- Paddy Power Betfair gets tough on those pushing out misleading ads to potential players
- Affiliate marketing in spotlight over cases of dubious promotions
Leading UK online casino and betting operators have resolved to crack down on rogue affiliates and take on more control over third party advertising amid recent high profile cases of adverts misleading players.
After Sky Betting and Gaming announced the shelving of its entire affiliate programme, Paddy Power Betfair is now pledging to change its affiliate marketing for the better.
Meanwhile four casino brands felt the heat of the Advertising Standards Authority this over the content of an ‘advertorial’ article that appeared online.
The article was presented similar to a news story and suggested gambling could be a way out of emotional and financial hardship – before linking to a casino promotion.
The affected companies have vowed to tighten up their affiliate program following the warning and sever ties with the affiliate in question.
There is now heavy pressure on all operators to make sure the adverts that are being served to players by these third parties, whose goal it is to drive players to their sites, are not misleading.
Paddy Power’s new 1 Strike Policy
Paddy Power Betfair has responded strongly to the issue by introducing its ‘1 Strike Policy’ for affiliates.
The policy was revealed in a note which found its way to members of the affiliate website the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association and it indicated that any breach of its standards would result in instant suspension for the affiliate.
As well as requiring all adverts to be clearly indicated as promotional material and ensuring that all content meets the ASA’s required standards, the policy will bar use of SMS marketing and all content posted to social networks must bear an 18+ warning.
Some affiliates have expressed concerns at the new policy, suggesting that under a zero tolerance policy genuine affiliates could lose their status for an innocent mistake or minor reason, but most welcomed the announcement.
It should have the positive affect for players of having more trustworthy adverts, which may also help affiliates it the long-run.
Dangers of affiliate schemes for casino operators
Affiliate programs are not unique to the gambling industry; they appear in most commercial sectors that have an online presence.
An affiliate marketing model allows registered third parties to advertise a brand’s services via a web link, and to earn a commission for any sales which that link generates.
It is cost-effective, requires little effort from the brand, and is a great way to develop a wide-reaching web presence.
However, it also comes with risks.
When a third party is free to create the advertising content they hope to earn commission from, there is an element of trust required – especially in a strictly regulated industry like online casinos and betting, where the rules are clear on what an advert can and cannot say.
The terms of the UK Gambling Commission license are that operators are responsible for the output of its affiliates.
In the recent ‘advertorial’ case, it was said that the operators should have checked more carefully what these third-party affiliates were doing in their name.
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