The continuing public row over Affiliate Media managers and their relationships through various subsidiaries and shareholdings with the CardSpike skin on the Cake Poker Network took a dramatic turn late Saturday with the announcement by head man Lou Fabiano that he had resigned.
Posting at http://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.com/bb/professor-signing-off.33672.html, Fabiano, who uses the nickname The Professor wrote:
"After all the negative press and activity of the past few months I have decided it's probably best for the community moving forward if I left. For whatever reason I create too much of a distraction and raise too many questions by even being here anymore. I know many believe I am some kind of monster now and even my old friends have fallen silent in support."
Fabiano went on to say how much he had enjoyed the industry and the people in it, and the international travel associated with affiliate business that he had enjoyed. “I will do what’s best and simply move on,” he said. "I would rather remember it fondly then grow bitter and forget all the good we have done together," he wrote.
"I have always loved this business and loved CAP, it's been my baby for so many years and it's hard to let go. But now its turned into a nightmare that’s damaging my health and something I dread getting up to," he wrote, adding that he would make a last appearance at the CAP conference and awards in London next week before "….turning over the reins here to a younger team and staff with fresh ideas that can keep CAP moving in a positive direction. I sincerely hope everyone finds them more agreeable to work with. It's time for me to move on."
It was not clear who the management team would be, when the switch would take place or to where Fabiano would transfer his talents and experience. The position of fellow top executive at AMI, Warren Jolly, also remained unclear.
Whilst Fabiano's post elicited several positive responses, there were cynics who wanted to know whether he was selling up his personal interest or merely resigning from the forum. These questions went unanswered as at going to press.
The resignation followed exchanges and locked threads on the CAP forum which involved questions from Casinomeister owner Bryan Bailey on the conflict of interest allegations raised by CAP competitor GPWA.
One thread removed from public access but later copied elsewhere by CAP members was http://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.c…reply&p=195360, in which Bailey noted the locking of an earlier thread in which he had made posts to which Fabiano had responded, outlining the nature of the business and drawing hypothetical comparisons between the CAP – CardSpike situation and Casinomeister's relationships with online gambling companies.
Bailey responded: "I understand running a business. And one of the most important things that I have learned in this industry is that it is not about money. Go ahead and laugh, but to me it's not. Money does not motivate me – dealing with people, assisting others, and being creative with my website does. The people who know me can attest to this.
"I have also learned that trust goes a long way. Same thing goes for being transparent – especially when dealing with casino player and affiliate situations. And I don't feel that you have served your members (affiliates and programs) what they honestly deserve – a more transparent operation.
"Comparing the way Casinomeister is set up to CAP is comparing bananas to bowling balls. You certify aff programs – I certify (in a way) casinos. That's comparible (sic). If I were managing a casino that was listed on my site, well then yeah, then you could compare the two. But I'm not.
"If I were to decide to manage a casino, I would damn sure tell everyone – and probably keep that casino off of my site just to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest.
"Further: I was hoping you would directly comment on this CAP/Cake proposal (see previous InfoPowa report), but you have chosen to not do this. That's your prerogative – this is your business, not mine.
Bailey went on to note that he was not a member of any affiliate association, and that he was well aware of the "positive stuff" emanating from CAP, but added: "…recently, this EMG/Cardspike/conflict of interest has overshadowed everything."
He pointed out that the CardSpike issue was about corporate and personal transparency, and that public answers to questions raised was desirable…and he ended by remarking that although he would attend the CAP awards ceremony next week as an invited guest, he would not be attending CAP Euro 2009.
Bailey's decision in this regard was reinforced by the publication at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64Hdaa1zTtk of the latest Casinomeister video, where he commented: "There have been some really funky things going on with CAP which have made me rather uncomfortable. So I'm opting out this year. For one thing there is an issue that they are dealing with right now which in my opinion is a conflict of interest. In my opinion it is not right. And so I'm opting out of going to the event really because of this."
Fabiano's resignation triggered widespread comment on various message boards and speculation was rife that his departure may have been motivated by one or more of the following possibilities:
1) An emotional decision made after weeks of pressure brought on by the very public allegations and disclosures on CardSpike and Absolute Slots – a new Rival-powered online casino. Fabiano has hinted that the ongoing debate on his commercial decisions has been bad for his personal health.
2) A conscious decision to try and limit the impact of the attacks on the Affiliate Media group and its top management in a commercial sense by falling on his sword and moving out of the day-to-day management, leaving a new management team more prepared and flexible to make the changes that may be necessary for the commercial well-being of the group going forward.
3) In a more negative vein, a cynical and cosmetic attempt to distance the current top management from the accusations in the hope that it will limit damage to the company without necessarily making any changes – probably a no-win option if the root causes of the attacks on the company remain.
Whatever the speculation, this is still a developing situation until a concrete statement is issued by AMI on how Fabiano's resignation will impact the company and what arrangements are to be made in the future for the appointment of a new management structure and the advancement of the company and its subsidiaries.