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….
King Billy Casino at iGB Affiliate London 2020. King’s Calling to Affiliates.
Many times an alphabet letter, followed by a number, means something. G20 means world power. A4 means paper. O2 means either oxygen or a fantastic venue in London. So what does H11 mean? Scratching your head, thinking it means nothing? Think again, says King Billy Casino!
Come the iGB Affiliate London Conference, February 5 – 8, H11 will be the stand where King Billy Casino will be exhibiting and expecting affiliates for coffee, tea and chat. Ruslan Legenzov, King Billy Head of Affiliates, tells us about what to expect in the organization’s first ever participation as exhibitors in the largest affiliate event of the industry.
“You know the saying “you never have a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, the whole King Billy Affiliate Department has been working non-stop and passionately to make the best first impression ever. Lots of offers and lots of surprises are waiting both existing and future affiliates of the King in London.
Legenzov smiles when he is prompted to elaborate: “I can tell you one thing. New affiliates who join the King Billy Casino Affiliate Program will enjoy 55% revenue share for 90 days. For three months, more than half of our Kingdom is yours folks! For the rest… the King is calling you to Stand H11!”
We will sure answer the call your Majesty.
iGB Affiliate London is the largest international iGaming Affiliate event where the latest SEO tips, updates on regulation in the industry and new products across all sectors can be found under a single roof. Moreover, the event is a dynamic platform where participants connect with a large pool of sector specific professionals that can help taking business to the next level.
King Billy Casino is a new generation online casino, available in 6 languages (English, German, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian and Japanese) with an impressive record in awards and an amazing variety of features and games. King Billy has prioritized the creation of a superb user experience focusing on the myth of King Billy and his Kingdom and treats all players with the specialness they deserve.
King Billy Casino. King of Malta!
When it comes to competitive advantages in the world of online gaming, few things can compare to the big license from the small country. We are talking of course about the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license, which, believe it or not, has even its own slogan “Brings the odds to your favour”.
The Malta Gaming Authority has become the world’s preferred global remote gaming regulator by offering a stable legal framework for online players, operators and service providers. Companies wishing to obtain a gambling license from MGA must meet a number of strict criteria in terms of credibility, ownership structure, integrity and competence.
Criteria, which, more or less, are innate qualities of a King, aren’t they? So, it comes as no surprise that King Billy Casino, owner of so many impressive industry distinctions, awards and trophies in less than 3 years of existence is now also a proud holder of the MGA license.
King Billy Casino Chief Business Development Officer Julia Bereza says: “For all of us who have been with the King since his earliest days, this is stunning news! However, obtaining the license was only the first step. The team working on the project is committed 200% to explore an all the new opportunities the MGA license gives. Being part of King Billy always makes us remember that we are making history here!”
But is the new license going to make history for King Billy Casino’s players too? Bereza smiles and points out “You bet it is! The crystal clear Malta regulations and terms combined with the “always transparent” policy of King Billy will make the relationship with our players even more trustworthy, reliable and secure.
In addition, acquiring a wide range of EU accepted payment systems will make every King Billy Casino player especially comfortable with depositing and withdrawing. We can’t wait to see where this will take us!”
To another award perhaps for the new King of Malta?
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a Malta-based Gaming Control Board. Its mission, since its inception in 2001, has revolved around the principle of having a fair and transparent gaming sector in Malta to safeguard against crime and corruption, and to offer protection to minors and vulnerable players.
King Billy Casino is a new generation online casino, available in 6 languages (English, German, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian and Japanese) with an impressive record in awards and an amazing variety of games and features. King Billy has prioritized the creation of a superb user experience focusing on the myth of King Billy and his Kingdom and treats all players with the specialness they deserve.
Special Offer: Combo Ticket to Two Affiliate Marketing Conferences
A special offer for those interested in earnings on the gambling business and popular white niches.
Buy a single combo ticket and attend two events – Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference in Tbilisi and Affiliate Marketing Conference Belarus in Minsk.
Activities in Minsk
Conference topics: arbitrage in such sectors as commodities, finance, pharmaceutics, dating, and mobile apps. Speakers will provide case studies as well as reveal how to create advertising offers and monetize traffic.
The event is aimed at webmasters, affiliates, arbitrage specialists, representatives of СРА networks and affiliate programs, and everyone engaged in online marketing.
Activities in Tbilisi
Experts will talk about taxes and regulation of the Georgian gambling industry, advantages of the local gambling market, relevant tools for customer acquisition in land-based and online casinos.
The conference will be useful to those earning on the gambling business or desiring to set up their own profitable business.
Both events separately without an afterparty will cost approximately €200. The price of the combo ticket is €150. The first 10 tickets are available at the lowest cost – only €100.
The combo ticket includes:
- access to the Business category at both conferences;
- access to the exhibition area;
- presentations by speakers involved in both events;
- a discount on hotel accommodation;
- access to the party in Tbilisi.
The offer is valid until October 17.
Use the unique opportunity and hurry up to buy the ticket at the best price.
The program and details of Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference >>>
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