In 2011, CAP published a list of the 10 Worst Gambling Affiliate Programs to help our readers avoid some of the less-reliable partners. As a follow-up to that piece we’re taking a closer look at some of those programs, like Money Plays, Grand Prive, Red Hot Revenue and Best Casino Partners, and why they were such a bad deal for affiliates in the hopes that our readers can avoid similar bad players in the future.
You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. This is a simple rule that affiliate managers at Bwin should have considered when pulling the rug out from under their affiliate partners in the fall of 2010. That’s when the company introduced some pretty significant changes to their T&C that seriously damaged their reputation.
Seemed Like a Good Idea
Bwin’s descent into the rogue basement began innocently enough with an e-mail to affiliate partner that read:
Dear all, the day has come: Oct,1st is the launch date of our new affiliate program: bewinners, the affiliate program of the bwin group.
Think faster payments, a rewarding level program, high quality marketing tools, the strongest brand in the industry or in one word, simply: Yeah!
At bewinners, you can finally put your talent to the test.
Are you ready for the ultimate challenge?
In one word? Simply? No!
No, most affiliate partners weren’t in line with what Bwin saw as some really great changes to their affiliate program. That’s because hidden away in the new T&C were some new and, very predatory, clauses. As one forum poster noted, “Yikes! If that’s improved affiliate terms and an improved affiliate program then I’d hate to see the old ones!”
The worst part of Bwin’s new plan was that it reduced commissions on player losses to a meager fiver percent after three years. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Bwin applied the change retroactively. That meant reliable sources of affiliate revenue were suddenly choked off from affiliates. A Bwin whale was suddenly only worth five percent and that’s not what affiliate partners had signed up for.
It’s one thing to offer a new T&C for new affiliate partners, but to pull the rug out from reliable partners after years of business is something else entirely. Not surprisingly, the affiliate world blew up when word of the changes began spreading. One web master even went so far as to create a parody site mocking the plan called belosers.
But there were more surprises hidden in bewinners’ fine print.
Help Not Wanted
Bwin’s new affiliate program turned out to be loaded with predatory terms that came across as just plain mean. Some of the offensive clauses included:
- Removing players who don’t deposit within 90 days. If the player deposits on the 91st day, the affiliate who sent them gets nothing.
- Affiliates were required to invoice Bwin within twelve months of a credit being applied or lose out on the revenue entirely.
- Affiliates who went three months without sending a player risked having their accounts closed entirely. Though all the changes were terrible, this one seemed particularly mean spirited.
No Good Reason
Why Bwin decided to change the T&C, and the very nature of the affiliate partner relationship is something of a mystery. The bewinner program seemed designed to alienate the very people who had tripped over themselves sending the company business.
Bwin managers gamely answered questions in forums, but tended to phrase their answers in vague management speak. Mostly they just told partners that the new plan was a good one, but if they wanted to opt out, they could. Unfortunately, opting out of the new plan meant dropping out of the affiliate program entirely.
By the end of 2010, the bewinner program had earned Bwin rogue status on almost every credible affiliate advocacy site, including CAP. The T&C changes that must have seemed so good in the board room had seriously backfired. Given Bwin’s treatment of their affiliate partners, is it any wonder that the company’s revenues have been declining?
Were you impacted by Bwin’s bizarre bewinner program? Let us know in our Casino Affiliates Scams and Warnings Forum.