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….
Tipico U.S. Partners with Income Access for Affiliate Program
Soon to launch New Jersey-facing sportsbook to leverage Income Access’ platform and affiliate management services
Tipico U.S., a division of Tipico Group, one of the largest European sports book operators, today announced a partnership with Income Access, Paysafe Group’s marketing technology and services provider. The partnership will see Tipico U.S. unveil a new affiliate program in New Jersey for its imminently launching sports betting and iGaming brand, which will be managed by Income Access’ team of affiliate marketing experts, while leveraging the company’s technology solution.
Tipico Group, which possesses nearly 15 years of online and retail sports betting experience in Europe, is one of the few operators to use proprietary technology to power its gaming products. Regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), Tipico U.S. will officially unveil its new gaming brand to sports enthusiasts within the state in 2020.
Supporting affiliates with their acquisition and retention efforts is Income Access’ affiliate software, which features comprehensive tracking and reporting tools. As the upcoming Tipico U.S. program will also be managed by the company’s in-house affiliate management team, the brand will benefit from expert knowledge in affiliate recruitment, outreach, maintenance, payments and more.
The launch of the Tipico U.S. affiliate program will enable affiliates to develop and monitor digital marketing campaigns for the international sports gaming and entertainment company. Aiming to engage with active sports bettors, Tipico U.S. is a brand for players who want cutting-edge sports betting experiences. At launch, Tipico will offer simple enrollments via their mobile app, web and desktop platforms, as well as competitive player promotions.
Adrian Vella, Managing Director, U.S. Business at Tipico, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Income Access and look forward to the great work the company will be able to produce for our team. As part of our U.S. expansion, we’ve made sure Tipico is aligned with the best in the business, particularly those with deep experience in the regulated New Jersey market.”
Keith Gormley, Head of U.S. Marketing at Tipico, added: “This partnership will serve as a key piece in our marketing strategy for both our upcoming launch in New Jersey and our expansion into other regulated markets in the U.S. Through our collaboration, we’re anticipating driving high-quality players into the Tipico sports betting product.”
Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager at Income Access, Paysafe Group, said: “Sports affiliates will soon be able to promote Tipico, a well-known brand in the gaming industry, thanks to our partnership. Both our platform and management services will help affiliates establish a presence in New Jersey, while also encouraging overall program growth.”
The Lottery Office Launches Affiliate Programme with Income Access
The Lottery Office, Australia’s premier online lottery operator, has announced the launch of its new lottery affiliate programme with Income Access, Paysafe’s marketing technology and services provider. The agreement will see the iLottery brand, which is regulated by the Northern Territory Government of Australia, leverage Income Access’ comprehensive affiliate marketing software to optimise programme growth and increase affiliate partnerships in Australia.
An established brand with over 16 years of experience in the global lottery industry, The Lottery Office employs a unique business model, whereby Australian players are provided with a matching ticket, at the lottery of their choice, for major lotteries across the globe once a ticket is purchased locally. The company’s portfolio includes seven of the world’s biggest lottery brands such as EuroMillions®, EuroJackpot® and US Powerball®.
Part of the Global Players Network Pty Ltd, The Lottery Office is also one of a select group of online lottery operators that are licensed by the Northern Territory Government of Australia to sell tickets to Australians, allowing customers to benefit from international lottery draws.
The integration with Income Access’ award-winning reporting and tracking technology will grant The Lottery Office and its affiliates access to key data and tools that can be leveraged towards their combined digital marketing efforts to maximise overall revenue growth. Furthermore, the platform features state-of-the-art ad targeting capabilities based on geo-location, time of day, device, browser and other criteria.
Qualified partners will benefit from the brand’s in-house affiliate team with the long-standing history and experience required to acquire and retain high-value iLottery players. In addition, affiliates will be compensated through competitive revenue commission schemes.
Jaclyn Wood, CEO at The Lottery Office, said: “The combination of Income Access’ leading affiliate software and dedicated affiliates, who will play an integral role in our advancement, gives us a powerful marketing advantage while aligning with our strategic growth plans.”
Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager at Paysafe’s Income Access, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with a company like The Lottery Office, which has such a strong presence in the Australian online lottery market, in support of its affiliate programme launch. Through our software platform, we will provide essential marketing tools to support both the growth of its affiliate channel, as well as the brand’s overall exposure in Australia’s expanding iLottery market.”
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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