Comments on affiliates

Taking a leaf out of Cassini’s blog to generate as much content out of one post as possible, I’ll be replying to a very well written comment on my last affiliate post. Instead of in the comments (where no one really reads them), I think it will be better to make it a whole new post.

Martin R wrote:

Hi Steve.
I guess your decision to take on affiliates came from you having your worse ever betting year. Or was this something you were considering whilst you were in the middle of the profitable years?
To be honest, if you had said that you were planning to run Ladbrokes affiliate links 2-3 years ago I would’ve checked that it wasn’t April 1.
I guess a downturn in fortune forces reconsideration but it’s still a bit of a shock to know that you don’t intend sharing your journey if there’s nothing in it for you financially.

Like a number of affiliate based betting sites (most of the forums, the odds comparison sites, etc) your blog has always had the underlying theme of Punter v Bookmaker. The owners of those sites do a fair job of coming across as being on the punter’s side and they all have their various tools available to help the punter “beat the bookies”. Some have assorted calculators available, others display the best available odds, others have “experts” give free tips and betting advice, still others do supposedly unbiased bookmaker reviews, and some have a forum available where bettors can share opinion, insight, experience and tips. Of course, the owners of these affiliate sites know that it doesn’t matter if a punter has an edge with his selections, and is shown where the best odds are, and is taught the principles of money management, and has the calculator to work out the optimal stake, the fact is that 98.9% of the time (or whatever the true % is) they will still lose. The bookmakers know that too of course, and the site owners and bookmakers are ultimately in a partnership against the punter, and behind closed doors are likely sharing tactics on recruiting new members (losing punters).
Your blog/site has some of these tools as well, but what set yours apart from the others was the belief that you actually were on the punter’s side. I always believed that. You are a winning punter sharing his efforts to win with other punters (most of whom aspire to be similar) and your blog was one of just a handful that I thought had no other agenda. I likened your blog to the podcast “Gambling With An Edge” and a couple of other blogs run by guys who just wanted to share their knowledge and journey.
Now though, with you seeking income from affiliates, I can’t help but wonder what goes on regarding this site away from the reader’s view. Wondering if the article I’m reading has been commissioned by the Bookie Of The Month while knowing that said bookie doesn’t operate remotely similar to the only bookie I know (not including the exchanges) that is actually in a position to publish useful betting articles (Pinnacle).
I’ll still read your articles and visit the site of course, because as you know there is a dearth of material available, but there’ll always be that question of whether the content I’m reading is there for the purpose of helping punters or recruiting losers.
It’s just the way it is with affiliate based sites.
Cheers
Martin

I love these comments, critical and questioning without being a dick about it. If you ever disagree with me, take note of how Martin approached it if you want a reply.

I’ve written about my stance on affiliates and why I am starting to use them again, but this will give me a chance to elaborate.

Hi Martin,

Thanks for sharing your views here in a very civilised way. Let me try and answer your concerns.

The blog started with me having affiliate links on it. If you use the waybackmachine, you can see this blog was like any other with banner ads all over it. As I learnt more about the industry and had most of my accounts shut down or limited, I realised how winning punters were treated and decided to delete all bookmaker advertising.

I am an entrepreneur at heart and the blog for me was and will always be a business. But I’m not in it to make a quick buck. It took 4 years of blogging before starting dailyprofit and now 6 years before I am starting up affiliates again. I’ll have a number of new products coming in 2017 which will use the blogs audience to get initial traction.

There were a few goals for reintroducing affiliates on the site. The main product I am building will be reliant on affiliates (sadly most punters won’t pay for content/products), so the only option to fund a new startup is via affiliates. I am testing them on this site to build relationships with the sportsbooks and affiliate managers.

I’m also using this as a case study and to share a persons experience dealing with affiliates. I’ll be as transparent as I am with my betting results and any shady dealings that go on will be shared on the blog. This gives me more content to write, which also builds up my audience and gives them some interesting content to read. Most punters have no idea what an affiliate is or how they work, so by shedding a light on the topic, they will be better informed.

I am against affiliates when there is a clear conflict of interest, such as a tipster service pushing affiliates. That’s why we are very careful on any affiliates we have with Dailyprofit. My next product will also not use affiliates in any way. But the one that will give free tools, content and community will need to use them to pay the costs associated with running it.

This blog has always been and will always be free. It is a blog all about gambling, it makes sense that most people reading it also like to gamble and will be signing up to bookmakers. I also tell it as it is and most long term readers know how bookmakers treat winning customers. But as you said, 98% of punters will lose. There is no reason I should not let them know about all their betting options and earn commission on their losses. As I mentioned in my last article, if you are not paying for something on the Internet (facebook, news, so on), YOU are the product.

Any extra money I earn from affiliates also helps me build out my other sites which in turn help punters become profitable (and in turn make me more money as well).

Note: I’ve had 2 bookmakers tell me to delete all my negative articles about them for very generous affiliate deals. You will never see those bookmakers advertised on my site. Any bookmaker who does request that in the future will also be removed.

The plan was to actually start affiliates in 2016, long before my current downturn started, but it did make the decision to start now easier. There are many ways to make money from sportsbetting and I plan to explore most of them. Pure betting is by far the hardest way, selling products and services is difficult as well. Matched betting, bonus hunting, arbing, trading are fairly easy. This site has really only talked about the hardest part of betting, so hopefully, I can open it up to much more useful content.

One of the upcoming sections will be bookmaker reviews, but there will also be a section that allows every reader to share their experience with that bookmaker, so this will give you a chance to let others know how you have been treated.

Also, every single affiliate article is marked as such, you will be able to see this at the top of the article. I’ll always make it clear when an article will generate affiliate revenue. I am also sharing every single dollar that I make with them, so it can’t be any more transparent than that.

I feel I’ve built up a pretty good level of trust with my readers over the last 6 and a half years and most of them know I am all for the punter. If I can bring the same level of transparency to the affiliate industry as I have done with my own betting, I think we will all be better for it.

I can also see the other side (I was on it for a long time) and understand people’s dislike of the current crop of Australian bookmakers. I’ll always fight for minimum bet laws and call out any bookmaker doing anything dodgy. If any reader is so against my stance they can choose to show their displeasure by leaving the site and never visiting again. If enough people do that, the site will die. But I think the amount of free content that at times offers some good pieces of advice will keep bringing people back.

I really appreciate the comment and hope I answered your concerns. Any further questions? you know where to post them.

Thanks

Steve

You may also like...

  • Gregory Conroy

    Great discussion Martin and Steve.

    From an industry stand-point I’ve always been very against affiliates as well. (See here and I am on BOTH sides of the industry: http://promo.rewardbet.com/content/rewardbet-blog). But from an economic viewpoint, they make sense.

    I find it very difficult in my position with RewardBet – hence our change in strategy (be announced soon). I’ve invented a tool that helps punters win more. Fact. Proven.

    But as a B2B business, as soon as I approach a “less-enlightened” bookie, they don’t want to hear a second word.

    Even though they’d learn than punting is a psychological pursuit where it’s a long process involving hope, dreams, anticipation, dopamine, hopes, win, losses, and so on).

    Multiple gambling choices. It’s more than bookie vs punter. It’s bookie vs entertainment dollar options.

    I wrote a long paper and was interviewed on RSN by Shane Anderson about my views. See here: http://promo.rewardbet.com/content/reboot-innovation-and-ecosystems

    I strongly believe in the pari-mutuel model but with more aggressive take-outs. That is proven economically and both winners and losers are tolerated.

    Many punters in Australia are hoodwinked into thinking fixed odds race betting is the best option. That’s rubbish unless you are better than the market. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter which channel you bet into … pari-mutuel, fixed odds, etc (assuming your profit isn’t solely from obtaining top-odds, in which case you can just simply retire).

    I strongly believe that affiliate commissions will come under the same regulation as the life-insurance and similar industries. Trailing commissions, etc. Disclosure up-front.

    Things used to be simple.

    Let’s get back to basics. Use your knowledge. Have an even playing field. Concentrate on choosing winning selections rather than shopping/arbing/rebates/ etc.

    That’s what I’m trying to achieve. Good luck all. Let’s see how this plays out!

  • I don’t have a problem with affiliates, because I realize the reality of the situation.

    Let’s face it: most sports bettors are going to lose. Sure, if they only followed your picks or system, they would win, but we both know that isn’t going to happen for most punters. It’s purely psychological; the need to win.

    If somebody else can do it, then they can do it; it’s that mentality that keeps sports bettors trying to figure out how to beat the system on their own. Why not be the tipster themselves, ya know?

    And even beyond that, they will still bet on sports recreationally.

    Also, you have to realize that not everybody that comes to your blog is looking for the same thing as you are. I initially found your blog awhile ago because I was Googling something about Pinnacle.

    What if somebody else comes to your blog searching about NRL or AFL, and isn’t really interested in what we do? Why not make money from their losses?

  • My thoughts exactly