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Should affiliates be more honest when reviewing online slot games?

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Critics are paid to be impartial, they have no qualms about tearing into something they’ve been asked to review, whether that be a brand new box office release, album or video game. So why is it completely different in the world of iGaming?

There aren’t many industries out there that can match ours when it comes to the sheer amount of websites dedicated to one pastime (casinos and online slot games), for every new release there’s a minimum of ten reviews online within days of them arriving in casino lobbies.

Having spent the last year scouring the internet for slot games to critique ahead of their launch, Slot Gods, a comprehensive site dedicated to independent bias free online slot reviews have come to several solid conclusions about the somewhat dishonest business of slot write-ups.

Do some affiliates fear the truth will deny them acquisitions?

In last twelve months the expert team at Slot Gods have spent countless hours surveying the iGaming landscape with a fine-tooth comb, gauging affiliates ‘honest’ opinions on online slot games old and new, it’s certainly not everybody, but the conclusion to be drawn is that there seems to be a genuine fear about being honest when a slot game just isn’t very good.

Many of the reviews the team came across were written in a tone that suggested the game was 100% worth playing, positives were made out of negatives and despite a game’s shortcomings there’s always something that inferred to the reader that the game should definitely be played.

There’s no denying that approaching a review with a positive attitude is a good way to go, but it seems immoral to mislead a player in an industry that requires the end user to open their wallets and deposit money to play a game of chance which they might walk away from with nothing.

Obviously, players aren’t stupid and they know exactly what they’re getting into when they actively choose to gamble their money, but there’s a fine line between selling a game honestly and overselling it to the point in which the truth has been distorted to earn a sign-up.

If it were a table game such as roulette, poker or blackjack then perhaps we wouldn’t complain, because you know exactly what you’re getting with them… But with online slots there are many unique variables, and players have certain boxes a game must tick before they choose to actively play them.

To give some of these offending sites their dues, They never did shy away from giving players the raw data, they all clearly stated the RTP percentage, maximum win potential and volatility within the game specifications… It was just the written content that felt sketchy at times.

It’s understandable why an affiliate (in particular a smaller one) might want to put a little extra shine on a slot game in order to drive their visitors towards a sign-up at the associated casino. In doing so they’re likely going to leave the player with a bad taste in their mouth and a general distrust for the site that recommended it upon discovering the game isn’t exactly as described.

What can affiliates do to make their reviews more trustworthy?

If you’re planning on updating or adding slot reviews to your site then there are a number of things recommended and utilised by Slot Gods that you can do to ensure that your content comes across trustworthy and reliable, these are as follows:

Consistent structure

Make sure you have a consistent and well thought out structure to your reviews. Give players the key information in an order that makes sense to them. Don’t start your review with your personal opinion on how it plays, allow them to read all about the features, the design and other important elements before you summarise. 

Most people understand how a review should look, so don’t try and reinvent the wheel and overcomplicate things… Just make sure each and every review is consistent. 

Factual information

It almost sounds silly, but before you’ve even begun to write the review please make sure you play the actual game for a minimum of ten minutes, do your best to stick around until you’ve triggered a bonus feature as it makes a big difference to your overall opinion of the slot. 

It’s easy to write a review based on the text provided by the developer, but trust us when we say the experience of writing a review based on your own first-hand experience is so much easier.

On that note, we highly recommend that players do not rely on other affiliates for information on a slot, it can be very tempting to check out what they’ve written and take inspiration, however, it’s worth noting that you have no idea whether what they’ve written is correct if you haven’t properly played the game yourself. It’s a risk that won’t pay off.

Demo games and original screenshots

If possible try and include a demo game within the body of your review. Admittedly it makes the entire process of compiling the review a little more complicated and time-consuming, but there’s no trust signal quite as strong as actually giving players the opportunity to play the game before or after they’ve read your review. It adds legitimacy to the page.

If you aren’t in a position to add demo games to your site then consider adding watermarked screenshots, this makes it clear to the user that you’ve taken the time to play the game yourself.

Affiliate Announcements

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 Announcements

Lottery.com Announces Hiring of Greg Potts as Global VP of Affiliate Success

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Lottery.com Announces Hiring of Greg Potts as Global VP of Affiliate Success

 

Lottery.com Inc., a leading technology company that is transforming how, where and when the lottery is played,  announced that Greg Potts has joined the Company as Global Vice President of Affiliate Success.

Mr. Potts has over 25 years of strategic marketing experience, including the implementation of growth strategies for consumer brands and their channel affiliates through targeted, local marketing efforts using co-op funding mechanisms. At Lottery.com, he will be leading the execution of the Company’s B2B growth strategy and will oversee the recently launched Global Affiliate Marketing Program. His responsibilities will include developing multiple recurring revenue streams for the Company by adding new master affiliates and sub-affiliates, and providing them with tools designed to accelerate the sales of Lottery.com products.

Mr. Potts most recently served as a Senior Sales Executive for Vericast, where he oversaw the channel affiliate program and specialized in co-op marketing, customer activation, and integrated media campaigns. Prior to his work at Vericast, he focused on helping brands deploy the technology needed to fully support their B2B2C marketing programs.

In addition to executing its B2B strategic growth initiatives, the Company anticipates launching its previously announced targeted customer marketing campaigns before the end of 2021. These multi-media campaigns include paid social media advertising, search engine optimization, and interactive display advertising. In preparation for the launch of these campaigns, the Company has been focused on maintaining its favorable customer acquisitions costs, which have averaged approximately $4 per user since the first quarter of 2020, and improving gross profit per transaction, which increased to $1.69 in the third quarter of 2021 from $0.93 in the prior year period.

“On behalf of the entire team, we’d like to welcome Greg. We expect that his experience and track record of successfully implementing affiliate market programs will be significant assets as we execute our strategic plan to expand and grow our B2B2C segment. Combined with our targeted marketing campaigns in our B2C segment, we anticipate reaching a wider audience and accelerating growth in both segments in 2022 and beyond,” said Tony DiMatteo, CEO and Co-Founder of Lottery.com.

“I am thrilled to join Lottery.com, which has already developed an impressive B2B business, including several blue-chip affiliates and easily-integrated API software. With the recent launch of the Global Affiliate Marketing Program, Lottery has the opportunity to greatly expand its B2B2C user base, and I look forward to helping the Company realize this growth,” Mr. Potts added.

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How Scalable Blockchains Can Change the iGaming Affiliate Industry for the Better

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Recently, iGaming pioneer Calvin Ayre called on the online gambling industry to go all-in on BSV blockchain. This blockchain is the original blockchain protocol restored and is associated with Ayre and the man who he believes to be Satoshi Nakamoto, Dr. Craig Steven Wright.

Ayre and others have outlined how BSV, or blockchains in general, can have positive impacts on the iGaming business. In this piece, we’ll zoom in on how it could impact the iGaming affiliate sector.

Immutable Audit Trails

As the hype around blockchains dies down, and speculation on token prices reaches what may well be the peak, many are beginning to figure out what this technology is and how it can be applied to industries to make them better, more efficient, and more honest.

“Blockchains are essentially distributed databases,” said Leo Twin from GamblersPro.com. “They have the potential to end disputes between affiliate program operators and affiliates themselves over shaving players, failing to report accurately, etc. Everything would be time-stamped and visible on public blockchains, giving affiliates the ability to track and verify player activity for themselves.”

Immutable audit trails have wider implications than this. They could help operators flag compliance violations in real-time and make evidence easy to find and present when they’re wrongly accused of violations by regulators. This could lead to a lot of savings in terms of both time and money for both parties.

Real-Time Payouts

Wouldn’t it be amazing if affiliates could receive commissions on a per-bet basis rather than days or weeks after the end of the month? That’s possible on blockchains with micro-fees.

On blockchains like BSV, the average fee is $0.0001 per transaction, and the fees can get a lot lower as miners lower their fee per byte in the face of demand. This makes it possible to distribute the profits of each wager to multiple wallets in real-time, with the affiliate getting their 20% on the spot rather than waiting for the cashier to clear it at the end of the month.

Of course, there are still issues to solve here. How would negative carryover work, and would it even be economically feasible for casinos to pay bets on a per bet basis? “I don’t see why not,” Leo Twin told us. “When you think about it, deciding that the cutoff points are at the end of a month is arbitrary. Why not every week or quarter? It’s up to the program to decide and solve the associated problems.”

While real-time payments might not work for everyone, it’s easy to imagine how automated payouts combined with faster payouts for affiliates would lead some programs to gain a competitive edge over others.

“When micropayments become possible, it opens up a world of new avenues we can go down,” Twin told us. “The only limit is your imagination.”

Summary

These are only two of the ways in which scalable blockchains can revolutionize the affiliate industry. There are plenty of others. If even these two changes were implemented, it would change things for the better for all stakeholders; affiliates, program managers, and regulators would all save time, money, and energy. For that reason, it’s worth it for forward-thinking affiliate programs to assess their options and plan for the future in the blockchain revolution.

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