Readers - punters, entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers, news media and the public and large, in life, as in business, there's what's known in cliche terms as "dirty little secrets".
Now, it shouldn't surprise any of you that both the casino affiliate industry, and the affiliate industry as a whole, has more than a few black marks on its name.
Reporting on the good, the bad and the ugly of the affiliate industry keeps Gambling911 and Media Man pretty busy, but in the tradition of telling it like it is - what you need to know, not necessarily of you want to hear, we report on it, usually in quite a no holds barred, uncensored fashion.
The collapse of the world's financial markets and the subsequent negative domino flow on effects, have left many of the affiliate programs in pretty bad shape.
As in any business vertical, there's only so much room at the top, and only so many can stand head and shoulders above the status quo.
Ok, we know you want know some strong and ethical brand so here goes... PartyGaming - PartyPartners, Virgin Games, Rewards Affiliates, Commission Junction, DGM, LinkShare, Playboy and Penthouse. We understand Bodog is making a nice comeback also. We actually hear a wide variety of reports of CJ, but that's another article in its own for a future date.
Now, let's swing into the real hard news stuff...
Enormous changes are happening in the industry. Companies are announcing mergers, putting themselves out there to be sold, and many are closing up. There is a little dirty secret that is only being talked about behind closed doors in the industry and folks need to pay attention.
Over the past few years a number of companies came from nowhere to enjoy prominent and million dollar profits, some only to collapse and disappear without trace. As you may suspect, often affiliate markets get caught out and left short changed, and of course the industry continues on, albeit it with a further tarnished name. Backend "flogs" were just one of the dodgy tactics some the affiliate programs employed. Black Hat techniques are still riff, and as you would expect, crims do their best to keep cloak and dagger tactics out of the public view.
Eventually the FTC and the credit card merchant companies caught up withe bad apples, affiliates walked, negative buzz kicked in and many went MIA. E-mails were not returned, phones rang out or were disconnected, and you get the idea.
PR spin jobs - press releases built on B.S keep coming out of various firms, but readers, be skeptical. How valuable is your time and reputation, and if your already satisfied with some solid brands you enjoy strong track record with, why would you change and upset the applecart?
No one knows for sure what doing to happen in the coming weeks and months, but true to the law of the jungle, only the strong will survive.
Be aware of questionable press releases like "Deal Worth $100 million dollars", unless its from a giant like a Virgin, PartyGaming, Playtech or Betfair... we know you get the gist of it.
Make no mistake, many affiliate groups and networks are loaded up with debt and are looking to escape the chaos.
This isn't a FUD (Fear, Uncertainly and Doubt) article for the hell of it, its here because its real, and if your note sure, do a retake on the industry body count over the past few years.
We predict more regulation of the industry, both in affiliate programs across the board, and most certainly in the casino and igaming affiliate sector, as the U.S, European and Australian governments will be looking for their slice of the action.
Media Man and Gambling911 urge you to consider who you do business with, where their money comes from, what's credentials they have, and if they can pay for a job well done!
This also brings us to another point - check out (real) clients and partner testimonials and if need be, do reference checks, and be watching out for "smoke and mirrors".
Punters, we suggest you stick with the companies - brands which have served your well over time and earned your trust and respect. We're not trying to make things harder for new entrants to the market, but we're calling a spade a spade. Risk management is an important part of both the business and gambling sector, so make you you do your own before jumping off the deep end.
Bet with your head, not over, and keep it fun.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gambling is just one of a dozen sectors they cover.
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