GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 17 - September 2011

By Jeremy Enke O n Friday, April 15, 2011, the land- scape of poker affiliate marketing in the United States of America was forever changed. With the indictments and con- fiscation of the domains from the top four U.S. online poker sites by the U.S. Depart- ment of Justice, many poker affiliates were left facing a very uncertain future. Before the infamous “Black Friday,” online poker in the United States was one of the most lucrative markets in the world for af- filiates and Internet marketers. With this sudden and unexpected development in the industry, however, many poker affili- ates who relied on that market have been left wondering what their strategy should be moving forward. There is no question that moving forward in the poker affiliate industry is going to be a challenge. But this challenge also presents opportunities for poker affiliates to think outside the box while trying new marketing strategies and techniques. Should you continue promoting online pok- er and targeting U.S. players? This seems to be the million-dollar question lately. If you have studied the indictments from Black Friday, then you already know that the op- erators’ sites were seized by U.S. authori- ties because of their banking and payment processing practices, and not solely because they provided an online poker platform where U.S. players could play. With that said, there are still a handful of operators accepting U.S. poker and casino players. This presents affiliates with the opportunity to promote to a much wider audience and attract players who were regulars at one of the big four rooms be- fore Black Friday. Similar to how Ameri- cans continued to drink after alcohol pro- hibition began in 1920, Americans will undoubtedly continue to gamble and play online poker. Continuing to promote online poker to U.S. players is truly a risk vs. reward prop- osition at this time. After speaking with several legal scholars, I don’t personally believe there are any legal risks for tradi- tional poker affiliate marketers inside the U.S. I do think, however, there are risks. The remaining operators could choose to abruptly exit the U.S. market with no warning. Depending on the circumstances, operators may not be able to pay affiliates their earned commissions. The rewards, however, if these operators remain in the U.S. and can effectively process payments, will certainly be plentiful. Most agree that at some point in the fu- ture we will indeed see regulated online gambling in the United States. When this emerges, we will once again see a funda- mental change in the landscape of online poker. The implications for poker affili- ates will once again likely be significant. In my opinion the poker affiliates that choose to remain in the industry through these turbulent and uncertain times will surely be the ones that benefit most when the market does open back up. So let’s discuss a few specific strategies for poker affiliates moving forward. Strategies for U.S. poker affiliates moving forward Strategies for U.S. poker affiliates moving forward