Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.More articles by Aaron Todd
Last year, "kwblue" got sick of seeing the terms and conditions for the affiliate programs he was working with constantly change. So he decided to do something about it.
He now uses software that monitors the terms and conditions of affiliate programs, and when something changes, he analyzes the differences and posts the changes and his analysis on www.affiliateguarddog.com.
"If it's a predatory change, then we go back to the program and ask them what they meant by the change, the reason behind it and if there is any way it could be amended so that it is affiliate friendly," kwblue said.
The site is less than a year old, but it averages well over 100 unique visits per day, with traffic on some days reaching over 500.
"The site is great from what I've seen," said Martyn Beacon, affiliate manager for BetFred.com. "It looks to contain all the information that affiliates need in order to choose their ideal program and highlights the ones that have terms that may not help or prevent certain types of affiliate activity."
kwblue, who has been an affiliate for two years, believes that an affiliate program's terms and conditions are the first thing an affiliate should look at when considering whether or not to promote a casino.
"If you don't read the terms and conditions -- I hate to say it, but you get what you deserve," kwblue said. "You have to find out what these guys are trying to do to pay you, and you also have to find out what they're trying to do not to pay you."
Beacon agrees, stating that even though it can sometimes be a tedious document to read, it's important for both parties to completely understand the terms and conditions that govern their partnership. That includes announcing when changes are made to the agreement.
"If there is a change in the terms and conditions, then all affiliates should be informed," Beacon said.
But that doesn't happen with every site. Part of the reason kwblue decided to build AffiliateGuardDog.com was that when he found out about changes, he often had no way of knowing when they were made.
"Previously, we could have found out about changes a month down the road," kwblue said. "Nobody really had any idea when the change occurred -- it just happened."
Now, thanks to his Terms Alert System, he is informed almost immediately. And he's noticing a trend in some of the more recent changes to the terms and conditions in the affiliate programs.
"This doesn't mean that we've been the ones to change this, but since we've started I've noticed that a lot of the changes are for clarification purposes," kwblue said. "A lot of them are also because of changes we've requested."
Such is the case for BetFred, which had a paragraph worded in a way that Beacon admits was "misleading." But not all affiliate managers are pleased with the AffiliateGuardDog.com site. And kwblue is okay with that.
"I think if we get the affiliate programs (with predatory terms) a little flustered by it, that's not a bad thing," kwblue said. "That's what allows change. And we've had about 10 programs that have changed their terms and conditions. That wouldn't have happened had there not been some spark in the industry that said 'We need to change this because this is going to be important.'"