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….
Thimba Media acquires UK Affiliation Website Theslotbuzz.com
Thimba Media, the iGaming performance marketing company, delivered on one of the companies core strategic goals of growing through both organic and M&A pillars by announcing its acquisition of the UK based organic affiliation website theslotbuzz.com (“theslotbuzz”).
As a result of the acquisition, Thimba Media’s revenues within locally regulated markets will be approximately 40%.
The agreed purchase price for The Slot Buzz represents a multiple of approximately 3.9 times Net Income, based on current run rate. The Slot Buzz is expected to generate EBITDA of $500,000 in this financial year.
Chris Russell, CEO of Thimba said: “The acquisition of The Slot Buzz is an important strategic deal for us from the perspective that we view ourselves as a contrarian investor. When many affiliates are looking solely at the US market for acquisitions, we are looking at value markets where there is strong regulation and rule of law to govern our business stability in the coming years.”
With its strong brand and community of Slots Players, theslotbuzz.com is a perfect addition to our business. We see the step as a strengthening of our commitment to locally regulated markets globally. Our next step for this asset is to grow it from a UK facing brand to a brand which focuses on locally regulated English speaking markets including the ever-regulating US market.
Mark Wadie, of site owner’s Helicon One Digital Ltd, said “We are excited to be completing this sale with Thimba Media which is testament to our hard work and dedication. The Slot Buzz has achieved fantastic growth in the UK and becomes part of a company with a history of successfully growing affiliate sites across the regulated global market. We now look forward to continuing our own journey as we enter the North American markets with our new site, The Casino Heat.” (thecasinoheat.ca)
The acquisition was settled using Thimba Media’s current cash balance.
Slots Temple enhances Tournament offering with Relax Gaming content
Slots Temple, the innovative iGaming affiliate has emphasized their recent focus on building solid industry relationships with their latest announcement in partnering with Relax Gaming to include the developer’s content within their on-site, points-based Tournament format.
The free to play weekly and monthly competitions, which have become popular with their followers and gained industry recognition for its original promotional value, provide an exciting alternative to the standard affiliate review site offering, giving players access to the latest titles, affording developers unique marketing opportunities.
The addition of games from Relax Gaming, the outstanding B2B multi-product provider, including titles such as TNT Tumble and Temple Tumble Megaways™ is testament to the attraction of the slot tournament format, and how operators are now regarding the affiliate community as a vital promotional tool in their marketing strategy, especially those affiliates who understand the user and create products which are as enjoyable as they are informative.
The affiliate provider has placed a strong focused on developing close and productive connections with both operators and developers in recent times, an approach which has been validated by the new partnership with Relax.
Fraser Linkleter, CMO of Slots Temple, said: “It is an honour to welcome Relax Gaming to Slots Temple and to offer their games in our Slots Temple Tournaments.
“Our Free to play tournaments have received a great response from all sides and our plans for further improvements, with social features and prizes, will only go to enhance their popularity.
“Being able to partner with the very best providers, such as Relax Gaming, has been immensely pleasing and reaffirms that creative thinking affiliates can be a real asset to the iGaming community.”
Simon Hammon, CPO of Relax Gaming, said: “The affiliate market is a tremendously competitive space and the acceleration of innovation in recent times is really exciting to witness.
“Slots Temple are at the forefront of that surge and we are pleased to be able to partner with the team and offer their followers the chance to experience our content through the format of their exciting points-based tournaments.
“We are looking forward to building on the relationship and including more of our portfolio in the weeks and months to come.”
Real Luck Group Ltd. Announces Luckbox’s Launch of Affiliate Programme with Paysafe’s Income Access
Real Luck Group Ltd. and its subsidiary companies doing business as “Luckbox” (the “Group”), a leading provider of legal, real money esports betting, today announced the launch of its new affiliate programme with Income Access, Paysafe Group’s marketing technology and services provider.
The Luckbox betting platform is designed for passionate esports fans, who can enjoy a wide range of markets on all major esports with live streams of popular games such as CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, FIFA and NBA2K. Luckbox also offers wagering on more than 100 sports, including football, basketball, hockey, soccer and tennis. Luckbox’s affiliate programme launch will see the brand leverage the Income Access platform’s robust reporting features to make data-based marketing decisions to more effectively promote its products.
Luckbox, which is part of Real Luck Group Ltd, will also leverage the Income Access Network, which provides access to qualified advertising partners as well as content marketing support. In addition, the programme launch follows the announcement that Luckbox has integrated Paysafe’s Skrill and NETELLER payment options, making its products even more accessible for customers.
To complement the comprehensive product offering, affiliates will also promote a variety of player promotions, including event-specific free bet opportunities, combo bet cash back offers and other initiatives to attract new players and encourage customer loyalty.
Affiliates will also have access to a support team providing guidance and delivering strategic creative assets to drive customer engagement.
Quentin Martin, CEO at Luckbox, said: “We are delighted to formally launch our affiliate programme and know that the Income Access platform will introduce Luckbox to thousands of players.
“Affiliate marketing is a proven, cost-effective channel in the igaming industry and, as a leading name in the esports betting industry, we will work to ensure our affiliate programme is also the best in the business, both for our partners and our players. We look forward to working with Income Access, the existing network and new affiliates as we rapidly scale our customer acquisition efforts throughout 2021.”
Tara Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Income Access, Paysafe Group, said: “We’ve been eagerly anticipating the launch of the Luckbox affiliate programme and are excited to see our platform and full suite of services drive the brand’s growth. By bringing together our comprehensive affiliate solution with Luckbox’s array of exciting products, we know this partnership is poised for long-term success.”
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