Bookmaker / BetCris Poll
We were approached by a GAU member who would like us to run a poll asking our membership to vote on whether Bookmaker and BetCris should be marked as rogue affiliate programs and boycotted by the Gambling Affiliates Union. The member laid out his case so clearly, I’m going to re-post it here (with his permission) for your consideration. The main issue is the quota they imposed retroactively – see paragraph 4.1 below for more info….
Should the GAU Rogue and Boycott Bookmaker/BetCris?
- YES (100% Votes)
- NO (0% Votes)
A Case Against BetCris and Bookmaker.com‘s Affiliate Terms and Conditions and to Support Why They Fall Under The Category of Rogue.
Before I go into details I would first like to point out what the definition of the word “Rogue.”
The following is taken from Dictionary.com, once again highlight in bold the definition that I feel is appropriate:
11. no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade: a rogue cop; a rogue union local.
Amidst somewhere at or around August of the year 2007, BetCris, Bookmaker, and 2betDSI retroactively changed terms and conditions in their affiliate contracts. I would like to note that these changes came without warning and with no correspondence whatsoever. Most affiliates where completely unaware of the fact for months and for some even years after the change.
Some of the new terms changes that I think fall under the provided definition(s) of “rogue” include the following but are not limited to:
3.2. Affiliate is required to refer a minimum of 10 active customers during the previous week to withdraw/transfer their earnings. If the affiliates chooses to close the affiliate account before reaching the required 10 active players, any and all commissions shall be forfeited.
3.6. Affiliate shall not establish any MySpace or other social network domains, blog domain, profile name or display name containing “Bookmaker”, “Bookmaker Brand” or any variation of Bookmaker, including, but not limited to: BookmakerSportsbook, BookmakerCasino, BookmakerRacebook, BookmakerPoker, BookmakerSports, BookmakerSportsbetting, BookmakerBonus.
3.7. Affiliate is restricted from purchasing any domains that include “Bookmaker”, “Bookmaker Brand”, or bidding on any keywords or keyword phrases that include, but are not limited to, Bookmaker, Bookmaker.com, Bookmaker Sportsbook, Bookmaker Casino, Bookmaker Racebook, Bookmaker Poker or Bookmaker Brand, in any format in any pay per click (PPC) search engine. This includes, but is not limited to, the following search engines: Overture, Google, Kanoodle, FindWhat, ePilot and Ah-ha.
3.8. Affiliate is restricted from utilizing derivatives of “Bookmaker” in URLs and directory names for the intention of search engine optimization.
3.10. Affiliate is restricted from optimizing any page of their website(s) for keyword or keyword phrases that include, but are not limited to, Bookmaker, Bookmaker.com, Bookmaker Brand, Bookmaker Sportsbook, Bookmaker Casino, Bookmaker Racebook, Bookmaker Poker or Bookmaker Sportsbook, Casino and Poker Room in any format. This includes, but is not limited to, meta tags, headers and body content.
3.11. Affiliate is restricted from purchasing or building off-site text links with anchor text for Bookmaker-branded keyword phrases, including, but not limited to: Bookmaker, Bookmaker Brand, Bookmaker.com, Bookmaker Sportsbook, Bookmaker Casino, Bookmaker Racebook, Bookmaker Poker or Bookmaker Sportsbook, Casino and Poker Room in any format.
a. You will earn commission fees according to the fee schedule set forth herein:
Commission fees will be based on a percentage on the Net Revenue Share Model, on the amount of revenue generated by you in any one month. You’ll earn from 25% to 40% of the net revenues from sportsbook, racebook, casino, bingo and poker. The percentage breakdown is as follows:
* Note: Affiliate is required to have a minimum of 10 active players during the previous week to withdraw/transfer their earnings.
* We reserve the right to raise or lower any affiliates’ commission rate solely at Management’s discretion.
b. If a player signs up under an affiliate account and does not make a deposit within the first 60 days, that player becomes a house account.
c. Net revenue is calculated as follows: Total net losses from customers minus charge-backs, fraud, processing fees and promotional items.
d. In the case of two or more affiliates competing over player(s) account(s), Management makes the decision whom gets the player account. Management’s decision is final.
Before I go into payments, earnings, and forfeiture I would first like to cover terms 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.10 and 3.11. While it is not uncommon for companies to protect their trademarks, logos, content, and name from competition it is uncommon for any business, company, or corporation to be entitled a monopoly on common names and/or terms. The word “bookmaker” is a common term in all English speaking countries. The word “bookie” is a common slang word derived from the word and meaning of “bookmaker.” Bookmaker.com is attempting to monopolize a common term. Furthermore, I would like to elaborate on term 3.10. The last sentence in term 3.10 forbids you to optimize the common word bookmaker in body content. This would mean that any rating/review website, commentary website, or any informational site would be in violation of the terms and can have their earnings forfeited without any recourse. Apparently, under these terms, you can do no more or less than post Bookmaker.com banners on you website as you are forbidden to even type the word “bookmaker” in any content of your website.
Terms 3.2 and 4.1 go into payments and earnings. While it is not usual, some companies (primarily online casinos) have put minimum player requirements before an affiliate would be eligible to receive his/her first payment. These measures typically require a few sign-ups (5 or less being the norm) and normally restrict an affiliate from receiving his/her first payment and are designed and put in place to prevent affiliate fraud. They require realistic goals that are achievable by most webmaster’s and/or affiliates big or small. Terms 3.2 and 4.1 are not only unrealistic, they are designed to inhibit affiliates from receiving their earnings/funds.
Term 4.1 cover fee structures, sign-ups, and conversions. It reiterates that any affiliate needs 10 active players in the previous to week to withdraw/transfer earnings. It also cover that at “managers sole discretion” they can raise or lower your earnings. Here they have a structure of payment which in essence carries no weight because your money/earnings is ultimately held at bay to management. Furthermore, they expect affiliate sign-ups to turn into a conversion within 60 days or you lose that sign-up and it becomes a house account.
The cookies that track affiliate ID’s via a bookmaker.com‘s banner is set at two weeks. This is well below the norm of any industry standard. While I don’t have the proof to support this, their cookies prior to the retroactive change used to be 60 days. Nevertheless, the current 14 days tracking is far too low and doesn’t give affiliates a true chance to provide referrals.
Bookmaker.com‘s affiliate program is designed to defraud, cheat, is not controllable or answerable, and operates outside of normal or desirable controls (all defined under the definition(s) of rogue. We as affiliates work hard getting sign-ups and referrals to the companies we promote. They don’t know what it’s like being up until 5am trying to figure out code to why are scripts aren’t running right. Typing, researching keywords, trying to learn php, java, web design, working hard to get our website running right. Waking up every day to check your stats, search engine placement, logging into accounts hoping our labor paid off, which most days they don’t but that doesn’t stop us from quitting. The majority of us work outside the internet, yet we invest so much of our otherwise free time laboring over a keyboard. The majority of us don’t have the traffic to generate some of these quotas that are being put in place (which are truly designed to steal from us.) Yet, we the majority combined make up 99% of their referral base. Unfortunately, companies like bookmaker.com know this as well, so they design and structure terms which makes it nearly impossible for us independently to meet these terms. Bwin is following suite, then who’s next? We as affiliates really need to start setting examples to these companies who think it’s alright to steal from us. I was going to make this summary more in dept yet I feel it’s better just to invite you to search the web yourself and see how many affiliates bookmaker decided to steal from, and how they go about doing it. They changed their terms retroactively in the middle of the night, most affiliates were unaware of the changes until they tried to receive earnings. Bookmaker.com wasn’t being transparent about this, they did as rogues in the middle of the night. They wouldn’t even let affiliates close their accounts and keep what earnings they already had prior to the term change. Look at these terms as a whole, 10 active players in the previous week, you cannot mention a common name/term, managements sole discretion to lower your earnings, forfeiture of earnings if you want out of the program. Once again read the terms as a whole, search the web, and you decide for yourself. Rogue?