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  1. #1
    Space is offline New Member
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    Default A question for affiliate managers concerned

    Hello all,

    I am new to the industry and am based in the UK. I have the following query that I hope I will explain as clearly as possible as it's a complicated one.

    Being from the UK, there are many companies now that are expanding to different gambling activities. I will use as an example William Hill that have a sportsbook, casino, poker room and prize games area.

    To become an affiliate with William Hill one has to register to the sportsbook to get a code, download a casino AND the poker room for more affiliate codes and for the prize game area? ...I haven't looked into that yet.

    I have used William Hill as an example, Ladbrokes, Coral, Littlewoods, Rank are other large companies that also have different gambling activities with different softwares with different programs. Are these all acting in harmony or is there a chance that affiliates are losing out?

    Basically my question is, how do these companies control the tracking from the back end if a user clicks to visit one gambling activity (e.g. casino) but then goes on to visit another (e.g. sportsbook)? It all sounds like a logistical tracking nightmare and wonder whether companies have invested time to make the tracking work or whether there is manual intervention by the affiliate managers themselves.

    I'm hoping to get feedback from this single post. If not I shall contact companies individually and get some feedback for those interested.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

  2. #2
    Dominique's Avatar
    Dominique is offline Private Member
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    Default

    This is a complicated issue and something we try to stay on top of.

    We expect families of casinos to crosstrack. Of course, unrelated ones will not do this.

    There is not a week it seems when we don't have a post inside concerning this, and we do confront the casinos with these issues and get them solved.

    My advice: pay close attention to the URL shown when you click on links. Test your links. If you see affiliate coded disappearing, ask the casino, or ask here.

  3. #3
    Pam712's Avatar
    Pam712 is offline Assistant Manager
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    If you already have an e-cash account with any of the Crypto casinos you can use that account to set up your links with Will Hill. I use the same e-cash account for most of the Cryptos I promote.

  4. #4
    alfredokofman is offline Public Member
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    Default Response from an Affiliate Manager

    Dear Space,

    I am the Affiliate Manager for Portofino and Hampton Casinos.
    For each casino that I manage you need to register separately and you get a different linking code and tracking, in the future we are going to merge both affiliate programs.
    On the other hand, having different linking codes and tracking gives me as the affiliate manager and also to my the affiliates the ability to see which casino is doing better at the same site, correct things as needed and generally maximize our mutual earnings, as far as conversion goes, special bonuses, which one works better, etc.
    Technically , I have two stats windows, one for Hampton Casino and Sportsbook and the other for Portofino Casino, so I monitor both programs, most of my affiliates are registered to both programs and get paid once a month for both casinos.
    Regarding players moving from one casino to the other, we used to have a link from one casino to the other in the past, but we don't have it anymore after an affiliate asked me the same thing you are asking now and we removed the link.

    If you are new to the industry and looking for good Casinos and Sportsbooks to promote than I suggest you our own affiliate program.
    Best Regards,

    Alfredo Kofman
    Affiliate Manager
    Hampton and Portofino Casinos
    www.portofino.com
    www.hamptoncasino.com
    partners@portofino.com

  5. #5
    vd752 is offline Private Member
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    Default questions

    how about prism? they pay? I have 1k in my aff. account and no replay from them
    Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing from something...

  6. #6
    Space is offline New Member
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    Erm... I think Dominique is the only one here that has taken the time to read my post and understand what I am on about. Thank you Dominique for your reply but I must say that it was a diplomatic one that didn't really answer my question.

    I accept your advice, as webmaster we must all pay close attention to the URLs and test links; part of the job. But affiliate programs should have all these things covered and be able to intertwine all the company's gambling activities to one affiliate program. Regardless of whether different gambling activities means the use of different backend/softwares by that company.

    Are there any UK affiliate managers from reputable companies such as those that I mentioned previously that attend this forum? It would be great to get hold of a few and put forward my questions to them. A UK Forum might be a good idea??

  7. #7
    Pam712's Avatar
    Pam712 is offline Assistant Manager
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    Yes we have some UK affiliate managers who Im sure will be happy to answer your questions.

    Erm... I think Dominique is the only one here that has taken the time to read my post and understand what I am on about
    Erm - sorry if I misunderstood your question, but I did read your post I pointed out you didnt need separate e-cash account numbers to promote the different aspects of Will Hill

    To become an affiliate with William Hill one has to register to the sportsbook to get a code, download a casino AND the poker room for more affiliate codes and for the prize game area? ...I haven't looked into that yet.
    Nope- answered above. You then use your same e-cash account number with each link.

    A UK Forum might be a good idea??
    We have many members who are from the UK, myself included. I dont think a UK forum is necessarily needed, things are pretty much universal in terms of how things get done in this business :LOL:

  8. #8
    Space is offline New Member
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    Hi Pam,

    thank you for your reply, please understand that I am not trying to cause confrontations or upset anybody, just trying to get some clear cut answers on a complicated query I have.

    As far as creating crypto links for William Hill, this isn't a problem. I know to download the casino, open account, etc. Continuing with my example... William Hill's website does also have an arcade section that isn't crypto, as well as a sportsbook section that doesn't use crypto software neither.

    Now my question is, if I refer a person to the Williamhills Casino with crypto links but the visitor then goes on to play at the cash arcade area (not crypto) instead or place a sports bet (not crypto) how is that then tracked? Does the crypto link carry over to the sportsbook and/or the arcade gaming area? Ideally I know it should, but I want to know if there were any webmasters out there that might know otherwise or an affiliate manager that could confirm this conclusively.

  9. #9
    Pam712's Avatar
    Pam712 is offline Assistant Manager
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    Hi Space Dont worry I know you werent trying to cause trouble and I apologise if my reply was a little brusque Im not having a good day :LOL: Cross-marketing as Dom said is a source of much frustration and it is hard to get conclusive answers from aff managers - I have press-ganged aff managers in the past on this issue myself.

    I understand what you are saying, and share your concerns that significant revenue could be lost if your visitors arent tracked if they should use the sportsbooks or games etc. I guess the only answer is to see if we can get the answer direct from Will Hill - Ill email and ask them. In the meantime if any other affiliate manager would like to weigh in on this it would be greatly appreciated

  10. #10
    Vlad is offline Public Member
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    Space,

    I decided to answer your question with a small article. Forgive me if its hard to read...

    Introduction to tracking.

    This article is meant for gambling affiliates interested in how affiliate tracking is done, and how it should be done. It may be hard to read for beginners, but most experienced webmasters will understand what is being said. The article is also useful for operators of affiliate programs and software providers.

    Methods of storing tracking data:
    -----------------------------------------


    Tracking data is different information about visitor who enters a site; it includes affiliate id, referring url, and other parameters that a casino wishes to collect about each visitor. There are two methods of how and where to store data about visitor during its visit to a site:

    Raw data
    • - when affiliate_id, banner_id, referring URL, etc are passed from page to page, site to site as a raw data (in cookies or query string parameters) and saved on visitor's computer.
    Sessions
    • - when a session is created on server, and all information about the visitor (affiliate_id, referring url, ip, etc etc) is stored when he/she makes a hit to the casino. Only session ID is then passed from page to page, site to site.


    There are no significant differences to affiliate which of the methods are used, mostly its the affiliate managers' headaches. Sessions are more complicated for affiliate program developers, as they require use of database on server side, and when a lot of traffic is involved, the sessions usually discarded after certain amount of time to save the space on hard drives and to prevent server overload.

    So there may be a drawback for affiliates when using sessions. If a visitor comes back in 1 year, and his original session is deleted from server, then affiliate looses this referral. However, it is quite possible that some affiliate programs keep the sessions alive for a very long time.

    Ways of passing the data from page to page.
    -------------------------------------------------------


    There are only 2 ways of how to pass the tracking data from one page of a site to another page on the same site:

    Query string parameters

    • This is when your affiliate id (or session id) is appended to each page's URL after "?" sign. Example: www.888.com this casino uses sessions to store data, and query string parameters to pass it from page to page. You can easily see that when you click from one page to another on www.888.com the same session id is in each query string of every link you click on: ? ...&S=817662341507843081&.. (When you visit it, the session id will be diffent, its unique for every visitor).

      This is a simple way to identify query string way of passing data from page to page. If you see the same parameters of URL of every page of a site appended after question mark, you know the data about the visitor is passed through this method.
    HTTP cookies

    • This is when information is kept in HTTP cookies, its invisible for visitors, but stored in a Web browser's memory/visitor's hard drive.

      It is also easy to identify if this method is used. Go to a casino through your affiliate link. If you see that there are no parameters being passed in URL from one page to another, its either cookies are being used, or no tracking at all.

      Now if the query parameters are absent on links to other pages, all we need to do is make sure invisible cookies are indeed created. You need to find a cookie directory on your computer and locate the cookie for the casino's domain name (for every domain name there is a different file). In win XP for instance, the cookies are located at :\Documents and settings\<USERNAME>.&lt;COMPUTERNAME>\Cookies.

      Open the corresponding file, and see if there is anything that looks like your affiliate id, or a session id.

      If there is no cookie for the domain name, then you either could not locate the cookie, or there is no tracking whatsoever.

      (These cookie location instructions are valid for IE / Win XP, if you are using different browser, cookies may be stored in other locations).


    The advantage of query string method is that there is no loss of visitors tracking. When cookies are used there could be a considerable loss of players due to the fact that some Internet users choose to turn off cookies on their browsers. Plus not all programmers know how to set cookies so that all browsers can set and read them properly. Usually due to these factors as much as 20% of the traffic tracked by this method is unaccounted. That is 20% less revenue for you.

    However cookies have their advantages too provided they are wisely used. A cookie can be saved on visitor's computer for a long time, that means that an affiliate program could identify that a player was originally referred by you, even if the player closes the browser, and in a couple of months (or years/decades) decides to revisit casino... (mind you that the cookies must be programmed 'wisely' in combination with the right data tracking method (preferably raw data) for this to be true.) In query string tracking, its not possible to re-identify the visitor if he/she types in casino URL in a browser at a later time.

    As you can see each method has its advantages and disadvantages. So what's the best way of passing data from page to page? A combination of cookies and query string.

    In this case the losses are close to 0. Your players will not be lost due to the fact that some of them do not accept cookies, and your affiliate id will be remembered in HTTP cookies for the next time players decide to revisit the casino.

    CasinoOnNet and CashForClicks are employing combination of methods, there may be other programs that use the same method, if you know them let me know (vlad@2kservices.com).

    Page2download tracking.
    -------------------------------


    Page2page tracking is important, but many casinos have a download client which actually contains registration form and cashier that need to know who the visitor was referred by. In this case the way the data is passed to download page is no less important than how its passed from page to page.

    There are 3 ways of passing data about visitor from casino page to download client.

    HTTP Cookies

    • This is pretty much similar to what I have already described above, the page a visitor is referred to originally sets a cookie in Web browser. Then during first start of download client, the client reads the cookie information in the same way Web browser does it, and saves it in its configuration.

      It is easy to identify this method. When you visit a download page of a casino, it offers you to download a program, then either save it to your disk and run it, or to open directly.

      What you are downloading is an '.exe' file, which has the same simple name, even if you use links from different affiliate ids. e.g. download.exe, or casino.exe

      This method has the same disadvantages as in Page2page tracking. Usually at this stage the loss of tracking is even greater than in page2page tracking. Its common that download clients can easily read Internet Explorer cookies, but can not read cookies set by Netscape, or other browsers. So you will loose all players using unsupported browsers who choose to play through downloadable casino.

      Go to a casino in question through your affiliate link using Netscape. Download the casino, register as a player, and see if the registration appears in your stats. If it doesn't, then its likely that you are loosing out on Netscape users. Try other popular browsers too.

      It appears that most casinos choose to use this method of page2download tracking.
    Filename

    • Referrer information about visitor can also be passed through file name of download client. For example the name of the file would look like download-3876348.exe where 3876348 is your affiliate id, or user session id.

      It is easily identified because in this case the filename would be different for different affiliate id that sends the visitor to the casino...

      The advantage of this method is that tracking will not be lost due to browser incompatibility or due to fact that some visitors do not accept cookies.

      However, if a player renames the file when saving, the data will be lost or in some cases the casino won't install at all. Looking at our experience with CashForClicks, such cases are very rare - less than 3%.
    ActiveX object

    • Some casinos (for example MicroGaming casinos) use a signed '.cab' file which executes a casino installer. This 'authenticated' software can be used as an ActiveX control, which in turn allows developers to 'hardcode' the tracking data into ActiveX object's parameters.

      If this mumbo-jumbo does not make sense, this type of installers can be identified by a special window that pops up before installation is commenced. This window looks like this:



      This method could be more accurate than using cookies: no loss of tracking data due to fact that some players turn off cookies on their browsers.

      However, this method only works in Internet Explorer, and you may be loosing players who use different browsers. Another drawback of this method is that popping warning window could stop some anxious players from installing the casino client.


    Which of the three methods is the best? Good question. It requires an expensive research to answer this question. Few of software companies are prepared to make such experiments.

    One thing is clear, no matter which method a casino is using, affiliates are loosing some players at the stage where players are downloading casino client. I would say that 10% of tracking losses is an acceptable level.

    A combination of ActiveX + Cookies + Filename would minimize such tracking losses. However, from all the casinos I have looked at, I have not found a single software provider that employs a combination of methods at this stage.

    Site2site tracking.
    ----------------------


    Many affiliate programs have a choice of casinos/sportsbooks to advertise. And some of the gaming sites offered by one affiliate program are cross-linked. Its quite common that there is a link to poker rooms and sportsbooks from online casinos and vise versa.

    There is only one way to pass tracking data from one site to another - query string parameters.

    Hence its easy to identify whether or not you get credited for visitors jumping from one site to another. And you don't have to wait for an affiliate manager to answer this question.

    If you see a link to a poker room from a casino you are promoting, look at the URL. Does the URL contain your affiliate id, or a session id after the "?". If not, then you know you are not being credited for referrals to poker room, and affiliate program keeps a part of your revenue.


    Summary.
    -------------


    If you have managed to read to this point, you know that there is no simple answer to question like 'are my referrals being properly tracked?'.

    You could either research all the above-mentioned issues yourself when evaluating an affiliate program, or you could enquire with your affiliate manager about these issues.

    But the easiest thing to do is this:

    Get a rarely used browser, turn off cookies on this browser, go to a casino through your linking code, download it, and make a minimum deposit. If you get credited for that, you know your clicks are being properly tracked.

    If you have ideas and comments about this article, don't hesitate to contact me at vlad@2kservices.com.


    Vlad K.
    VP of marketing and development
    2K Services, Inc
    www.CashForClicks.com

  11. #11
    Space is offline New Member
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    Hi Pam, thanks for your reply and patience. It's been quite frustrating to explain this issue in writing.

    Vlad thank you ever so much for your article. It is superb!! It goes a big step to answering my question. It is slightly technical but I got the general gist of the whole process. Now I have to figure out which programs use which methods and which will minimise that high 20% of unaccounted traffic.

    QUOTE FROM ARTICLE:

    Site2site tracking.
    ----------------------

    Many affiliate programs have a choice of casinos/sportsbooks to advertise. And some of the gaming sites offered by ONE affiliate program are cross-linked. Its quite common that there is a link to poker rooms and sportsbooks from online casinos and vise versa.

    ....I am still a little worried about signing up to MORE THAN ONE affiliate program for a SINGLE casino/sportsbook company regardless of how large or reputable they are.


    =================

    I also spoke to colleague about this issue and his input was. He has a website that uses Webtrends to track traffic. His website has a forum that is on a different server. What he has noticed is that the tracking is lost if a visitor goes from the website to the forum. At the forum the tracking continues as if it were a new session via Webtrends.

    Apparently the only way to correct this issue is by using dynamic pages which I'm not sure what these are about. I'm not sure if this could be related to the issue we are discussing as I do not want to complicate the issue further but I thought it should be mentioned.

    =================

    Anyway that article has given me a good idea on what to look into so I'll have a go in answering my own question.

  12. #12
    Vlad is offline Public Member
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    Space,

    I am glad I was able to help somewhat..

    Now I have to figure out which programs use which methods and which will minimise that high 20% of unaccounted traffic.
    I have looked at a few casinos (not too many) but the best site2site, and page2page tracking mechanism I found (aside from our affiliate program ) is used by casino on net (www.888.com)... they have a poker link, and it appears that the referrer id is indeed forwarded to the next site, and combination of cookies & query string for p2p tracking...

    Although, as some of webmsters here may agree with me, proper tracking is not always as important as other issues. Conversion and retention ratios can be far more significant factors. But with that, you should consult with affiliates, they could give you a better comparison of different affiliate programs.

    I am still a little worried about signing up to MORE THAN ONE affiliate program for a SINGLE casino/sportsbook company regardless of how large or reputable they are.
    I think you got me wrong there, what i meant was ONE affiliate program offers to advertise a CHOICE of casinos/sportsbooks. You signup once, and you can promote any of them, but when they are cross-linked (e.g. there is a link to sportsbook from a casino), you may loose credit, and its easy to check, because there is only one way to track such clicks.

    Ofcourse, i agree, there is no reason to signup for more than one affiliate program that offer to advertise the same casino(s)...
    Vlad

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