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The ugly truth about stats shaving

Stats shaving, a short-hand term for “statistics shaving” and interchangeable with “player shaving”, can be a serious problem that hurts your ability to make online casino profits.

Shaving refers to an attempt to deprive affiliates from their commissions, thereby “shaving” the company’s extra expenses (i.e., paying affiliates). Here’s how it usually goes down”
•    An affiliate brings in a player to a casino or online poker room;
•    The player becomes a regular and/or big spender at the site;
•    The site eventually decides to “shave” off the money paid to the affiliate and adjusts its statistics to exclude the player from the affiliate’s rightful commission and profit.
This last point can be done a number of ways. Sometimes, the player is simply removed from the affiliate’s statistics, or “untagged”, as it’s called. Other tactics have been used, too:
•    Enticing players to move to different casinos in the same network
•    Hiding various player deposits
•    Inventing non-existent issues with payment processing or chargebacks
•    Changes to “lifetime” commission policies
•    Shutting down the affiliate program with outstanding unpaid commissions
Now, of course, this kind of shaving only works on revenue sharing and lifetime commissions, where the affiliates are supposed to profit on an ongoing basis. By “shaving” away the player in question, the affiliate is denied his or her rightful affiliate commissions on an ongoing basis.
Discovering and preventing stats shaving
So, how can you prevent this kind of shaving?
•    Stay on top of your stats. This can’t be emphasized enough — and it’s something you really should already be doing. If you’re taking the appropriate steps to monitor your account and your stats, you should be quick to notice the kinds of irregularities that usually mean shaving.
•    Keep in contact with your affiliate manager. It may be a bit time-consuming to maintain a relationship and communications with every affiliate manager for every program you promote. But it’s important, both to maximize your effectiveness with a program by better understanding it, as well as to better catch any potential changes to your existing agreements.
•    Partner with reputable casino affiliate programs. Nobody’s perfect, but the programs here at Casino Affiliate Programs are monitored by the community to help ensure any problems are noticed and acted on as early as possible.
Knowing what to do
Watch your conversions and your retention rates. All reputable casino affiliate programs will help you monitor those stats, usually with a dedicated affiliate manager, but smart affiliates will take the extra time to make sure there aren’t any unusual discrepancies there. Your online casino profits may depend on it, after all.
Some affiliates operate under the mantra that “somewhere, somehow, you are being shaved”. That may be a realistic approach, and it may be true, but it shouldn’t stop you from monitoring your stats carefully. If you are being shaved, it’s up to you to find out how, who, and why.
It’s worth noting that shaving isn’t even necessarily performed by the affiliate program. It could be performed by an online casino and not reported to the affiliate program itself. Since many affiliate programs are operated independently of the online gaming rooms they promote, there’s a significant chance of this.
This info is meant to inform affiliates about all the potential dangers and hazards that can exist in their line of work. It’s not meant to cast suspicion on any particular affiliate programs, and, to the best of our knowledge, no CAP Listed Program engages in stats shaving.
But as a general business topic, affiliates should certainly be aware of stats shaving and the dangers it represents. Moreover, the business world and relevant lawmakers should be aware of this trend; greater regulation from the U.S. government (or wherever the affiliate is based) could go a long way towards ending this sort of activity and more fully “legitimizing” casino affiliate marketing.
What else?
Perhaps the best place to confront any problems is at the Casino Affiliate Programs forum.
What else does the community at Casino Affiliate Programs have to advise on the dangers of player shaving? Sound off in the comments and let us know what your experience has been, and whether you have any advice for affiliate concerned about player shaving.