2009 Kicks Off With Changes in the Poker Affiliate Industry

It is still 2008 and already we know of major changes in the poker affiliate business coming in 2009. The biggest news came from Microgaming last week. Microgaming announced that skins on their network can no longer appear on any poker affiliate site that promotes rakeback. This was quite a blow to many rakeback affiliates that did quite well promoting Microgaming skins such as Eurolinx. Microgaming allows their skins to pay players up to 30% rakeback but it can only be used to retain players, not to market players. Up until now rakeback sites were allowed to advertise Microgaming skins as a bonus or VIP offer.

Also iPoker will be parting ways with NoiQ Poker and Carlos Poker. The poker forums have the opinion that this has to do with the fact that NoiQ and Carlos are top heavy with winning players due to promotions that are very beneficial to high volume players. NoiQ had the following to say:

“NoiQ have been on iPoker network since early 2007. This partnership is about to end January 24th. NoiQ and iPoker don’t look at things the same way and it has been hard to understand each other.”

While NoiQ has announced they will move to Entraction while Carlos Poker has yet to announce where their new home will be. Prior to moving to iPoker both rooms were a member of the Tain Network. Tain was once a standalone network which eventually moved to Tribeca Tables. Tribeca Tables moved to iPoker two years ago.

Monday Sales Call: New Year Resolutions

The New Year is upon us and we need to start thinking about where we want our business to be this time next year. Every promising business should have a plan of action. Whether a detailed business plan or a simple list of goals, we need to put pen to paper.Here are some suggestions of goals you can set for your rakeback site in 2009:- Set a target MGR per month for the first quarter of the year. Re access this target number at the end of the quarter and set a new goal for the second quarter of the year.- I will have ______ new sign ups in the first quarter of the year. Again, re access this target number at the end of the quarter and set a new goal for the second quarter.- Analyze your players. How many of your players are generating over $100 in MGR? How are these players getting to your site (referrals, links, etc..)?- I will have _____ real money players in the first quarter of the new year. This will help you gauge how well your site is converting sign ups to revenue generating players.- If you are using Google Analytics (which you should be!), set a goal of how many unique visitors your site will have in each individual month of the first quarter.- Set page rank goals for search terms that relate to your site. Example: For the term “Brazilian Rakeback”, I want to be on the first page by the end of the first quarter. Furthermore, set goals for yourself to work on the SEO of your site so that you can increase your page rank for relevant searches.- I will write ____ articles per month in 2009. Unique content is one of the easiest ways to increase your rakeback sites’ search results.- Target poker forums and portals to advertise on. Set aside ___ dollars in January for your advertising budget. Contact poker related websites about getting a backlink to your site.- How can you increase your brand loyalty (design work, promotions, advertising, etc.)?- Join a poker affiliate forum and become a regular posting member. This will enable to build relationships within the affiliate community that WILL convert to future business ventures and partnerships.Don’t get caught treading water in 2009. If you do not have plans and/or goals for your website, you are losing traction in the marketplace.Happy New Year!TonyAffiliate Manager

Happy Holidays

Support, blog posting, and development will be a little slow around here for the rest of the week.I want to take a second to thank everyone here at Poker Affiliate Solutions for their hard work. Everyone on the team desrves a few days break! Thanks to everyone involved in PAS – employees, publishers, and players. We have a great thing going here.And thanks for giving us a break over the coming holiday. We’ll be back strong next week. Happy Holidays All.

Monday Sales Call: The PAS News Feed

We will be launching the PAS News Feed function for our Publishers this week. The News Feed allows Publishers to post current poker room news as well as news specific to your rakeback site (such as new offers, promotions and stats updates). If you would like to have the News Feed on your rakeback site, please enable the News Feed by clicking on the “News Admin” link under your “CMS” tab. Next, click on the “Enable” link on the top right of the page. You must enable the News Feed for each site on which you wish it to appear.The PAS support staff will be posting current poker room news that will appear on the front page of your rakeback site. We encourage PAS Publishers to make posts as well via your News Management System. These posts will only appear on your rakeback site and provide another means of communication between webmaster and player. Remember, if you want to have the News Feed appear on your rakeback site you MUST enable the feed!We advise that Publishers who are not offering all available rooms to not opt into the News Feed. Also, for our international publishers, please be aware that these news posts will appear in English and may need to be translated (news posts can be translated and deleted through your sites’ News Management System). If you have ANY questions, feel free to contact me at Publishers (at) PokerAffiliateSolutions.com.Tony

Virgin Poker Added to PAS

Virgin Poker, a member of the Boss Media Network has been added to the PAS list of offers. Players will receive 30% rakeback and bonuses are not deducted from MGR. Virgin is a widely recognized brand, especially is Western Europe. We expect Virgin Poker to quickly become the most popular Boss Media offer among players.

Why Rakeback Caps are Necessary

My rakeback experience dates back to the very beginning of rakeback sites and rakeback offers. I entered the industry with my rakeback directory concept in November 2004. At that time few affiliates had websites. Most did their business in forum PM systems and by email. One after another rakeback websites like Rake Tracker started coming to the scene. It became the Wild West and the great online poker land grab. Otherwise civil level headed affiliates were playing cutthroat over .5%. My rakeback directory, something that from an affiliate or poker room operator perspective was a terrible thing, caused much of this as it helped force rakeback out in the open. While it was great for players it caused quite a few problems.

The most obvious was the fact that margins got smaller and smaller. One affiliate would offer a percent higher, then someone would match them, then someone would beat them by .5%. If that wasn’t stopped rakeback could have never survived. Affiliates were going to poker rooms wanting a bigger cut just to give it to the player to compete if they even got the raise they wanted.

Also affiliates that now work so closely together sometimes had animosity towards each other because of the fierce competition. One affiliate would give a raise cutting into margins and that would make the other affiliates unhappy with them. This would either force the poker rooms or the affiliates to take smaller margins, something that could only go on for so long before poker rooms would either lose their marketing partners or go bust themselves from not being able to cover their operating expenses and licenses.

Quite a few affiliates got together and proposed changes. Reasonable margins that covered costs but gave players good deals were proposed. Once those numbers were agreed upon a pitch to the poker rooms was all it took. Most if not all poker rooms liked the idea of a cap of rakeback percents.

While players sometimes complain about every affiliate offering the same percent at each room it is actually in their benefit because without the caps there would likely be no rakeback as we know it. Now we can use those margins to offer quality support, software and promotions and the poker rooms have the margin needed to cover their marketing and expenses. It is a win for players, affiliates and site operators.

Monday Sales Call: Spam

As Internet marketers, we are confronted with spam everyday. We see spam in our email box, the forums we visit and the blogs that we read. At PAS, we send out emails to potential partners that we would like to work with and to our publishers and players. Being a person that detests spam and spammers, I sometimes wonder whether I am part of the problem or the solution. Am I spamming potential partners by sending them emails informing them of our rakeback solution? Do I spam publishers every month when I send out the PAS Newsletter?Recently I had a publisher tell me “No one reads those things. They are pointless”. The newsletters we send to PAS publishers informing them of promotions and new poker room offers provides a service. While some publishers may choose to immediately hit the trash button, there are those who find the newsletter to be informative. I think the latter group is much larger than the group who treat the newsletter as spam.The traditional “spam email”, is the practice of sending unwanted email messages to an indiscriminate set of recipients. I don’t send emails to clothing websites asking if they would like to embark on a partnership with PAS. I only send emails to websites that I believe could benefit from the services that we offer at PAS. At the end of the day I tell myself that I am informing these people of a service that they may be interested in and one day benefit from.Best,Tony