How To Deal With Closed Affiliate Programs
Earlier this month, affiliate partners working with Expekt were shocked to find out the company was closing down its affiliate program and starting over with some new software. This wouldn’t have been particularly noteworthy had Expekt not carried over players, but not affiliate partners, to their new program.
This debacle has been big news in the affiliate marketing world and for good reason. Companies like Expekt take advantage of the legal grey areas surrounding the gaming industry and the dispersed nature of the business to blatantly steal revenue from small businesses. Since this story broke, many industry insiders have been asking themselves what should be done when an affiliate program shuts down or steals players?
There are no easy answers, but here are some ideas we’ve seen thrown around that can help the affiliate community work to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
Businesses on the verge of major changes, or total collapses, often telegraph their moves weeks and months in advance. Affiliates should keep an eye on industry news sources and forums for tell tale signs that something is up like:
- Are forum posters reporting missing payments?
- Are players complaining that they can’t access their accounts?
- Has the company stopped taking new players?
These warning signs could be an indication that it’s time to take a few steps to protect yourself in case the business is going under, or away.
Know Your Players
There’s a pretty good chance that some, if not all, of your players won’t be interested in doing business with shady casinos. After all, a business that’s willing to rip off affiliate partners probably won’t have any qualms about ripping them off, too.
Developing a relationship with your players through regular promotions like poker tournaments can build a sense of loyalty that could become very valuable down the line.
After the Fact
Once an online casino or sports book has closed down or run off with your players, your options for recourse are fairly limited. Much of what you’ll be able to do is going to be limited by the fine print in the Terms & Conditions of your affiliate agreement and tracking down money that’s on another continent is challenging at best.
There is the possibility of taking legal action, but that’s going to be a fairly complicated. Affiliate partners would first need to find a law firm that’s willing to take the case and that firm would lead the action to help them recover their revenues. Getting blacklisted or labeled rogue by one of these sites is something that most casinos are eager to avoid.
Affiliate partners can also take their case to affiliate advocates like CAP and Affiliate Guard Dog. These operations don’t have any legal authority, but they do have a lot of clout in the industry. Oftentimes getting them involved can help speed a resolution.
While you might not be able to recover your own lost revenue, affiliates are in a great position to make certain the company doesn’t harm anyone else. Affiliates can harness their SEO skills to help spread the word about companies that aren’t worth following the rules. And, if nothing else, they can post up in forums like CAP and Casinomeister.
What are your suggestions for dealing with a disappearing affiliate program? Let us know in our Gambling Affiliate Scams and Warnings Forum.