Complaints about poker affiliate program shenanigans are posted on poker affiliate forums constantly. But there’s an easy way to take away the affiliate programs’ ability to frustrate you. Dictate your own terms.
Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email from a poker affiliate program asking me to sign up. Once you have a poker site with any reasonable amount of traffic, you’ll start receiving emails like that too. Here’s what you do with them.
First, don’t sign up for their affiliate program.
Second, know what your earnings goal for your site is. Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that 25 cents per visitor is a reasonable amount of money to make on a poker site. And let’s say that you want to earn $20,000 a year from your poker site. You need 80,000 visitors a year to make that kind of money. That breaks down to 6667 visitors per month, or 222 visitors per day.
Third, decide how many advertisers you want to have on your site. I like a number between 1 and 8.
Fourth, send them an email explaining that you only deal in prepaid advertising deals. Divide $20,000 by how many advertisers you think you can sell. (Let’s say 4.) Offer them placement on your site for $5000 a year. Have them pay you in advance.
If they balk at paying you in advance, offer to give them free placement for the first month.
Or offer them a moneyback guarantee. You pay me $420 for the first month, and if you’re not satisfied with the results, I’ll send you your $420 back and we’ll both walk away from the deal happy.
What happens when you approach your revenue this way?
Since the poker room has already prepaid you for their ad placement, they can’t take money out of your affiliate account because of an “account error.”
The poker affiliate program can’t retroactively change the rules for which players they pay you for and which players they don’t pay you for. (Like that 60 day rule that some of these programs rolled out.) It doesn’t matter, because they’ve already bought their advertising.
What you do have to do is make sure that you start treating your advertisers like clients though. You should be willing to work with them on varying ad placements and using various strategies to increase the amount of value they’re receiving from the advertising they’re buying. If their 468X60 ad isn’t working for them, suggest that you try a 336X280 unit instead.
What do you do with the money you get prepaid for the advertising? You reinvest it in the site. Add content. Get links. Build traffic.
That way when the year is up, and you now have twice as much traffic, you can double your advertising rates. The poker room will see the value that you’re bringing, because the number of referrals you’re sending them have gone up as your traffic has risen. (Traffic doesn’t go up overnight. If you’re getting 200 visitors a day when the deal starts, and you’ve increased that to 600 visitors per day when the deal ends, the program will have noticed. And getting more money shouldn’t be a problem at that point.
When you use this business model, you don’t have to limit your advertisers to just online poker rooms either. You can use the same model to sell advertising to large poker portals like PokerListings too.
It’s about taking control of the business for yourself. As long as you’re an affiliate, you rely entirely on the goodwill of the poker affiliate program for everything. They report how much money you have made based on THEIR reports of the players you’ve referred.
You’re at their mercy as an affiliate.
But you don’t have to be.