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….
Acroud acquires Voonix, Matching Visions and Traffic Grid to strengthen its strategic position on the market
Acroud AB, has entered into an purchase agreement with the owners of Voonix ApS, Matching Visions Ltd. and Traffic Grid Ltd. to acquire 100 percent of the shares in the Target Companies for a consideration of EUR 4.8 million, plus an additional potential consideration based on EBT development in fiscal year 2022, on a cash- and debt- free basis. The consideration is paid in cash and in newly issued Acroud shares. The purchase agreement is based on Acroud’s signed letter of intent and previously communicated press release on 9 November 2020 regarding the acquisition of assets in PMG Group. The Target Companies are fast-growing companies mainly on the European market with the affiliate network Matching Visions and the performance marketing company Traffic Grid, but is also an industry leading SaaS service provider with Voonix. During 2020, the Target Companies generated net sales of approximately EUR 0.9 million and EUR 0.9 million in EBITDA. The Transaction is not subject to any further conditions and is completed as of 20 January 2021.
Background and rationale
The acquisition includes Matching Visions, an iGaming network with a premier position in Casino Affiliation in the European market, as well as the fast-growing Voonix, a software company that provides successful B2B software aimed at improving information and productivity for affiliates in various industries. Furthermore, the acquisition includes Traffic Grid, which is mainly focused on delivering marketing campaigns within iGaming to regular affiliate networks.
The acquisition of the Target Companies, together with the previously announced ongoing acquisitions, positions Acroud not only as a leading affiliate company in Casino, Sports Betting and Poker, but also as a B2B provider of iGaming marketing campaigns and software solutions for iGaming as well as for other affiliates industries. The acquisition is in line with the previously communicated new strategy and complements the previous acquisition focused on Sports Betting and Emerging Markets. With the acquisition, Acroud sees not only a strong financial growth driver but also significant synergies.
“This is another important piece of the puzzle in the implementation of Acroud’s strategy to become a fast-growing global challenger in digital comparison and news services. After the integration of the acquired assets, the focus will be on ‘operational excellence’ and on developing the new Acroud together with our new team and our new partners on an exciting journey forward” Robert Andersson, CEO and President, Acroud
Morten Marcussen, CEO of PMG, comments on the acquisition:
“We are convinced that the synergies and strategic benefits of this transaction will help push Acroud to the next level and give the company a unique position on the market. The product portfolio in the group becomes diversified and adapted for fast growth. Both parties and our teams share a vision that is easy to get behind. We are thrilled to be joining the ride”
SoftSwiss Affiliate Platform expands to 4 new third-party clients
The SoftSwiss Affiliate Platform, recently singled out under the brand name Affilka, has inked deals with 4 new third-party clients, with the very first one being multi-cryptocurrency casino platform BC.Game. These agreements are significant milestones for Affilka’s product growth and distribution.
Affilka, an Affiliate Platform designed by SoftSwiss, is a reliable, safe and trustworthy standalone tool for iGaming operators to manage, track and analyze their affiliates and their marketing performance in real-time. The solution allows to unite several casinos or sportsbook brands and products under one referral program as well as offering automated payouts to affiliates via built-in payment processing methods, an advanced commission constructor, powerful reporting and in-depth analytics.
Affilka has shown amazing results working with a variety of brands operating on the SoftSwiss Online Casino Platform. Now it keeps on actively expanding its client portfolio. And as a result Affilka signed a deal with a big crypto-friendly gaming platform in Q4 2020. The third-party platform integration is a significant milestone for Affilka in breaking new ground and strengthening its global footprint.
“We are extremely excited to introduce our very first third party client BC.Game, who will expanded our business partner network within the Affilka solution. The integration with a third-party platform is a major step in the Affilka development plan. The deal will accelerate our reach into the market as a standalone affiliate tracking product. In the nearest future, we expect Affilka’s further massive brand growth as well as expansion into new exciting markets”, noted Anastasia Borovaya, Affilka Product Owner at SoftSwiss.
Additionally, BC.Game has recently signed a cooperation agreement with another SoftSwiss sub-brand – the SoftSwiss Game Aggregator. The deal will include the delivery of various slot games produced by BGaming and 50+ other popular game providers.
Affilka continues to gain momentum enhancing the solution with even more new features as well as collaborating on new interesting projects with major industry players.
Affiliate Capital Joins Safe Affiliate Programs to Share Expertise and Experience
Affiliate Capital has joined the Safe Affiliate Programs alliance enabling its members to benefit from the experience of some of the most successful affiliate programs in the business and to share their own expertise to the benefit of their affiliates.
Affiliate Capital was launched last month when Jackpot Capital Casino, Grande Vegas Casino and Slotastic merged their affiliate programs into one. The group has developed new, enhanced software that provides affiliates with detailed reporting and dynamic tracking. Affiliates have just one logon and one commission payment for the three well-established brands.
Safe Affiliate Programs is an association of like-minded affiliate programs all committed to sharing expertise and providing support to each other and their affiliates. It includes Intertops Affiliates, Legend Affiliates, Golden Euro Affiliates, Drake Affiliates, Juicy Stakes Affiliates, Slots Vendor and Springbok Affiliates.
These affiliate programs share a belief in honest and supportive business relationships. The benefits for all include easy recommendations between partners, trouble shooting for affiliates across programs and a collective flow of information in one combined newsletter.
“If you have an idea or an issue to discuss then one of our members can pitch it to one or all of the other programs for you” said Ellen at Safe Affiliate Programs. “We’re all in this together!”
Safe Affiliate Programs members share business acumen with each other ethically, honestly and with integrity. They also enjoy socializing together at joint dinners and open bar events at conferences like Safe’s launch party at the iGB Affiliate Conference in London last February.
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