GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 32 - June 2015

O ne of the great things about affili- ate marketing in the online gam- bling industry is that once a player clicks one of your links and makes a deposit, you get a percentage of his or her revenue for the rest of the time that player stays on that site. Promote products on Amazon, and you'll earn a (very small) percentage of a single sale. If that consumer goes back to Amazon to buy something else without starting at your site, you don't get one penny of revenue. Lifetime revenue share is the online gambling industry standard, and it's what made this industry so attractive to so many of us. It’s so pervasive that affiliates balked when daily fantasy sports site FanDuel launched its part- ners program with a one-year sunset period on referred players. The site quickly learned that it would need to adopt industry standards if it wanted affiliates to promote the site; it now offers lifetime revenue share for its affiliates. On May 1, 2015, PokerStars an- nounced in an e-mail to affiliates that starting on June 1, 2015, it would "pay revenue shares to affiliates for only the first two years of activity on a player's account." PokerStars is spinning the change by stating the freed-up resources (i.e., what should be your hard-earned cash) will be used to "promote poker to new audiences." Not many affiliates are buying it. This decision comes on the heels of last fall's revelation that many af- filiates' accounts were being closed. The reason? According to Michael Josem, a member of the PokerStars Communication Team, "PokerStars ended the agreements with a very small number of affiliates who were not recruiting many new players and who were doing little active promo- tion of our services." This is what happens when there is an overwhelming market leader that doesn't feel compelled to adhere to industry standards. PokerStars and its family of sites, including Full Tilt and regional offerings like, own more than 50 percent of global poker traffic, according to data from PokerScout. The site is nearly eight times larger than its closest competi- tor, 888poker. While it may be within its legal rights to take such actions (PokerStars' terms state it can change or terminate affili- ate agreements at any time), these ac- tions contradict the spirit of the agree- ment so many affiliates signed up for. There is, however, one thing that's not up for debate: the definition of the word "lifetime." And this is where PokerStars' boldness knows no bounds. "This will affect all referrals by affili- ates, including retrospectively affect- ing those players referred prior to 1 June, 2015," reads the e-mail. Not only will the revenue share of future players be restricted to two years, but players previously sent to PokerStars by affiliates will also be subject to a two-year sunset on rev- enue share. As of June 1, 2015, players sent to PokerStars by affiliates before June 1, 2013, will no longer earn rev- enue for those affiliates. PokerStars is just taking them off your rolls. If you want to unethically change your terms and conditions just be- cause you have the legal standing to do so, by all means, go ahead. But ret- roactively changing the terms on play- ers affiliates have already sent is akin to stealing money right out of those affiliates' pockets. Congratulations, PokerStars! You've earned your spot on the APCW Wall of Shame. We realize it's hard to ask affiliates to stop promoting PokerStars when the site owns more than half of the global online poker market. But don't be surprised if this Wall of Shame honoree makes more changes to its terms that steal more money out of your pockets in the not- too-distant future. W all of S hame 74 APCW Wall of Shame