The independent directors of player protection and standards authority eCOGRA have approved an updated version of the requirements for an Affiliate Trust Seal, incorporating suggestions made during consultations with affiliate program managers.
The requirements now include a review of the security architecture of affiliate programs applying for the Affiliate Trust Seal, and proof that applicant programs can fully recover from unforeseen system disasters that could impair a program's level of service to its affiliate clients.
Following extensive international research last year, eCOGRA developed a set of best practice standards for affiliate programs which has to date been successfully implemented in three major affiliate programs, with others currently undergoing the inspection and compliance phase by eCOGRA's professional audit teams.
Andrew Beveridge, CEO of eCOGRA, says that there is strong demand from the affiliate community for independent on-site audits conducted by qualified Chartered Accountants and IT specialists with appropriate industry knowledge in order to improve business efficiencies to international standards, and give affiliates the assurance that the tracking and revenue calculations of accredited affiliate program softwares are fair and accurate.
"The directors have decided to make available a more focused certification process which will fine-tune our certification," said Beveridge. "This will mean that the eCOGRA compliance system will concentrate on the following key areas of affiliate program activity:
* Affiliate revenue is calculated accurately and deductions are correctly allocated
* Payments are completely and accurately processed
* Preventative and detective controls are in place to ensure accurate and correct linking of players to affiliates
* Program software applications are developed, implemented, maintained and secured in a manner representative of best practice international standards
* Affiliate programs shall be able to demonstrate that they can recover from a system disaster".
Beveridge commented that this more focused approach will enable eCOGRA to reduce review fees to GBP 5 000 per annum, excluding expenses.
"Where possible, testing will be conducted remotely, however it will also be necessary to conduct certain elements of our reviews at the operator's premises," Beveridge explained, adding that his organisation would also provide a thoroughly experienced dispute mediation channel for complaints falling within the scope of eCOGRA's Affiliate Trust Seal mandate.
"I would like to make it clear that our involvement will henceforth be limited to the standards covered in the audit. We will therefore not be drawn into areas beyond our mandate from affiliate programs which we have not inspected and audited – and therefore cannot properly investigate – in disputes that may involve adequacy of funds, timing of payments to affiliates, and advertising practices," Beveridge said.
The revised Affiliate Trust Seal requirements are available in detail at www.ecogra.org/affiliates.