Lindar Media played an April’s fools joke on Affiliates in the UK online bingo industry, we love it!
You don’t hear this story everyday and most important, you don’t hear about April’s fools jokes on such level. Well, the guys at Lindar Media, who operate a couple of popular bingo affiliate sites such as onlinebingo.co.uk and twolittlefleas.co.uk, as well as actual bingo brands: circusbingo.com and pixiebingo.com, did it. They have managed to fool the top online bingo affiliates with the launch of a new bingo model called Square Bingo.
The story of the new brand’s launch is incredible and even managed to be quoted and mentioned by many. The games played and Imitation Game and managed to pull it off.
Below you can find the details of this prank and the outcome of it:
WHAT SQUARE BALLS SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ONLINE BINGO
After weeks of anticipation, Square Bingo finally launched on April 1, 2016. Except it didn’t.
Square Bingo was actually an April Fool’s Day experiment created by Lindar Media (that’s us) to gauge how the online bingo industry would react to a new, unknown and untested brand.
With just a few social media posts and a simple ‘Coming Soon’ page to the Square Bingo name, we were able to create a small but meaningful buzz among the country’s leading bingo affiliate sites.
But what does that tell us? Did a fictitious site shed light on some of the key issues affecting online bingo in 2016, and what did we learn about its treatment of the players that fund it?
THE IMITATION GAME
According to recent statistics from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), bingo sites had a Gross Gambling Yield (earnings retained by the operator after winnings had been paid) of £82m between November 2014 and March 2015. With such great rewards available, it is really any surprise that new bingo sites are launched on a monthly basis?
Well, we say new, but the majority of bingo sites are simply re-skins of older designs, intended to funnel players from one site to another with the promise of bigger bonuses and ‘original’ themes.
We operate a selection of networked sites ourselves and are also guilty of falling into this rinse and repeat cycle. But starting with the launch of Circus Bingo last July, and continuing with Pixie Bingo and Wild Spins, we are now trying hard to put our own unique mark on network software through the creation of distinguishable brands.
While Circus and Pixie are admittedly similar to each other, they are together much different from the 170+ other Dragonfish products – a trait that has been widely acknowledged by the industry:
“…to be fair they have tried to make it different and it looks totally different to anything else on this tried and tested network.” – Circus Bingo review, WhichBingo.co.uk
“…the site uses Dragonfish software but there is no way that we would be able to tell by looking at it. The new site uses a completely new template, and we have to say the site looks fantastic.” – Circus Bingo review, Bingoport.co.uk
“Circus Bingo is a Dragonfish network bingo site but is about as far from a standard Dragonfish skin as you could possibly imagine. The design of this circus and nuts themed site is absolutely stunning…” – BestNewBingoSites.co.uk
There’s plenty of room for operators to be adventurous if they want to be. Are players really crying out for another Welcome Bingo? We don’t think so.
Small steps, not giant leaps
PlayTech’s bingo variants and Tombola’s proprietary software aside, it has been years since an operator has offered a truly original approach, leading to genuine excitement when something slightly different arrives on the scene.
As a precursor to Square Bingo, PlayTech’s newest game, Cash Cubes, highlighted how even relatively simple changes continue to be celebrated as groundbreaking when it launched in March.
Then in April we saw 888Ladies launch playing card based, Flash Fives. Both of these games are essentially still bingo at their core; replacing the standard bingo card with a different object and speeding things up a bit.
How many more times will this concept be copied?
A SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE
Probably the biggest surprise about Square Bingo was that the domain wasn’t already taken.
After all, the formula for dreaming up a bingo site name is fairly simple:
1. Think of any everyday object, event, location, shape, colour… anything
2. Add ‘Bingo’ to the end of it
Square Bingo was no different. We deliberately chose it to be as plain and uninspiring as possible. Other names on the shortlist included Ironing Bingo, Paint Drying Bingo, Car Park Bingo and Grey Bingo.
Despite the boring name (Boring Bingo, anyone?), and with little to show besides the suggestion of more angular balls, journalists and affiliates began to take notice…
Making Square Bingo look real was actually quite easy. As well as the compulsory ‘Coming Soon’ page, we used a selection of channels to actively build community excitement. Here’s a breakdown:
- Set up Facebook & Twitter profiles for Square Bingo (5 mins)
- Posted one Tweet per day – usually including a square-based pun (30 secs per day)
- Followed every bingo affiliate account we could find (5 mins)
- Retweeted the occasional piece of bingo news (10 secs)
- Set up a basic coming soon page (1.5 hours)
Our marketing even received compliments:
“This new site has a brilliant marketing scheme by keeping us all in the dark while at the same time giving us just a tiny bit of information to keep us coming back for more.
“According to the site… it’s going to completely change the online bingo world” really? Seriously, talking about dangling a carrot in front of us and then pulling it away!” – latestbingobonuses.com
Truth is, it probably totaled less than two hours work. Compare that to a real bingo brand in the weeks before its launch:
No history? No problem.
Thanks to our rather basic promotional strategy, we were offered affiliate and advertising deals for Square Bingo in March. Sites were willing to promote an unknown bingo brand with almost no confirmed information about the site.
Remember, Square Bingo was to run on a completely new platform (Shapesoft) and be operated by a company that even Google had no record of (CBWFL Media). Would there have been quality checks before our campaigns went live to safeguard players or was their experience being overlooked by the hundreds of affiliate sites desperate to cash-in on their deposits? It would certainly seem so.
World First Features
We updated Square Bingo on the first of April to include a list of (fake) world-first features, including the much-predicted square bingo balls, a spin the square bonus game and an exclusive partnership with a famous London landmark.
We sent a version of this press release to hundreds of people in the bingo industry, published news on OnlineBingo.co.uk and Two Little Fleas, and updated the Square Bingo social profiles. We were fortunate that our work in the lead up to 1st April kept people invested in the launch and allowed the scenario to play out in full. The whole thing could have immediately been called out as a joke, so why wasn’t it? We put this down to two reasons:
1. People were actually excited about the unlikely ‘innovation’ of square bingo balls
2. Affiliates didn’t want to harm their chances of doing a deal with us should the site not be fake – our players are worth money, after all
Sticking to the traditions of April Fool’s Day, we finally revealed the truth about Square Bingo at 12 noon.
Our reveal included a message to affiliates and an exclusive Circus Bingo deposit code, designed to appease any players who felt robbed of a new site. Then, something strange happened: coverage of Square Bingo began to disappear.
We were accused of everything from having ‘more time on our hands than we know what to do with’, to conducting a ‘publicity stunt to get new players though the virtual doors of the site’.
These were the same people who just hours earlier were outwardly expressing their excitement for the features being teased.
We were disappointed (but not surprised) that the exclusive Circus Bingo offer was ignored, despite it being live for a significant part of the day.
Many of our affiliates were informed of the promotion, but not one updated their site to let their players know. Surely if sites were truly offering the best deals for players, they would have actually told them about it? Apparently not.
People simply turned their backs on Square Bingo because it was no longer a way to make money.
THE FUTURE OF ONLINE BINGO
Square Bingo has reaffirmed our two major predictions for the future of online bingo:
1. The replication of tired experiences will lead to sites failing to build sustainable brands and loyal audiences.
2. Players will eventually resent being funneled between identical sites and flock to those with truly exceptional features, putting smaller sites at significant risk of closure.
We don’t know when the bubble will burst, but it’s surely only a matter of time, especially given ever-tightening rules and regulations.
UK Chancellor, George Osborne, recently unveiled plans to extend the General Betting Duty which would see operators paying tax on free bets like no deposit bonuses.
While the plans are still to be confirmed, they have the potential to immediately cut the profits of operators, leading to the possible abolition of bonuses altogether – one of the key differentiators between bingo sites in the current environment.
Some sites are already receiving negative feedback from disgruntled players over hefty wagering requirements; how long before they start rejecting them completely? What will attract players to a new site if there is no monetary incentive? This is the question that operators will need to answer.
The influence of affiliate deals on reviews
Affiliates are also responsible for driving the industry forward, but very few bingo portals offer genuinely honest and trustworthy reviews of bingo sites.
Reviews are instead based on the deals negotiated between sites and brands, leaving players without the insights they need to make informed decisions and making the ratings effectively worthless.
hat incentives are there for operators to create a new site of real value when its ultimate quality is determined by affiliate deals and welcome bonuses? Will we only see a rush of new ideas before the general betting duty is extended or will more forward-thinking operators step up earlier?
If the bonus culture was suddenly stopped, operators and networks would be forced to condense their portfolios and refocus on just a handful of sites.
Building new sites and moving players around comes at a hefty cost, so it makes sense to offer fewer higher quality sites and build a database of genuinely loyal players.
Who will take the first step and revolutionize the online bingo scene?
A BETTER DEAL FOR PLAYERS
The reaction to Square Bingo and its world first bingo balls highlights just how desperate the industry is for change.
We believe that it’s possible for operators and affiliates to provide a better and more rewarding experience for players in a way that remains profitable.
We’ve seen huge progress in the industry’s approach to responsible gambling in recent years. That same ideology and determination should be applied here too.
If we offer better – and expect better – we could all create an industry that is truly fun, fair and exciting for everybody.
It’s time to start thinking outside the box.
The article has been embedded from the following link: https://onlinebingo.co.uk/news/why-we-created-square-bingo
We have to stay it is a wonderful story and yet something to learn from in your are in the online bingo affiliate industry and why not the casino or sports betting. Imagine if there would have been bad intentions behind this prank….
Vahe Khalatyan appointed new PartnerMatrix CEO
PartnerMatrix, an award-winning affiliate software provider in the iGaming industry, is proud to announce the appointment of Vahe Khalatyan, previously PartnerMatrix Chief Technical Officer, as its new CEO.
Since day one, Vahe has played a crucial role in the development and success of PartnerMatrix in the last eight years, proving to be a key asset and leader within the team.
His appointment follows the recent departure of previous CEO and co-founder Levon Nikoghosyan who left the business to pursue his own personal projects.
Vahe Khalatyan, CEO of PartnerMatrix, said: “I am excited to take on this role and lead PartnerMatrix into the future. I have been with the company since day one and have developed a deep understanding of its operations and the market.
“In 2023 we will continue to lead the way in iGaming affiliate marketing and focus on new tools and updates for affiliate security, providing a bespoke approach to every client.”
Ebbe Groes, CEO of EveryMatrix, added: “Vahe takes over the position with a wealth of knowledge about the company and the industry and has some exciting, innovative ideas he will implement in the months to come.
“This is a significant step, both for Vahe and PartnerMatrix, and I’m delighted he has stepped up. This is fully deserved and I’m confident his efforts, ideas, and skills will continue to bring great success to the company and the group.”
PartnerMatrix was awarded Best Affiliate Software at the EGR B2B Awards 2022, demonstrating its commitment to providing the best solutions in the industry. Under Vahe’s leadership, the company will continue to innovate and provide exceptional services to its clients in the iGaming sector.
iGB Affiliate London opens in style
The 2023 edition of iGB Affiliate London opened today (9th February) with visitors participating in the biggest edition of the show on record.
The annual event is this year occupying a record 11,800 square metres (net) with the demand for space from both new and existing exhibitors underlining iGB Affiliate London’s status as the flagship event for stakeholders and the ‘not to be missed’ business appointment of the year.
Jay Todd of exhibitors APCW described the show as being “..easily the most significant affiliate event of the year offering tremendous value from education to networking.”
Anthony Telesca, of GPWA said the show was “…an absolute must” and constituted the “..most valuable conference for new business and for strengthening existing relationships.”
A total of 31 brands are making their debut appearance on the show floor, with the newcomers drawn from a total of 18-nations comprising Malta (4 first time exhibitors), UK (4), Ukraine (3), Israel (3), Hungary (2), Australia (2), Cyprus (2) and one each from Bulgaria, Denmark, Poland, Japan, Serbia, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Greece, Estonia and Portugal.
Naomi Barton, Portfolio Director responsible for iGB Affiliate London, believes the balance between established long-time supporters and businesses which are new to the show represents a compelling proposition for visitors and delegates. She stated: “Alongside the provision of new business strategies, new tactics, new technologies, new thinking and new trends it’s really significant that we can also provide visitors with access to a host of new exhibitors who want to be a part of the iGB Affiliate London show experience.”
She added: “Attracting a community of new exhibitors who represent nearly one in four (23.8%) of the show floor total, has enabled us to grow iGB Affiliate London to the extent that this year’s show occupies three of the halls at ExCeL London for the first time.
“Joining the community at iGB Affiliate London provides an opportunity to engage with over 5,000 affiliates, advertisers, networks and tech suppliers, as well as network with non-gaming affiliates and find out how what works in other sectors can be deployed in gaming.”
Soft2Bet launches a new affiliate management system ReferOn
A new, feature-filled affiliate management system powered by the platform provider
Soft2Bet, a top-notch online platform provider has recently announced that it has gone live with top of the art affiliate management system, ReferOn.
This boasts a broad array of affiliate marketing services that are key to the partners they assist. ReferOn’s system has the ability to manage large networks of companies in one comprehensive system. Flexible and adaptable in accordance with the individual needs of each affiliate.
ReferOn offers the most advanced features including an effective rewarding engine which offers rewards at the individual, more customised level, making its management much easier for admin users. It also keeps track of the payments and invoices for all accounts, in a quick and efficient manner. This is also true for the data and statistics that are accumulated.
The affiliate management system offers organised reporting on numerous levels allowing for full control over your data, in addition, you can customize what data you choose to share with your partners. Grouping variations can also be calculated according to brand, company, campaign and even geo levels through ReferOn. Reporting is also made extremely easy and allows for toggled groups and effective date breakdowns. ReferOn also makes use of multiple widgets, filters and statistics at every level which make the data accessible for the admin to explore and make informed decisions.
When using ReferOn, brands can be integrated into the system seamlessly and your support and account management are all under one roof. The system can connect the data points to your data provider. ReferOn dashboards are now clearer and easier to view and access, allowing for much more flexibility for users.
Accounts with multiple affiliate logins within other competitive software enable statistics to be grouped at a ‘master’ level. This makes payments and data management much simpler.
Vladyslav Bondarenaiko, Product Manager at Referon said: “ReferOn‘s highly-advanced features change the way we view affiliates and admin needs through. Seeing as this system is not only for internal usage, this creates an additional revenue stream for the business and allows a more streamlined process of integration and access.”
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