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….
Matching Visions Opens Shop in Lithuania
It’s official, Matching Visions have opened their doors in Lithuania! With offices situated in Malta and Denmark, Matching Visions decided to broaden their horizons further by opening an office in Lithuania.
This began due to the company hiring quite a few Lithuanian employees and felt the need to grow at a speedy rate. First to join the Matching Visions team was Agnė Galvelytė in 2018. This opened the doors to the idea of hiring more people and opening an office.
Running the office in Lithuania, will be Matching Visions brand new hire, Alanas Ivšinas. This top affiliate manager joins Matching Visions from the successful Oddschecker Global Media. This is what he had to say:
“After few amazing years at Oddschecker Global Media (ex. iBus Media), it is time for me to take a new step and pursue other career opportunities in the gambling industry. Most in the gaming industry are very well aware about one of the best affiliate networks – Matching Visions, and knowing Dennis personally, made the decision that much easier to make the move.
Lithuania is an amazing country, known for its talented people who are looking for their next steps in the international market. There is no doubt that this market can help Matching Visions create some new ideas and find new opportunities.”
Currently, there are 4 great Lithuanian employees working for Matching Visions and we can only imagine this will strengthen them in many industries. What did, CEO, Dennis Dyhr-Hansen have to say?
“We are always on the look out for the best opportunities. Opening an office in Lithuania was definitely the next step for us as our team is growing quite quickly. We have secured a great spot and are pleased to announce the joining of Alanas Ivšinas to our team.
We have also hired some other great Lithuanian employees and can only see more success on the horizon!”
Matching Visions have officially opened their doors and are looking forward to conquering more in the future!
Better Collective becomes co-founders of new trade association, Responsible Affiliates in Gambling
World leading iGaming affiliate, Better Collective, co-founds new trade association, Responsible Affiliates in Gambling, that is established to promote the socially responsible marketing of gambling products and a safer gambling environment for consumers.
The three iGaming actors Better Collective, Oddschecker and Racing Post have launched the trade association, Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAIG), as they recognise the role 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.
As a condition of membership of RAIG, each member will be subject to an annual social responsibility audit which will be conducted by Gambling Integrity. This audit is designed to ensure compliance with a range of existing statutory and non-statutory regulation as well as any additional measures which might be adopted over time. These will include:
- The UK Code of non-broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing (the ‘CAP’ code)
- The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (‘BCAP’ code)
- The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising
- Any relevant guidance issued by regulators such as the Advertising Standards Authority; Gambling Commission; and Information Commissioners’ Office on affiliate marketing requirements.
Jesper Søgaard, CEO of Better Collective, said: “For Better Collective, compliance and responsible gambling have always been core focus areas due to our commitment and vision to empower iGamers. I am therefore extremely proud that we become co-founders of RAIG which I believe can be a game-changer for compliance standards for affiliates and which will ensure a lift of the entire industry in terms of responsible behaviour for the benefit of the users”.
Clive Hawkswood has been appointed inaugural chairman of RAIG.
Read more about Responsible Affiliates in Gambling here: https://www.raig.org/
Clive Hawkswood (Chairman): was most recently Chief Executive of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) from August 2004 to January 2019. He was formerly head of the Betting & Racing Branch at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). Prior to that, he was at the Home Office, spending time in both the Gambling Section and the Horseracing Policy Team. He has been on the boards of GambleAware; GAMSTOP (The National Online Self Exclusion system); The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling; and the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group. He was also the author of the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising and various industry good practice guidance publications ranging from complaints handling to GDPR implementation.
Karl Pugh: Head of Business Development at Better Collective
Guy Harding: Head of Commercial at Oddschecker
Cian Nugent: Digital Director at the Racing Post
About Better Collective
Better Collective’s vision is to empower iGamers through transparency and technology – this is what has made them the world’s leading developer of digital platforms for betting tips, bookmaker information and iGaming communities. Better Collective’s portfolio includes more than 2,000+ websites and products, among other bettingexpert.com, the trusted home of tips from expert tipsters and in depth betting theory.
About Responsible Affiliates in Gambling
Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAIG) is a trade association founded in 2019 by the three gambling affiliate players The Racing Post, Oddschecker and Better Collective. The purpose of the association is to foster wider initiatives in the UK affiliate marketing sector to promote social responsibility and create a safer gambling environment for consumers. As a condition of membership, each member will be subject to an annual social responsibility audit which will be conducted by an independent third party.
Manchester Betting Affiliate Aims To Take The US By Storm With Launch Of GamingUSA.com
Following their success in the UK betting affiliate market, Manchester based firm Moneta Communications have taken their business stateside with the launch of their first American website, GamingUSA.com.
With casino, slots, horse racing and sports websites in the pipeline, GamingUSA.com is the first of what will be many sites that will be geared towards the American market.
The team embarking on a new project will be using their expertise in website and content creation to spearhead multiple sites that will appeal to the betting fraternity.
The sites users will be provided with all the latest information on online gaming and betting availability by state, allowing them to make well informed decisions.
GamingUSA.com is being backed by Fred Done, the renowned businessman and owner of industry giant Betfred.
Speaking on entering the US market, Fred said: “GamingUSA is one of our most exciting projects. The speed at which many states are looking to legalise betting shows that this is a lively new frontier for our industry. With many sports shows now openly incorporating betting lines, it is becoming evident that people are starting to embrace betting on sports and we intend to be at the heart of that.”
The determination to enter the American market was sped up by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the 1992 Federal Law that prohibited most states from implementing their own betting laws.
This ruling means that more people will be able to bet legally and already more than half the individual states have bills in their respective state legislatures to open up betting opportunities online.
GamingUSA Chief Operations Officer Natalie Merrison said of the launch of the website: “Myself along with Moneta’s experienced CEO Daniel Campbell and our talented team here at GamingUSA.com, are excited to enter the US betting affiliate market.
“Our collective experience and knowledge of the industry means that we are confident that this will be a very prosperous project for all involved. We are thrilled to be bringing a unique betting experience to an American audience.”
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