Bingo Is Bumbling Not Booming For Affiliates!

Jul 1, 2007 by jason    7 Comments    Posted under: Bingo

Now that the smoking ban has come into force in England, one aspect of the ban will be the effect is has on bingo halls. Since the ban was introduced in Scotland, some bingo halls have closed and online bingo has taken advantage of this by promoting itself as an alternative for smokers. Later this year, Bullet Business will run their second bingo conference and many well known bingo operators will be there to discuss how bingo online is booming.

I was there last year, commenting on bingo and affiliate marketing. Due to other commitments I’ll not be at this year’s conference but I hope that this year the section on affiliate marketing is listened too and understood as quite frankly bingo and affiliate marketing is not exactly booming. It’s more bumbling! This year’s session is headed up by Jess Luthi (Astro Bingo) and includes Simon Collins (Foxy Bingo), however disappointingly this year there’s no representative of an affiliate who has not previously been employed by a gaming or bingo site and perhaps isn’t afforded the luxury of insider info.

One point I raised last year was the lack of information provided by bingo merchants for their affiliates. Has it changed? Well, no! Name any major bingo affiliate program – how much information do they offer affiliates? How many provide information about big winners? Important events? Latest promotions?

Admittedly some do try, but it’s poor fair for the most part. The information is there though, and a conscientious affiliate can find news from the bingo sites.

Things aren’t helped by the fact that the biggest name in bingo, Gala Bingo, just can’t seem to run or manage an effective program. Having sensationally dumped St Minver (and their then affiliates) to open a new site and subsequent program through Tradedoubler, the program has been beset with payment issues and ever changing commission offers (here, here and here for example). The program is on batched payment too, so affiliate’s never know from month to month if they’re getting any revenue share!

The new program offer is either 35% for the first 6 months of your customers’ life or a bounty scheme starting at just £10 a sign up! Affiliates should be aware that a player joining Gala Bingo can play at Coral Games, Casino and Sportsbook using their same login details – however, as far as I’m aware affiliate’s won’t earn any revshare from these parts of the site.

Gala though aren’t the only culprits! It doesn’t matter if the program is run through a network or independently, the situation is pretty much the same right across the industry. Bingo merchants are not talking to their affiliates or communicating on a regular basis – and by regular that means a more than once a month standard newsletter!

Hopefully the boom in online bingo will soon reach the affiliate industry as things do need to improve at least in terms of communications, improved creative and up to date offers, especially in light of forthcoming changes in the gambling advertising rules. If you think you can help, and are interested in discussing bingo affiliate issues on a more than once a year basis, then why not join the online bingo affiliates community over at A4U?

Bingo operators and merchants are most welcome – you might even find that your affiliates will work so much better with your support, input and improved affiliate-merchant relations.

7 Comments + Add Comment

  • “however disappointingly this year there’s no representative of an affiliate who has not previously been employed by a gaming or bingo site and perhaps isn’t afforded the luxury of insider info” Hi Jason, I reckon we could turn this around, if any one wants to join us all, I’m sure it can be arranged :)

    The problems re lack of commincation about demographics is that we dont really want our competitors getting hold of it. It’s scary how some bingo companies see bingo players and casino players as the same target audience, this is a good signal to us they dont know their customers yet.

    We would love to send affiliates indepth stats, we have them and we can tell you things that really would help you, simple geo targeting, but… we cant do that.

    We can give you basics and hints, I stand by what I have said on my blog re you have to have the bingo balls. Chris Wesson and I were speaking about this last night. Loads of hype being sent out by ops to get more players coming online.
    I some times wonder if there are not more bingo ops then players :0)

    Great post Jason

  • Hopefully an affiliate attending the event will step forward and join the panel at Bullet Business – I think it’ll be a useful perspective, although I’m not sure any of the operators listened last year – perhaps your presence Jess might sway them a bit more?

    Demographics don’t really worry me – just some basic information would suffice (latest winners, latest promotions, latest competitions, latest updates, updated creative) – not stuff that’s going to be a problem for anyone handing out.

    Bingo Halls – my view on this is here The Smoking Ban vs Online Bingo. They will survive, and I think it’s Riva who have introduced an electronic game at their halls so that smokers can play outside the main hall?

    William Hill Bingo though are using the ban as a way of getting people online (Ditch the Dabber campaign), but imo it’s not a well thought through campaign – simply because people go to bingo halls for socialness as well as bingo and I’m not 100% convinced people get the same level of social interaction online.

    Hype – yes there’s plenty of that – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked to promote “the number one bingo site” with “the best conversions” etc.

  • “Demographics don’t really worry me – just some basic information would suffice (latest winners, latest promotions, latest competitions, latest updates, updated creative) – not stuff that’s going to be a problem for anyone handing out.”

    I agree with this fully. Would be nice to get this direct to us rather than waiting for newsletters that a customer gets and thats even if they get one.

    There will be a shake up soon, a lot of american heavy weights will move into the UK bingo market and will look after the affiliates and customers to.

    But, I wouldnt really say bingo is bumbling or whatever you call it, and its not booming either, its just getting tougher to compete with alot more affiliates jumping on the bandwagen.

  • In terms of affiliate-merchant relations, which is what the post is about as opposed to generalistic bingo, it’s bumbling imo, as in many cases there are bingo operators with no idea how to deal with affiliates.

    I’m not so sure there will be a shake up if/when american run bingo companies come in. The second biggest bingo brand online is probably The Sun Bingo – and that’s because they have not only reach but a massive brand – it’s going to be very expensive for new entrants to come in and grab a slice of the already established brand bingo pie.

    Jason

  • There are still over 25,000 searchs each day for bingo terms on google alone, which must mean people are still looking.

    So there is still a big affiliate scope there, but for sites like Sun Bingo and Gala if they want to keep there customers, even if they are massive brands they will have to look after us IMO.

    These US sites do look after affiliates and offer MSN support direct with your affiliate manager in most cases, this is what I mean, if the UK sites dont start to interact more with us and the US sites offer us better deals/quicker payments who will we promote?

    Quick payments and communication is all I want :)

  • I have been a casino, poker and bingo affiliate for almost 10 years now and it amazes me on a daily basis how poorly we are all treated. The latest Gala example just show that we’re not making any inroads at all in the UK. Online bingo operators make it harder and harder for us to promote them and are generally slow responding and acting on requests.

    Companies like Gala and Mecca would be seeing significant revenues come from the affiliate side, but access to content is almost non-existant. Gala prefers to hide behind Tradedoubler when issues arise.

    Many US facing bingo affiliate programs do it much better with available content, affiliate promotions and timely payments (without having to invoice every month!!!)

    As affiliates, we run legitimate businesses bending over backwards for these operators – working 16 hour days and on weekends. We take more risks and like to feel we will be paid what is promised on time. Sometimes it feels like we’re treated like second rate business people.

    I am on the affiliate panel at the Bullet Business conference and will certainly be sticking up for all affiliates. I’d be happy to raise any concerns there for anyone that won’t be there. If you have an issue you’d like raised, please drop me an email – scott@bingoport.co.uk

    Great post BTW. Totally agree.

  • Hi there

    I totally agree too have been in the industry for ages and set up a bingo affliliate portal a couple of years ago. Only recently have we started ranking quite well for search terms. I have tried to contact all the operators and it seems like most of them just don;t care. Some of them don;t seem to be happy to negotiate deals or even be fussed if they get any of the traffic. Its incredible. I remember working for one of the big online gaming operators and our affilaites were the most important thing to the company.

About One Little Duck

One Little Duck is the affiliate blog of Jason Dale - Managing Director of Loquax. I've been involved in affiliate marketing - now performance marketing - for over 10 years and use the blog to give my views from a hard working siteowner perspective.

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