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23 May 2011

Online Affiliate Programmes Explained, by Greg Tingle - 23rd May 2011



Affiliate programmes via the internet can still be a lucrative business, but as has always been the case, its buyer (or more to the point), affiliate marketer beware, as its getting harder to sort out the gold from the dirt. Gaming and casino affiliate programmes as a general rule remain the most worthwhile from a financial aspect, but their can be exceptions so it pays to keep your eyes and ears open. We also cover that just by participating in a gaming or casino affiliate programme does not in fact make you or your brand a gaming or casino company, rather it just means you are covering that industry vertical (and hopefully adding value to your website) in addition to other subject matters you choose to cover. Media Man and Gambling911 with the latest on the online affiliate sector, with and added bonus on the casino, poker, agency and portal sector...

We've been filling you in on some of the elements, good and bad, of affiliate programmes for a few years now, and will all of the new developments hitting the world wide web we figured it was time to give the ever loyal readership an update.

How To Choose The Right Affiliate Program...

Affiliate programs are one of the greatest ways to generate a massive revenue stream. Even the likes of News Limited, Fairfax Media, CNN, ABC (Australia and the US), AskMen, UFC, WWE, Virgin and Marvel Entertainment are in on the act these days, and there's good reasons why. The programs offered by bwin.party digital entertainment, Virgin Games, PKR, Playboy and Rewards Affiliates are our favorites these days, but more on that later on. You can also start your own, or of course just offer promo and advert rates on your own website portal that can offer work well, and link it in with your news coverage.

There are thousands of affiliate programs on the web to choose from. Features and customer support can vary a great deal, and Media Man has found that only about 30% of all programs are actually worth participating in, but that's just our experience over the past decade ok.

The List..

* Search for an original or unique product or service.Look for a product in a hot market. It might be a brand new game or tech device for example.

* Find programs that have strong growth potential with an expanding product and / or service offering. This will help boost your revenue expansion, and will help stop you getting left behind. You might do well to look for new game releases, new books, new comic books and new car accessories for example.

* Maximize your pay. You want to get paid as much as possible right. Try to get the rates right from the get go, and avoid being talked down in price or percentage too much. There is a huge range of pay rates among affiliate programs. Look for programs that offer a fair pay rate for your efforts are worthwhile. You are not a charity!

* Accept A Clear Remuneration Pay Scale. Affiliate programs should clearly state what you will receive for your effort.

* Increase your revenue potential with two-tier programs. What if you refer another affiliate to the merchant? You've helped grow the business enterprise of that merchant right. Get paid for it!

* Seek programs that generate repeat business. With most affiliate programs you will be referring customers to the merchant website usually with a link, banner or button. Some potential customers may bypass you and go directly to the merchant the next time they want to buy a product or service. The way to help stop this is where your own site is integrated into program and website.

* Avoid merchants which will directly compete with you. If a merchant has an affiliate program, but also has brand recognition, the customer may try to go directly to the merchant. If the customer has a choice to either go via you or go straight to the merchant, which do you think they will likely go with?

* Ensure the program has a good tracking system. It is more than reasonable to expect that your statistics will be readily available to you. You want to track your sales, and whenever you care to right. Always confirm the tracking method of any program. Look for programs that offer real time tracking 24 / 7. PartyGaming and Virgin Games are approx 12 - 24 hour delayed, but overall their are still excellent, so we green-light them, despite not being live up to the minute.

* Seek our programs that offer quality marketing support, and not just lip service. Some affiliate programs have little or no marketing support. You need the right support an tools to be successful.

* Choose a program with community support. Community bulletin boards can be useful to exchange between affiliates and often offer news and expert advice. Look out for programs that believe in providing community support, but its not vital, but is very handy for newbies to the affiliate industry.

* Word of mouth. Listen and read to what people say about various programs. Ok, we like bwin.party's PartyPartners, Virgin Games, PKR, Playboy, WWE, UFC and Marvel Entertainment. Ok, enough brand mentions, Go hunting and find some of your own.

Following our recommendations should assist you. The green-lights you can give an affiliate program on these points, then more chance you have of success. Good luck on the hunt.


Casino VS Poker Affiliate Programs...

It's often a good idea to offer both, since they are closely related cousins. Unless you have a poker website when your players hate casinos (very unlikely), we suggest you offer both.

Ok, poker is primarily a game of skill, where many casino games are just based on luck, so keep that in mind. bwin.party digital entertainment, Virgin Games and PKR are masters at offering their players both, and have a strong cross over audience, helped by their brand power and strong reputation. Make sure you get your website key words and SEO strategy right also, or you won't get found.


Quality Content, News Et Al Help Attract Quality Clients And Partners...

You want your brand, imagine et al as strong as possible to help attract the best people and partners to your business. Maintain a quality of news articles, helpful hints, quotes and other things that people will find useful. Become an expert in the field, and you may like to create your own brand of personality, like Microsoft did with Bill Gates, Virgin with Richard Branson, and perhaps PartyGaming with Jim Ryan, and their World Poker Tour with Mike Sexton. Look up these people and brands on the web and your will often find them side by side, and for good reason.

* Product And Service Reviews: review a product or service, offering details which outline how useful the product or service is. There's a reason we review some casinos, poker websites and games. Try to stick with quality brands to avoid falling into traps. Your reviews should be fair and balanced.

* Publish a how-to article. Example, how to win on games, how to find WWE or UFC DVD's in your part of the world, how to make money on the internet! You will build credibility, and that's good for business.

* Offer insightful commentary on what news in your industry. Be it pro wrestling, UFC, boxing, surfing, search engines, publicity, marketing. Offer up the right quote and your quote might be carried around the world in both mainstream news and via online news. It happens to us frequently, and there's no reason it can't happen to you also. Again, its got to be quality and insightful, or you might end up looking like a goose, but mind you, any publicity is good publicity, usually... so go for it casino jack.

* Linkbait, aimed primarily at attracting thousands of links to your site. This makes pages throughout your site rank higher in Google. As our friends at Wikipedia state, "Link bait is any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything "interesting enough to catch people's attention." Link bait can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature. The term often has a negative or dismissive connotation".

* Usability so thing things on your website that are going to make you money get found by the audience, and are not buried in impossible to find places. Top of the front page of a site is usually the best, along with promos in hot articles, ads and promos on pages ranked highly by search engines.

* Have a range of websites, not just one. You might like to have a casino based website, a poker website, a property news website, a pro wrestling website and and celebrity news website. Trust us, having more than one website and covering more than one industry sector can boost business considerable. It's pays to have more than just one racehorse in the race. Back a few winners to increase the chance of picking a winner.

* Portals and ultra popular websites. If you can get listed or referenced on a big website portal such as Wikipedia, Google 'Best Of The Web', Virgin, CAP, Gambling911, About.com, AllExperts.com, Film Festivals, Street Corner, and even very popular mainstream news websites, this can help you considerably. Look up your brand or name in Google News or Google search, and see what comes up. Yeah, you will see us there too.

Punters, if you adopt all or most of the techniques we have outlined in our feature article it will greatly increase your chances of success in the online affiliate program sector. We've been doing this stuff for 10 years, and while we do not have all the answers, we have some of them. Learn from others who have survived in the long haul and are established experts in the field. Keep up the quality and integrity, work hard and smart, and you will be well on your way to business successful in this industry sector.

Awards...

Media Man Online Casino Of The Month: PartyCasino

Media Man Affiliate Program Of The Month: PartyPartners

Media Man Brand Of The Month: Marvel Entertainment http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/marvel_entertainment.html

Runner up: Virgin Games, second runner up: PKR

Our company, Media Man, has also achieved the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category) award for 6 years in a row, which helps with image, credibility and results. Do your best to win as many awards as possible, without taking your eye of the ball i.e: business at hand.

Friends, good punting, know your limits and bet with your head, not over it. Happy hunting.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports via Gambling911 for more "can't miss" information on Australian gaming and casino wars.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

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