View Poll Results: Direct Partnerships or Affiliate Networks?

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  • I prefer working with programs that run their own affiliate program

    17 77.27%
  • I prefer working with programs that are run through an affiliate network

    3 13.64%
  • I don't have a preference for either type

    2 9.09%
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    vcasino's Avatar
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    Default Direct Partnerships or Affiliate Networks?

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Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-fontinor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-fontinor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-fontinor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-fontinor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]-->Hey, just thought I'd open up some discussion on this to see what your thoughts are..

    I noticed that a lot of my affiliate programs are either in-house programs, or those on affiliate publisher sites like Tradedoubler, Europartners, Affiliate Lounge etc, and was wondering which types you think are generally better. Whether you prefer places to have their own program, or for them to be run externally by an affiliate network that may have more expertise?

    Do you find that there is one type that has more in-depth knowledge and customer service that spends more time with their affiliates?

    Is there a type that you trust more to provide accurate reporting?
    Also, which do you think are the top Affiliate Networks out there that are worthwhile joining up to and applying to join as an affiliate with?


    Interested to see what the general consensus is on this, and what you think the main differences are between the two in your experiences

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  3. #2
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    As someone who has worked both network side and at a gaming merchant, I honestly think the direct route is a far better way to go.

    Although many 'larger' networks have masses of affiliates, they tend to be long tail affiliates who don't specialise gaming, or reward affiliates promoting retail programmes, which are often an 'easier' bet when it comes to account management.

    Most network programmes already work on a CPA model as standard which is easier for the network's payment systems, etc (although most networks can work on a rev-share model, many of their back-end systems are not optimised to have this as a standard payment option and can lead to painful manual processes - trust me). Added to this, affiliate networks seem to be massive advocates of the 'cashback' and 'voucher code' model which doesn't work for gaming in the same way in gaming as it does for the retail sector, which means that gaming brands who are paying the for the same levels of service from the networks, simply can't receive the same level of coverage.

    Finally (and I think most importantly) there is a lack of core knowledge of gaming within the account management side at many networks, with can be a real hinderence to your success. Affiliate marketing in gaming is a totally different kettle of fish, and so far removed from marketing a clothing programme or similar that you may not get the service you are looking for.

    Online gaming professionals is a niche community within the wider affiliate community, and many networks simply don't have the people who appreciate it or know how it really works.
    Last edited by CasinoTom; 18 November 2010 at 5:27 am. Reason: grammatical nightmare

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    I literally couldn't have put it better myself

    I have personally had a lot of experience with at least two major affiliate networks mentioned above, who did not have a core competency in online gaming, and I must say that I found the experience very discouraging.

    By going direct, you will receive a tailored service and access to gaming affiliate managers who have years of industry experience. You will also be able to better negotiate commissions based on your productivity.

    I would definitely recommend going direct....

    Anthea

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  7. #4
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    Personally I like going direct instead of networks, but in my opinion it isn't because they may or may not have experience in gaming.

    Over the years we have many MANY times seen third party networks pop up, sometimes those that deal strictly in the gaming sector, and yet the support and trust levels never materialize like they can when going direct.

    That is the reality here, this creates a third party between the affiliate and the casino group, which adds a level of complexity and bureaucracy which often adds it's own set of problems.

    When issues arise at the casino, there is sometimes a delay in getting that information out to the affiliates, and dealing with those issues becomes more complex because often the third party must handle or liason those issues which adds delay as well as reduces the likelyhood of the issues being worked out.

    We have also often seen payment issues arise where the third party has a dispute with the casino group (having nothing to do with individual affiliates) but all individual affiliates are immediatelly affected thus causing a ripple effect.

    There are other simple support issues that automatically become more complex as well. Even simple things like an affiliate wanting custom artwork or bonus content etc... which first must be requested from the third party, which then requests from the casino group, which is then relayed back to the third party once approved and then back to the affiliate.

    If you continue this line of thought, you can probably come up with additional scenarios and reasons where this kind of thing can cause delays on even more issues.

    Overall though, it's nice to see some of the other thoughts on this.

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    I had written a post last night before I went home about exactly what Rick has said.

    Any time you need something the request has to go through a third party, which in most cases is going to take 10 times longer. Going directly to the source is going to get what you want the quickest.

    The other thing is that you will likely get a better deal through the affiliate program because they are not also having to pay a third party commission.

    Makes sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renee View Post
    The other thing is that you will likely get a better deal through the affiliate program because they are not also having to pay a third party commission.

    Makes sense.
    Hadn't thought of that!
    Anyone know how much the third party affiliate networks charge in commission?

    Like you said it'd probably make it very hard for the gambling sites to give the same commission that way as if they were running their own program.

    I noticed that a few of the places that I joined up with that are through an affiliate network tend to use CPA as their plan rather than Rev-share as well.

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    Always direct - it is easier to negotiate and talk to people that are in the house of the brand then with the ones that are in charge of xxxx number of accounts and by coincidence they have gambling brands in their basket too.
    Also, people in big affiliate networks care much less about your specific needs than your dedicated affiliate manager running in house program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vcasino View Post
    Hadn't thought of that!
    Anyone know how much the third party affiliate networks charge in commission?

    Like you said it'd probably make it very hard for the gambling sites to give the same commission that way as if they were running their own program.

    I noticed that a few of the places that I joined up with that are through an affiliate network tend to use CPA as their plan rather than Rev-share as well.
    The reason they mostly offer CPAs is because they may get paid 300 CPA, but only pay you 200 CPA. So they are keeping 100 bucks in that example, whereas if you went through the aff program you could probably get much closer to what they are being paid.

    The flipside is that because they are theoretically sending more players than regular affiliates on a whole (they may send 1000 new players per month collectively, even though it's from more than 1 affiliate) they can often negotiate better deals than an affiliate who is only sending 20 players per month.

    If that's your bottom line on making the decision, I would suggest finding out who will pay more for your traffic before making the decision to go with either..
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    Thanks guys for voting, seems like it's pretty much unanimous that everyone prefers to go direct rather than through the networks..

    Some interesting sites I'd like to bring to discussion are the master affiliate sites like Poker Affiliate World, who operate on behalf of the operator. It appears like a lot of affiliates prefer to deal directly, then who are all these other affiliates going through sites like PAW? There must be something special that they're offering, if they're promoting something like over 6000 affiliates on their network... Is it just the convenience of being able to join up to many sites from one location?

    I mean, with 6000 affiliates on PAW, and many thousands on the other affiliate networks I have seen, what is the reason for such widespread appeal of these sites to so many people if they could potentially get better deals going directly to the websites themselves?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vcasino View Post

    I mean, with 6000 affiliates on PAW, and many thousands on the other affiliate networks I have seen, what is the reason for such widespread appeal of these sites to so many people if they could potentially get better deals going directly to the websites themselves?
    Many of this affiliates are not gambling affiliates by vocation but occasionally include some poker brands to their websites hoping to get some money out of it. Also, less experienced webmasters think it is convenient to have xxxx number of brands under single account - and they might be right at one point - if you are starting up and your earnings are way below payment threshold imposed by all programs, few brands at one place might be good option - all your earnings are added to a single account so you might get paid faster.

    However, in long term run, direct deal is the only choice, at least for me.

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    I as affiliate prefer to work with direct programs.
    I always can ask about players issues and get fast reply. It is really cool.

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    I have been monitoring this thread for a few weeks now and it seems to have died a slow death. I'd like to add a bit of commentary here, although some might see it as one sided as we are in fact an affiliate network, however our team has worked and has experience on both sides of the fence.

    The discussion below refers to affiliate networks that focus exclusively on the gaming niche. Sites like Tradedoubler, Commission Junction etc are a different kettle of fish.

    • As an affiliate network, one of the most important things is to have a solid relationship with the advertising partners. Your advertisers need to know that you are constantly controlling the quality of traffic that is flowing through the network and you have the necessary tools in place to avoid sites that promote incentivised traffic, system traffic or possible CPA fraud syndicates.
    • An affiliate network MUST pre-screen ALL affiliate applications and provide a simple and straightforward questionnaire to determine the type of traffic the affiliate will bring to the table.
    • Once the affiliate has been accepted to the program, the network must have the necessary systems in place in order to continually monitor their affiliates traffic. This includes IP tracking, referring URL's etc. Usually this type of information is part of the reporting engine and affiliates can see this level of detail in their own reports.
    • An affiliate network must offer something extra when compared to going direct. Examples include: CPA payment model, combined stats for all programs, combined payments for all programs, general industry conversion data -> the networks are in a unique position to see which brands are converting best. This is valuable information that most affiliates will want to know before choosing a brand to send traffic to
    • Sold and stable reporting and tracking engine. This is obvious! The network tracking system MUST mimic the tracking of its advertising partners systems. Most networks make use of pixels, in our experience this is not a 100% efficient and we developed our own propriety system that tracks and reports the exact same way that our advertising partners system do
    • Timely payments and a decent selection of payment options. Again, this should mimic the advertisers payment options.
    • The CPA model does seem to be the standard model offered by affiliate networks. The discussion on which model is better (CPA or rev share) is really up to each individual affiliates preference.
    • Convenience - form our experience, some affiliates just prefer the convenience of working through an affiliate network as opposed to working directly with 30 different programs
    • A niche affiliate network usually should offer professional guidance and expert advice from their dedicated team of affiliate managers.

    These are some of the core concepts, although there are many other factors. At the end of the day, its not about which is option is better but which option suits your own needs and business requirements better.

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