Avoid a `Bad Beat`- Choosing a Casino Affiliate Program

By: , September 18, 2007 | Affiliate & Revenue Programs

How do you know if a casino affiliate program is right for your site? With online gambling the requirements are pretty simple - 18+ with a credit card! For web-masters, it's a match made in heaven.

By Cyndalie for AdultChamber.com | Reprint by permission only.

Part of making money as a webmaster is choosing an affiliate program that your visitors will be tempted to click, buy, or enjoy. Looking at where your traffic comes from, and using good statistical reporting of your web logs can point to a general demographic of who your audience is and what will grab their attention. The key to successful advertising and sales is 'targeting'. How do you know if a casino affiliate program is right for your web site? With online gambling the requirements are pretty simple - Over 18 with a credit card! For adult webmasters, it's a match made in heaven.

Unlike choosing an adult pay site affiliate program where the lesser known service tends to bring in more visitors that are willing to join because of it's uniqueness (adult surfers are always looking for something 'new'), most webmasters feel that 'bigger is better' when selecting a casino affiliate program. Many gamblers are skeptical not only about the odds and fairness of the online gaming software, but that the casino will pay out winnings promptly and is a legally binding organization. The player's concern about the security of privacy, deposits, and legal implications make a well-known, reputable organization, most preferred.

The webmaster must select a good gaming affiliate program while keeping in mind the online player's initial lack of trust toward internet gaming software. Research and experience has shown that a player is almost 90% more willing to play free online casino games that do not require a download. Sure, free games can be "fixed" to show high winnings in free play in an attempt to entice the visitor to "Play for Real" and make a cash deposit, but that's what casinos do. Anyone entering a land-based or Internet casino knows that the odds are against him or her and are simply looking to have a good time. Upping the stakes is what gambling excitement is all about. Clearly, lack of trust does not override the fact that the online gaming industry is expected to gross over $3 billion dollars in 2001; therefore adding a good gaming affiliate program does have some earning potential for any webmaster.

Affiliate Program or Affiliate Network?
The difference between simply signing up at a casino site that uses its' own affiliate software and manages its' own pay outs as opposed to signing up with an affiliate network is a matter of preference. Webmasters that promote multiple sites tend to prefer an affiliate network that manages many merchants and uses one place to track the sales of all programs with pay outs in one monthly check. Although affiliate networks tend to have lower commission rates due to third party management services, many webmasters find the pay outs to be more reliable and easier to track. A few affiliate networks that offer several gaming programs are ReferBack (http://www.ReferBack.com), Commission Junction (http://CJ.com) and DirectLeads (http://directleads.com). However, some affiliate networks like Commission Junction will not allow promotions from sites with adult content. Each provides a list of merchant partners for you to review before you join and be sure to read the terms of service carefully. That last thing you want is to earn money and then have your account cancelled due to a violation of terms.

Regardless of which you choose - Individual affiliate program or affiliate network, make sure the reports include most, if not all, of the following: the number of hits sent, impressions served, signups or downloads, accounts created, and amount of deposits made. If you receive webmaster traffic sign up for a two or three tiered affiliate program so that you can receive payment on referrals and/or referred sales.

The typical pay per click, pay per sale, and pay per lead options are available for most gaming programs. Remember that commission payouts are often limited to a minimum of $25 or $50 dollars per check. If you choose a pay per click program (typically .05c per click or more) remember that you are going to need a good amount of traffic to earn those checks so keep your goals realistic. Increase your chances of earning money by choosing a casino affiliate program that includes a sports book. By managing your banners to synchronize with current sports seasons and events, you can attract or convert the gambler looking for better winning odds and who prefers to play with 'knowledge' rather than 'luck'.

Good or Bad?
Do some investigative work on who and what you are advertising. Play the games or download the software to test out ease of use, speed, security in creating accounts, and read the privacy policies, terms of service, or other disclaimers. By performing a WhoIs search at Network Solutions (http://www.netsol.com), you can make sure the casino is registered offshore and the contact information matches up with the information is provided at their website. Be sure the casino is licensed and regulated, audited, and accepts deposits from the US and other large countries. Remember, if the casino gets shut down, so does your affiliate account. If you look at the web site design and banners and it looks like a shoddy place to gamble, or promotes itself using third-rate graphics or marketing tactics, it probably is. Watch for indications of carelessness such as misspellings, broken images, or bad links. In this case, judge the 'book by its' cover'.

The Interactive Gaming Commission ( http://internetgamingcommission.com ) offers some background information and dispute resolution for conflicts with casino owners. Most importantly, your best opportunities for making steady cash lies in the loyalty of the players you refer. Since commission scales often pay a percentage for every deposit each referred player makes; happy players equate to happy webmasters. If the customer service of the online casino is unacceptable it won't be long before the your referred player moves on. Try testing their customer service response time by sending a dupe inquiry or dummy question and make sure the phone numbers work (a 1-800 number should be provided given the casino must be offshore to be legal). If you find that the casino is slow to respond to their players, how will they treat you when you have questions regarding a missing payout? Fore more information CasinoMeister.com and Go2Bet.com offer some great information and advice on telling the good from the bad.

Many online casinos are owned or sold by casino software licensing corporations. Top players include BossMedia.com (about 30 casinos in their portfolio), MicroGaming.com, and WorldGaming.net (over 200 casinos in their portfolio). Operators often partner with gaming software providers or license the software and design their own concepts for the casino. There are many Adult Themed online casinos that can add content and excitement to an adult sex site. Two adult themed casinos with affiliate programs are SexBet.com and CyberSexCasino.com. There is almost every type of casino theme imaginable so be creative when matching an advertising campaign, co-brand, or partnership to compliment your web site.

If you still are unsure about whom to partner with, ask around. Gaming affiliate forums for webmasters such as GamblingHangout.com offer first hand advice and interaction with participating affiliate webmasters. Take a look and see what the players have to say in places such as BettorsWorld.com or other message boards. Casino news and resources sites can give you an idea of who is big enough to pay for advertising and stand in the spotlight. Also, you may want to try searching engines like Google.com for terms such as "not recommended casinos" or "bad casino affiliate programs". By taking everything you learn with a grain of salt and looking at the big picture, the right program will stand out. Has the casino been around for a good amount of time and is it a reputable place to associate your site with? Are they professional in appearance, service, and responsible to pay where payouts are due (to players and webmasters)? Do you qualify and are you willing to uphold the site requirements and marketing agreements? And finally, will this program generate income?

In summary, you never know until you try. For many webmasters, promoting an online casino or sports book adds content to their site as well as a viable means of generating income. If you have tried and failed before, or if your current gaming affiliate program has high click through rates and low player registration and/or deposits, try out a program that does not require a download to play free games. Even better, a casino or sports book that can allow games to be played on the web site or in a download offers something for an audience of all Internet speeds.

A 'bad beat' is when you lose in a way that seemed inconceivable until you saw it happen. When the odds are stacked in your favor and it all comes crashing down. With all the information that is available to help you make the best decisions when choosing a gaming affiliate program, with all the warning signs to show you what to avoid, it's time to stake your claim and become a part of the highly profitable market that is the Internet gaming industry. The trick to avoiding a 'bad beat' is to make sure you keep all your b'aces' covered.

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