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Affiliate Compliance

Affiliate marketing industry needs to clean up its act in terms of privacy law compliance

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Affiliate marketing industry needs to clean up its act in terms of privacy law compliance

An international operation has found that the affiliate marketing industry has significant issues to overcome in terms of compliance with rules concerning privacy and unsolicited communications.

 

Affiliate marketing is a commercial arrangement allowing a company to generate business by allowing other organisations (“affiliates”) to promote their products or services. For example, an online retailer may pay commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals, by hosting links on its own site or sending links out via email or text message.

A global intelligence-gathering operation by the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network (UCENet), involving nine agencies from five countries, visited 902 websites and also examined 6,536 consumer complaints related to affiliate marketing in their respective databases. The issues they found included:

Apparent lack of self-regulation: A majority of participants noted that most of the publicly available terms of services between the affiliates, the merchants, and the affiliate platforms lacked appropriate unsolicited communication guidelines establishing what is permissible.

Lack of consent: Some participating countries that have an opt-in unsolicited communication regime noted that affiliates generally do not possess the consent of the consumer to send electronic communications.

Misleading advertising: Many participants noted the prevalence of misleading advertising in the affiliate marketing ecosystem. Within minutes of beginning their research, sweepers were exposed to some form of misleading advertising.

Affiliate marketing platforms: Some affiliate marketing platforms, which operate as a third party agent handling interactions and payments between merchants and affiliates, have a short lifespan (often less than a year) and conceal their physical location, potentially making enforcement a challenge.

Of the 902 international websites visited during the sweep, 221 were flagged for further action. However, the operation also found many examples of good practice in the industry, demonstrating that compliance with laws on unsolicited marketing can be easily achieved.

The UCENet Sweep 2017 was jointly led by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

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Tombola shocks affiliate world: Dutch affiliates forced to pay 1125 for compliance check

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Tombola shocks affiliate world: Dutch affiliates forced to pay 1125 for compliance check

 

Tombola, one of the largest online bingo sites globally, has decided to require affiliates who want to promote the Tombola bingo site in the Netherlands to take a compliance check with a legal consultancy firm. In the first year, this compliance check costs 1125 euros per website. Tombola is the first company in the industry to operate in this way.

Affiliates cannot choose by whom they want to conduct the compliance check. Tombola only accepts the compliance check of the legal consultancy firm XY Legal Solutions BV.

XY Legal has set up the KVA seal of approval as a brand for their compliance check. The KVA seal should not be confused with the KSA, the Dutch Gaming Authority. The KVA has nothing to do with the KSA, and is not accredited by the KSA.

XY Legal charges 1125 euros per website for their commercial KVA quality mark. After the first year, affiliates must pay another 725 euros per year per website to remain compliant.

Jan Westerhoff, Dutch igaming specialist at Nieuwslog.nl explains that this means an extra cost of tens of thousands of euros for affiliate companies with a large number of websites.

Marc Smit, country manager Netherlands at Tombola, indicates that this set-up was chosen because Tombola has no Dutch affiliate compliance employees.

“We do indeed set the KVA seal of approval as a condition for starting an affiliate program at Tombola. We believe that an affiliate partner should be tested,” says Marc Smit.

XY Legal indicates that their compliance check is not quantitative and that not the entire website will be checked. The general terms and conditions clearly state, “This means that not the entire website gets a full check.”.

Mr Steven Vrolijk of XY Legal indicates, “As mentioned, we always emphasize in communication that providers do well to also maintain their own compliance checks.”.

Therefore, it is unclear why Tombola seems to sail blindly on the expensive seal of approval of XY Legal and thus drives affiliates to high costs.

Jan Westerhoff says: “Tombola is the only provider with a Dutch KSA license that imposes this requirement. All other operators on the Dutch market, such as Bet365 and Betcity, do their own compliance check, and those companies do not charge affiliates for this.”.

“As far as is I known, Tombola.nl is unique in the igaming industry with their way of forcing affiliates to buy a seal from a commercial consultancy firm.”.

It seems that Tombola is trying to cut back on their compliance costs by making the affiliate pay for these costs. Marc Smit confirms: “Tombola will not pay for this (the compliance check, ed.).”.

Tombola’s decision created shockwaves in the igaming world. According to Jan Westerhoff this will create an unworkable situation in the affiliate market if other operators follow. “Imagine all the extra costs involved if every operator would require a compliance check from a different consultancy firm. This would mean gigantic bills for affiliate companies, and the only winners would be the money-grabbing consultants who want to make a quick buck.”.

The KVA seal of approval is not entirely uncontroversial. Several affiliates who have the seal are mentioned as customers on the website of XY Legal Solutions. Entanglement of interests seems to be lurking. The legal consultancy firm does indicate that every affiliate website must meet the same requirements. The question is how they guarantee this.

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Affiliate Compliance

Rightlander.com unites with The Pools

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Rightlander.com unites with The Pools

 

Leading sportsbook & casino operator to improve affiliate compliance with suite of innovative tools

Compliance specialist, Rightlander.com has put pen to paper on a deal that will see it provide online sportsbook and casino operator The Pools with its innovative technologies.

The Pools will now use Rightlander’s advanced solutions to take its compliance procedures to the next level. The technology which encompasses a comprehensive range of affiliate compliance tools will scan the sportsbook and casino affiliate websites, monitoring all activity which mentions or links to their brands for compliance related breaches, whilst also searching for certain events and conditions defined by the operator.

This puts the power in the operator’s hands, allowing it to ensure that all affiliates sending traffic to its sites are doing so in a compliant and responsible manner.

Nicole Mitton, Head of Customer Success at Rightlander.com, said: “Rightlander has had the privilege of working with The Pools since the recent launch of their affiliate programme and it’s extremely encouraging to see affiliate advertising monitoring being implemented right from the start. We look forward to working helping them improve their affiliate compliance initiatives”

Andrea Foley, Marketing Manager at The Pools, said: “We have been growing digitally, inventing new games for new audiences, while remaining faithful to our heritage.”

“As a responsible operator it is important to us that any affiliates promoting our products are fully compliant and meet industry guidelines. Working with Rightlander ensures that all activity linked to our brand is monitored and any breaches are quickly brought to our attention.”

Rightlander offers compliance checks across 35 territories including the United Kingdom helping top operators and affiliates stay compliant across multiple regulated jurisdictions.

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Affiliate Compliance

BuzzBingo.com teams up with Rightlander to boost affiliate compliance measures

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Rightlander partners with BetBull

 

Tier one operator becomes the latest to leverage Rightlander’s innovative compliance platform

Buzz Bingo has become the latest tier one operator to partner with leading compliance experts, Rightlander.com, to boost their responsible gambling capabilities.

The Rightlander compliance platform consists of several affiliate compliance tools that are tailored to cover market specific legislation and advertising standards.  These include the Automated Compliance Monitor, PPC Monitor and Affiliate Mapping Tools all of which assist operators manage and monitor their affiliate traffic on-demand.

The Automated Compliance Monitor detects non-compliant content across multiple territories and flags violations such as missing terms and conditions, outdated offers, and incorrect marketing assets. This helps ensure that affiliates are aligned with the brand and marketing message, further strengthening Buzz Bingo’s compliance strategy.

The PPC Monitor identifies harmful ads to stop them from appearing on an operator’s branded keywords while the Affiliate Mapping Tool helps operators map previously undeclared affiliate sites to known affiliates.

Commenting on the partnership, Nicole Mitton, Head of Customer Success at Rightlander.com, said:  “Operators understand the importance of ensuring that affiliates sending traffic to their sites are acting responsibly, but monitoring and managing all of this can be daunting.”

“The Rightlander platform takes the hassle out of ensuring affiliate compliance, and we are delighted to be working with Buzz Bingo to help them improve their processes and better manage their affiliate partners.”

David Abrams, Senior Online Media Manager at Buzz Bingo, said: “Responsible gambling measures are one of the highest priorities to us as an operator and partnering with Rightlander means we can ensure we’re running an even more robust and compliant affiliate strategy. Working with multiple affiliates, we need to ensure they are completely aligned with our responsible gambling positioning at all times, and this requires careful monitoring of all traffic coming our way. The Rightlander platform does exactly that so we’re very happy to be working with them”.

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