yet have a website, no problem! Simply buy a domain. Now redirect it to either one of your other domains or even a competitor, making sure the theme is like-for-like. Now start link building to the redirect. I recommend building a natural blend of domain/URL/brand anchor text for several months with lots of adaptations covering off all the canonical variations. Once your site is ready to go live, simply upload your shiny new site to where the 301 redirect had been previously and wait for five to seven days. Your site will gain the authority of several months of link activity even though it’s brand new. We used this technique when launching a brand new casino last year and it worked beautifully and got us up and running with depositing players far quicker than if we’d waited for the site to be ready before starting. You can even monitor the ranking improvement of the temporary site which you’re using as target content prior to uploading your site. Watch your shiny new site hit the floor running and watch the target site you were using to get the ball rolling drop like a stone to where it had been previously. I used this trick with one of the world’s biggest sportsbooks when they

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launched their casino brand, and it worked beautifully.

Got a Caffeine/variable position/ Mayday Penalty? If your rankings were impacted last April/ May or you have noticed a sudden drop in which only one keyword was impacted, it’s possible that you have a penalty associated with that URL for the specific keyword. Here’s how you get rid of it and get back to the glory days before your ranking dropped. 301 redirect the page – problem solved! If it’s a deep page it’s easy. http://examplecasino.com/play_roulette. html Redirect to http://examplecasino.com/play-roulette. html replacing the underscore with a hyphen. For homepages penalties http://examplecasino.com/ You have a number of redirection options 1) Redirect to a new domain (examplecasino.net). 2) Redirect to a sub-domain (online. examplecasino.com). 3) Redirect to a sub folder (examplecasino. com/en). To speed the redirection up, you may also want to submit the old sitemap to force the redirects into Google. This is a very quick and easy fix and will get your site ranking back in its previous position. If it doesn’t fix the problem, it’s pretty safe to say that you weren’t suffering from this type of penalty. It’s important that the diagnosis is correct before using this fix. I would only recommend following this prescription if a specialist in data-driven, forensic SEO had diagnosed the problem, particularly if your site is a sportsbook or focuses on the long-tail.

Keeping your linking patterns natural While this isn’t a trick, it’s more a strategic

consideration, it is an evasive move to protect you from the trick which I believe Google will pull off this year. There are two basic types of linking patterns: 1) Artificial 2) Natural OK, so you’re hoping that whatever you’re up to is perceived as entirely natural. There are a few fundamental differences between an artificial and a natural linking pattern. Starting with artificial, see how the link patterns evolve: (See images 1-4) Now let’s look at the natural linking pattern: (See images 5-10) See the difference? Natural linking patterns evolve and continue to proliferate after the link is picked up and indexed. Of course, some links will fail to proliferate, but that’s why filters are given thresholds. By this, I mean a percentage of links continue to be cited building links back to the linking page. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your linking pattern looks more like the latter. 1) Engage with bloggers, build genuine relationships. 2) Link bait and do it well – stats, research, infographics, etc. 3) Release genuine news and PR for both industry and consumer news. There are many other things you can do to generate natural linking patterns but buying links isn’t one of them. Google will be in a very strong position to filter unnatural linking patterns and I genuinely expect it will happen soon. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! I hope you’ve found this information useful, if you have any specific questions, feel free to mail or tweet me personally.

Remember... Always seek professional advice before hiring an SEO agency or building an inhouse team. ●● Picking a keyword is picking a fight. ●● Don’t pick a fight unless you’re sure you can win.

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If you have any specific questions email me directly at paul@ mediaskunkworks.com or follow me on http://twitter.com/paulreilly or stalk me on http://foursquare.com/user/paulreilly Having worked in Search Marketing for over 12 years and having earned multiple awards and honours, Paul Reilly is regarded by as one of the UKs most Influential SEOs, and is the first port of call for almost all iGaming brands. Paul is widely known in the iGaming and SEO industries for his previous work in building the world’s most effective and technologically advanced SEO department. He is the founder of mediaskunkworks.com, a new generation service provider which has built its reputation on innovation and optimised methodologies which dissect the traditional agency model and is currently building a London based, in-house dream team.

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traffic

“Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity.” Google Webmaster Central THANKS TO GOOGLE, links have influence on rankings. But, how do I manage a link building strategy? What is allowed? What is good for my rankings? What is my competition doing? All these questions can be answered in a thousand different ways. This article is an attempt to offer a guideline of sorts, to help you decide the route through which to travel.

Google Webmaster guidelines These are the renowned guidelines provided by Google that advise all good webmasters what it is they should be doing. “Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you feel comfortable explaining your strategy to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, ‘Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?’” Google Webmaster Central On reading this guideline, we could assume the conclusion that link building

(advertising in a way) is permitted, as we would do it even if search engines did not exist to attract users to go to our website. “Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or ‘bad neighborhoods’ on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.” Google Webmaster Central These guidelines only tell us that we should not participate in link schemes designed to increase our rankings. To understand this better, we need to have a look at some examples of a link scheme that Google provides: Examples of link schemes can include: ●● Links intended to manipulate PageRank ●● Links to web spammers or bad neighbourhoods on the web ●● Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank Links that pass PageRank are all links that are visible for search engines that do not have the rel=”nofollow” attribute. Due to these examples, moderate link exchanging seems to be the only link building tactic allowed – link buying and selling is strictly forbidden. So, if all of this is forbidden in Google’s guidelines, then what strategies are possible, and, are they enough to compete? Obviously, you need links to rank for your keywords in the search engines, even Google says so in its guidelines, but how does one go about building them? Let us assume that every link counts and that there are differences in the quality of each one. Furthermore, let us assume that Google also sees the whole picture of the website’s link structure and can find patterns. The objective has to be getting links without showing an unnatural link mix. Should common strategies and link building sources such as link baits, web

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traffic

directories, link exchanging and article links be part of your link mix?

stronger and cleaner the website is, the higher the impact on your rankings.

Link baits

Link buying

I have seen very clever link bait tactics – which can be considered under the guidelines – using extremely well written and developed articles which are then distributed privately to people across the web. This is a very effective but also very laborous tactic. Google seems to regard gaining links in this way as completely natural.

All the different links sources mentioned can either be self-generated or bought. The outsourcing of duties is a common business strategy, so why should this be punished by Google? The answer is obvious: ranking should not be influenced by the money you invest, but by the quality of the content you provide (the same applies for how search engines are perceived by users). However, should link buying be part of your link building strategy? This is entirely your decision, but I would recommend bearing the following pointers in mind:

Web directories Being present in web directories (http:// www.dmoz.org/, etc) seems to make sense for both users and search engines. Despite the fact that Google has taken action against the overuse of such web directories, they should form part of any link mix. Find industry-related directories and submit your website and, importantly, be sure to avoid duplicate content, so that all entries are unique. Remember that before search engines, there were only web directories to guide users through the Internet so it is a natural way to ‘advertise’ online.

Forums A long-standing and natural way to communicate and hold discussion on the Internet is via forums. Search for forums within your industry; www.affiliateguarddog.com, www. casinoaffiliateprograms.com and www. gpwa.org are just some examples. Do not spam them; participate and embed your website when it makes sense. Signatures and direct links from posts are the most common ways to ‘advertise’ your website.

“Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you feel comfortable explaining your strategy to a website that competes with you.”

●● Google does punish obvious link buying ●● Link buying can help your rankings ●● You decide what to buy ●● It is difficult to see the exact impact of

your bought links ●● What links does your competition have? ●● Prices vary strongly

My opinion If you keep your backlink profile balanced and natural, link buying could be part of your link building strategy. At some point, you might need more link sources than you initially expected and that is when outsourcing can help you out. But, be sure that you buy good links, even if they seem more expensive. They will have much more longevity than the cheaper ones which can end up actually hurting your rankings.

Link exchanges Having friends and referring to them is not a bad thing – even Google states that only excessive link exchanging is forbidden. Usually, I suggest not focusing on link exchanges as we do not know what is moderate and what is ‘excessive’. When you do exchange links, have a look at the quality of the websites you are getting the links from. Getting links from the sites relative to yours is better than links from random websites.

Articles When someone writes an article about your website or about your industry and refers (links) to you out of the content of this article, this is just the type of high quality link you want to have. To get these links, you either have to be popular (link bait), be a friend (link exchange), be a customer (link buying) or be the owner (own website). The

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Kay Schaefer is Founder of KSOM.es. Kay studied business administration and marketing before he settled on Internet marketing and SEO in 2004. His main specialty is improving a company’s search engine visibility using creative and unique link building strategies. His client portfolio includes companies in online gaming and other industries outside of gaming. In 2007, he started building his own SEO company and currently resides in Barcelona, Spain. http://en.ksom.es

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Want to know why you should say YEAH! to bewinners? It’s simple. This is the best opportunity for you to profit from the world’s leading online affiliate program. And there are so many benefits to the partnership with strong brand names such as bwin, betoto and SAjOO. How about a comprehensive product line-up of Sports betting, Poker, Casino and Games? Or the flexibility and simple use of the program? Still not heard enough? Don’t worry. There are plenty more good reasons to come!


traffic

To coincide with this issue’s bingo supplement, leading search marketing agency, Greenlight, has provided iGB Affiliate with its latest report into the online bingo sector, analysing the search behaviour and patterns of consumers making beelines for the industry’s bingo rooms. Key points of the report ●● In September, there was a significant

development regarding Google AdWords. During September, Google rolled out its new AdWords keyword tool, which can now calculate searches purely on Google. co.uk searches alone. Previously, Google released UK volumes for searches on its .co.uk search engine and its search partner engines. As Google presented data across a number of search engines, search volumes for many keywords were

greater than they appeared in September, October and November. ●● As a result, this accounts for the apparent decrease in search volume in many of the top bingo keywords (see Top Keywords 2010) ●● However, in comparison to September, searches for bingo keywords overall have increased in October and November as consumers seek entertainment and leisure at home during the winter months.

●● Greenlight’s data reveals Cheeky Bingo

was the most visible website in natural search, achieving 33 percent visibility in November. It replaced Foxy Bingo, which ranked in top spot in Greenlight’s previous report (September 2010), at the top of the league table. ●● William Hill Bingo achieved 55 percent visibility in paid search through bidding on the high volume driving terms, appearing often for these keywords and at a high average ad position of four.

Total monthly searches: bingo (Nov 2009-Nov 2010) Keyword

Nov-09

Dec-09

Jan-10

Feb-10

Mar-10

Apr-10

May-10

Jun-10

Jul-10

Aug-10

Sep-10

Oct-10

Nov-10

Bingo

246000

201000

246000

246000

246000

246000

246000

246000

201000

201000

40500

90500

74000

Free bingo

49500

40500

49500

49500

60500

49500

49500

49500

49500

49500

22200

49500

40500

Online Bingo

33100

33100

40500

33100

40500

40500

33100

33100

33100

33100

22200

33100

33100

Bingo sites

27100

27100

40500

40500

40500

40500

40500

27100

27100

27100

18100

33100

33100

Bingo games

14800

14800

22200

18100

22200

22200

22200

12100

14800

14800

12100

18100

14800

Bingo com

18100

18100

22200

18100

22200

18100

12100

12100

5400

5400

46

3600

9900

No deposit bingo

12100

9900

14800

14800

18100

18100

18100

12100

14800

14800

8100

14800

14800

Bingo online

9900

9900

12100

12100

14800

14800

14800

9900

12100

12100

12100

14800

12100

Free online bingo

9900

8100

12100

12100

14800

12100

12100

9900

9900

9900

8100

12100

9900

Play bingo

8100

8100

12100

12100

14800

14800

14800

8100

12100

12100

9900

9900

12100

Bingo game

12100

12100

12100

12100

14800

12100

12100

8100

9900

9900

9900

8100

8100

Free bingo games

8100

8100

12100

9900

9900

9900

9900

6600

9900

9900

6600

9900

8100

UK bingo

6600

8100

9900

9900

12100

12100

12100

6600

9900

9900

8100

9900

9900

Play bingo online

5400

6600

8100

6600

8100

6600

6600

5400

6600

6600

5400

8100

6600

Bingo Hall

2900

5400

8100

8100

12100

12100

14800

5400

14800

14800

14800

720

1900

Bingo cards

5400

6600

8100

8100

9900

8100

8100

5400

6600

6600

4400

5400

5400

Internet bingo

4400

3600

6600

5400

6600

6600

6600

5400

8100

8100

8100

6600

6600

Bingos

4400

6600

6600

5400

6600

6600

5400

5400

5400

5400

4400

4400

5400

Bingo Bonus

3600

4400

6600

6600

8100

6600

6600

4400

6600

6600

5400

8100

6600

Free bingo sites

4400

4400

6600

6600

8100

6600

6600

4400

6600

6600

4400

6600

6600

Bingo machine

5400

4400

8100

8100

8100

8100

6600

4400

6600

6600

2400

2900

2900

Party bingo

2900

4400

5400

5400

6600

6600

6600

3600

5400

5400

3600

9900

5400

Online Bingo Sites

2900

2900

6600

5400

6600

6600

6600

3600

5400

5400

4400

8100

5400

Free bingo bonus

3600

3600

4400

4400

5400

5400

5400

2900

4400

4400

3600

5400

4400

Bingo Site

3600

3600

5400

4400

4400

5400

5400

2900

4400

4400

4400

4400

4400

Free bingo money

2900

3600

5400

4400

6600

5400

5400

2900

2900

4400

3600

4400

4400

Play Free bingo

2900

2900

3600

3600

5400

4400

5400

2900

3600

3600

3600

4400

3600

Bingo Numbers

1900

2900

4400

4400

5400

4400

4400

2900

4400

4400

4400

2400

2900

Cyber bingo

2900

2900

4400

3600

4400

4400

4400

2900

3600

3600

2400

2400

3600

Bingo palace

2400

2900

3600

2900

4400

3600

3600

2400

3600

3600

3600

2400

2900

Bingo Balls

3600

2900

2900

3600

3600

2900

2900

2900

2400

2400

1300

1600

1600

Play bingo games

1900

2400

3600

2900

2900

4400

3600

2400

3600

3600

2900

3600

2900

Bingo tickets

2900

2900

2900

3600

4400

2900

2900

2400

2400

2400

1300

1600

1300

Free online bingo games

2900

2400

2900

2900

2900

2400

2900

1900

2400

2400

1900

2400

2400

Bingo dabbers

2900

2900

2900

3600

4400

2900

2900

1900

2900

2900

0

1600

1300

Bingo promotions

720

1000

3600

3600

4400

3600

4400

1900

3600

3600

3600

3600

2900

Bingo on line

1600

1600

3600

3600

4400

3600

3600

1600

2900

2900

2900

2900

2900

Jackpot bingo

2400

2400

2400

2400

2400

2900

2400

1900

2400

2400

1900

3600

2400

Bingo machines

2400

2400

2900

2900

2900

2900

2400

1600

2400

2400

1300

1900

1600

Playing bingo

1000

880

2400

2900

3600

3600

4400

1600

3600

3600

2400

3600

2900

Source: Google

16

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Most searched for keywords 2010 Bingo

Dec-09

Jan-10

Feb-10

Mar-10

Apr-10

May-10

Jun-10

Jul-10

Aug-10

Sep-10

Oct-10

Nov-10

201000

246000

246000

246000

246000

246000

246000

201000

201000

40500

90500

74000

Free bingo

40500

49500

49500

60500

49500

49500

49500

49500

49500

22200

49500

40500

Online Bingo

33100

40500

33100

40500

40500

33100

33100

33100

33100

22200

33100

33100

Bingo sites

27100

40500

40500

40500

40500

40500

27100

27100

27100

18100

33100

33100

Bingo games

14800

22200

18100

22200

22200

22200

12100

14800

14800

12100

18100

14800

Source: Google

The most visible bingo websites in natural search (November 2010) No.

Domain

Monthly Reached Volume

Monthly Missed Volume

Monthly Total Volume

Percentage Reached

1

cheekybingo.com

186,019

310,227

496,246

37%

2

foxybingo.com

176,576

319,670

496,246

36%

3

888ladies.com

155,300

340,946

496,246

31%

4

bingoport.co.uk

150,736

345,510

496,246

30%

5

galabingo.co.uk

144,084

352,162

496,246

29%

6

costabingo.com

139,906

356,340

496,246

28%

7

winkbingo.com

107,005

389,241

496,246

22%

8

sunlight-bingo.co.uk

103,541

392,705

496,246

21%

9

freebingo.co.uk

84,660

411,586

496,246

17%

10

poshbingo.co.uk

78,596

417,650

496,246

16%

11

meccabingo.com

70,735

425,511

496,246

14%

12

freebingo.net

67,361

428,885

496,246

14%

13

888.com

57,734

438,512

496,246

12%

14

bingostreet.com

57,195

439,051

496,246

12%

15

ladbrokes.com

56,455

439,791

496,246

11%

16

jackpotjoy.com

56,447

439,799

496,246

11%

17

loquax.co.uk

55,727

440,519

496,246

11%

18

bingohideout.co.uk

49,863

446,383

496,246

10%

19

bingobase.com

46,288

449,958

496,246

9%

20

newbingosites.org

43,320

452,926

496,246

9%

21

bingo.org

43,079

453,167

496,246

9%

22

ukfreebingosites.co.uk

41,308

454,938

496,246

8%

23

bestoffersbingo.co.uk

38,845

457,401

496,246

8%

24

whichbingo.co.uk

34,954

461,292

496,246

7%

25

onlinebingofriends.com

34,483

461,763

496,246

7%

26

superfreebingo.com

34,254

461,992

496,246

7%

27

i-love-bingo.co.uk

33,134

463,112

496,246

7%

28

madaboutbingo.co.uk

31,581

464,665

496,246

6%

29

bingo.com

31,503

464,743

496,246

6%

30

bingosites.co.uk

31,452

464,794

496,246

6%

31

freebingohunter.com

28,907

467,339

496,246

6%

32

bingoplayeronline.com

26,655

469,591

496,246

5%

33

bingonodeposit.net

25,292

470,954

496,246

5%

34

nobullbingo.com

23,817

472,429

496,246

5%

35

ladybirdbingo.com

22,647

473,599

496,246

5%

36

ildado.com

20,410

475,836

496,246

4%

37

littlewoodsbingo.com

19,098

477,148

496,246

4%

38

steamybingo.com

18,495

477,751

496,246

4%

39

wikipedia.org

18,264

477,982

496,246

4%

40

whichbingo.com

17,864

478,382

496,246

4%

41

carltonbingo.com

17,303

478,943

496,246

3%

42

dltk-cards.com

16,501

479,745

496,246

3%

43

thebingofinder.co.uk

16,385

479,861

496,246

3%

44

spabingo.com

16,254

479,992

496,246

3%

45

howstuffworks.com

14,840

481,406

496,246

3%

46

tombola.co.uk

14,803

481,443

496,246

3%

47

bingopower.co.uk

14,788

481,458

496,246

3%

48

sunbingo.co.uk

14,304

481,942

496,246

3%

49

dreambingo.co.uk

14,230

482,016

496,246

3%

50

bingobliss.co.uk

13,346

482,900

496,246

3%

Source: Greenlight

Greenlight’s 2010 gaming report will be released towards the end of February 2011, and will be covered in the April/May edition of iGB Affiliate magazine. Greenlight is an independent award winning specialist SEO and PPC consulting and technology firm boasting clients such as Vodafone, Nespresso, Interflora, Co-operative Financial Services and ghd. For more information regarding Greenlight’s Online Gaming Sector Reports, please contact Krishna Rao Krishna.rao@greenlightsearch.com.

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FEATURE

the beginner’s guide for new online gambling affiliates – how to get started. AS AN AFFILIATE COACH, I come across many people that either want to start their own website or specifically become an online gambling affiliate. Each prospect is different in their requisite skill sets and I have to find out what level this person is at to find a good path for them to take. Overall, I typically run into the same challenges regardless of the person and usually have to start from scratch. This article will represent a guide to help new webmasters or new gambling affiliates get off the ground and make the first steps. This article is broken down into two parts. Part one will focus on the skills and information needed to start your own website regardless if you want to become a gambling portal or a website of any topic outside of gambling. Part two will focus on getting yourself up-to-date with the knowledge and skills you need to work in the online gambling industry. If you don’t know much about online gambling, then the second part will have assignments that will quickly build your knowledge base of the industry in the shortest time possible. Of course, it always helps to ask questions because you never get what you don’t ask for.

Part one: how to start your own website ●●Identifying skill sets Not everyone is computer-savvy and this makes for a big challenge for someone who wants to start their own website. The bottom line is that no matter how bad one could be at computers, anything is possible and everything can be learned. For new webmasters, this is a good first step in weeding out timewasters or aspiring webmasters that have no work ethic. If they can’t spend the time to understand computers, the Internet and basic HTML then they certainly will not become a successful affiliate. I get asked all sorts of questions that sometimes make my eyes roll, but these questions usually repeat themselves and the answers usually involve the Google search engine. I typically get my answers to these questions by doing a search and finding articles or YouTube videos of someone else who has already solved that

18

problem. You would be surprised at how many people don’t understand how to use a search engine effectively. For example, if you are searching for information but you keep finding websites that want to sell you something else, you can add ‘-buy’ or ‘-free’ to remove keywords that will improve your results. Another example is finding exact phrases like ‘free WordPress templates’ that will usually get more accurate results than without using quotes inside the search query. Before my clients ask me a question, I ask them if they have looked for their answer in a search engine first. This saves me a lot of time, helps the webmaster find better information in the future and prevents them from asking me ten questions a day when they could find the answers for themselves. ●●Computer security and maintenance First question: do you use the same password for everything such as online banking, emails and Facebook? If the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘sometimes’ then I try to teach my clients to keep their computer clean of viruses, spyware and malware. This first step should be done before anything else gets started. You really don’t need your FTP, emails or CMS login details to be compromised and ruining all your future hard work. Next is using secure passwords. Some people hate the inconvenience of needing a program to acquire their passwords when they are switching computers or devices but trust me, it is far worth enduring the hassle than realising one day that your PayPal, Moneybookers or neteller accounts, your bank accounts and your online poker accounts have all been drained in a single day. If you don’t catch this in time you could say goodbye to a lot of money. On top of this, imagine having all your affiliate accounts updated with new payment information and your password changed, or even worse, your domain has been transferred to someone else! My solution to this problem is either KeepassX for Mac, Linux and Windows users or Roboform for Windows users. ●●HTML basics Many people use the Internet for

entertainment and communication but rarely move beyond that. However, I am referring to website creation and working with HTML code. At first, this could seem intimidating but in 2011, there have never been more resources and help for starting your own website. If you have no programming skills whatsoever then you just need to learn basic HTML and get comfortable working with WordPress. The truth is, if you can write a document, write an email and add pictures to it, then you can make your own website. It truly is that easy. ●●Learning HTML Code There are many websites and videos dedicated to teaching people how to work with HTML and, best of all, this stuff is free. Every rookie webmaster just needs to spend some time with an HTML sandbox or a free hosted website to mess around and experiment with their pages. YouTube, of course, has great resources for this. ●●Using

WordPress as a sandbox for training WordPress is probably the most userfriendly Content Management System (CMS) around aa well as the most popular to boot. The selection of plug-ins and free templates make it a recommended choice for starting a new website, especially on a low budget. First assignment: create a new account at Wordpress.com and get your own subdomain. Create a few pages, some blog posts, test run a few free WordPress templates at wordpress.org and install some free WordPress plug-ins. This assignment can also be done with other management systems such as Drupal and Joomla. ●●Identifying

topics of interest – work on something you’re passionate about Too many people want to make a website strictly for the money and have this fantasy that they will be instant millionaires and won’t have to work. The truth is, money is only a part of the equation, but if you cannot find a topic of interest that you enjoy writing about or working on, then you are following the path of failure. Most successful webmasters, whether they work

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on poker, sportsbetting, bingo, selling watches or any other website, enjoy their line of work. When you play and have a passion for poker, doing 16 hours in a day working on your poker affiliate site just doesn’t seem like work at all. After identifying your topics of interest, the next thing to do is to discuss them with other people. Always research your topic and use this to brainstorm the things your website will focus on. And remember one last important point about your website’s focus: ensure the website offers a value to the visitor. If you copy the same content from someone else or don’t do anything new, then you will find your conversions and rankings will suffer.

●●eGaming ●●Clarion

Review Events Events

●●Successful

online gambling affiliates

●●askgamblers.com ●●latestcasinobonuses.com ●●streakgaming.com ●●casinoanswers.com ●●bingoport.co.uk ●●bingostreet.com ●●whichbingo.com ●●pokerstrategy.com ●●pokernews.com ●●rakeback.com ●●pokerlistings.com

Conclusions

●●nbatips.net

Other affiliates in this business can be more helpful than you think. If you find a good affiliate coach you can save yourself a lot of time and be able to access help with any questions you have along the way. The affiliate-based forums can also be a great source of information as to your more detailed questions. Get the industry magazines, as most of these are free and contain unique information. Consider attending a conference where you can meet other affiliates and, of course, affiliate managers. The iGaming Business events are the most popular and are free for affiliates to attend. You can ask more questions in person and it helps to put faces to your affiliate managers’ names. My last words of advice: hard work is the key to success. Most new affiliates don’t earn anything in the first three months and sometimes the first year. Pace yourself and create a small business plan listing your short-term and long-term goals.

●●superbetting.com ●●betbrain.com

Part two: guide to the online gambling industry – how it works There are many misconceptions about the online gambling industry with a few of them being that it is illegal everywhere or that it is too late to get involved and that the opportunity to make billions has long since passed. The truth is that it seems inevitable that the gambling industry will become regulated throughout all countries as governments realise the ineffectiveness of prohibition and that it is proven only to drive the outlawed business underground. Many politicians are eager to get involved to ensure their country/region/state gets their cut of the gambling revenues. To get you up to speed here are some references to the online gambling industry featuring resources and information: ●●http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_ gambling ●●Affiliate,

operator and B2B forums and guides ●●casinoaffiliateprograms.com ●●gpwa.org ●●pokeraffiliatelistings.com ●●affiliateguarddog.com ●●gamblingaffiliateplace.com ●●gamblingindustryassociation.com ●●apcw.org ●●affiliatebible.com

●●Gambling

industry magazines Business Magazine ●●iGB Affiliate Magazine ●●GPWA Magazine ●●eGaming Review Magazine ●●iGaming

●●Online

gambling industry conferences Business Events (BAC, LAC, iGaming Super Show) ●●G2E Events ●●iGaming

What will you learn from this process? You might find that some gambling sites cater to different markets and not all payment processing methods are available. You might find out which gambling websites you personally like, which could be an indicator that your customers would like the same. You will just understand some obstacles your users may face and you can write content to help them through the process. Also, when you join the affiliate programs you will quickly see which ones have faster affiliate support and better tools.

●●bettingpro.com ●●gamesandcasino.com ●●Gambling

addiction help and resources

●●GamCare.org.uk ●●GamblersAnonymous.org ●●GambleAware.co.uk

Gambling assignments, homework and training course The following assignments can help you get inside the mind of the customer. You truly must know your customer when it comes to gambling affiliate websites. These gambling assignments require you to feel what it is like to be the player. Create a new email address that will be used to sign up to many gambling sites, newsletters and ewallets or online payment methods. This email will receive many offers so it is recommended you use a dedicated email address for this purpose. Keep in mind when you join these programs that you will also receive many CDs and various promotional materials in the post. You can choose to make deposits or play for free where appropriate. If you deposit, you will fully understand how online gambling works but keep in mind that you don’t want to gamble too much money as this is an investment in your education, not an excuse to mess around.. 1. J oin as many ewallets as you can. (Signup to Neteller.com, Moneybookers. com, EcoCard.com, Click2Pay.com, GoldPay.com, Ukash.com, PayPal.com) 2. J oin as many casinos as you can. 3. J oin as many poker rooms as you can. 4. J oin as many sportsbooks as you can. 5. Join as many bingo rooms as you can. 6. J oin affiliate newsletters. 7. L  ast assignment is to join all the affiliate programs in the gaffg.com directories.

John Wright is an Affiliate Coach at http://gaffg.com and is a regular contributor to iGB Affiliate magazine and speaker on the iGB Affiliate events circuit. He obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in robotics at the University of Toronto and in 2003, began creating his own affiliate sites teaching players the rules and strategies for online gaming. In 2005 he provided marketing services for 400affiliates.com and became the affiliate manager for ThisisVegas in 2007. In 2009, he helped launch the Rockbet casino brand and at the start of 2010 decided to work on his affiliate sites and become a consultant. He can be reached at john@gamingaffiliatesguide.com.

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french market insight

It’s been all change for the French online gaming sector since the advent of the “Loi d’ouverture à la concurrence du marché français des jeux et paris en ligne”, the law allowing private operators to take bets and advertise in France under license granted by the regulator ARJEL, that came into effect in June 2010. The major operators, such as bwin and Betclic Everest, have since made clear their disillusion with the regulation and high taxes applied to their core sportsbetting products, the unfair advantage the two ex-monopolies, Française des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) benefit from thanks to their huge land-based retail presence, while poker is so far the only segment of the industry that can be described as a success. Meanwhile, not that much has been heard from the affiliate community, but they remain very much active and a vital part of the industry in France. However, they have been left in limbo by the new legislation affecting the sector, as much with regard to their relationships with licensed operators, which many have had to re-negotiate, with worse terms having to be agreed according to them; but also with regard to the regulation itself, which never included them in the process and which ARJEL is only now addressing. The regulator recently said it would be looking at how to tax affiliates’ revenues, as they are considered to be part of the revenues generated from French gamblers, although it did not give precise details on how it would approach offshore affiliates operating in the French market.

Appearing on the ARJEL radar It is worth wondering how ARJEL will apply similarly high taxation levels to affiliates as those that apply to sportsbetting: 85 percent maximum pay-out ratio to players, 7.5 percent tax on gross gaming revenues plus one percent ‘right to bet’ to sports federations, meaning total taxation is around 60 percent of GGR, horseracing around 70 percent (or more) of GGR and poker operators around 35 percent of GGR. Jean-François Magnan, founder and chief executive of Activaweb, one the most important livescore affiliate sites in France, says affiliates are only now appearing on the regulator’s radar. “None of the texts included in the regulation of online gambling in France provided a framework for the commercial relations

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that exist between affiliates and operators. At best, Article 16 indicates that ‘the company seeking a licence should provide information on online gaming and betting supply contracts or sub-contracting it has in place’. It is worth asking how ARJEL intends to fill the legal vacuum left by the law with regard to contractual relationships between affiliates and operators,” he says. Magnan says his business hasn’t suffered too much from having to renegotiate

that affiliates are less equipped to defend their positions and income. The legislation has clearly cut into the CPAs, in some cases by up to four times less and is seriously threatening the balance of the sector. ARJEL needs to become a mediator and a regulator of the flow between affiliates and operators. It needs to show it can do this and can create the conditions for sustained and constructive dialogue between affiliates and operators.”

“One rumour is that Winamax has been so successful in its player recruitment drive in France that it is planning to pull all of its TV advertising campaigns for the foreseeable future. If such a rumour is true, it is a sure sign that Winamax has bypassed the affiliate to reach the consumer directly.” affiliate agreements with operators and that the latter will not be able to do without affiliates when it comes to promoting and marketing their products. This is, however, a point that is worth looking at in light of the fact operators are now able to advertise freely on TV. For poker, this is having a significant effect, especially as the market leaders, PokerStars and Winamax, are now achieving such critical mass through their poker-related content and advertising on the small screen that they are reaching the stage where affiliates don’t provide anywhere near as much traffic as they do to some of the smaller sites, which also means that those two sites aren’t in great need of affiliates for the French market. One of the rumours also doing the rounds is that Winamax has been so successful in its player recruitment drive in France that it is planning to pull all of its TV advertising campaigns for the foreseeable future while it manages its current liquidity. If such a rumour is true, it is a sure sign that Winamax has bypassed the affiliate to reach the consumer directly.

CPAs badly hit For Magnan, the legislation has also had a disastrous effect on the costs per acquisition for affiliates. “It is now clear

With this in mind, affiliates are making moves to unite under some kind of professional association, so that it can speak with a united voice while the sector is still highly competitive so that all of them have a chance to survive the inevitable cull, which many predict will happen to them, just like it will for operators. Whatever happens in the French affiliate market, there will be plenty to report on and all these topics will be discussed at the first ever edition of the iGaming France Conference on 25-26 March. Make sure you’re there! Jake pollard is editor of iGamingFrance.com, the leading news and information resource for the recentlyregulated online gaming and betting market in France and will be hosting the iGamingFrance Conference in partnership with iGB Affiliate on 25-26 March in Paris. France issued its first igaming licenses in June 2010 and activity levels among operators, affiliates and companies related to the sector has been relentless as stakeholders look to position themselves in what will be a key European market for the sector. Prior to joining iGamingFrance.com at the start of 2010, Jake was editor of eGaming Review.

iGB Affiliate February/March 2011

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MARRIOTT COURTYARD NEUILLY, PARIS Join us in Paris to: ♦ Hear from leading players in the French market ♦ Develop new business contacts and create valuable partnerships ♦ Get a sound understanding of this newly regulated market ♦ Benefit from legendary iGB networking events ♦ Learn what the key factors for success are in France This event is the first of its kind in France and will welcome both affiliate marketers and the B2B iGaming industry.

The iGB Affiliate events team will be working in partnership with iGamingFrance.com to host the first event designed specifically for the French market since it regulated online gambling in 2010. This event will look at and offer insight into the key factors for success in this marketplace and provide the best networking opportunities for executives working in or thinking of entering the French gaming sector.

To register please visit

www.igamingfrance.com/conference For exhibition and sponsorship opportunities please contact Richard@iGamingBusiness.com or call on +44(0)20 7954 3437 Brought to you by

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FRENCH MARKET INSIGHT

It came as no surprise that the newly regulated French betting market ended up being a flop although few would have thought that it would have failed in such a spectacular manner, particularly when France’s legal poker business has been such a success.

THE SEEDS OF THE DÉBÂCLE were sown early on when the French chose not to learn from the mistakes of others, in this case, the Italians who went through the process of moving from prohibition to liberalisation a decade earlier with disastrous effects, and ploughed on with legislation that everyone with knowledge of the industry warned them was bound to fail.

How did the French manage to make such a mess of things? You do not have to be a top economist to know that applying a tax substantially higher than virtually anywhere else in Europe was not going to bring bookmakers flocking to apply for licences, especially in a country where football – the main product for betting – has less of a following than elsewhere. Furthermore, the high level of taxation ensures that the odds currently on offer to the French public have to be far less competitive than those available elsewhere. Back in 2000, the Italians set betting duty at 17 percent of turnover and sent dozens of companies into liquidation and succeeded only in guaranteeing substantial returns for overseas operators targeting that market. It was years before the penny dropped and tax rates fell substantially. In France, creating the conditions where newly licensed operators need to ask the permission of (and then pay one percent of turnover to) sports bodies in order to price up events was also going to ‘stick in the craw’ of companies who had fought against the principle for decades. A decade earlier, the Italians too thought of doing this, but promptly abandoned the idea when M. Leblanc, the organiser of the Tour de France, told them that he thought taking

“You do not have to be a top economist to know that applying a tax substantially higher than virtually anywhere else in Europe was not going to bring bookmakers flocking to apply for licences.” bets on the cycling event was immoral. As a result, Italy’s punters were not able to make bets on which chemically-enhanced competitor would finish ahead of another. The authorities soon realised the error of their ways and no longer asked sports bodies for permission to offer betting on their events. However, the French have gone even further than their neighbours when it comes to protecting local businesses. Liberalising the online sector, whilst maintaining the monopolies of Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) and Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) for offline betting on horses and sport, never stood a chance of remaining unchallenged by somebody in the gaming sector. However, although Stanleybet and Zeturf did lodge a legal challenge, it was actually France’s own competition authority that flagged up the incompatibility of an offline monopoly with a liberalised online market when it is obvious that those with a territorial presence have an in-built advantage over those with no means of promoting their products on the high street apart from through expensive billboard advertising. So, with over half a year of activity in the market, how much did France’s online punters stake on sportsbetting? According to Jean-Francois Vilotte, Head of Gaming Authority at the ARJEL, quoted in La Tribune on Friday 21 January, by December 31, 2010, turnover reached €448 million, of which €83 million was bet on the FIFA

World Cup. Despite the millions spent by new operators on advertising, and the huge level of attention given to the opening of the market by the media, the monthly average works out at around €65 million, compared to €100 million turnover in Italy where GDP, Internet access and PC ownership are all substantially lower.

So where from here? With several large operators such as Ladbrokes reversing out of the market, other big names notable by their absence and plenty of licensees such as Betclic bemoaning the conditions under which they operate, there appears little optimism that things will improve. However, with the law enabling a modification of the regulations after 18 months of trading, and the competition authority requiring answers over the position of the PMU and FDJ, as well as the requirement to contract with sporting bodies, it appears that change will come sooner rather than later, despite opposition from legislators.

GRAHAM WOOD is director of iGaming Consultancy, a specialist firm advising gaming operators seeking to develop business opportunities in the newly liberalised markets of Italy and France, and providing market research and market intelligence on gaming throughout Europe.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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french market insight

There is a new phenomenon sweeping thought the gaming industry. The loosening of international gaming laws has a lot less to do with reacting to public demands than it does with creating new revenue streams for national governments. By James Lowery, Head of SEO at digital marketing agency, Latitude. The French government is changing the rules on online gaming so it can be taxed, but in doing so, it is opening a market that is going to rival the UK in terms of both customer numbers and budgets. This market is untapped, therefore, unlike in the UK where finding ‘new’ sign-ups is becoming increasingly expensive, in France, every customer will be ‘new’ and every referral that affiliates create is going to be worth commission. Fast moving affiliates who can react quickly to the changing regulations in new markets like France are likely to be able to take advantage of this new frontier in gaming, ahead of the big names, and make serious profit.

Why affiliates can take advantage Gaming providers who need to apply for operating licences agreeing to various advertising constraints face a lengthy route to market. On the other hand, affiliates using natural search can enter the market on their own terms and at their own pace. Beyond this, without the internal politics and lengthy sign-off processes common to larger organisations, small, nimble affiliates can make changes to their website quickly, adapting to the evolving algorithms of Google and other search engines. Flexibility and high speed-to-market are massive advantages for affiliates. While major gaming corporations need to perform long-term analysis of market potential before joining a new market, affiliates can hit the ground running, make up the rules as they go and take first mover advantage.

Different markets, different rules While there are many similarities between England and France, there are also some very big differences. When planning an international search campaign of any

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flavour, these need to be taken into account.

Transliteration is not the same as translation Language is the ‘biggie’. French people speak French. They don’t speak English with French words and English phrasing, they speak French with French phrasing. Say your UK SEO activity has shown that a phrase like ‘Play Poker Online’ is a good converter. It’s easy to assume the same will be true in France, so you pop the phrase into Google Translate, and it tells you that the equivalent is ‘jouer au poker en ligne’ – a literal translation. While this makes sense, and might have some volume, there are alternatives that actual French people will use: ●●jouer au poker sur Internet ●●jouer au poker sur le net In terms of search volume, Google’s Keyword Research tool suggests that both are about the same – 8,100 searches per month. In the UK, there are about 12,000 searches for ‘play poker online’, and less than 150 for ‘play Internet poker’. It isn’t impossible for a non-native speaker to perform keyword research, but someone who does not appreciate the nuances of a language will not be able to structure their approach so as to recognise how users actually behave, and what the motivation around a particular phrase would be. It’s also massively important to remember that user search behaviour can change quickly when a market grows suddenly and you absolutely must keep on top of things. While a small hardcore of players are likely to congregate their searches around a comparatively small number of high volume keywords, as the market is widened and more casual players look for services online, there will

be an increase in generic terms and as a consequence, a rise in the overall number of terms that are being used. It’s important to keep track of how user behaviour is changing as the market matures. Regular search query reports of a PPC campaign demonstrates which new keywords are delivering volume to your website, and if sufficient volume is available, informing the overall strategy of the SEO campaign. Outside search, your best friend when trying to understand linguistic nuances is social media. In France, online communities are not a new fad. The country pioneered domestic connectivity and students were using technology similar to ‘Usenet’ to organise their social lives back in the 1980s demonstrating a deeper penetration of social networking within their culture. While Facebook and Twitter are popular, exploring other channels like Skyrock is important. Skyrock which is virtually unknown in the UK, but is ranked in the top ten most popular websites in France. The key learning from social media is usually the ability to spot emerging trends, and be able to demographically target users based on their interests.

The competitive landscape Wherever you are in the world, the same link building approach applies – the more high quality, relevant websites that you can convince to link to your website, the better you will rank. However, the definitions of both “quality” and “relevance” that Google use to determine the value of a link are fluid and representative of a particular vertical. You will be judged on what is going on around your website, and in most cases, this is done on a keyword basis. In the case of a highly competitive and

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mature SERP such as ‘Online Casino’ in the UK, all of the top ten websites have engaged in fairly aggressive link building activity.

So, what strategy should you go for when entering a newly regulated market?

Designing conversion Transition In industries that are restricted by prohibition, the average transaction profit is high compared to the value of the item, whereas in a comparable legal market, there is a larger overall market, which offers a lower transactional profit. The ungoverned nature of an industry operating under conditions of prohibition attracts participants who undertake questionable practices. From an SEO perspective, this means that the majority of the websites that are competing for visitors are prepared to use black hat tactics. When an industry is prohibited, participation is not directly open to legitimate companies such as the larger gaming houses like 888.com or Bet365. Instead of directly competing for customers, they must operate through proxies, using affiliates to provide their presence. This creates an environment in which risk is managed differently. In an open market such as the UK, where branding is important, the risk of large brands being banned from Google as a result of using black hat SEO techniques is too great for them to engage. Excessive is relative. When compiling an SEO strategy, it is important to consider the parameters within which one can operate safely: what link building tactics are being used; the type of content that is required; etc. An unregulated vertical is much like the Old West – anything goes – however, this can change rapidly with the onset of regulation. As larger companies begin to specifically target terms within the market, an impact will be the introduction of a lower risk approach to SEO that is brand protective.

Take a look at these two websites: At the time of writing, these were the websites that ranked at number one in Google.co.uk and Google.fr for ‘car insurance’ and its French analogue ‘assurance automobile’. While both of these websites offer the same basic service, the user interface is entirely different. On websites that commoditise a product, incremental improvements to conversion can make a huge difference to profitability, so you can be pretty certain that both of these companies have engaged in a fair amount of AB testing to come to the optimal layout for their customer base, and the optimal colours to use for call-to-action – GoCompare uses orange, MMA uses blue. Automated conversion optimisation using tools like Google Website Optimiser dynamically changes elements within the page to find the balance that delivers the best conversion rate for a desired action. Building a website with a fluid design, and incorporating some form of AB testing that is independent of websites that you use for other markets will enable you to tailor the user experience to each individual territory, and grow your overall sales.

Appropriate placement A conversion-friendly design and the most effective link building techniques differ between markets. Therefore, the most important decision to make is whether you are going to create an entirely new presence, or simply include an additional language to your existing websites. Best practice would be to build your French website on a ‘.fr’ domain, and host it in France. Having a website that is

entirely in the French language that sits on a dedicated .fr domain, and is hosted by a French web hosting company in France makes a fairly solid statement about what the target market for the website is. You should also ensure that when you set up the Google Webmaster Tools account for the site that you include geo-targeting information. Using a separate domain also allows you to take into account the design nuances that are expected in a particular market. If you don’t provide a user experience that is informative and pushes users towards converting to one of your goals, then your campaign will not return a profit. Minimising opportunities for frustration within the user journey – jarring misuse of language; site design that does not correspond to their expectations; a multilingual website that welcomes them in the wrong language – will reduce the risk of the visitor leaving before they convert.

What does it all mean? Major changes to any market, such as the legalisation of gambling, will lead to a period of substantial upheaval as the forces of the market assert themselves and create stability. The only successful approach to entering a new market is dynamism. Without the ability to evolve your strategy and change tactics based on the evolution of both the macro structure of the industry in terms of the products on offer and the way people search for them, one is doomed to failure. The goal of advertising is to make a product compelling to an audience. The goal of marketing is to identify that audience. In a new environment where conditions are yet to be established, it is the companies who are quickest to adapt that will prevail.

iGB Affiliate February/March 2011

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french market insight

Five SEO tips to conquer the French market in 2011. It is no secret that with the recent European gaming legislation, the online gaming market in France has been on a constant uptrend. To reach ‘top of mind’ positioning within French target audiences, online gaming companies should endeavour to reach top positioning on search engine results locally, increase their presence on social media platforms and ensure they speak the same language as their target audiences. France, generally being a very competitive market, has offered fantastic opportunities for online gaming companies in 2010 and the market promises further growth in 2011. By way of example, blackjack-related search terms were up 20 percent yearon-year over Christmas (2010 Vs 2009) and casino-related search terms were up ten percent year-on-year over the same period. Due to the competitiveness of

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the French market, it is important for online gaming companies to be up-to-date with the most recent trends in search. In France, Google has 95 percent dominance, around six to seven percent more than in the UK and, thus, the general algorithmic considerations are the same. The key is to implement a localised strategy to link building and identifying opportunities, as well as being up-to-date with some of the following top tips to be ‘found’ and ‘liked’ by the French consumer in 2011.

1. Personalised search engine and website cultural optimisation One of the next big SEO trends in 2011 will be customised Internet research. Especially for a sophisticated and competitive online market such as France this is a fact which needs to be taken into account. One good example of how to perform personalised search engine

optimisation is localised SEO with Google addresses. With Google maps and geotagging being an important component of Google’s search strategy, listings with Google Places will more likely help businesses appear in the first page results of a user’s customised search. But not only should online gaming businesses make sure to appear on top of the search results list, it is also important to ensure that they speak the same language as their website visitors. To ensure online gaming businesses seeking a multilingual online presence understand their target audiences and their needs, Oban Multilingual has developed the cultural multivariate testing tool Global Maxer. Through the use of experimental design, this tool allows for substantial improvements to increase the conversion rates (such as unique visitors to sales). For example, we have found that the French

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show a much higher response to certain website layouts in combination with large call-to-action buttons than in Germany or Italy, for example.

2. Localised keyword research Localised keyword research is essential to discover the nuances in French search and localised linking strategies. Rather than translating English search terms into French, it is more important to determine the most popular search terms that French people actually use. As mentioned previously, France is a very competitive market in terms of SEO. The promotion of online gaming is still restricted for many providers, except for state-licensed entities. The long-standing French businesses (PMU, Française des Jeux) have an advantage but they are not used to spending significant amounts on SEO. This opens the door to competitors with large budgets such as http://www. ruedesjoueurs.com/, an informative website with freerolls (also present on Facebook) which pays for its online traffic. Due to these restrictions, other French online gaming companies have to find alternative ways to appear on commercial links. They use misspelled words as well as automatically created poor translation. See image 1 for some examples based on the word ‘Casino’. In the first example, a ‘Greek’ letter has been inserted and in the second example, the ‘C’ has been separated from the rest of the word.

3. social media optimisation (sMo) More than ever, have we reached the point where any business will need to look into optimising its websites for Facebook, Twitter, et al. Not a surprising trend given the phenomenal success of these social media platforms. According to a recent study released by ComScore, Facebook has even outperformed Yahoo! and is now the third most visited site in France behind Microsoft (second) and Google (first). Recently conducted research showed that to date, Facebook has over 20 million French users, of which, 13 million play online games on social networks. Major shifts like this should be reason enough for any online gaming company to reconsider the optimisation of its websites so that links are increasingly shown on social networks. Major search engines have already

launched features which link individual search results to social networking platforms. To name some examples: Bing has a market share of three percent in France and has integrated Facebook’s ‘Like’ button right next to links posted on its results pages. Users who are connected to their Facebook account and use Bing at the same time will also be able to see who of their friends ‘like’ which particular link. This is especially beneficial to create what we call in Marketing, the ‘me too effect’. Google has a market share of 95 percent in France and has launched the Google Hotpot, a feature that allows users to rate and recommend links related to online search results. It is recommended that online gaming companies ensure that their website links are represented on various social network platforms relevant to their particular topic. The more their links will be shared, ‘liked’, or ‘tweeted’ by the French, the more they’ll profit from searches on Google or Bing. Plus, the online gaming companies that generate friends, fans, followers and a link to their corporate website will gain more and more importance. Ultimately, this will have an impact on their SEO in terms of reputation and authority, particularly in relation to their individual industry.

worthwhile to consider the creation of a mobile application.

5. optimisation of online videos Who does not know YouTube nowadays? YouTube is the most used site for video sharing in France with over 34 million people watching more than five billion videos year on year. Other popular video sharing platforms are Dailymotion, Group TF1, Microsoft and Yahoo!. It is important that online gaming companies do not underestimate the importance of YouTube. In fact, search engines such as Google and Bing attach high importance to pages incorporating videos. So it is advisable to consider creating a video tutorial and post it onto the websites as well as on YouTube. YouTube is certainly the place to create a real buzz in 2011.

Image 1

4. Website optimisation for mobile seo Let’s face it – Smartphones have conquered the world. This is a proven fact and users love them especially for their ability to connect to the Internet in an instant. According to recent research, 13.5 million people in France used their Smartphones and Apple iOS to play video games in 2010. This trend has prompted French online gaming companies to create special applications for Smartphone users. The tendency seems to head towards sports bets, with PMU.fr offering mobile applications for their online bets, as well as online poker. Some mobile poker application providers include Winamax.fr, Everestpoker.fr and Titan.fr. The growing amount of mobile applications allows more and more people to conveniently surf the Internet using their mobiles or Smartphones. Therefore, it is highly recommended that online gaming companies optimise their websites for mobile SEO in 2011. It might also be

OBAN MULTILINGUAL has been operating in the arena of international e-gaming for many years and the cumulative experience shows that it is crucial to constantly keep up to date with the changing SEO trends. For online gaming businesses that wish to enter the French and other international markets, following the above outlined tips, especially those on personalised SEO and website cultural optimisation is a vital step to global success. For more information feel free to contact Oban Multilingual or visit www.obanmultilingual.com.

iGB Affiliate February/March 2011

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FRENCH MARKET INSIGHT

The French online gambling law brings more competition to innovation-driven markets. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN SIX MONTHS since the first licenses were granted by the ARJEL (the NRA entrusted with the task of regulating the online gambling market in France), and despite the thirty-five operators who now share the official online gambling market, it seems that new operators are beginning to emerge. Yet, despite the multiplicity of actors, the leeway in terms of game offerings and advertising available to them is not so obvious. Compliance with the specifications, the provisions of the Act of May 12, 2010, and its implementing decrees implicitly invites licensed operators to some creativity in marketing terms, but also some legal creativity through the Trademark Law, Betting and Competition Law, and Taxation law. Thus, Unibet (sportsbetting, horserace betting, poker) recently secured a significant victory through the decision of the Paris CFI to annul the registration of the trademarks filed by the PMU – ‘couplé’, ‘trio’, ‘third ‘, ‘quarters +’, ‘quinté +’, ‘2sur4’, ‘Multi’ and ‘simple’ – on November 23, 2010 (the PMU had filed a complaint against Unibet for its use of names to identify horseracing bets via the above mentioned terms, in violation of trademarks registered by the French company). Since these names were known and used by bettors as representing a type of bet, the Paris CFI held that their deposit by the PMU held no other purpose than to interfere with any potential competitor by an illegitimate legal obstacle and, thus, diverted trademark law from its purpose. On December 3, 2010, in the wake of the above mentioned, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) filed a complaint with the Council of State on

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the ‘right to bet’. This complaint was to ensure legal certainty for operators licensed in France in clarifying the objectives of the right to bet. According to the EGBA, the right to bet has been created with the aim of ensuring the respect of sports ethics by allowing some compensation for federations and organisers of sporting events to cover expenses incurred by them for the detection and prevention of fraud. This objective was put forward by the French legislator to respond to the European Commission’s detailed opinion of June 8, 2009, stating that the funding of voluntary or general interest activities such as sports is not an acceptable basis for restricting the freedom to provide services. However, the decree specifying the right to bet did evolve towards “a logic of profit”, according to the organisation, by introducing a notion of “price to pay” paid by operators whose amount is estimated by proportion of players’ bets and by a profitsharing with the organisers of sporting events on the proceeds of the bet. According to the EGBA, an unacceptable contradiction would be born by the diversion of the right to bet from its original purpose. It cannot be ruled out that a new entrant to the French market may denounce, through traditional means (that is to say before the Paris CFI – the National Court empowered to enforce national competition rules, or before the French Competition Authority which, in its decision of September 15, 2010, held that the market for gambling constitutes a priority in terms of competition policy), the uses of crosssubsidies from monopolistic income and practices that would result in tariff abuses (rebates, discounts) or predatory pricing abuses to eliminate competitors in the online gambling market. From another perspective, the likelihood

of foreign online gaming companies rushing to house themselves in the French market is by no means an inevitability. Indeed, companies established in other EU countries currently only represent 22 percent of the market. There exist many ‘creative’ tax incentives for operators to take advantage of in offshore regions, namely, for the purposes of avoiding VAT charged on the net proceeds of the games and also, importantly, corporate tax. However, the current French legislation is set for revision some 18 months from inception. Article 69 of the Act provides, in effect, an evaluation report on the conditions and effects of the iGaming market opening to be sent to the Parliament by the government in order to advocate necessary adaptations. Therefore, some lobbying is being carried out with the aim of garnering what seems to be unanimity among licensed operators, reducing the tax burden, directing this adaptation of the law to the mobile channel, opening online poker tournaments to international players (which has been proposed recently in Denmark) or the possible involvement of French players in international tournaments, and even offering variations of casino games. In summary, the future adaptation of the law for tax and the diversification of supply could finally meet the aspirations of licensed operators and consumers.

THIBAULT VERBIEST (Partner) and Valérie Achache (Associate) represent the ULYS law firm. Thibault is an Attorney at law at the Brussels and Paris Bars whilst Valérie is an Attorney at law at the Paris Bar.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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BINGO SUPPLEMENT

WHY GROWTH IS TOUGHER The UK online gambling market is becoming saturated in many verticals and at every level of the supply chain. This means that affiliates providing traffic to bingo operators are also feeling the squeeze.

IF YOU ARE GOING to grow your bingo affiliate business you will need to do a few things a little differently in order to spur growth for your business. The general business model for these affiliates was fairly simple: traffic was driven via search and/or PPC to a landing page/website/ mailing list which was promoting anything between three and 300 bingo operators. Growth is specifically affecting these businesses because PPC rates are climbing yet at the same time, player values are levelling off, at best. Also, in the natural search realm there are more and more competitors for more or less the same keywords, and the net result for every affiliate is a reducing share of the same search volume.

Differentiation It is fair to say that part of the problem lies with the personnel running the bingo affiliate businesses. There are very few genuine marketers running these businesses, they have come from varied backgrounds including account managers, affiliate managers, techies, SEO wizards, PPC analysts, even florists! But very few marketers have been involved, therefore, very few have analysed the landscape and their competition to identify a niche or clarify and execute a positioning proposition for their websites. Having said that, these are all successful businesses, yet, in the current climate they may struggle to grow without assessing where the market is now and where it is heading. You don’t have to be a marketer to assess how a market will develop and I am sure every bingo affiliate is scratching his/her head to determine whether they maintain the status quo or whether they

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push on and grow the business they have. In order to grow, they are going to have to innovate, branch out, up-skill, or reduce costs (although the latter would be very short-term).

Where do the opportunities lie? There may be opportunities if you were to become a specialist affiliate, for example, a free bingo affiliate, or a bingo vouchers affiliate, or a bingo location based affiliate or an affiliate on an app. I am not suggesting that the above are feasible business ideas, rather, the point is that you need to do something new for growth. The list above is somewhat tongue in cheek and poking a little fun at the top trends on the web right now, however, the common thread amongst all of these ideas is the concept of ‘social’. This is how today’s web works, or at least the common perception is that the web will become even more socially oriented in more sophisticated ways, whether via friends networks, business networks, media sharing, crowd-sourcing… the list goes on. This has to represent a huge opportunity in the online bingo landscape; online bingo was one of the first truly social forms of gambling, with their ever-present chat-rooms. The players often cite connecting with friends and making new ones a reason to go online and play bingo. The audience are, believe it or not, early adopters of the social web; they were early to transact online, and they were early to come online to connect in virtual communities. They embraced the web’s latest developments faster than the masses. In late 2007, the online bingo market was in full swing, and the market has certainly grown since then but the factor of growth is much smaller than the factor of growth for Facebook during the same

period of time; this could be cited as evidence to suggest the maturity of online bingo had peaked far earlier than social networking in general, which is quite telling. (In late 2007, Facebook had 47 million members and this grown 12-fold since then, online bingo has not grown at the same rate during that period.) I don’t have the killer social bingo idea but there is certainly scope for operators and affiliates to exploit their audience’s enthusiasm for the web in ways that other industries will only consider much later.

Where else is growth possible? In overseas markets, there are clearly growth opportunities within newly regulated markets that are familiar with the format of bingo, and to be fair, if they are not familiar it is not a huge educational task. UK-targeted bingo affiliates can get an early start in new markets using the tried and tested SEO and PPC models, where it is legal to do so. This could bring very large growth for a few bingo affiliates, given time. In my opinion, the best way for an affiliate to gauge the opportunities overseas and gauge the legal situation is to work closely with their operator partners, after all, the relationships are meant to be partnerships. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, the industry is just getting interesting, when someone just jumps on a bandwagon and makes money good luck to them, but when someone has to make changes to grow, big respect to them.

RAJ RAMANANDI is Managing Director of Digital Prophets Ltd.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010/11

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BUILDING A BUDDING COMMUNITY The concept of community plays a significant role in defining the online bingo offering, and its growing importance can be seen spreading through the wider iGaming industry. The value of a strong community Creating a strong, active player community can have huge benefits for your business, whether you are an affiliate or an operator. One of the most coveted of these is loyalty, which refers to the frequency with which users return to your site. Strong player communities create incentives for users to come back, whether it be to get updates, ask questions or simply to participate in the ongoing dialogue. A second benefit is degree of involvement, which is slightly less tangible, and can be defined as creating an emotional tie between your users and your website. The more often your users find something funny, touching, useful, helpful or provocative, the more emotionally involved they will be with the site, which builds your brand by making it more ‘top of mind’. In thriving player communities such as CasinoMeister.com or PartTimePoker. com, it is not uncommon for users to visit many times a week, for hours at a time and continuing to participate over several years. Another highly desirable benefit of building strong player communities is the potential for viral growth (sometimes referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of online marketing). The more emotionally connected your users are with your site, the more likely they will be to share your site with their own network of friends, family and colleagues. Perhaps even more

importantly, strong communities feed themselves, as users feel compelled to contribute to the community by innate social mechanisms like the ‘need for affiliation’. In the strongest communities, this creates a very powerful ‘virtuous circle’ of active users creating new, valuable content which, in turn, attracts more users, increases their loyalty and involvement, thus compelling them to contribute further. As Jason Williams from Bingo.com informed us, this is one of the most important direct contributors to the revenue stream that comes from their social network. “Players that participate in the community are more likely to recommend Bingo.com to friends and more likely to be regular players. This loyalty increases player values and helps expand the reach of the Bingo.com brand.” A final, hugely important benefit of a vibrant player community is creating a feedback loop between you and your users, to help you better understand their needs and behaviours. Dominik Kofert, one of the founders of PokerStrategy.com, explained that player feedback gleaned from their forum helps them to refine their business model and better serve their users. “Players [on the forum] give valuable feedback about every aspect of the business, helping us to better understand what motivates them to sign up for a new brand, or to continue

playing at a brand. It is a crucial part of our business.” A feedback loop also serves to help identify problems with your product or service and solve them before they become a major detriment to your growth. By openly eliciting feedback, both negative and positive, you can find the sources of customer dissatisfaction, and address both the individual customers and the root issues, improving your business and strengthening relationships with your users.

Growing your community At a fundamental level, community in the virtual world is a group of people who share a common interest and a common communication method (read ‘social media’) through which they share their passion. While the majority of successful player communities we examined are forums, this is by no means the only way to create virtual community. Betfair, for example, has created a very active player community through Facebook, with over 20,000 fans and a large amount of user interaction on its fan page. Bingo. com created its own social network, combining its users’ interest in socialising with models such as MySpace and Facebook. This allowed users to share more about themselves through their profiles and interact in more ways. Kiva.org, an excellent

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non-iGaming example, created a network of individual user blogs, giving users a way to share their stories and progress through plug-ins and other social media tools. Ultimately, a virtual community is not defined by the media that is used to host it, but rather by the passions and personalities of the people within it. There are a wide variety of social media tools available to help power a virtual community and more are being created on a regular basis. In building your community, you should consider each one of these tools and how it might help your users to interact with each other, but always remember that the community is the people, not the technology. At the core of every successful player community is a group of hardcore members who are highly active, dedicated and emotionally involved. Therefore, the question we must ask is ‘how do we find these hardcore members and attract them to participate in our community?’ In reality, there is no sure-fire way to do this. Studying the growth of some of the most successful communities, we’ve found that many of them grew organically, often to the surprise of the founders. This is not to say that the growth of these communities was an accident, or that the founders of the forums were not responsible for the growth (in most situations they were directly responsible). Crucially, they often approached the development of their community in terms of quality and functionality, accepting growth as an offshoot of creating a community which accomplished a necessary goal, or filled a critical niche. By focusing on functionality over growth, they triumphed over competitors who made growth their main goal. Functionality of a virtual community can mean many different things, depending on your audience. Functionality for Bingo. com means finding more ways to help its users share non-bingo related interests (cooking tips, family photos, etc), and integrating socialising with playing bingo. For PartTimePoker and PokerStrategy,

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functionality means making sure the forum is well moderated, that it is user-friendly and doesn’t suffer bandwidth hiccups. Ultimately, functionality means creating the conditions for a seamless interaction between users, giving them more ways and reasons to interact, and removing problems that might cause them to lose interest. This requires understanding your users’ needs at a fundamental level. For example, high level, highly involved users might be turned off by a community where beginner users ask novice questions. Equally, newbies might be threatened by a tightly knit community of experts who respond negatively to inexperienced users. By examining your community from the perspective of your user, as well as listening to the feedback they provide, you can work to improve your community’s functionality, which may be, above all other factors, the strategy that leads to its success.

“Ultimately, a virtual community is not defined by the media that is used to host it… the community is the people, not the technology.” Functionality and growth While focusing on functionality, not growth, may have been a key factor in the success of the communities we studied, this does not mean that you should ignore growth activities entirely. In fact, there are two specific strategies that all five of our interviewees said were crucial to their success: (1) Being active members themselves and (2) giving incentives to members to become more involved. The first strategy relates back to the importance of having a core of extremely involved members. By being one of these members yourself, and contributing to the community, you can help break the early inertia of building a community.

Dominik Kofert from PokerStrategy, for example, has contributed more than 10,000 posts in his forum. The second point may seem obvious, though the trick is to find incentives that tie in well with the themes of your community. For example, EatMyStack.co.uk invested all of the early profits back into the community by way of online tournaments and tickets to live poker events. Latestcasinobonuses.com offered cash and prizes such as iPods and cameras. PartTimePoker used the forum as an engine for its staking business, which drew in new members looking to stake or be staked. The crucial aspect is to find incentives that address the direct desires of your core audience; otherwise you will simply attract users who are looking to collect the incentive, and nothing more. The reality is that there is no one-sizefits-all formula for creating a vibrant player community, because each successful community is so unique. Successful communities teach us that understanding your users and their passions, finding media that help them interact and doing everything you can to facilitate interaction is key to success. Attempts at forming a community can be slow, suffer hiccups or cost more than they deliver. However, when you do succeed in creating a true community, you also achieve value for your business in a way few other marketing efforts can, with a longevity that can go far beyond your expectations.

LOUIS DEERING has worked in online marketing since 2005, beginning as a marketing manager for an online clothing retailer and later specialising in affiliate marketing, working as a network rep for Income Access, in Montreal. He was voted Best Non-Traditional Affiliate Manager at the 2010 iGB Affiliate Awards. He currently works remotely as a Senior Affiliate Manager with Income Access from Medellin, Colombia.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010/11

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With more and more homes in the UK having faster broadband connection and a host of companies offering cost effective live streaming to gaming operations, the industry has seen a marked increase in live game product offering across all gaming verticals over the past couple of years. Lee Knott, Head of Marketing Services at St Minver investigates. THE GROWTH IN LIVE streaming began within the casino space offering live blackjack and roulette in an attempt to recreate the experience and environment that a casino player would be used to either at their local casino or in Las Vegas. This vertical has pretty much snowballed from there. So what of the Bingo industry? The offline version of the game has traditionally centred round the caller who, in some bingo halls, enjoyed minor celebrity status. The rapport with the customers and the bearer of the winning number on a full house which could make the person’s evening (or year) meant they were more of a host than a caller. Currently, the bingo industry is seeing more brands utilising live bingo with varying degrees of success. The appeal is there for all to see. Firstly, it provides the user with a face from the brand which they wouldn’t normally see with an online business, giving them reassurances that the site they are playing on is legitimate. Secondly, it appeals to users who are more used to the traditional game of bingo where you would have a caller in a hall – remember that we are seeing a marked increased in the silver surfer demographic. Whilst many bingo sites have gone down the live caller route as their main USP or as an additional vertical on their product offering, skins such as ChitChat Bingo and Littlewoods have a live bingo room with a host rather than a caller. Even with the advancement of bandwidth, lags on calls and the displaying of bingo numbers mean that the experience with a live caller can still be a bit clunky. With a host or, to a certain degree, a live bingo caller, the focus is on the interaction with the players and the opportunity to be even more personable, welcoming the player into the room, giving shout-outs for birthdays, etc. Whilst a brand cannot be

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built by one individual (there may be a certain Fox who disagrees), one or two hosts who provide the players with some light relief or some adult conversation at the end of a busy day can only help in building brand loyalty. The subject of localisation should also extend to verticals such as live streaming, however, when a business decision has to be made, budgets always become a factor with many companies opting to outsource this to providers in Eastern Europe. Whilst there may be an appeal for a certain type of casino player to have a glamorous blonde from another country dealing their next winning hand, the same cannot be said of a bingo player who would like to relate to the person at the other end. It is all about knowing and understanding your customer and what they want.

“Live bingo provides the user with a face from the brand which they wouldn’t normally see with an online business, giving them reassurances that the site they are playing on is legitimate.” Companies such as GTECH G2 – who saw early success in its bingo live room – have moved many of their headline promotions to this room, such is the response from the players and their enjoyment and interaction with the host and other players. Live streaming has also been extended to promote game releases such as the recent Chippendales Slot, where guest appearances from the Chippendales themselves nearly took down the live streaming feed due to the number of players clambering to get a glimpse of them – god knows what would have

happened if they had not been fully clothed. With the speed of technology continuing as it is, the sophistication of live streaming in bingo can only advance, and the possible up-sell a host can provide in the room. A good example of this is prior to a big ticket game, the host could show a 30 second video clip of the Caribbean holiday that is being given away. The possibilities for live streaming are endless and with the future in TV, 3D means it is only a matter of time before the strap-line “Play bingo/casino/poker in your own home” is a reality, almost…

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A psychological perspective, by Professor Mark Griffiths of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University. ALL GAMBLING INVOLVES LUCK. While luck tends to even itself out over the long-run, people naturally focus on the short-run and on their fluctuations in fortune. Because gambling involves randomness, people will often blame or chalk up their luck to some random event that coincided with how they fared at a certain gambling session. When people experience long winning or losing streaks while gambling, they then evoke what they believe to be a causal factor – luck. A lucky person is someone who wins many times in succession. The same will happen when it is your lucky day with your lucky number, lucky colour, lucky table or lucky dealer. Most of these ‘lucky’ events are little more than ‘illusory correlations’ such as noticing that the last three winning visits to the casino were all when you wore a particular item of clothing or it was on a particular day of the week. These illusory correlations can sometimes turn into superstitious behaviours. Very superstitious… Gambling and superstition have often been thought of as highly related. Anecdotal evidence shows that even the most skilful of gamblers can hold superstitious beliefs and the fallibility of human reason is the greatest single source of that superstitious belief. Sometimes referred to as a belief in ‘magic’, superstition can cover many spheres such as lucky or unlucky actions, events, numbers and/or sayings, a belief in astrology, the occult and the paranormal and/or ghosts. In the gambling context, I have argued that it’s best to view

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superstition as a belief that a given action can bring good luck or bad luck when there are no rational or generally acceptable grounds for such a belief. Surveys suggest that around a third of the British population are superstitious. The most often reported superstitious behaviours are avoiding walking under ladders, touching wood and throwing salt over your shoulder (when spilt). There’s also a stereotypical view that there are certain groups within society who tend to hold more superstitious beliefs than what may be considered the norm. These include those involved within sport, the acting profession, miners, fishermen and (of course) gamblers. Research has shown that the majority of the population tend to have what are called ‘half-beliefs’. On the whole, people are basically rational and don’t really believe in the effects of superstition. However, in times of uncertainty, stress, and/or perceived helplessness, they seek to regain personal control over events by means of superstitious belief. This often happens in gambling situations. The Dutch psychologist, Professor Willem Wagenaar proposed that in the absence of a known cause, gamblers attribute events to abstract causes like luck and chance. Professor Wagenaar differentiates between luck and chance and suggests that luck is more related to an unexpected positive result whereas chance is related to surprising coincidences. Other psychologists suggest that luck may be thought of as the property of a person whereas chance is thought to be concerned with unpredictability.

Gamblers appear to exhibit a belief that they have control over their own luck. They may knock on wood to avoid bad luck or carry an object such as a rabbit’s foot for good luck. Another US psychologist, Professor Ellen Langer, argued that a belief in luck and superstition not only accounts for causal explanations when playing games of chance, but may also provide a desired element of personal control. Behavioural trends One of the most interesting pieces of research that I carried out involved the examination of superstitious behaviours among bingo players. So are gamblers really superstitious? The study I carried out with Carolyn Bingham here at Nottingham Trent University examined the beliefs that bingo players have regarding superstition and luck and how these beliefs are related to their bingo playing behaviour. In a study of over 400 bingo players, we found significant relationships in several areas. Many bingo players reported beliefs in luck and superstition, however, a greater percentage of bingo players reported having ‘everyday’ superstitious beliefs, rather than those concerned with gambling activity. We found that 81 percent of bingo players had at least one superstitious belief. These beliefs included not opening an umbrella indoors (49 percent), not walking under ladders (55 percent), not putting new shoes on a table (60 percent), touching wood (50 percent) and not passing someone else on the stairs. However, only ten percent of the

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“Gamblers appear to exhibit a belief that they have control over their own luck.” bingo players surveyed were superstitious while actually gambling (with a further 13 percent of bingo players claiming they were ‘sometimes’ superstitious while gambling). This was reflected in such behaviours and beliefs as having a lucky night of the week (five percent), having a lucky friend (four percent), having a lucky mascot (six percent), sitting in the same seat for luck (21 percent), believing certain numbers are lucky or unlucky (13 percent), and changing pens or ‘dobbers’ to counter bad luck (29 percent). We also found that 27 percent of bingo players believed in winning and losing streaks. When examining our findings in greater detail, we also found that the heaviest spending bingo players were: ● more likely to be superstitious while playing; ● more likely to have a lucky friend; ● more likely to have a lucky seat; ● and more likely to believe that some numbers are lucky/unlucky.

(N.B. Those who reported regularly spending £20 or more in one bingo hall visit were defined as ‘heavy spenders’ – 29 percent of the sample – whereas those spending less than £20 per bingo hall visit were defined as ‘light spenders’ – 71 percent of the sample). However, some casino gamblers consider that going on the same night with the same friends, or sitting in the same seat are not associated with luck, but merely part of a ‘familiar’ social routine. It’s clear that what some people deem as luck or superstition is not universal across gamblers. Even if people don’t have strongly held superstitious beliefs or lucky traits, there is some evidence that adopting them adds more fun and excitement to the game being played (“It’s my lucky night”, “I’m on a winning streak”, “I’m in my lucky seat”, or “My stars said I’d win”). It’s clear that a large percentage of bingo players in our study reported beliefs

in luck and superstition and that having superstitious beliefs may be simply part of the thrill. What we can’t say is whether other types of gambler would behave in the same way but my own observations in casinos throughout the world is that many skilful players have lucky charms and/or have superstitious beliefs. We also have no idea of whether the medium of gambling has any impact on superstitious behaviour. For instance, does playing bingo on the Internet make people more or less superstitious? Alternatively, it may be that superstitious belief impacts on the likelihood of gambling within a particular gaming platform. For instance, are superstitious people more likely to play offline bingo rather than online? Empirical research in the area is lacking but as bingo (online and offline) increases in popularity, research will no doubt follow. PROFESSOR MARK GRIFFITHS is Professor of Gambling Studies at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University.

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INSIGHT

Over the last four months, we have been contacted by at least half a dozen major super affiliates about setting up an operation in various markets – particularly South America. On top of this, we get contacted almost every day by smaller affiliates looking for a sportsbetting site or a poker room. I AM 100 PERCENT biased towards affiliates – they know how to acquire players, they are incredibly focused on bottom line profits and optimisation at a micro level – these are fundamental skills for an operator. Affiliates have been schooled at the University of Life – I’ll take that over an MBA any day of the week. Indeed, most of Offsidegaming’s marketing staff are ex affiliates – and we pay on revenue share because it’s such a great model. So, is there a growing trend of affiliates moving across to be operators? The short answer, I think, is yes. This is partly driven by the number of B2B operators that have emerged. But first of all, let’s look at the pros and cons of the affiliate world over the operator world. Of course, there are board shorts over suits. But I’m talking here about money! To give an example; a super affiliate contacted us recently – his organisation generates 4,000 real players per month for a range of operators in Europe. At a CPA of €100, that’s €400k per month in billings for a business with a very low headcount and pretty low fixed costs – they are hosting 80 or so sites. On the other hand, assuming this affiliate is on 40 percent revenue share with an active player base of 10,000, again, this would probably convert to €400 in revenue per month (based on 10,000 players with €500 per month spend in sports plus associated casino and poker revenues). However, if the same affiliate becomes an operator, he could be keeping upwards of 50 to 70 percent of his profit if he does

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a deal with a B2B provider – the potential revenues are nearly double. On the face of it, this would seem an absolute no-brainer for a high volume affiliate to run their own operation. As an operator, you also fundamentally have a customer database and a business you can exit from more easily than a traffic-based business which tends to be volatile and affected by Google updates and so on. However, is becoming an operator as simple as this? The first issue is that with most affiliate strategies, it is easier to drive traffic to four to eight betting companies than to just one. Affiliate content strategies are based around the comparison of bookmakers or casinos, the quality of the offer and so on. Most affiliate publishing strategies cannot just be ‘switched to one company’. Their very value is based on their position as an affiliate – as an intermediary, if you like. (Although it is true that any affiliate with a content site strategy could always start pushing traffic to their own brand whilst maintaining their existing business.) The other consideration with being an operator is that increasingly, the work really begins once that customer is through the door. The entire industry is a lot more CRM focused than it was previously. As an acquisition focused affiliate, you should not underestimate the amount of work in running a poker room, casino or sportsbook – or all three. Indeed, if going down this route, it is perhaps better to partner with a B2B operator who can deliver this for you – allowing you to focus on acquisition.

The third most important difference between the affiliate world and the operator world is volume. As an affiliate you can make a good living recruiting 50 or 200 players per month and you may even have a couple of staff and a pretty good business. However, as an operator, 200 players per month won’t even cover your costs – a lot more scale is required to cover fixed costs, customer services and so on. In reality, an operator site needs about 500 funded players per month to really get some growth and ideally, a lot more than that. Payment service provider fees, charge backs, revenue shares to software houses, taxes, and affiliate commissions all need to be taken care of before any marketing even begins. I think this is the fundamental point for any affiliate considering the ‘other side’. Also don’t forget, the grass is always greener on the other side. I, for example, have worked on the operator side for ten years. I’ve always wanted to become an affiliate. Indeed, I am making my first moves in this area, any potential partners please get in touch.

MATT JELLICOE is a Director and Founder of Offsidegaming. Offsidegaming is a full platform operator specialising in working with strategic marketing partners across Europe and South America by building bespoke brands and solutions for any given market. www.offsidegaming.com.

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insight

Finding the llama within… By Pierrick Leveque, Head of Acquisition at Virgin Games. Revenue based performance marketing is quite an elegant concept. With trust as a ground principle, its ultimate aim is to balance both parties’ expectations and risks towards partnership bliss. ●●Operator wants affiliate to send quality traffic ●●Affiliate wants operator to keep customers happy On the premise that both parties are equally honest, qualified and good-willed, even a satisfactory partnership sounds easier than it actually is, as internal challenges and external factors connive on both sides to bring chaos to the equation. Affiliates are off the hook this month, with this article focusing on operators: how can they commit to keeping their affiliates earning from their players through good customer retention? Toolkit The internal challenge for an online gaming company is simple, and fits naturally with the affiliate’s core expectation: how to keep a player happy and willing to return? The answer is simple: stickiness. Give a customer a reason to come back, and the means to achieve this fall into two categories: fresh and engaging content, fresh and engaging promotions. Content plays a key part in the equation, but let’s touch on it lightly as it is beyond the scope of this article. An operator regularly adding new games can help cater for a wider range of players, from the ‘oyster’ (plays one game only) to the ‘butterfly’ (more adventurous, plays several games – either at once or in succession, and is hungry for novelty). As an added value, it gives the operator an opportunity to tailor promotions around new games. A bonus attached as an ancillary to a new game will always be better greeted than a ‘cold call’ for cash. Now onto the thick of it: fresh and engaging promotions. That’s a different beast altogether, one that has the power to make or break a business. Past the initial welcome bonus – the acquisition tool – stickiness is acted upon by retention bonuses, the output of an operator’s CRM strategy.

Slice n’dice Technology aside, what separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to CRM strategists is one’s appetite for creative slicing and promotion engineering. Let’s go back to our cake with the initial aim of identifying segments you want to communicate to. There’s an endless list of parameters one can use to slice up a customer database, some of the most obvious filters in our industry being: ●●Time (date account opened, date last played, days since last played, average time in session, etc…) ●●Geo-demographic (country, county, city, postcode, gender, marital status, etc…) ●●Game (favourite game, favourite game type, etc…) ●●Financial (average drop, total wagers, revenue, deposits, withdrawals, etc…) Depending on the level of granularity you want to achieve, a wide range of additional filters can be applied. The depth of personal data accumulated by Facebook – for example – allows an advertiser to run a Facebook display advertising campaign targeting, say, single males in the 50 to 65-year-old age group who live in the north of Scotland, own a llama, like baroque architecture, mud wrestling, British food and Ricky Martin’s music. Why an advertiser would want to target this group is anyone’s guess, but what matters here is that you can dig this deep if the dataset is large enough. Base CRM Once the segments have been identified (new players, never played, high rollers, lapsed and much more…) the operator must apply the right retention message to the right group. In our industry, an efficient retention strategy is built on two layers. A recurrent base layer and a custom layer consisting of offers specifically tailored to groups or individuals identified through the segmentation process. The base layer comprises generic retention bonuses which are generally publicly advertised on the operator’s website and supported by communication reminders. They include daily and weekly promotions, monthly prize draws, loyalty and reload bonuses and tournament and community prizes.

They are generic yet necessary: forgetting to entertain and reward customers who show no signs of fatigue will inevitably see them get bored sooner than you wish, and it’ll be twice as hard convincing them to come back in. Tailored CRM The custom CRM layer addresses group of players based on patterns: players who have never deposited, played only once, haven’t played in a week, haven’t played in a month, low, medium, high rollers, players whose latest deposit failed, etc… One such type of customers is of particular concern to revenue-share affiliates: the lapsed player. The guy who’s been making the bulk of your commission for the past three months and suddenly disappears from your reports. It’s in everyone’s interest to see this player identified and contacted early. Whatever the approach – email, snail mail, SMS, on-site messaging, or bonus mechanics such as no deposit bonus, bingo cards, tournament seat – the aim is to get him/her to come back. The ‘lapsed players’ group is the most dramatic example, as the effect of a reactivation is the most clearly visible to affiliates. However, and this is important, this is not to say that other segments are less crucial. They’re all part of a cyclical monitoring system. Behind every long-life player your affiliate reports display, there should be a set of CRM rules constantly probing and adjusting your player’s satisfaction levels. If there isn’t, you’re just lucky, but we all know, working in the gambling sector, that nothing should be left to luck. Intertwined happiness Hailing CRM as the sole saviour of affiliate bliss would be short-sighted. External factors like seasonality, economic climate, and technical issues can jeopardise this fragile equilibrium. However, by ensuring that companies they promote have an advanced retention strategy in place, affiliates caught in the cascading revenue stream will reap the rewards spawned from the operators’ CRM approach. And remember: in revenue-share terms, a happy player means a happy affiliate.

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feature

iGaming Business Report

In an excerpt from iGaming Business’ forthcoming Global Business of Affiliate Marketing Report, the first dedicated affiliate report in the market, Renée Mate, Affiliate Co-ordinator at RewardsAffiliates.com provides and in-depth analysis of the commission structures at work in the modern iGaming affiliate sector. Commission models explained: CPA, RevShare, Hybrids and the Wager model

on player value and a working history with the group you are approaching.

One of the first questions to spring to the minds of affiliates, when he or she starts in the business, is “How do I get paid?” It’s natural to ask, because you’re in the business to make money, but shouldn’t you be clued up not only on how you are getting paid, but what you can expect from each commission model, which can then help you understand how to get the most from your traffic?

RevShare model

CPA model The first commission model most people will know about is the CPA model (Cost-PerAction or Cost-Per-Acquisition). The basis of the CPA model is a one off payment for an ‘action’, which is generally a minimum requirement of some sort. Some programs, depending on their core business, will introduce requirements such as real money player registration, player wagering amounts (e.g. 30 x deposit), number of raked hands if they are a poker player (e.g. 500 or more), or the most popular, a minimum deposit amount (e.g. $100). Some groups opt for a tiered CPA commission model, which pays the affiliate a higher CPA depending on how many players are sent. An example may be something like this: 0-5 players:

$50

6-15 players:

$100

16-25 players:

$150

26-35 players:

$200

36-45 players:

$250

46-55 players:

$300

56-65 players:

$350

66+ players:

$400+

This model can have major pitfalls for either party, especially if one side is not performing. It is generally good for poker affiliates or affiliates whose main traffic are players looking for games of skill (since these games have a high win rate for the player). Searching around the Internet, you will find that the majority of affiliates do not recommend this method. The upside to this model is that most CPA amounts are usually negotiable based

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The second widely-used commission model is the RevShare or Revenue Share model. There are many variations on this model including tiered or flat commission percentages, as well as inclusions and exclusions on what is and is not commissionable. The basic idea of RevShare is that commission is paid on gross player losses. Some groups may also choose to deduct certain items from the amount commissionable, like progressive jackpot fees, bonuses, cash-ins, chargebacks, payment fees and other admin costs. Varying or tiered RevShare is where you are paid a varied percentage of player loss depending on the amount of players you bring in, or the amount of revenue the players you bring in generate. An example of this could be: 0-5 players:

20%

6-10 players:

25%

11-15 players:

30%

16-20 players:

35%

21+ players:

40%

OR

This is the most popular commission model; however, not all groups offer it. The upside to the RevShare model is that almost all groups assign the player to the affiliate for life, which means the affiliate is paid a percentage of player losses for the lifetime of that player. Another variation of the RevShare model is the ‘Purchase model’, where affiliates are paid a percentage of player deposits. This model is very rare. However, the upside is that your commission will always be a fixed amount of the deposits and cannot go up or down if a player wins or loses. With this model, you can almost guarantee the commission you make at the start of the month will be the same at the end of the month if the circumstances are regular, i.e. no chargebacks, bonus abuse or fraud.

Hybrid model The Hybrid model is on-the-up amongst affiliates because it is a mix between the RevShare and CPA models. The Hybrid model will usually consist of a smaller RevShare percentage than the regular one offered, plus a basic CPA amount. A couple of examples are: 25% + $150 CPA 30% + $50 CPA

$0-1000:

20%

$1001-5000:

25%

$5001-$10000:

30%

$10001-15000:

35%

$15001+:

40%

These are the most common commission models. Percentages of player loss and figures for amount of players brought in, and the amount of revenue brought in vary depending on the group. The great thing about this model is that the more traffic you bring to the group, the bigger and better your commission is. Most affiliates opt for this model if it is available. Also available as a RevShare option is a flat commission model where the program pays out all numbers and players at one percentage. This means that whether you bring one player or 100 players, you are paid the same percentage commission of player loss on either of the two scenarios.

This model consists of all properties of the CPA and RevShare models mentioned above, including a minimum requirement for the CPA part of the model. In most cases, a minimum deposit amount or minimum wagered amount is required in order for the CPA part of the model to be activated. An example may be that the hybrid consists of 25% RevShare plus $150 CPA. While the affiliate may be earning 25% on any losses, the CPA will not be paid out until the minimum deposit amount or minimum wagered amount has been met. The minimum requirements for the CPA part of the model should be discussed with your affiliate manager. The upside to this model is that you have a one-off bulk payment for the player, as well as the ongoing percentage commission. The downside to this model is that since the percentage commission is lower than the regular one offered, in the

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majority of cases over the long-term, you will not be earning as much commission on this player as you would have done going with the RevShare-only option. Another downside is that if the player never makes the minimum requirements in order to activate the CPA part of the model, you will earn less on this player than you could have done on the RevShare model alone.

Wager model Last but not least is the Wager model, also known as ‘WagerShare’, the ‘Vegas model’ or the ‘Theoretical model’. This model is used in land-based casinos by casino hosts and is one of the oldest commission-based models. The model is based on margins on each game type and player wagering amounts, paying a percentage of the margin on each game type. It takes into account that certain games pay out more than others and accommodates for this, allowing the affiliate to earn a commission regardless of whether or not the player wins or loses. The reason it can also be known as the ‘Theoretical model’, is because it calculates the amount you would earn on the player losses ‘in theory’ over a period of time, and

pays it out in even portions. This means that over time, the amount you would have earned on, for example, the RevShare model, is spread out evenly so that rather than having one big month, then the next month being negative, affiliates receive a steady commission each month. With the Wager model, commission can never fall from a player winning and will only ever get higher as long as the player is playing. If the player decides to spend their winnings back at the casino, the affiliate will also earn on the wagering of the player win. Although this model is new to the online gaming world, it has been used by a few groups to date. Some have incorporated the tiered commission structure into the model, and others pay at a flat percentage rate. The payout percentages for each game type rely absolutely on the margin on each group’s properties. A great example of this is video poker. Since it is the highest paying game, the commission percentage on it would be lower. This is because over a period of time, the affiliate would have earned less, if anything at all from a video poker player, since there is approximately

The forthcoming GLOBAL BUSINESS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING Report is the first official analysis of the affiliate sector of the iGaming industry. For more information about the report and to pre-order your copy, please contact Shona ODonnell: shona@igamingbusiness.com or +44 (0) 207 954 3476.

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a 98% chance he/she will win. Since the affiliate earns regardless of win or loss on the wager model, the affiliate will earn a commission in this case, rather than be in the negative as they would have been, had they have been on the RevShare model. The upside to this model is that, like the RevShare model, this commission model is mostly paid on the lifetime of the player, so over the long-term, this model stands to earn you the most commission per player. Since this model is also based on player wagering, the amount of potential earnings per player is not restricted to a percentage of their losses, and in the case of a high turnover player, it can even be much higher than the amount the player has deposited.

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INSIGHT

The online gaming industry will increasingly target casual players, rather than its traditional constituency of sports bettors, poker and casino players, according to a new report from iGaming analysts, Media & Entertainment Consulting Network (MECN). THE NEW ‘CASUAL GAMING and Gambling on the Internet’ study from MECN suggests that long established iGaming business drivers have reached their maximum potential, leaving operators on the lookout for new revenue streams. Rather than focussing on the traditional gambler, iGaming companies are increasingly looking towards a new constituency of casual players in order to boost income. Bingo, social networks and money games such as keno and lottos will all be in the sights of the online gaming sector in 2011 according to the report, with firms increasing investment in the new target areas. Social gaming The study suggests that the explosion in popularity of social gaming took many operators by surprise, something they will be looking to remedy this year. As Gigi Levy of 888 put it, “The industry had a blind spot”. The report cites the upsurge in growth of Zynga Poker as a case in point. The free-to-play online Texas Hold’em game is a Facebook favourite and has more than 36 million active users each month. At any one time, between 200,000 and 400,000 people are playing the game online, dwarfing the figures of even the leading real money poker rooms. A 2010 Econsultancy survey stated that 19 percent of its respondents take part in social gaming with that figure rising to 28 percent for those aged between the ages of 16 and 30. This is estimated to be a £1 billion sector, and one which the iGaming industry will be keen to tap into in the coming months. Bingo Bingo is another potential growth area highlighted in the report. As we have seen in recent times, the online version of the game has enjoyed a huge surge

44

in popularity with the social aspect of the online game a crucial factor in its growth. Bingo sites have encouraged participants to interact with other players while taking part, with this increased interaction fostering a greater sense of community and more importantly for operators, greater brand loyalty and player retention. The likes of Playtech, 888 and PartyGaming have all heavily increased their investment in online bingo. The report also considers the new growth opportunities in the newly regulated markets of France and Italy where casual players are now the primary source of revenue generation. Fantasy sports, where players create an individual virtual team to compete against other teams based on statistics of real-life professional sports teams, are also seen as potential growth areas, acting as ‘strategic entryways into markets with legal restrictions’ most notably in the USA, where fantasy football and baseball leagues have earned huge mainstream followings. Skill rather than luck based games such as solitaire, Zuma, 9 Ball Pool and mahjong are other areas the report highlights as potential sources of growth for online operators. Revenue and growth The report suggests that the iGaming industry now appears to have recognised the importance of social gaming and its potential as a new and growing source of revenue. “The online gambling industry is striking back and is launching its own social gambling offers. The rapidity and determination with which this is happening comes as a bit of a surprise: 85 percent of all operators surveyed expressed their intention to increase their efforts in social networks/gaming in the next two to three years.” The potential for growth in the online

lotto sector, especially for private sector operators, is another area touched on by MECN. Online lotto sales, which are estimated to grow to $5.5 billion by 2015, have been largely overlooked by many in the industry according to the study. However, the outlook for growth could change rapidly with state domination in the lotto arena potentially coming to an end. MECN’s Martin Oelbermann explains, “Large private operators will soon discover online lotto and numbers games. What started in 2009 with hefty investments in bingo will spread to lotto and numbers games – maybe already in 2011.” The current gross revenues for numbers games and lottos stand at around $100 billion (including traditional retail sales) with Internet sales amounting to approximately $1.9 billion in 2010. MECN predicts that Internet sales will rise to as much as $5.5 billion by 2015. In its report, MECN goes as far as to say that the Internet could have the same impact in the lotto sector as it did in the sportsbook arena. Martin Oelbermann continued, “The race to win over casual gamblers is surely on, and lotto/numbers games will play a vital role in this race. Therefore, state lotteries and NGO operators should start getting ready if they do not want to lose their last stronghold.” So, it would seem that the iGaming industry has recognised, it somewhat belatedly, that the Internet has become a much more interactive and social environment in recent times.

The full title of the report is ‘Casual Gaming and Gambling on the Internet – 2nd edition, Social Gaming, Skill Gaming, Online Bingo, Online Lotteries, and Others’ and is now available to purchase from MECN.

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Casino • Poker • Sportsbook • Bingo • Lottery • Skillgames • Forex


INSIGHT

The market for betting tools, casino game apps, and lottery apps (random number generators and results) is approaching billions of dollars. While Apple and Google ban real-money casino games from the iPhone and Android markets, play money apps can be sold as premium downloads. Currently, six million Facebook poker players compete daily over 3G or WiFi networks. Facebook fans can locate their online friends and then schedule a game. There are options to chat with others at the table, buy virtual beers, as well as send and receive free chip gifts. Mobile gaming market According to Juniper Research, casino and lottery games are the fastest growing segments in the mobile content industry. Juniper forecasts in excess of $27.5 billion in mobile gambling wagers will be placed by 2013, growing to $48 billion by 2015. Here, we take a look at some of the available apps in the market Apple App Store Apple recently approved a downloadable Betfair gambling app for the iPhone. According to Head of Mobile at Betfair, Charles Palmer, in speaking to the trade press, “There were no terms and conditions about gambling. We approached Apple with the proposal and our app, showing that it does the normal KYC and age verification.” While Betfair has become the first online gambling application allowed by the Apple iPhone App Store, US iPhone users cannot access the app. This application runs on Betfair’s Exchange system and uses GPS to authorise users to place bets when they are in UK and Ireland only. “We have added the ability to locate where the customer is,” continued Palmer. “It can tell if you are in the UK or Ireland and if you’re not, it won’t function. We put that in there as an extra precaution, they (Apple) didn’t request that.” Besides compliance with US restrictions enforced by UIEGA, these gambling apps must enforce age verification in regulated jurisdictions. In Australia, Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing laws that would ban gambling apps from phones, even if they are playfor-fun apps. Betfair is confident that it can comply with conflicting regulations that restrict distribution of its app.

46

Betfair App Directory Betfair has a Sports API that allows developers to create applications that seamlessly integrate with the Betfair Sports Exchange. Developers can use the Sports API to create applications with a customised interface, functionality and specialised functions. These third party apps are featured on the Betfair App Directory. Each software application listed is technically compliant and licensed with Betfair, and designed to improve the productivity of Betfair products. Leroy’s Sportsbook App American Wagering Inc has also incorporated geo-location verification into a sportsbetting application for Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry. The application lets users legally bet on sports anywhere in the US state of Nevada on BlackBerry phones. The application was developed with Leroy’s sister company, Computerized Bookmaking Systems Inc, and with the assistance of BlackBerry’s sports division. Spin3 Partner Program Spin3 is an award-winning provider of full service mobile casino solutions powered by Microgaming. The Spin3 Partner Program enables mobile content providers to promote Spin3 clients’ mobile casinos to their customers for a share of revenues generated. Partners, on the other hand, will be able to provide the mobile casino games of any Spin3 clients that they choose to work with. While Apple allows betting apps for the UK/Ireland market, Spin3 offers a gaming app partner program without content restrictions, investment or risk. Unlike the premium download

model used by the Apple for iPhone app revenue share, the Spin3 model is based on sharing revenues generated by the money wagered throughout the lifetime of each player referred. In addition to providing mobile casino applications, Spin3 also advises partners in business development. The Partner Program pairs content providers with appropriate casino clients to maximise conversion and monetisation of mobile gaming traffic. Casinos and Sportsbooks Partners can earn revenue by promoting a number of Spin3 mobile brands, including Ladbrokes, All Slots Mobile Casino, 32Red, Spin Palace, 777Mobile, Crazy Mobile Casino, and Wild Jack Mobile Casino. Products can be translated for any language to enhance player experience and maximise revenue. Lotteries Spin3’s LottoSpin is a complete interactive and mobile solution bringing the most popular form of gaming – lotteries – to the world’s four billion mobile phones. LottoSpin is a total solution for interactive lotteries, with four integrated modules that enables traditional lottery operators to leverage their brand, infrastructure and acquisition channels and launch their own interactive lottery offering. Games are fully supported on over 2,000 mobile devices, including iPhone, BlackBerry, and on Android-powered phones, giving partners access to the widest possible Smartphone market. mPUSH private app storefront mPUSH is a private label app storefront from txtNation that enables content

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providers to sell mobile gaming apps from private label e-stores. This app platform supports iPhone, iPad, Google Android, HTC and Blackberry. The operator decides on the app catalogue and standards (gambling apps accepted). Integrated mobile billing is included. Operators have control over the prices, the content and the branding. The mobile storefront offers end-users premium SMS micro-payments, IVR numbers and credit/debit card payment options. Worldwide premium SMS short codes are available for 45 countries. The product is available either as a complete customer-facing solution, providing web and WAP interfaces, or as a back-end service for existing web or WAP portals and includes connectivity to all the major networks and carriers across Europe.

Conclusion As of writing, the social media company, Zynga, announced that it will port the iPhone app, Live Poker, to the Android platform. The company may implement an ad-supported model, possibly involving Google’s AdMob to monetise distribution. Given the widespread popularity of social games Farmville and Mafia Wars, the port of Live Poker to the Android presents a major challenge to Apple and RIM for mobile service market share. The explosive growth in the Smartphone market has been driven by sales of the iPhone, and competition from the less restrictive and developerfriendly Android platform. Current trends indicate that the forecast of a $48 billion mobile gaming market by 2015 may actually be too conservative.

Have a suggestion for future mobile technology topics? Let us know. JACQUES LEDISCO is the Publisher of Mobile Betting News, a PDF magazine is which includes news and features on mobile technology in casino games, lotteries, sportsbetting, and horseracing. Readers can join Jacques on Twitter/ mgambling, or the MBN forum on LinkedIn. Jacques has published market research reports on gambling, and currently, manages mobile marketing campaigns for gambling clients on PPC sites and through bulk SMS. He can be reached at j.ledisco@txtnation.com.

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iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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INSIGHT

With the merger of PartyGaming and bwin well into its planning stages, Richard Clayton assesses the outlook for affiliates in the industry’s new dawn. BACK IN 2006, when the US closed its doors to the online gaming market, many predicted that affiliates would abandon ship and head for brighter, less competitive shores than those of Europe. They predicted that affiliates would branch out to other verticals and give those already in these areas a run for their money by using their knowledge and experience in SEO to beat them at their own game and dominate the retail rankings for ‘elegant men’s shirts’ and ‘breakaway holiday destinations’. However, affiliates are a resilient bunch and this did not happen. One main reason is due to other verticals only being able to offer month-end payments in the hundreds of dollars rather than the thousands. Another is that affiliates enjoy a challenge and those who were good enough were able to do well in the fiercely competitive European market. However, the online gaming landscape is about to change once again. The merger of PartyGaming and bwin, two industry giants, due to be completed by the end of March, will create a monster of company with huge buying clout and economy of scale. As PartyGaming has proved in the past, it is capable of using its large cash reserves to great effect, as seen by its highly successful acquisition of the UK’s largest bingo network, Cashcade, last year. As the merger will create a company three times bigger than its nearest competitor, the only way other operators will be able to compete and survive will be to join forces. Therefore, we can certainly expect to see many more mergers and acquisitions taking place in 2011. In addition, as a recent report by KPMG highlights, the world recession has lead to world governments reassessing their perspectives on online gaming to allow for badly needed extra income by regulating this lucrative market. Within Europe, we have already seen evidence of this shift with the new French legislation that kicked in last year with Canada, Ireland and Denmark shortly to follow. There

48

are also movements of various degrees taking place elsewhere including the US, India, China, Japan, Mexico, Argentina and Australia. As a result, Manchesterbased gaming consultancy, H2 Gambling Capital predicts the global market to explode and grow by 42 percent from its 2008 levels, within the next two years.

narrow, no longer will affiliate programs be able to pay the generous rev share and CPA rates they currently offer to attract and maintain players. Instead, marketing budgets, the largest expense for any operator, will be focused towards acquiring players directly rather than through affiliates. Operators may do

“The online gaming landscape is about to change once again. The merger of PartyGaming and bwin, two industry giants, will create a monster of company with huge buying clout and economy of scale.” So where does all this leave the affiliate? Let us first look at what a year of M&A activity in the industry could represent and then turn to the impact that regulation will have on affiliates. M&A To begin with, companies who merge will be in position to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities that will flow from the continued evolution and expansion of the global online gaming industry, including regulation. These companies will have a formula to exploit the expanding global online gaming market, supported by a strong balance sheet and significant cash flow generation. Affiliates will be wise to join forces with these companies as they will be leading the way into new territories and products with the marketing bucks to make it happen. The merged companies will be those who are able to afford to enter these new markets and, thus, build their brand to have recognition both online and offline – becoming the brands affiliates will want to promote and be able to see higher conversions on. Regulation As for regulation, there are some who believe affiliates will be squeezed out as large operators will need to pay hefty government taxes to be part of the regulated country. As profit margins

this through direct SEO of their sites as well as more online and offline media spend. This, however, will not be done as a standalone approach for although operators will be looking to make a splash into new markets with massive spend on traditional advertising, it is far from certain that they will be able to ignore the existing presence and knowledge held by local affiliates. Affiliates, then, will continue to be a much needed channel through which to market the various brands that enter the market. With a new era on the horizon, it’s a sure bet that there will be many opportunities for affiliates to get involved with too, a crucial one being the growth of mobile gaming. According to Gartner, by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry Smartphones and by 2014 there will be 90 percent worldwide penetration. As governments become more and more aware of this potential and open up their markets to the biggest players in the industry, affiliates should be tying themselves closer with those who will have the biggest clout and position themselves to make the most of these new markets. RICHARD CLAYTON is Team Manager at PartyGaming’s AffClub affiliate program and can be contacted at richardc@affclub.com.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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DAY 1 Trends, Business and Regulation in iGaming 10.00 - 10.05

Welcome from Conference Chair

10.05 - 10.40

Pres

British Columbia Lottery: Legal Internet Gambling in Canada 2010 saw the BCLC unveil the first legal iGaming site, Playnow.com to be operational in Canada. Find out how successful and effective has been the BCLC’s spread to include casino, bingo and sportsbetting straight from the horse’s mouth. Speaker, BCLC confirmed

10.40 - 11.15

Pres

Taking the US to Court: iMEGA Vs PASPA The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has limited regulated sportsbetting in the United States to just four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Learn the fate of those seeking to overturn this law in Federal court and how the US Department of Justice has planted the seeds of its own downfall, now defending a law that it opposed when in US Congress. Speaker – Joe Brennan, iMEGA

11:15 - 11:45 11.45 - 12.30

Morning Coffee Break Pres

12.30 - 13.30

The Future of iGaming in the US Much discussion has surrounded a future regulated US market, and here, industry experts speculate and debate what an American iGaming landscape will look like and how regulation will impact the industry’s operators and suppliers. Panelists – I Nelson Rose; Chris Krafcik,William Scott, GTECH LUNCH

13:30 - 14:30

Panel

Leaving Las Vegas This session will discuss the opportunities and challenges for the major Vegas casino brands in venturing into the online space in 2011, and whether it is in their best interests do so at this point. Harrah’s has shown the way in this field, but what have we learnt from the brand’s expansion into iGaming (good and bad) that may be giving the rest of Vegas food for thought? Points for discussion include: Is it in the best interest of offline brands to play catch up online? Is Vegas too late to the table – are the incumbent market leaders far too entrenched and experienced to be caught? Do they wait for the US to open or follow Harrah's lead and move into Europe? Panelists – Melissa Blau; Paolo Personeni, President, GTECH G2

14.30 - 15.15

Pres

US State by State Update The 2010 US iGaming Report provided the first unique analysis on the regulatory landscape for state-level iGaming in the United States. Here, author Chris Krafcik explores the key findings from his report as well as presenting the latest updates from the states most likely to pioneer a new chapter of legalized iGaming in the US. Speaker – Chris Krafcik, Editor, Gambling Compliance

DAY 2 Trends, Business and Regulation in iGaming 11.00 - 11.05

Welcome from Conference Chair

11.05 - 12.00

Panel

iGaming Index iGaming Business Finance Editor, Melissa Blau, provides insight on the listed gaming stock on the world’s financial markets and how they and the index has fared as the global economy struggles to shake off the hangover from the recent financial malaise. Find out just how leading iGaming businesses trade in the open markets, and what their performance says about the industry at large. Moderator – Melissa Blau. Panelists – Ivor Jones, Numis; Paul Leyland, Investec; Ed Birkin, Barclays Capital.

12.00 - 13.00

Panel

M&A and Consolidation – What bwin/PartyGaming has Taught us so Far 2010 was a significant year for mergers and acquisitions within the iGaming space, with none bigger than the fusion of two of the leading lights in the industry, bwin and PartyGaming. What has this deal taught us about the shape of the industry’s future, and how will smaller players be affected down the line? Also, find out more about some of the key mergers of the last 12 months plus speculation as to what’s in the pipeline for 2011. Moderator – Melissa Blau. Panelists; Ed Birkin, Barclays Capital, James Hollins, Daniel Stewart; Simon Davies, Collins Stewart.

13:00 - 14:00

LUNCH

14.00 - 15.15

Panel

The EU Debate – Restricted Openings Vs Monopoly Rule The European iGaming landscape is providing the industry with much to consider, as it watches Member State after Member State introduce new national licensing regimes allowing restricted access to their domestic gaming markets foreign operators. However, the patchwork environment is still littered with market shut outs, such as the monopoly regimes in Sweden, Norway and Portugal. Join our panel to discuss what we have learnt from the market openings in France and Italy, what we can expect from emerging regions such as Spain, Denmark and Belgium and also, how the monopolies are faring in their non-competitive regimes. Moderator – Jake Pollard, Editor, iGaming France; Rolf Francis-Sims, Legal Adviser Ministry of Culture, Norway; Stephen Ketteley, Berwin Leighton Paisner, ARJEL, John Hagan, Partner, Harris Hagan.

15.15 - 16.00

Pres

Keynote Address Frank J Fahrenkopf Jr, American Gaming Association (AGA)

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DAY 1 Online Marketing & Acquisition 10.00 - 10.05

Welcome from Conference Chair

10.05 - 10.40

Pres

Live Sports Betting: The Opportunities for Affiliates Sports betting operators are moving to live betting on a massive scale (i.e. 70% of bets) but affiliates are yet to follow suit – why is this? Attend this session to find out what opportunities are available to affiliates and how you should be taking advantage of what live betting has to offer. Speaker – Matt Jellicoe, Offside Gaming

10.40 - 11.15

Pres

Email Marketing & List Building Synopsis coming shortly Speaker - Silverpop

11:15 - 11:45 11.45 - 12.30

Morning Coffee Break Pres

12.30 - 13.30

KEYNOTE – TBC LUNCH

13:30 - 14:30

Panel

How to Monetize Social Media A panel of industry professionals and social media experts discuss the opportunities of monetizing social media for affiliates and operators in the igaming industry. Attend this session to discover what the success has been so far, how social media can be used effectively to generate traffic and drive conversions, and how this will develop moving into the future?

14.30 - 15.15

Panel

Round Table Discussion: Affiliate Issues Affiliates are invited to discuss the previous three months major issues with the industry’s forum leaders and operators. Be sure to take this unique advantage in a session which will become a regular feature at all future iGB Events – air your views, get advice, ask your questions and get honest answers face-to-face.

DAY 2 11.00 - 11.05

Welcome from Conference Chair

11.05 - 12.00

Panel

SEO Surgery Attend this session to discover what makes the five best sites in the industry stand out above all others as our exciting line-up of skilled SEO professionals lift the lid on why these sites are so good and how you can replicate their success by using the tools and techniques they have employed.

12.00 - 13.00

Panel

Demon SEO Panel The legendary Demon SEO Panel returns – this advanced session will showcase an in depth discussion from the industry’s most influential SEO experts as they reveal the most talked about SEO tips and tricks that Google undoubtedly disapproves of!

13:00 - 14:00

LUNCH

14.00 - 15.15

Panel

SEO Update Showcasing the current SEO themes in three 15 minute mini-presentations, this is an un-missable opportunity to learn more about the critical factors that could be affecting your search engine strategy. This unique session concludes with an interactive Q&A section with the SEO presenters giving you unrivaled access to the valuable knowledge these expert speakers are willing to share by getting answers to your questions.

15.15 - 16.00

Pres

NEW PPC Advertising Tactics: Search and Social Advertising Over the past year, Google and Microsoft have introduced a huge number of new capabilities and features. At the same time, new advertising channels like Facebook have extended affiliates advertising reach. Attend this session to earn how to employ powerful new search and social advertising tactics – many of which have been overlooked by competing affiliates. This session will cover: 1. How to use display advertising to drive low-cost conversions 2. The five new Google AdWords features every affiliate should be using 3. The three key Microsoft adCenter features that Google doesn’t yet offer 4. Hyper-targeting Facebook advertising 5. Increasing conversion rates with customized landing pages Speaker - David Szetela, Founder and CEO, Clix Marketing

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Confirmed Super Show Speakers

Frank J Fahrenkopf Jr Frank J Fahrenkopf, Jr, is President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). In his role, Fahrenkopf is the national advocate for the commercial casino industry and is responsible for positioning the association to address regulatory, political and educational issues affecting the industry.

Paolo Personeni Paolo Personeni is President of GTECH G2’s new media and sportsbetting division. Paolo is responsible for building a global presence in this growing market segment. Under his leadership, GTECH G2 focuses on providing technology platform and services to customers operating interactive poker, casino, bingo, skill, as well as lottery games, sports betting, and regulated multi-jurisdictional games.

Joe Brennan Jr Joe Brennan Jr is Chairman of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA). “The Super Show is critical to presenting a clear picture of the way forward in the US. The opportunities and effects of opening US markets affects all corners of the industry, and with the speed that this is occurring, Super Show is the only way to address them all at once.”

Professor I Nelson Rose Harvard Law School educated, Prof. Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on gambling law. He is an internationally known public speaker and a consultant and expert witness for governments and industry. His latest books, INTERNET GAMING LAW (1st & 2nd editions), BLACKJACK AND THE LAW and GAMING LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS, are available through his website, www.GAMBLINGANDTHELAW.com.

Paul Leyland Paul Leyland has been a leisure analyst for ten years, focusing primarily on the gambling industry. He has worked with many online and land-based gambling companies, advising on strategy, perception, fundraising and M&A. He joined Investec in July 2010.

Ed Birkin Ed Birkin is a Leisure Equity Analyst for Barclays Capital. “The iGaming Super Show is great as it allows those relatively new to the industry to really network. While most industry conferences finish as soon as the last session is over, the iGaming Super Show is great on the networking and social side of things, bringing added value to attendees even after the official sessions finish.”

Rolf Francis-Sims Rolf Francis-Sims is Legal Advisor to the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. Since 1998 he has worked as a gaming regulator, first with the Ministry of Justice and Police, and since 2001 with the Ministry of Culture. He has supervised the administration of Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian state-owned gaming company, as well as the Norwegian Gaming Authority. He has been particularly involved in the Norwegian Slot machine case and Ladbrokes case which question the compatibility of Norwegian gaming law to EU/EEA-law.

Chris Krafcik Chris Krafcik is a US-based journalist and researcher who covers Internet gambling regulatory developments for leading publishers and consultancies including GamblingCompliance, Spectrum Gaming Group, BolaVerde Media Group and iGaming Business. “iGaming Business events offer can’t-miss networking opportunities.”

Other confirmed speakers include The British Columbia Lottery Corporation; John Hagan, Partner, Harris Hagan; Ivor Jones, Director, Numis Securities; James Hollins, Director, Leisure Research, Evolution Securities; Simon Davies, Collins Stewart; Stephen Ketteley, Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP; Jake Pollard, Editor, iGaming France; Melissa Blau, Finance Editor, iGaming Business and many more still to be confirmed.

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feature

A blueprint for regulated iGaming in the US market is set to be rolled out in the state of New Jersey in March, as the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill sits on Governor Christie’s desk just one signature away from passage into law. The New Year has brought with it a renewed optimism for the industry as its largest emerging market is finally showing signs of acceptance that a regulated iGaming landscape is the only true means of progress for US states. Despite renewed efforts towards the end of 2010 to reignite the federal campaign, it is now clear that state level regulation will form the basis of the new iGaming framework in the United States. Indeed, the intra-state model being proposed in New Jersey would see a future regulatory landscape of ‘United States’, or ‘States United’, if you will, being developed through connectivity with neighbouring states, but for the time being, we can only look as far as the desk of Governor Chris Christie who now has the final say on the passage of the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill into law.

One signature away January 10, 2011: the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill, co-sponsored by Senators Ray Lesniak (D) and Joe Kryillos (R), finally finds its way to the desk of Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, after being approved in the Senate by a majority of 34-2 (the vote in the assembly was approved by 63-11-3 margin). Governor Christie’s signature would give the green light for New Jersey to officially become the first state in the US to regulate Internet gambling, allowing casinos in Atlantic City to provide online versions of their games to state residents. It is also the case that should the bill be left unsigned after the 45 day period, it will automatically pass into law. Safe passage of bill S3167 would herald the dawn of a new era for the iGaming industry in the US market, as it finally emerges from the shadows cast by the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. One of the bill’s most influential propenents has been the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), which seeks to foster cooperation between the iGaming industry and government at all levels. Its Chairman,

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Joe Brennan Jr, spoke of his delight at the approval of the bill thus far. “Congratulations to New Jersey’s legislators on their overwhelming vote in favour of the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill. It’s clear that New Jersey’s representatives want their state to be at the forefront of the online gaming industry, both in the US and globally. “With the combination of the top regulators in gaming, great information technology infrastructure, a highlyeducated workforce, and the strong foundation and leadership of the Atlantic City casino industry, New Jersey is certain to lead this industry’s growth in the US, while creating high-paying, skilled jobs in the technology sector and also attracting investment to the state.” Writing in his article, “New Jersey: the Land of (iGaming) Opportunity?”, in the Jan/Feb issue of iGaming Business magazine, Brennan lays out the reasons why New Jersey would be “the best state in the entire US for establishing a permanent base of operations for existing firms to eventually extend their reach into the next states to permit online games. “New Jersey, which is the second largest casino market in the US after Nevada, has arguably the toughest regulators in the gaming industry,” he explained. “The value of NJ licensure to an iGaming firm is the regulatory surety it demonstrates not only to players, but also to subsequent state governments that may permit the activity, as well as to the financial markets, which would likely place a higher valuation on NJ-licensed firms. “New Jersey also has the highest IT infrastructure density of any jurisdiction in the world. This is due to the massive post-9/11 build up of capacity to support the financial centre on Wall Street, creating surpluses of bandwidth, storage and servicing firms.” California has previously hogged much of the limelight from Europeanbased operators seeking a state solution in the US, mainly because it boasts the largest population. However, the 36 million inhabitants of ‘The Golden State’

represent an 11 percent shortfall on the potential 40.8 million people that New Jersey (8.7m), in combination with New York (19.5m) and Philadelphia (12.6 million) would provide for a regulated iGaming market, should both latter states follow in New Jersey’s steps as expected. Additionally, New Jersey’s massive head start ahead of California on legislation is drawing undeniable attention from the industry. All eyes will be on the progress made in New Jersey should S3167, as expected, pass into law. It will form the test bed for the intra-state level gaming model being considered, but so far unsuccessfully implemented, in other states forementioned such as California and Florida, where an intra-state poker bill that failed to garner any support is to be reintroduced by Representative Joseph Abruzzo this year. Where New Jersey’s bill is set to make a distinct difference is in stimulating the state’s ailing economy, something that the rest of the nation’s states will be keen to monitor in forming methods to revamp their own financial interests. Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, added to New Jersey’s plaudits. “We applaud the New Jersey legislature for adopting legislation to regulate Internet gambling activity, creating a commonsense framework for protecting consumers, creating jobs and stimulating the state’s economy,” he said, before going on to suggest that a federal solution remains a key priority. “This is clearly a much better approach than the failed attempts by the federal government to prohibit the activity. And while it is encouraging to find New Jersey at the forefront of efforts to regulate Internet gambling activity in the US, the optimum solution we’ll continue to pursue is an all encompassing federal regime to control the activity and protect every American. We hope our nation’s elected leaders at the federal and state levels take notice of this responsible policy approach and follow suit.”

iGB Affiliate february/march 2011

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07/02/2011 16:16


“Governor Christie’s signature would give the green light for New Jersey to officially become the first state in the US to regulate Internet gambling, allowing casinos in Atlantic City to provide online versions of their games to state residents.”

State vs federal The arguments in favour of regulation at the state level have been largely fiscal, accounting for (and seeking to find a solution to) the economic deficits being endured by most states post-financial crisis. Naturally, a similar, precursory line was taken in Congress as the federal proposition sought to levy a blanket marketplace to implement a new national revenue stream. Yet, interestingly, the first and most resounding federal legislature to have trodden a path through the floors of Washington DC and implemented by the most fiscally-orientated member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Barney Frank (then Chairman of the Financial Services Committee), was sold not on the potential tax remuneration, but on the notion that it infringed on the personal freedoms of adult Americans. However morally significant this appeared at the time, it did not carry much weight where it mattered most and for all its ‘selling’, the idea was never bought, even despite belated tax companion bills. Even as recently as December, a brand new federal bill was entered by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, which has gone much the same way as the various amended versions of Frank’s solution to iGaming regulation. Yet, as time has passed, it has become clear that in resolving iGaning policy via federal means (a blanket solution to a blanket prohibition), ‘fighting fire with fire’ is the least effective route. Indeed, one need only cast a glance at the current European market to see how difficult a proposition it is to find a general legislation that caters for the needs and demands of each individual state (Member States, in this case). Perhaps events in Europe have had some influence west of the Atlantic, but having spoken to various Congressmen and even those seeking local regulation, the EU has not been a market that has attracted significant US attention in terms of its manner of legalisation. Despite this, the US looks set to mirror Europe’s fragmented local approach, intentionally or otherwise.

The likelihood is that states have grown to realise, or perhaps have even realised from the outset, that federally regulated and taxed Internet gaming puts them at a notable financial disadvantage. If controlled locally, states have full control and access to their domestic tax revenues, rather than them going to Washington for redistribution. It follows, perhaps tenuously, a growing trend in localisation, where more domestically tailored solutions are being created for local markets – the iGaming industry concentrating on localised products and service offering, and the markets honing, and in some cases, legalising, their domestic regulations (albeit with some pressure from the centralised authorities, where Europe is concerned). Where similarities may still exist between the EU and the potential US market, if we consider Michael Waxman’s suggested federal regime, is that although state level regulation has been largely accepted as the

most practical route ahead, a federal (US/ EU-wide) set of guidelines encompassing consumer protection and corporate responsibility would be a welcome addition to local licensing systems.

Land of opportunity 2011 has ushered in the first real signs of breakthrough for the US market, and the ability (read willingness) of powers-that-be to encourage and stimulate an environment to regulate, and not prohibit, the business of gambling on the Internet. By the time the next issue of iGB Affiliate magazine is printed, we will know more about the longer-term viability of iGaming in the US through New Jersey’s lead, and we fully expect to be reporting on the industry’s newest regulated market – a refreshing change from the speculation, theory and supposition of the past four and a half years. Until then, we remain just one signature away.

iGB Affiliate february/march 2011

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FEATURE

Marcos Charif, Associate at Harris Hagan, explores the legal environment facing affiliates and program operators in today’s gaming market. ACCORDING TO THE OXFORD DICTIONARY, an affiliate is someone who “is adopted as a son”, and who is officially allowed to join a selected group. Consequently, any relationship with an adopted affiliate must implicitly be a good one. That said, although a good relationship between online gambling operators and affiliates is imperative for the success of both parties, there are often adjustment issues involved on both sides before the adoption is successful. This is particularly the case in the heavily regulated and fragmented online gambling sector, where affiliates are increasingly required to adjust and stay abreast of political and legal developments across Europe, rather than simply hold affiliate status. In other words: the more established, ‘reputable’ and regulated online gambling operators (are forced to) become, the more professional and legally aware their adopted affiliates must be. Gambling affiliates have, of course, come a long way from adoption to being one of the main contributors to online gambling operators. But there is still no real appetite for self-regulation and the development of common standards. Several organisations have been set up to represent the affiliates’ interests vis-à-vis gambling operators and to boycott some allegedly black sheep, especially when it comes to one-sided contractual terms and unfair business behaviour. However, legal, regulatory developments and technological opportunities are seldom high on the agenda when it comes to combining forces. The changes in the online gambling sector are not only visible on the regulatory side, but are also due to technical developments allowing for new opportunities to reach a greater target audience. Both developments are, however, closely intertwined and each new potential avenue for new business development comes with a plethora of regulatory and legal pitfalls to which affiliates should be alert. And with all the on-going changes in the online gambling sector across EU Member States and the trend in multiple national gambling licensing regimes in each Member State,

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affiliates and online gambling operators alike are faced with an uphill struggle to comply with the various requirements imposed in each of these countries.

European challenges The simple question of ‘language’ becomes an issue: offering affiliate sites in various languages to increase exposure and establish a brand in a particular jurisdiction raises the financial value and attractiveness of these affiliates. But some European countries already regard the use of their local language on websites as targeted advertising, leading to heavy fines and criminal penalties, regardless of where the affiliate is located. It is no longer just the online gambling operator who is at risk, but also those who advertise gambling products. Ironically, the risk has increased in those regulated EU Member States that allow online gambling. The reason is that these countries have introduced their own set of rules and requirements, whereas in the good old days, online gambling was still ‘protected’ by the (arguably) more straightforward underlying EU principle on the freedom to provide services across Member States, untrammelled by local rules that derogate from that general principle. Following the EU Presidency Report on illegal gambling and Mr Barnier’s announcement (and postponement) of a Green Paper on gambling, the Council of the European Union has unanimously backed EU online gambling regulation. This means that all the main EU institutions, the Council, the Commission and the Parliament, now back the regulation of online gambling at EU level. It should be made clear, however, that neither the Council nor any other EU institutions promote full harmonisation but, instead, envisage Member States sharing information. Bearing in mind data protection laws across Europe, it will be interesting to see how this information sharing will take place. It is hoped, however, that the various national licence requirements and application processes can be streamlined through a clear set of EU rules and closer cooperation between national regulators.

Looking on the bright side, however, affiliates should have fewer problems identifying which online gambling operator to adopt and which one is ‘legal and regulated’, given that national licences should offer some degree of security. However, a licence granted to a gambling operator does not necessarily entitle affiliates to advertise freely – and online gambling operators will want to ensure that their affiliates follow the ‘rules of the game’, wherever that game may be. This is particularly the case when exploring European jurisdictions: setting up a brand name and establishing a presence is expensive, getting the search engine optimisation right takes time and money – all of which could be lost if the gambling regulations change, or are not clarified, or if the US has something to say about it. In this context, some might say that affiliates today are where gambling operators used to be: in a constant state of uncertainty that must be constantly observed to avoid falling foul of any regulations. Staying away from these jurisdictions, however, is not the answer, because others will go the extra mile and become an invaluable asset to online gambling operators in these countries.

Trends and regulations The new(ish) kid on the block is called social media, and it still appears to be new territory for online gambling operators and affiliates alike. Combining search engine optimisation with social media is the key trend: one delivers targeted content through detailed and specific information, the other hands out targeted content and increases its distribution. Both are made to generate traffic, however, both appear to attract a different target audience. This different target audience may become potential fresh meat to convert into players, bearing in mind the extent to which online gambling operators have diversified their offering, making many gambling products more ‘mainstream’ and nearly unrecognisable

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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to the hardened gambler. These include placing bets on popular events like the X-Factor or beauty pageants, or for customers to participate in contents or beauty pageants themselves. These new sites attract a very different target audience that has grown up with the Internet, and which regards social media in the same way as earlier generations regarded their local pub. In many instances, this fresh approach has worked well, for example, when combining special political blogs with a specialist political betting site, or when tapping up YouTube users to perform and place bets on their YouTube entries. But combining ‘traditional affiliate marketing’ with social media requires a very different approach and a change in tactics. Some believe that the best way to exploit this new potential effectively is to use blogs as the natural link. This may very well be one aspect of the future, however, the resources required to do the job differ and the way and manner in which this is done differs greatly as well. Blogs and social media require constant updating; otherwise the potential fan base will evaporate and move on. It is the art of being ‘out there’ constantly that will attract current ‘bloggers’ and other online users to visit a site. In other words: simply having a link to a gambling website is not enough – now you need to sell it as well! In addition, different communities must be created for different products. This raises the costs, with more resources required. Yet, monetising social media is not without its downsides and legal pitfalls, let alone the dependency on the social media sites themselves. Only recently, Facebook decided to eject gambling advertising from the network site. Facebook’s advertising guidelines explicitly prohibit “gambling, including without limitation, any online casino, sports books, bingo or poker without authorisation from Facebook”. This somewhat unclear “prohibition without explicit authorisation” does raise some queries. Filters may be put in place shortly to track down the last gambling advertiser. Whether the social media giant will authorise anyone to advertise gambling in the future is a different question; will it depend on the price perhaps? Times are indeed changing and some may argue that today, Google despises affiliate sites more than ever, building one obstacle after removing another, allowing gambling products after banning them altogether, and affiliates must invest more funds and resources in reaching their spoiled target audience.

When it comes to advertising and social media, the consumer protection watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), has only recently set out new ground rules which should make every blogger and affiliate watch in horror while the new rules are being implemented. The OFT has forced a blogging network to make it clear to visitors when companies are paying it for coverage. This includes any recommendation, favourable statement or any other positive endorsement. In this instance, the OFT investigated ‘Handpicked Media’, a company that operates a network of sites purporting to recommend and review lifestyle products. The OFT said that it investigated the network because it suspected that these favourable reviews were as a result of payment and not independent objective assessments of the products and services advertised. The OFT found that the reviews were in fact ‘commissioned’ and paid for by interested parties. This practice (regardless of payment method) is considered to be in breach of consumer protection legislation, which protects consumers from unfair practices that would lead them to be enticed into a purchase that they would otherwise not have done. All such ‘hidden advertising’ must, therefore, be clearly stated on all websites. Bearing in mind how affiliates and bloggers and social media operate, it is time to include yet another disclaimer and clarifying soothing words on the websites, soon leaving little space for actual advertising itself! How deeply associated and involved affiliates want to become with setting up their own blogs and social media sites will not only depend on the prospect of success, but also on the establishment of a reputable brand which will, without a doubt, lead to more contractual obligations and necessitate clearly drafted online terms and conditions. For example, most blogs contain chat facilities which carry the risk of defamation claims and other complaints. Bonuses and promotions are another bone of contention which, until now, had to be handled by online gambling operators direct. The ASA recently held that an online gambling operator based in Gibraltar was in breach for not linking bonuses and promotions advertised widely on affiliate sites and through targeted email campaigns with its online terms and conditions.

Data Protect… what? With all these new developments and buzz words like trafficking, sourcing, targeting

and social media, one can easily forget that it is (or should be) all about the consumer, or more accurately, about the consumer’s personal data. Until now, ‘traditional affiliates’ managed to stay far, far away from personal data, simply promoting online operators and leaving the headache of what can and cannot be done with this data to the operator instead. The scary concept of data protection comes to mind, with all its associated rules and obstacles – an ugly and boring concept for some, but essential and valuable for many. The Information Commissioner now has extensive powers to fine data protection breaches and did not hesitate in imposing a fine of £100,000 on a UK company for loss of customer data. Data protection has not stopped online gambling operators from generating profits, nor has it stopped their customers from using their sites. The same principle applies to social media networks and, to a lesser extent, to blogs as well. If, therefore, the future or part of the future lies in exploring social media further, affiliates will have to get used to the idea that data protection matters. In fact, gambling affiliates, with their expertise of online affiliate marketing for a niche gambling sector, are perfectly placed to lead these social media sites and create their own distinctive brand and customer following that will undoubtedly make them more of an equal partner to online gambling operators. One of the most valuable assets in online gambling is access to player data and, therefore, it is no surprise that online gambling operators guard this data jealously, often refusing to share information with their affiliates who generated these users for them in the first place. The question here is: will the tables be turned if affiliates start collecting personal data from their blogs and social media sites? And most importantly: what is it worth? Surely it is worth a headache and some effort to establish ground rules for data protection, but the benefits should not be dismissed.

Conclusion With the right legal and regulatory understanding of advertising rules and data protection guidelines, affiliates should be in a most favourable position to conquer social media, blogs and expand their offerings to other jurisdictions. It is a small step for man, but a big step for affiliates. In this modern world, gambling operators might consider that it is better to have an affiliate as a friend than to have been ‘de-friended’ by one.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

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webmaster world

2010 marks a brave new ‘www’ filled with wondrous developments like the iPad, countless apps, and yet another change to the Facebook interface. New advances online always leave SEO specialists wondering how their page ranks will be affected. It’s hard to know for sure what the answers are because search engines will not reveal their secretly patented algorithm, leaving SEO experts to speculate while also taking chances, every so often, on advice posted on forums and blogs. Major changes to the Internet landscape need to be examined for their effect on SEO. The Internet is constantly evolving, therefore, no SEO rules are set in stone. We took a closer look at these changes and listed here are our top five SEO moments of 2010.

1 The rise of bookmarking websites When it comes to page rank, SEO specialists are hungry for link juice. This may be one of the reasons for the rise of bookmarking websites. Bookmark sites are the quickest and easiest way to gain link juice points and this forgoes the hassle that comes with most other directory submissions, such as reciprocal URLs and fees. Alexa.com (Image 1) indicates a sudden rise in 2009 of main bookmarking websites, stumbleupon.com, digg.com and icio.us, and growth continued steadily in 2010, making bookmarking an increasingly regular part of Internet routine. Despite the rumoured measures Google has taken against spammers, SEO specialists can still profit from bookmarking websites by concentrating their efforts on getting their URL ‘digged’ multiple times. It’s a small hassle compared to getting Facebook users to join a page. It’s important for a website to be bookmarked as often as possible as it is a very powerful SEO tool.

2 The release of the iPhone4 The much anticipated release of the iPhone4 made headlines around the world, giving rise to the Smartphone revolution that radically changed the way the Internet is being used. Upgrades like the iPhone4 with its great design and touch screen makes it exciting to be online. In response, more websites are being designed to be compatible with WAP (wireless application protocol). More entrepreneurs, online marketers and affiliate marketers tailor their business to cater solely for mobile phone markets where they are finding increased success. To succeed in the mobile phone market, one must familiarise one’s self with the rules of the new arena. Because the size and

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format differs, so too does search engine behaviour. The main distinction is that mobile users tend to write fewer words in their search queries as it is not as easy to type on their phones. Resources like the search-based keyword tool on Google AdWords are available to help analyse search behaviour with mobile phones. A quick Google search on ‘mobile search behaviour’ indicates countless indepth reports on mobile phone SEO. The rise of the Smartphone added a completely new dimension to SEO. For this reason, Smartphones makes the list of top SEO moments of 2010.

3 Bing 2010 marked the first year for Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing (Image 2). This search engine enters the scene with a different design and its own set of SEO rules. After spending $80 million dollars in marketing, Bing qualifies itself as part of the SEO vocabulary. Its sudden rise could be due to a number of factors. For instance, Bing is distinguished for its stunning photographs sprawled across the interface each day. Users can hover their mouse over certain parts of these photographs to learn more about them. Its design philosophy, much like Google, has no other distractions except for a few one-liner news texts that are subtly placed along the bottom of the page. Although SEO specialists tend to focus on optimising websites for Google, there may be some value to focusing marketing efforts towards Bing. For one thing, Bing’s merge with Yahoo’s search results doubles the rank value of an optimised Bing website. Bing is also the default browser for Internet Explorer and is integrated with Facebook’s search result. Bing is clearly in it to win it. As this Alexa chart indicates (Image 3), Bing was well received early on, but its popularity has remained stagnant. Bing will have to do more than just television commercials before being considered in Google’s league.

4 QR codes: the backlink you control There is some debate as to how QR codes effect ranks on search engines. A QR code

is the pixel image that can be scanned by a Smartphone enabling the user to be immediately directed to a website. After you get your QR code, you can post it in the physical world as much as you want which increases your chances of someone scanning it and landing on your website. QR codes have become commonplace on posters, ads and other print material, and the novelty of the QR code has many people scanning out of curiosity sake alone. There is no limit to where and how many QR codes you can post. Again, QR code overcomes the challenges of getting backlinks from directory websites by eliminating costs, reciprocal URLs and the hassle of creating a log-in. One of the toughest challenges for affiliate marketers is overcoming advertising policies put in place by search engines. A great way to build links without breaking policies is incorporating the link as much as you want in the real world. Unlike the Internet, you will not get penalised by search engines for spam. What’s even better is that QR code is offered by many websites for free. All you do is type in a URL and it will be wrapped up into a code that Smartphones can read – simplicity at its best.

5 Foursquare Foursquare is the new authority site for geographical locations. Foursquare’s ability to connect the real world to the online world has taken the Internet by storm. Who would have guessed that creating an open forum where people publicly announce where they are could be so popular? This helped Google define relevancy with local searches and inspired ‘Facebook Places’. This, in turn, has also helped companies out with free promotion. It’s sudden rise and effect on SEO merits a spot on the list ( Image 4) In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine what we would do without these new developments and it’s even harder to imagine what 2011 has in store. What you can learn from 2010 is that it’s important to always keep up-to-date. Be ahead of the race, always be aware of sudden trends and features and subscribe to quality RSS feeds. There is no telling what’s next with the versatile world of the Internet.

iGB Affiliate february/march 2011

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Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

VANESSA DELSOOZ is the SEM Specialist at Income Access. She has been making websites since the age of nine and is a certified qualified individual with both Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

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webmaster world

When you’re just starting out as an affiliate, you often have a limited budget and limitless ambition. As you build your affiliate business, investing in the right programs and striving for success will ideally remain at the forefront of your business, so making smart affiliate choices is as important early on in your affiliate career as it is when you move forward.

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insight

As an affiliate, your time is one of your greatest resources and as with any monetary investment you’re looking for the greatest return. So where is your time and money most wisely spent? Here are some areas that successful affiliates often pinpoint as priorities.

Organic search If you are a new affiliate, setting up your website and achieving high ranking sits high up on the priority list. Once you know what verticals you want to promote, you’ll get the most value out of getting your website up and running long before you actually get started with your business. From a cost perspective, this can be done relatively cheaply as a successful website will rely more heavily on the time you are willing to invest and how familiar you are with the ins and outs of SEO. For the SEO novice, WordPress sites can be a great option in combination with SEO plug-ins. These often include free upgrades and strong customer support, which can not only help you get set up quickly, but can also help you reach the rankings you’re after faster. If you’ve been an active affiliate for some time and have experience in optimisation, you can still benefit from going back to SEO basics. Key areas that affiliates may overlook or undervalue are description meta tags, alt tags, title tags and image optimisation. For both the novice and the expert affiliate, the goal is often the same: to get your website strong visibility on major search engines. And while there’s no magic formula to achieving a high ranking website, it’s not especially a matter of being overly difficult, but being diligent. Three areas that are worth being diligent about are your keywords, content and link building strategies.

Google recommends that you research keywords based on what you think your target audience will actually type into the search engine, and also offers the Google Keyword Tool, which can be helpful with your research. We know ‘Content is King’, and we also know that if your content isn’t relevant and isn’t incorporating your keywords, you might as well not be writing. When it is relevant and targeted, however, this will also help you with your inbound links, as other sites will be keener to link to you when you offer something that is unique. Internal links are equally important. Matt Cutts from Google once quipped: “The easiest links that you can get to your own site are your own links” – so a strategy that includes both inbound and internal links is ideal.

Finding the right programs Promoting the wrong programs is much like writing with the wrong keywords – it just isn’t worth it. Too many affiliates are swayed by a high commission structure which though important, is not the only aspect to consider. If content is king of SEO, then conversions is queen of affiliate programs. Teaming up with programs that can convert your traffic will have a lot to do with their software provider, acquisition and retention strategies, consistency, stability and ensuring that they have a reputable and secure site. The benefits of a strong software provider are a smooth player journey, sharp graphics, interactive games and customer support that provide players with attractive features such as live chat that can immediately address and resolve concerns. The obstacle with this approach is that because so many operators run their programs with leading software providers, platforms become saturated with the

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same games and features – so how is an affiliate to choose? Some affiliates opt for programs that have proprietary software that offer variety and unique products. Thus, a combination of the two may prove advantageous to affiliates. An operator’s tracking and reporting software is also key to an affiliate’s success and gaining a complete picture of their online business. This should provide affiliates with marketing tools that save time and help to optimise campaigns. Transparency is so important when it comes to tracking players, deposits, revenues, and the ability to manage campaigns across multiple sites with one account will help simplify an affiliate’s business. Look for reports that will give you the statistics you need to constantly make improvements, and avoid repeating costly mistakes. Reports that give you a site-by-site breakdown, campaign-by-campaign analysis plus an in-depth view of impressions, clicks, registrations and commissions will help you to consistently evaluate your progress, and make informed decisions that will help increase your bottom line. A third consideration when choosing a program is its payment processing. This should run like clockwork and provide players with a variety of payment options that facilitate getting paid on time, and with fair withdrawal terms – conditions which are critical to player retention. If you’re still not sure about a program, forums are the perfect place to gauge how a specific platform builds and maintains relationships with its affiliates and players. And while it’s true that forums are an excellent source of information, they can also be a source of misinformation. For affiliates, this means taking comments with a pinch of salt and verifying their accuracy. What may be good or bad for one affiliate and cause a positive or negative comment,

“If your time is one of your greatest resources and your website one of your strongest assets, then it makes good sense to endeavour after activities and programs that provide you with the greatest return on your investment of time and money.” may not necessarily apply to your business and model, so get all the facts and base your decision on the full picture – following other opinions alone may sway you from an otherwise good opportunity.

Promotions and support You’ve set up your website and got it ranking, you’re evaluating various programs that will suit your affiliate business and you’re still not sure. If you’re an affiliate that has opted to promote a few good brands, as opposed to many brands of all sizes, then finding the right fit is essential to maximising the return on your investment of time and money. Regular promotions provide value in and of themselves, in terms of acquiring and retaining players and providing incentives for affiliates to promote. Promotions are also the bread and butter of fresh content for your website, and what will help you gain the visibility you need in the search engines. It’s important to partner with programs that see value in this, and it’s also critical to find out how timely promotions are communicated to affiliates. That is to say, it’s great to have a promotion to tell your players about, but if you don’t find out about it until the day before it starts (or worse, the day before it ends!) then you won’t be able to leverage this opportunity. Strong, frequent communication is so important in an affiliate program, and chances are that if promotions are not being communicated in a timely manner, then other areas

may also be falling by the wayside. How quickly will your emails be answered? How promptly will your concerns be addressed? How can you build a relationship with a program that doesn’t have communication high up on its priority list? Promotions also provide affiliates with an opportunity for additional branding. When you announce promotions, you also provide players with valuable information, thereby, giving them a great reason to come back to your site, time and time again. If, as an affiliate, your time is one of your greatest resources and your website one of your strongest assets, then it makes good sense to endeavour after activities that help with your ranking, and programs that provide you with the greatest return on your investment of time and money. This focus is extremely important in online marketing where there are many distractions, and making poor decisions can cost you time, money, website ranking and perhaps most importantly, opportunity and growth.

NICKY SENYARD is CEO of Income Access, overseeing their independent iGaming affiliate network, market-leading affiliate software and expert affiliate management services.

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webmaster world

Gaming affiliates understand the need for loopholes; loopholes in SEO, loopholes in advertising and loopholes in whatever brings in business.

Google states that buying inbound links is against its terms of service. Facebook clearly defines that ads cannot contain, facilitate, promote, or reference gambling including, without limitation, any online casino, sportsbook room, bingo, or poker without authorisation from Facebook. However, one thing to remember is that Google is a business, Facebook is a business and so too are all the affiliates in the business of making money from promoting gaming products. But where does this leave affiliates wishing to promote online gaming products to the largest growing online audience in the world – Facebook?

The social beast Facts and figures aside, it seems that the whole world is on Facebook. Which other website gets members updating their statuses so frequently in order to stay in touch with friends anywhere and everywhere in the world. A football match taking place in England gets spoken about and commented on by people watching the game live in four different countries. Facebook not only facilitates this behaviour but thrives on the social interaction. Facebook may not last forever, but for the

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time being, it’s enjoying its online reign – long live the king! But back to the question in hand. How are affiliates supposed to reach the masses within this online social beast?

Zynga poker Here’s where the loophole comes in. Take everyone’s favourite Facebook case study, Zynga poker. Zynga advertises on Facebook to draw attention to its Texas Hold’em game. How do they get away with it? Let’s look at Zynga’s model. A player can play for free. When these players want more than recognition and social R&R with friends and families, Zynga offers them a ‘free’ (used in the loosest sense possible) tournament, with a cash prize. But to get entrance into the cash tournaments, the buy-in comes in the form of casino gold. Zynga sells casino gold starting from ten pieces for $2 to 1,660 pieces for $75. Also on sale in the ‘free’ poker application are chips. $2 will get you 150,000 chips $125 will get you 180 million chips. Obviously, none of the chips or gold pieces has a monetary value for withdrawal and, therefore, the site adheres to the rules laid down within Facebook for online gaming. Not to mention that casino gold can also be

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used in the new Zynga slot machine located in the poker lobby. Regular chips can be used in the 7 slots game, but to stand a chance of winning the 478 million chip jackpot, only casino gold can be used. Gold that only has a ‘one-way’ monetary value. Imagine going into a casino and buying chips that can be used to play but never redeemed – pure genius. Strip away all the blur and this is what is left: Buy casino gold – get access to real money tournaments – play in a tournament for a chance to win cash prizes. At this stage of the equation, in the eyes of a casino lay person, a fun player has become a real player. But then enters the age old debate – the question of conversion. Online casinos and poker rooms do not want to invest the effort on unknown variables such as social conversion to real money players. In my humble opinion, the real money gaming market closest to the arena of social interaction is bingo.

Bingo Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people play bingo online every day. Bingo, by default, follows the same monetary values as the Zynga poker tournament structure. Players don’t buy chips in order to withdraw them. They use the deposit money to buy bingo cards which, in turn, lead to cash prizes. The investment is low, the level of fun and social interaction is high and the plus side comes with the chance of winning real money. Keywords and search terms are saturated making SEO a huge expense. Keywords on Google are, when permitted, set at ludicrously high costs per click. What other way is there for an affiliate, or even an operator, to promote a bingo brand? The answer is a social media application using the same methodology applied by Zynga poker. The right bingo application, launched at the right time, will have the chance to dominate the social media stratosphere. At present, the bingo Facebook application with the highest number of users is Bingo Island. The membership count is currently over 700,000, but still relatively low numbers in comparison to the vast player base maintained by Zynga poker.

The social element The model for a ‘social’ bingo application and ‘social’ affiliate program should look something like this. First off, from a user experience perspective, the opening screen should be an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ filled with the potential

“If Facebook were to become an affiliate of each new (social gaming) application, in addition to being the biggest website in the world, it could also be the biggest affiliate in the world.” prizes and cash that are up for grabs. Created with enticing colour schemes and call-to-action buttons navigating the user to sign up and start playing. Next, in-line with land-based bingo, pictures of the chat leaders with detailed profiles at the click of a button, giving users the feel of legitimacy and confidence that real people are running the show. Virtual currency should be offered in abundance to new users and daily top-ups for returning users. Additional types of virtual currency should be given for referring friends, posting game actions for profile sharing, playing tips and advice to other users and friends and consolation currency when coming close to winning. With the set-up of an alternative currency that can only be used to enter cash tournaments, participants will soon be looking for ways to get the alternative currency. At first, this can be offered in very limited amounts based on actions. The second phase is the implementation of an online affiliate program run and maintained within the Facebook environment. More and more online storefronts are taking their merchandise catalogues inside Facebook. Soon, we will see the growth of the ‘social affiliate program’. These are affiliate programs run with the aim of attracting the ‘social affiliate’. All link creation, tracking, reporting and even payments will be managed using an interface built into a Facebook application. In the same way that affiliates can duplicate storefronts and rebrand the store’s merchandise, so too will bingo affiliates have the ability to run a networked bingo application from their Facebook fan pages, in effect creating many ‘white-labels’ of the brand’s Facebook bingo application. Affiliates will be able to openly advertise their fan page using Facebook’s advertising tools and interface. A further development will allow the affiliates to run ads from a custom interface built into the affiliate program. This will include selections of 80x110 pixel images together with a vast amount of different texts to choose from, which fit into the exact Facebook advertising specifications. Retention will be handled by the operator. Going one stage further and using the technology of Facebook connect, users could log-in to the web-based bingo platform using their Facebook log-in

information. All tracking information would be carried over and all account funding would take place from one centralised electronic wallet. Facebook ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons would be placed next to all bingo games together with the Facebook fan page information showing number of fans and icon profile pictures. This is the social online bingo of the ‘not too distant’ future and the way that operators and affiliates alike will monetise the opportunity to interact with almost 600 million additional, potential players. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and there will be those who completely disagree with this theory, only time will tell. But, given the groundbreaking path made by Zynga poker and the monetisation efforts being made by Facebook to reach its expected valuation, now valued by Goldman Sachs at $50 billion, once Facebook figures out how to levy charges on social gaming applications, there may be a change in Facebook’s current terms and conditions. After all, if Facebook were to become an affiliate of each new application, in addition to being the biggest website in the world, it could also be the biggest affiliate in the world. Michael Katz entered the world of iGaming as a Brand Manager focusing on retention activities for a number of Microgaming online casinos back in 2001, while working at Spiral Solutions. He began to specialize in online Poker marketing at the end of 2003 after the launch of the Prima Poker network. In 2004, Michael played a key role launching and managing Noble Poker, until it was sold in 2005. Michael then took responsibility of the marketing activities of Titan Poker until 2006 and entered the Forex landscape in 2008 as the Chief Marketing Officer of an online Forex startup. After seven years of working in the online casino and poker industry and two years in the online Forex industry, Michael saw a need for a specialized recruitment agency based in Israel, to handle these specific niche markets and opened Netwise Personnel, to specialize in recruitment and placement in the Israeli job market. Additionally, Michael acts as a consultant for companies looking to increase brand exposure using online social media.

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marketplace

Welcome to the MarketPlace listings section in iGB Affiliate Magazine. All Listings below are from our iGB Affiliate Directory 2011 which is a 150 page directory of affiliate programs and services companies specifically for affiliates from translation to SEO services. To request a free copy of this publication or to have your company listed please contact Richard W on E: Richard@iGamingBusiness.com or T: +44 (0) 207 954 3437

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advertising & PR

BetOnline

PartnerLogic

Frontroom

www.affiliates.betonline.com

www.partnerlogic.com

www.frontroom.com

Betfair

Rich Club Affiliates

GameOn Marketing

www.betfair.com

www.richclubaffiliates.com

www.gameon-marketing.com

bwin

Slotland

Lyceum PR

www.bwin.org

www.slotlandaffiliates.com

www.lyceummedia.com

centrebet.com

StanJames

Market Handle

www.centrebetaffiliates.com

www.stanjamesaffiliates.com

www.markethandle.com

Chilli Casino

Star Games

McBoom

www.chilicasino.com

www.stargames.com

www.mcboom.com

ComeOn!

Star Partner

Bingo Affiliate Programs

www.comeon.com

www.starpartner.com

Affiliates United

Dragonfish

Wingate Affiliates

www.affutd.com

www.dragonfishaffiliates.com

www.wingateaffiliates.com

bet 365

EuroPartners

youwin.com

www.bet365.com

www.EuroPartmers.com

www.youwin.com

Dragonfish

Fortune Affiliates

Content & Translation

www.dragonfishaffiliates.com

www.fortuneaffiliates.eu

services

Gala Coral

Gala Coral

www.affiliates.galabingo.com

www.affiliates.galabingo.com

StarGames

Genesys Affiliates

www.stargames.com

www.genesysaffiliates.com

Casino Affiliate Programs

Grande Vegas Affiliates

AffiliateClub

www.grandvegasaffiliates.com

www.AffiliateClub.com

Guru gaming

Affiliates United

www.gururevenue.com

www.affutd.com

Intertops Casino

Bet365

www.intertops.com

www.bet365.com

Jackpot Capital www.jackpotcapital.com/affiliates

iGB Affiliate February/march 2011


Market Handle

youwin.com

EuroPartners

www.markethandle.com

www.youwin.com

www.EuroPartmers.com

Moniker & SnapNames

search marketing (organic)

ExtraBet

www.moniker.com

Market Handle

www.extrabet.com

Email Marketing

www.markethandle.com

Gala Coral

Market Handle

McBoom

www.affiliates.galabingo.com

www.markethandle.com

www.mcboom.com

Hollywood Sportsbook

Hosting & Managed services

Moniker & SnapNames

www.hollywoodpowerplayer.com

Moniker & SnapNames

www.moniker.com

Intertops

www.moniker.com

search marketing (paid)

www.intertops.com

poker affiliate programs

Market Handle

Invendium

AffiliateClub

www.markethandle.com

http://affiliates.valuechecker.co.uk

www.AffiliateClub.com

McBoom

Sportingbet

Affiliates United

www.mcboom.com

www.sportingbet.com

www.affutd.com

Moniker & SnapNames

StanJames

Bet365

www.moniker.com

www.stanjamesaffiliates.com

www.bet365.com

sKIll gaming affiliate

TOTE Sport

Betfair

Programs

www.totesportaffiliates.com

www.betfair.com

Affiliates United

Victor Chandler

bwin

www.affutd.com

www.victorchandler.com

www.bwin.org

bet 365

youwin.com

centrebet.com

www.bet365.com

www.youwin.com

www.centrebetaffiliates.com

bwin

webdesign

Chilli Poker

www.bwin.org

Market Handle

www.chilipoker.com

Gala Coral

www.markethandle.com

ComeOn!

www.affiliates.galabingo.com

Moniker & SnapNames

www.comeon.com

Rummy Royal

www.moniker.com

Dragonfish

www.rummyroyal.com

www.dragonfishaffiliates.com

StanJames

EuroPartners

www.stanjamesaffiliates.com

www.EuroPartmers.com

StarGames

Gala Coral

www.stargames.com

www.affiliates.galabingo.com

sports betting

Intertops Casino

Affiliates United

www.intertops.com

www.affutd.com

PartnerLogic

Bet365

www.partnerlogic.com

www.bet365.com

PKR

BetOnline

www.pkr.com

www.affiliates.betonline.com

Poker Pod

Betfair

www.pokerpodonline.com

www.betfair.com

StanJames

bwin

www.stanjamesaffiliates.com

www.bwin.org

Star Games

centrebet.com

www.stargames.com

www.centrebetaffiliates.com

iGB Affiliate February/march 2011

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WEBMASTER WORLD

ASK CONNIE iGB Affiliate is delighted to introduce its readers to Connie Burstin, Founder of Burstin Marketing Group, who will be providing a new Q&A column for the magazine. Affiliates at all stages of business maturity are invited to submit their questions directly to Connie, the answers to which will appear in this column from next issue onwards.

WHO IS CONNIE? This might be the first question that comes to mind when you see this title. Connie Burstin was among the first affiliate managers in gaming, having started her marketing career within the online gambling industry back in 1997. Over the years, she has helped many online merchants to set up, market, and manage their daily affiliate operations from A to Z. Connie’s extensive experience in affiliate marketing within the gambling industry includes managing affiliate programs, for different groups, on different software platforms. This broad exposure gives her the qualifications needed to answer any questions affiliates may have on topics ranging from marketing techniques to technical solutions and other general topics in the affiliate marketing space. Building long-term relationships has been key to Connie’s success in managing affiliate programs. As a way to give something back to affiliates for them promoting these programs over the years, she is glad to start this free answer service for affiliates. Ask Connie will provide you with direct answers to your questions in each issue of iGB Affiliate. Affiliates can submit their questions to cburstin@burstingroup.com. By way of example, Connie has put pen to paper with regard to one of the most common questions she has come across in the affiliate sector.

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Are casinos stealing my commissions or players? This question is on the affiliate’s mind from the moment they start sending web traffic and don’t see the same conversions compared to other casinos.

“If the casino has more than one property under the same umbrella, enquire about its cross marketing activities and if you get the credit from all traffic conversions.” In general, a casino would want to build a long-term relationship with the affiliate and pay commissions on your player’s referrals. If you are happy, they are happy. Unfortunately, there are some online casinos that might not have the intention to steal commissions/players but might fall into that category by setting up a tracking system that doesn’t track new player referrals and returning players when they occur. There are a few things that an affiliate should do to prevent this. Here are some of them: ● Cookies: ask the casino/affiliate manager for their cookie expiration/ time frame. Cookies are set for a period of time (determined by the casino) that

will track from the moment a player clicks on a link and will continue to track when the player returns at any point during the life of the cookie. Sometimes cookies can be blocked. Some people actually turn off their cookies to protect their privacy. This means if someone clicks on a link (banner/text link with an affiliate ID) to the casino website, no cookie would be created and no referral and commissions would be created. ● Database storage: this tracking system is one of the best to track returning players. After someone has been initially tracked by a cookie, the information of the player and your affiliate ID will be stored on a database. This way, if the player decides to delete their cookies, you will continue to receive commissions on those referrals. ● Cross marketing: find out if the casino has more than one casino under the same umbrella. If it does, enquire about its cross marketing activities and if you get the credit from all traffic conversions (i.e. downloads, registrations). Connie is excited to get started and hopes to help make this page your first stop in every new issue of iGB Affiliate. Please send your questions to Connie at: cburstin@burstingroup.com. Thank you all for stopping by and Connie will see you next issue.

iGB Affiliate FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

07/02/2011 16:20


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iGB Affiliate 25 Feb/Mar 2011  

Information, insight and analysis for the Business of Interactive Gaming for Affiliates.

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