GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 19 - February 2012

Adding tournaments to your arsenal is good for business By Jason “Wolf” Rosenberg and Claire Wellard S ince the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006, and now Black Friday in 2011, the entire online poker indus- try has been hit quite hard. With the current downward spiral of the general econo- my and local legislation changing faster than a runway fashion model changes clothes, some serious hurdles have been placed in front of us. It seems, by the minute, the game of poker is all that more competitive. No more so, than for affiliates trying to earn a living. As a result of Tier 1 operators shutting down or restricting U.S. players, legisla- tion complications around the world and the reduction of the general population’s disposable income, we have been left with a somewhat limited number of available players to promote to. As affiliates, our ef- forts to acquire, convert and retain these players have just reached a whole new level of competitiveness. Simple banner farms can no longer com- pete. The heart of the average rakeback site, thriving in 2007, is struggling to beat at a sustainable level. Some affiliates have been left feeling like they came to school totally unprepared for the big test, not knowing what the answers are. Many af- filiates feel like cockroaches scurrying for cover because a light has been turned on. Unfortunately, we have already seen many affiliates go out of business because they were unable to adapt to recent and ongo- ing changes in the iGaming landscape. Today’s affiliates are savvy business peo- ple who are doing everything they can to increase and retain traffic. By now, we all should know the importance of SEO, but there are other factors at play. Players demand more from their affiliates. They want exclusive news, information, strat- egy articles, promotions and advice. You name it, they want it, and it’s up to the af- filiates to provide all of this. At the end of the day, the most im- portant thing an affiliate can pro- vide to players is the perception of value. What do you do that will differenti- ate yourself from other affiliates? Are you promoting the same thing everyone else is? Every operator offers deposit bonuses. Every operator has big money guaranteed tournaments. Affiliates can promote the same old thing, and maybe make a living, but what happens when you give players something that they can’t get anywhere else? They come, click on your affiliate links, keep playing and actually want to get your newsletters to see what’s next. One important tool that affiliates offer play- ers is private tournaments. This strategy is not new, but many have overlooked its po- tential, especially in the current online gam- ing landscape. The following strategy works for all sectors of gaming, not just poker. There are four main reasons why private tournaments increase your traffic and your overall revenue. The first reason to develop a private tournament strategy is for increased player acquisition. Hosting a private tournament gives your players a reason to click on a link and create an account. The days of affiliates command- ing massive private freerolls are over, but small private freerolls will result in new sign-ups. Your existing traffic and new players that are coming to your site may or may not deposit, but they may very well see a different offer that piques their interest. Bottom line: You now have higher traffic rates and a larger database of players to work with. The second reason for a private tourna- ment strategy is increased conversion of depositing players. Trust us, nothing im- presses an affiliate manager more than the “C” word. Hosting a buy-in tourna- ment with an added cash prize offers in- stant value to players. It is something ex- tra that they are not getting on their own from very many operators. Again, this type of private tournament gives new and existing players in your database a value- added reason to click on your bright and shiny affiliate link, set up a player account and then take that first stab at depositing. Bottom line: You now have revenue be- ing generated from new and reactivated depositors, and your affiliate manager is able to discuss additional prize pools and better pay rates for you. 44 Adding tournaments to your arsenal is good for business