Playing a new hand: Why poker affiliates should prepare for U.S. market changes
Yesterday, as part of CAP’s ongoing look at the U.S. government’s crackdown on internet poker, we explored the likely changes to the U.S. market when all the “Black Friday” dust clears and new regulations are put in place.
It’s likely that Vegas-based corporations like Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s will soon dominate the industry, creating a new world of opportunities for affiliates — and also a different way of doing business.
“It may take a different shape as to how you’re going to build revenue,” DeucesCracked.com’s Aaron Gerdes recently told Casino Affiliate Programs.
How? For starters, it’s a leveling of the playing field. The market leaders are suddenly gone. Soon enough, new ones will appear to take their place. That opens a whole new world of SEO and marketing possibilities for affiliates dedicated to staying in the game.
But will these new market leaders still need affiliate marketing? That, understandably, is a question many affiliates are asking. Why would a brand as powerful as Ceasars need affiliate marketing? After all, they’re not only the largest casino brand in the world but also the owner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), online poker’s biggest traffic driver.
Potential casualty #1: Revshare
The experts think that, yes, poker affiliate marketing will still have a place in the new U.S. market. Even if these companies already rake in tons of cash, they know that if they have affiliates, they’ll make even more money. It doesn’t hurt them; they only have the potential to get more players.
Herb Jenkins of Poker Affiliate Solutions qualifies that opinion with predictions about how commission models may chance. “I do think that as the market does become more regulated in the U.S. you are going to see a shift towards as more traditional affiliate model, which is more CPA heavy,” he explains.
Potential casualty #2: Rakeback
In addition to revshare commission models, rakeback could also be at risk as affiliate models change. “I think we kind of equate rakeback in many ways with loyalty, and I think that a loyalty program of some sort is always going to exist in this industry, in the form of rakeback or something similar,” Herb continues.
“We’ve seen for a long time that rakeback kind of is this quirky loyalty model that’s in many ways specific to affiliates. The industry will probably modify that or possibly eliminate it eventually.” Affiliates need to be able to adjust to that, particularly for those who employ rakeback as a chief earnings model.
Of course, none of this is certain. “It could play out a thousand different ways,” Herb emphasizes. “But we really see these sorts of contingencies being possibilities, and ones that affiliates should be planning for now, and really saying, if this happens, how can I react two years from now?”
Affiliates should be preparing for these potential changes now. But how to make sure you’re in on the ground floor in this affiliate marketing revolution? We’ll continue to explore that question tomorrow at the CAP Blog.