The debate on the desirability of affiliates offering rakeback on Internet poker sites continues, with Karim Williams, the CEO of poker rakeback website Rake The Rakeback , entering the fray with the observation that questionable skins on poker networks, and not rakeback affiliates are at the root of problems with the practice.
Earlier, a William Hill Online executive had urged other operators to clamp down hard on rakeback practices by affiliates, claiming that these cannibalised the business, and suggesting that there should be a clear division of responsibilities between player acquisition (affiliates) and customer retention (operators).
Without being specific, Williams asserted that some online poker networks do not have a clear rakeback policy with skins, and this is thye cause of their problems, not affiliates giving rakeback.
“These days networks like iPoker, Entraction, Boss and Microgaming will seemingly give an online skin to anyone with a few hundred dollars and a small database of players," Williams claimed. "And it’s a majority of these skins that are cannibalising existing network traffic, by contacting players through player chat at the tables and so forth in order to poach them across for higher rakeback”.
Networks make the situation worse by giving away skins to affiliates looking to diversify within the industry, the rakeback specialist accused.
“This represents a clear conflict of interest for the networks as some of these affiliates still promote other skins on the network. This means they can easily identify players from those other skins and try and convert them for a higher margin.”
Williams suggested that networks re-examine their rakeback policies to ensure these are clear, sensibly capped and adhered to by every interested party on the network.
“What’s frustrating is that the networks without clear policies are too proud to ask for or take advice from the people who know rakeback best, the big established affiliates. It’s the big affiliates who provide checks and balances for the whole system via self policing and caps, and it is they who can gauge what the players are after at the kickback level,” he said.