11/4/09 – The affiliate world is a tough one, with affiliate marketers not only battling to promote online gambling venues in a competitive and noisy arena, but also putting in a hard day's work on researching material, maintaining their websites and occasionally assisting players with disputes against their sponsors.
And, it appears, there are also trials and tribulations with the affiliate programs who administer affiliate accounts and payments based on performance, but are also the source of a diversity of problems. These include statistics arguments, delayed and disputed payments and unnegotiated and unilateral changes to the terms and conditions under which affiliates sign up.
Apparently so much so that a new association has been taking shape that is prepared to take legal action against affiliate programs that repeatedly fail to stick to deals agreed with affiliates.
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Following extensive discussions on affiliate message boards, the Gambling Affiliate Union (GAU), has emerged this week, and already reports that it has signed up 100 members. The organisers plan to increase that tenfold within the next six months.
Prime movers behind the initiative are Paul White, a UK-based online poker-focused affiliate better known on the message boards as ‘Chalkie', and ‘Mojo’, or Paula Bliss, an affiliate promoting online casinos and based in Northern America.
White said: “I get extremely annoyed at times about how affiliates are treated and how they get walked over by some affiliate programmes. That is really the principle behind this: to make sure that affiliates get a fair deal from affiliate programmes. United, we have a stronger voice.”
However, White cautioned that the GAU was intended as an arbitration service and did not intend to organise boycotts of affiliate programs, although it is willing to take legal action against affiliate programs that repeatedly fail to pay affiliates or decline to negotiate.
“We’re not here to police affiliates and make demands that nobody works with certain programmes, because that would be counter-productive by making it hard to talk to the affiliate programmes. But we are willing to take legal action to protect members if absolutely necessary," White emphasised.
"If a contract contains a clause that allows people to [unilaterally] change that contract at any time, then it can’t be seen as legally binding and stand up in court.”
The GAU has ambitions to recruit between 50 and 60 percent of all Internet gambling affiliates, with a thousand members within the next six months, and up to 5 000 within a year.
White says that his nascent organisation has the support of other affiliate associations such as Michael Corfman's Gambling Portal Webmaster's Association (GPWA) and its partner the Association of Players Casinos and Webmasters (ACPW).
“The GPWA, APCW and Affiliate Guard Dog all have their part to play, and our role is simply to help artbitrate between affiliates and programmes,” White said.
The GAU will not accept advertising or sponsorship, but will be funded via a monthly affiliate membership fee of US$3 a month. In a bid to build the organisation's membership quickly, the GAU will not charge subscription fees for the fist six months of its formation.