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Lindar Media played an April’s fools joke on Affiliates in the UK online bingo industry, we love it!

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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.

An overview of bingo site distribution by software in 2015

An overview of bingo site distribution by software in 2015

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.

Cash Cubes: Bingo with cubes, not cards

Cash Cubes: Bingo with cubes, not cards

 

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?

content_flash_fives_bingo_banner

Flash Fives: Bingo with (playing) cards, not cubes

 

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…

square-bingo-tweet

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:

A Tale of Two Twitters: Square Bingo vs Tip Top Bingo (Pre-launch)

A Tale of Two Twitters: Square Bingo vs Tip Top Bingo (Pre-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.

The extent of our communication with affiliates before April 1

The extent of our communication with affiliates before April 1

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.

content_square_bingo_feature_overview

Revealed: The full list of Square Bingo features

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

Above: Tweet (since deleted) by WhichBingo.co.uk

Tweet (since deleted) by WhichBingo.co.uk

 

April Fools!

 

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.

News update by PlayingBingo.co.uk

News update by PlayingBingo.co.uk

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.

Square Bingo reveal page with Circus offer

Square Bingo reveal page with Circus offer

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….

Affiliate Announcements

BonusFinder.com granted Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) membership

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BonusFinder.com granted Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) membership

 

Cements company’s commitment to social responsibility in UK gaming affiliate sector

BonusFinder.com has been granted membership of the Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) body in recognition of its commitment to responsible gaming and player safety.

RAiG’s mission is to raise standards in the UK affiliate sector around responsible gaming, to foster wider initiatives to promote social responsibility and help to create a safer gambling environment for consumers.

Before being granted its membership, BonusFinder.com successfully completed a third-party social responsibility audit, ensuring it fulfils the association’s entry criteria as well as being compliant with a range of existing statutory and non-statutory regulations.

As a member of the RAiG, BonusFinder.com has agreed to uphold the Code of Conduct set by the association around social responsibility, business ethics and regulatory compliance.

The association was founded in 2019 with founding members including Better Collective, Oddschecker, and the Racing Post.

Fintan Costello, Managing Director, BonusFinder.com, said: “Ever since we started the business a year ago we have been firmly committed to ensuring the highest levels of compliance and licensing, with player safety our number one priority.

“Being granted a membership to RAiG further cements this pledge and we look forward to working together with the association and its members to share knowledge and experience and to ensure that best practices and standards are upheld in the affiliate industry.”

Clive Hawkswood, Chairman of RAiG, said: “We are thrilled to welcome BonusFinder as a member as we continue our work to promote the socially responsible marketing of gambling products.

“Our members want to go beyond what’s required and recognise the role that affiliate marketing providers must play as part of wider industry initiatives in the UK to promote social responsibility and a safer gambling environment for consumers.”

BonusFinder.com was founded in 2019 with a simple goal to allow people to “play with more” at their favourite casino or sportsbook and operates in several European markets and holds affiliate licences in five US states.

 

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Affiliate Announcements

Digital Marketing Mixer partners with Ugenie.io and Publisher Discovery to provide extended new business and community networking

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Digital Marketing Mixer partners with Ugenie.io and Publisher Discovery to provide extended new business and community networking

 

The Digital Marketing Mixer is a community based business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone in collaboration with leading iGaming and Digital Marketing partners such as GPWA.org, Affpapa.com and Affiliate Guard Dog amongst others. The event is designed to give digital and affiliate marketers an opportunity to develop personalised business contacts and the opportunity to keep abreast of what is changing in the affiliate and digital marketing industry.

 

NEW BUSINESS AND AFFILIATE PROGRAM GROWTH

This month, the event will expand its networking and business function by collaborating with two leading software platforms offering delegates expanded opportunities to connect in person and improve their affiliate outreach.

Ugenie.io is a private platform for communities and memberships with the benefits of facebook groups enabling delegates to communicate with one another both before and after attending networking and virtual events. Ugenie.io will also deliver an exclusive 30-minute MasterClass strategy session for delegates at this month’s event about how Content Marketing is changing and how to use it effectively to drive better customer conversions.

Ugenie.io founder Susan Kabani says: “We are incredibly excited to be supporting the Digital Marketing Mixer event. Our philosophy at Ugenie is all about building quality relationships in both the real-world or on-line. We are thrilled to see and be a part of the work being done by Lee-Ann to empower her digital community to do more through these business networking mixers and bringing the community together to continue conversations and learning through it’s own business hub.”

Delegates who attend this month’s event will also benefit from an exclusive 30- minute MasterClass training on how to use content marketing to generate more leads for their website or business delivered by Ms. Kabani.

In addition to this, a collaboration with leading AI and Machine learning technology provider, Publisher Discovery has been secured. This SaaS platform gives affiliate managers a unique insight and analysis on affiliate programs across any market to help identify and engage new affiliates to onboard into their program. Using AI, the platform ranks and matches affiliates to advertiser’s specific needs

Chris Tradgett from Publisher Discovery said, “Publisher Discovery are pleased to partner with Lee-Ann, a veteran in the Affiliate Marketing sector to support delegates who attend the Digital Marketing Mixer. Our software helps affiliate managers to find the most relevant affiliate partners to work with and attendees of the June event will receive FREE trial access to the platform to review and find their best affiliates. “

Lee-Ann Johnstone said: ” This event has been curated to help my community get better connected during these uncertain times on a personal level. I really want to support affiliates and digital marketers to get access to expert insight, be able to collaborate with one another  and help support new business development at the same time. I’ve partnered with UGenie.io and the Publisher Discovery team to help make that achievable at this month’s networking event.” 

The Digital Marketing Mixer is hosted monthly and the next iteration takes place on the 30th June between 4-6pm BST. The event offers live business “speed” networking and is FREE to attend for anyone working in the affiliate and digital marketing industry.

Over 100 delegates from all over the world, in a multitude of sectors have already RSVP’d to attend. Delegates include brands such Catena Media, BrandVerity, Smile Software, Every Matrix, Fortune Jack and more.

Michael Corfman of GPWA.org says: ”The first Digital Marketing Mixer was a great way to network with fellow affiliates and with affiliate marketing programs. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to get together once again!”

You can RSVP FREE and join the Digital Marketing MixerHERE

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Affiliate Announcements

Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

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Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

 

 

Last month saw the launch of the first Digital Marketing Mixer, a FREE business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone which hosted over 150+ iGaming and Affiliate Marketing professionals in attendance.

The event which received outstanding delegate reviews, will be hosted again on Monday 30th June between 4-6pm (BST) via Zoom. The aim of the speed networking event is to bring together affiliates and digital marketers, technology providers , agencies, experts and marketing service providers together to promote their services virtually.

With limits on travel and attendance at physical events still in play opportunities to network for new business have been limited. That combined with increased remote working has had a natural impact on business development slowing in the short term.

The Digital Marketing Mixer has been created as an open platform for professional social networking to take place in a structured but relaxed virtual atmosphere. The event has been created to support new business and continued lead generation for all businesses operating in the Affiliate industry.

Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event host commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer is a key event for digital and affiliate marketing businesses to get better connected during this uncertain time. The objective is simple, bring people together to talk, to collaborate and ensure new business and service opportunities continue to thrive. I’ve created this FREE networking event for EVERYONE to benefit from in the affiliate industry to help get new business deals done.”

The mixer remains 100% FREE for delegates to attend and is open to any vertical. Once again the event is held in collaboration with founding collaborators GPWA.org, iBet Directory, and AffiliateINSIDER collaborating to deliver this event.

“The toughest part of the conference experience to replicate online was always going to be those oh-so-important conversations in the bar. I was delighted to find myself in just such conversations at the Digital Marketing Mixer – top marks! “  said Sue Dawson from bestnewbingosites.co.uk who attended last month’s inaugural event. 

The Digital Marketing Mixer will offer a host of  fun networking games, speed selling challenges and enable delegates to enjoy discussing the latest industry trends whilst providing a platform to market their goods and services. The focus of this event remains on getting digital and affiliate marketing professionals quickly connected, getting new deals – done!

Lloyd Richman, founder of iBet Directory commented: The Digital Marketing Mixer Party is a great concept and offers all delegates the option to contribute unlike other webinars and conferences. It had a good mixture of natural event speakers, experienced iGaming professionals and new people to the industry. A great event which was highly successful.

If you are an agency, affiliate, consultant, operator, digital marketer, payment provider or saas product owner, everyone working with or in the affiliate industry is welcome to attend.

RSVP FOR FREE and join the Digital Marketing MixerHERE

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