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  1. #21
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanHorvat View Post
    Didn't bother to ask as I'm preocuppied with actually running a business instead of nitpicking.
    Me too!

    Quote Originally Posted by DanHorvat View Post
    But if I had that information available somewhere in form of a nice easy to read article.
    I do have a spreadsheet somewhere with about 50 advertisers in it with cookie lengths. I'll dig it out and update it with current information and post it. What would be really interesting is for people to then post their conversion rates - clicks to sign up by advertiser by cookie length. We'd then see the impact that lower length cookies have. I've done my own research and it's as expected, based on a lot of data, i'm talking tens of thousands of click throughs.

  2. #22
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    This thread is a perfect example of why a union would not work.

    However, the GPWA and resources like it do work for informing affiliates of the issues they face as well as giving them an area where they can collectively work torward the best possible solutions.

    There are more programs today that have negative carry over then had it years ago, and it is a FACT that the idea that any program that writes it off was because back in the day affiliates here at the GPWA did stick together.

    Like it has been said previously, the politics of trying to form a union would either #A) Note get enough support from a vast majority of affiliates that it would have no collective bargaining power. or #B) Be in a constant internal battle trying to decide which programs to support or not support, since many affiliates do not agree now.

    How many affiliates would walk away from a union if they suddenly found out they had to drop promotion of their top program because in January the Uniion decided that program did not meet the criteria defined by the union?

    This can and WOULD happen since every program out there has both supporters and those that claim the program is the worst on the internet.

    Rick
    Universal4

  3. #23
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
    MichaelCorfman is online now GPWA Executive Director
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    It is a goal of ours to document various attributes of affiliate programs, including a number of the items mentioned in this thread. I announced some initial plans in this area about six months ago. Here is a copy of the post I made at the time:

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelCorfman View Post
    One of the goals of the GPWA is to provide information to affiliates to enable them to make fully informed decisions about whether or not they should work with specific affiliate program. One size does not fit all, and a program that might be a fine partner for a large established affiliate might be a bad partner for a newer or smaller affiliate.

    We are expanding the information we will be providing to include the following program characteristics in a new highlights section near the top of our sponsor program listings:

    Activity Quota: This will indicate if the affiliate must achieve a specific quota, such as referring new depositing players, in order to receive the normal earnings offered by the program or in order for an affiliate account to remain open. The specific quota and the effects of not meeting the quota will be documented if there is one, or we will note that there is no quota.

    Earnings Time Limited: If there are any limitations or restrictions on the commissions earned by an affiliate based on the length of time since a player was referred or made an initial deposit, those limitations will be documented, or we will note there are no such limitations.

    Earnings Location Limited: If there are any limitations or restrictions on the commissions earned by an affiliate for an active player based on the player's geographic location, those limitations will be documented, or we will note there are no such limitations.

    Negative Carryover: We will document if negative affiliate earnings are always carried forward, never carried forward, or sometimes carried forward. In the case where they are sometimes carried forward we will explain how and under what circumstances. For example, they may be quarantined and only carried forward against future earnings from specific players who caused the loss.

    Earnings Bundled: We will document if earnings from multiple properties operated by a program are bundled together or not.

    Tracking Cookie Duration: We will document how long tracking cookies indicating a specific affiliate referred a player remain in effect.

    Tracking Cookies Overwritten: We will document if tracking cookies are overwritten so the most recent affiliate referring a player will receive credit for the player, or if tracking cookies are not overwritten so that the original referring affiliate will receive credit for the player.

    So far we have added this information for about a dozen affiliate programs. Over the next several weeks we will see that this information is gathered and published for all sponsor programs.

    We welcome suggestions for additional information to gather and publish. For example, we intend to follow this initial project with one to gather withdrawal requirements by payment method for each affiliate program.
    The process has taken longer, and is harder than we anticipated, but if anyone does have any of this data, or other data they think would be helpful, please send me a pm, because we can use all the help we can get doing a more complete job in this front. But we do actually have the data we intended to gather for quite a few of the sponsor programs here. Under the affiliate programs tab in the top navigation, click on the first item (program directory) and you will see a list of all of the GPWA sponsor programs. If you click on any of the sponsor programs, you should see that the highlights section provided the information noted above for at least the vast majority of them.

    In terms of an affiliate union, there was actually an attempt to start one a while ago called the GAU (Gambling Affiliate Union). We did support the folks doing that, and even created a forum especially for them on the GPWA to create visibility for what they were doing. But the effort ultimately fell apart due do a combination of various factors like politics, different opinions, and lack of sustained commitment over the long term. The website, which did have some helpful information, no longer exists.

    Michael

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  5. #24
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelCorfman View Post
    It is a goal of ours to document various attributes of affiliate programs, including a number of the items mentioned in this thread. I announced some initial plans in this area about six months ago. Here is a copy of the post I made at the time:



    The process has taken longer, and is harder than we anticipated, but if anyone does have any of this data, or other data they think would be helpful, please send me a pm, because we can use all the help we can get doing a more complete job in this front. But we do actually have the data we intended to gather for quite a few of the sponsor programs here. Under the affiliate programs tab in the top navigation, click on the first item (program directory) and you will see a list of all of the GPWA sponsor programs. If you click on any of the sponsor programs, you should see that the highlights section provided the information noted above for at least the vast majority of them.

    In terms of an affiliate union, there was actually an attempt to start one a while ago called the GAU (Gambling Affiliate Union). We did support the folks doing that, and even created a forum especially for them on the GPWA to create visibility for what they were doing. But the effort ultimately fell apart due do a combination of various factors like politics, different opinions, and lack of sustained commitment over the long term. The website, which did have some helpful information, no longer exists.

    Michael
    I have most of this information for around 50 programs in a spreadsheet, I can tidy it up and send it to you

  6. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelCorfman View Post
    It is a goal of ours to document various attributes of affiliate programs, including a number of the items mentioned in this thread.
    The way affiliates are treated they need something with a tooth. The op is right.

    Turnkey operators with marketing arms boast access to 50000 affs and oodles of traffic. Then come the rule changes that even the gpwa and staff won't be able to keep up with.

    Uni's gone blind trying to explain why quotas are plain evil btw.

  7. #26
    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    I've started and stopped posting about 30 times since my last post in this thread. I'm going to just type and whatever I end up saying, I'll just say this time around as I have many more thoughts on this topic in whole and in part. Some of the thoughts conflict with one another.

    First off, this IS an issue that I am passionate about. I do believe there needs to be a cooperative of some sort within this industry in order to take care of players, webmasters, and affiliate programs.

    You look around and you can find all kinds of valid player complaints of being bullied, cheated, misled, slow-paid, no-paid, limited, etc.

    You can also find all kinds of reports of webmasters being shaved, scraped, slow rolled, no paid, & lied to in addition to having legal terms & conditions moved.

    On the flip side, there are some webmasters who set out to get one over on affiliate programs via CPA fraud, prepaid deals based on false promises, and other ways.

    All of this, in my opinion, requires attention and is cause for concern. Greed, lack of education (or even "sense"), and deception all play significant roles in the above. Moreover, many of us webmaster and player types do not know what we do not know. Thus, we "fall into bed" with the wrong program or take bad advice because a seemingly large portal/site/program creates the illusion of credibility.

    A forum like GPWA is helpful in accomplishing some of the above. However, they fall short in a few places in either reality or in perception - both of which are important. If someone lodges a legitimate complaint against a paid sponsor and things do not go the way of the complainant, how many of us are going to draw the conclusion that there is a conflict of interest due to the paid sponsorship? I know that I can't help but to think such things.

    Likewise, if it were a union, each member has a conflict of interest - be it either perceived or real. Program A changes their terms, thus making a majority of the membership unhappy because program A just installed a quota and sent out those nice "we're looking at your affiliate account for closure due to lack of real money players" emails. This goes to vote and an overwhelming majority vote to take action by removing all advertising.

    A few of the members voted no. Three of the no voters simply do too much business with this program, two of them just signed, started, and was recently compensated for a relatively large prepaid advertising campaign, and five of them like the affiliate manager and won't vote against them. Thus, these members dissent from the vote. How united is that? At the same time, how realistic is such a scenario?

    A watchdog group or advocacy group formed who does not accept advertising might be more appropriate. However, even such things have their own potential issues, as the members of the group individually accept compensation through their own portals. Even if that is set aside, the problem is that many portals would only care if they were wronged themselves - wanting help, promising support only to have those promises empty out once resolution is or is not met. Also, how long would it take for the pro-bono group members to lose interest in their work if they were working without compensation. On the other hand, how long would it take for them to be subjected to and cave into a bribe?

    I'm not pretending to have the "right answer" as I simply don't have it. I think I have an eye for what won't work though.

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  9. #27
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Shay- View Post
    A few of the members voted no. Three of the no voters simply do too much business with this program, two of them just signed, started, and was recently compensated for a relatively large prepaid advertising campaign, and five of them like the affiliate manager and won't vote against them. Thus, these members dissent from the vote. How united is that? At the same time, how realistic is such a scenario?
    Just the other day I had a "bad" advertiser offering me a massive gift card to advertise them. I turned it down out of principle, saying I wouldn't be bought with gifts/bribes.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Shay- View Post
    I'm not pretending to have the "right answer" as I simply don't have it. I think I have an eye for what won't work though.
    No one's saying they've got the answer, it's good to have the debate. I don't think a union would work too, but a union in its traditional sense as we all have perceived it would work. A collective agreement could take any form that might overcome people's differences.

    Trying to be impartial and absorbing everyone's views so far, perhaps the original post title should have been "we need something with more teeth than (or more importantly, in addition to) a discussion forum where ideas and complaints only get responded by advertisers occasionally, and something that takes more action in lobbying bad advertisers", or "how can we stop bad practice/groundhog day happening again and again" sort of thing.

    GPWA does a great job. Affiliate Guard Dog does a great job. I'm not against their roles - I just think there's something more we can do too. Perhaps the solution is an extension of one of these sites or an add on.

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  11. #28
    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by webanalysissolutions View Post
    I just think there's something more we can do too. Perhaps the solution is an extension of one of these sites or an add on.
    I 100% agree with this statement.

    My previous post, as I had prefaced, was a bunch of conflicting, and maybe incomplete thoughts, as I got sick of starting a post, only to delete it. Even this above post was cut short due to a lack of time.

  12. #29
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webanalysissolutions View Post
    I have most of this information for around 50 programs in a spreadsheet, I can tidy it up and send it to you
    That would be great. I'll send you a pm with the email address to use. We'll compare the data you have, and the data we have, and then follow-up with programs to make sure we have it right where there are inconsistencies.

    Thanks,

    Michael

  13. #30
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    Nothing is black and white in this industry and every one of us have a different set of circumstances so writing that union handbook would be nearly impossible.I am in my 11th year in this business and the community we have now is not the same.We are running a business so every one of us have to figure out for ourselves what is best for the viability of our future.I enjoy meeting up with the veterans from this business in person 2-3 times a year and I personally get more from these meetings than anywhere else online.We compare notes who is converting and retaining our players ,any funny business we suspect but cannot prove.The reason we are so open in these meetings is that we are accountable to nobody but ourselves.The best advise I can give anyone is build friendships with other affiliates ,keep a open mind and do not tell anyone else what to do with their business ,you can advise but do not dictate .

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  15. #31
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    After 14 years of doing this - I have learned a few things.

    Probably the three main things are :
    1/ Player welfare. Only work with the "best programs" that treat players correctly and deal with affiliates fairly.
    2/ Longevity matters. Both with affiliates and programs. I will not consider a new program with less than 2 years history.
    3/ Money corrupts. There is a lot of money about - and there are unethical people on both sides of the business willing to cheat and/or commit fraud.

    The quality of information with many of the disputes posted on this (and other) affiliate forums is very variable. With some "affiliates" attempting trying a very basic CPA scam at times, and some "programs" little more than a one or two person operations with little in the way of audits or operational guidelines.

    We have two dozen programs on our site - about 14 sports programs - and 10 casino/poker programs. We trust the programs and recommend them to our readers and players having selected them as being "best-of-breed" after evaluating hundreds of programs. They ARE good solid programs.

    And yet I think that nearly everyone of them also has been subjected to multiple threads on here, accusing them of shaving, cheating, dropping players, altering stats, usually from a handful vocal but unreliable newish affiliates.
    Unfortunately, I've learnt that some people lie, some people cheat, some people are paranoid, and some people simply don't understand statistics and will cast accusations far too quickly with no proof ... just on a "feeling".

    As CBG says above :
    We are running a business so every one of us have to figure out for ourselves what is best for the viability of our future.
    I would not enrol in an affiliate organisation that sought to wield executive power and have the power to enforce a "ban" on a program as a method of dispute resolution, as I could not follow that ban if I thought otherwise. I'm not prepared to cede control of my business decisions to the will of a 3rd party organisation - no matter how good it's intentions.
    Last edited by TheGooner; 7 December 2013 at 3:46 pm. Reason: spelling

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  17. #32
    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    I would not enrol in an affiliate organisation that sought to wield executive power and have the power to enforce a "ban" on a program as a method of dispute resolution, as I could not follow that ban if I thought otherwise. I'm not prepared to cede control of my business decisions to the will of a 3rd party organisation - no matter how good it's intentions.
    This is the case for many, I think - myself included.

  18. #33
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    Whoever has the information rules the world. At the moment, affiliate programs have much more information about the industry in general, the affiliates, the markets, the traffic, the stats than the affiliates do. The sole reason why affiliates are in the dark is the lack of information. While operators know how to run a business, affiliates Google for "how to increase conversion rate" and read some stupid blog post about it, believing every word.

    The answer is not to form a union but to do something to empower affiliates by giving them more information and a framework for processing that information. A sort of a business academy for affliates if you will. Affiliate programs have educated people, and affiliates are usually amateurs in both running the business (any business) and amateurs within the industry, learning from scratch as they go.

    If you want the turn the game around, educate the affiliates. I'd even go as far as suggesting free academic courses in business, web design, marketing and negotiation strategy.
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  20. #34
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanHorvat View Post
    ....affiliates are in the dark is the lack of information. ......
    empower affiliates by giving them more information and a framework for processing that information.
    I have always thought that something along these lines would provide more transparency and, in a way, act as a yardstick to police the industry. Everyone's probably going to shoot me down immediately saying "that's ridiculous, it ain't gonna work", but i'm talking theoretically if you had access to all affiliate stats for an operator you could at least see if you're performing in that ball park, or for some reason you're performing better or really badly. This information could be anonymous, so wouldn't give away any competitive edge.

    Yes, all affiliates' stats will vary. Yes, conversion is entirely different for each affiliate etc etc. I can see all the negatives people will immediately think. However, if you saw an advertiser where the average player turnover per month for 90% of affiliates was only $10 that would help you. If you saw a trend in the data like one sportsbook taking 2000 clicks to get a sign up you could then research the potential reasons and decide whether to advertise that program or not (for example, conversion may be linked to cookie length).

    Not sure the advertisers would like this though. They'd probably put something in their T&Cs to stop you sharing affiliate performance data.

    Conversely, an advertiser who has nothing to hide could embrace this idea and build it into their affiliate system. That would bring more trust and transparency. For example, if you logged onto affiliate system x and you could benchmark yourself against the rest of the industry, that would help you.

  21. #35
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    You'd either need a huge number of honest people posting their stats on a regular basis, or access to the affiliate program numbers, both being kind of impossible.

    An article explaining the average conversion rates which can be expected in this specific industry and affiliate marketing in general, plus the potential problems and help on how to identify and repair them would serve the same purpose. Affiliates need to know how to read their affiliate stats, which again brings us back to education.
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  22. #36
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    Agreed. Any more transparency is surely a good thing. As an ex-business analyst having worked for a number of large corporates I generally talk in requirements, not solutions (albeit my original post was entitled "we need a union"!, to get some debate going), hence it's a bit frustrating to throw out some ideas and have a lot of people immediately jump to the feasibility or not of the solution. The requirement (if you believe the industry is not working as well for you as it could) really is something like - we need more transparency in affiliate stats, or we need to be able to benchmark ourselves, or we need a measure/metrics that define success and efficiency.

    There are always many different solutions to the same requirement, but I think there's a general consensus across the affiliates I speak to that more transparency is a requirement. How you do this - the solution, whether it be public stats, some sort of union to keep operators in line (so that you could really trust the limited stats they were given you, knowing that there was limited incentive/opportunity to fudge the figures), or whatever, is up for debate.

    I'd certainly be prepared to share my stats if it meant I could learn from others too. Even if one discussion with one other affiliate to compare stats leads me to conclude that we're both different and we can't benchmark against each other, that's fine, it's progress.

    We operate on large volumes of traffic, so as a sample it would be fairly representative of the demographic my sites represent, statistically speaking, if you were to take your variables and see how close your demographic was to mine.

    Thing is, once you start trying to look at trends and benchmarks, you're missing a lot of transparency that the affiliate system needs to provide to achieve this. For example, some (most) affiliate systems don't give you the country of origin of each sign up and each depositor.

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