Rogue Poker Affiliates - Response to Jetset in Other Thread


Aug 3, 2002
Las Vegas
Jetset Wrote in a previous thread
This sounds like an interesting topic, and I for one would like to better understand how poker affiliates rogue the system?

I felt this needed a new thread.

I have been webmaster for a rakeback affiliate directory for 8 months now. I work closely with around 35 poker affiliates and have had contact with many more rogue or borderline affiliates. I have learned a bunch about how it works and how others exploit it. There are many ways affiliates exploit the system or have some other rogue habits. Depending on your point of view some of this may be rogue and some of it not. Not everyone agrees with rakeback, it is a newish affiliate idea that has exploded but has not always been met in open arms by traditional affiliates. I will list all of the known rogue issues to me, related to rakeback or not.

The number one rogue issue IMO with poker affiliates has been promising rakeback only to disappear or otherwise not pay. This is a huge problem. The point of my site was to try and legitimize what was a "backroom" deal. Affiliates would meet players in 2+2 or other forums by PM and not really have any way to know if they were legit. Affiliates running off with the money is not as big of an issue now that many sites pay automatically to the player's account and rakeback has also become very popular creating a mainstream population of rakeback players and legit rakeback affiliates. What happens though is that this small population of rogue rakeback affiliates disappear and reincarnate under new emails and new domains, some arent even smart enough to register their new domains in other names or privately. They also go to RGP and post from the same IP as a previously vanished affiliate. One affiliate group comes to mind that launched in April and already has had 4 websites and 5 emails they use.

There are other issues outside of rakeback. The biggest one is "poaching". Affiliate A signs up a player for Party Poker (just an example). The player is new to online poker and just plays fake money. Affiliate B comes along and says "Ill give you $xx to open up a Party Poker account through me" Player says"But I have an account there already" Affiliate B says "I will show you a way around that" and now they have poached this player from Affiliate A now getting the signup credit for a player already signed up. Some even consider getting a player to switch skins poaching. For example a player plays on Party Poker and finds an affiliate bonus code for Empire (A Party skin) 100% bonus up to $xxx and to some affiliates this player has been poached. Party is wishy washy on this as you are not suppose to have account on multiple skins but many have accounts most if not all of them without any problems.

Another poker affiliate issue is the website ripoff issue. This goes for casinos portals and it seems almost any other industry on the net. I have had my website copied on multiple occasions in some way, then of course they have the nerve to slap their own copyright on the bottom of the page. This seems to come up once a week on my site that an affiliate has had their site ripped off or makes the allegation. This goes from design, words, colors, text, charts and rakeback calculators. If you look through my "Rogue Affiliate Forum" you will see many affiliates have been removed for blatant copying of websites.

One last sleazy way comes to mind. There have been a few affiliates that instead of promoting themselves feel the need to bash other affiliates. When a legit affiliate posts in the ad section at RGP or in a commercial announcement section like CM has they are met with an attack by a shady affiliate trying to discredit them.

There is so much money to be made and rakeback has made it extremely competitive and controversial at the same time that it seems each day brings its own new challenge.

I hope that answered some questions and I hope it made sense.
Thanks, PA - with your permission I'll work up some editorial on this subject, using your thoughts as a base?
Very nice post, poker addict.

While we are pitched in somewhat opposing corners, upon close examination we pretty much agree on the salient points of this.

At CAP, we are not too fond of rake back. We tell affiliates to avoid promoting poker rooms that facilitate rakeback, even those that just look the other way. There is no point sending players there - someone will show up and spam the room and affiliates cannot make money there unless they join the rake back scene. We have a list of rooms we DO recommend people promote - rooms that oppose rake back.

The reason for this is primarily what poker addict has been talking about. Rake back has unfortunately created a criminal element among affiliates. Players are being herded into rake back agreements they do not need because they never deposit enough to make it worth while. They are promised things that are never kept. The affiliate disappears when it's time to pay up. One thing that is very disturbing also is that these rogue affiliates spam the poker rooms (everyone playing poker online has seen this I am sure) and taking players that have been signed up by other affiliates, teaching them how to open multiple accounts and putting them under their own code. Some rake back affiliates hire players to spam rooms for them.

This resulted in a recent big mess at the WSOP tournaments for Poker Rewards. Prima had locked the winner's account and the end result is that Poker Rewards couldn't send him to the WSOP. The guy did'nt understand that he had broken the rules and was going around posting in the forums about the issue. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the winner of the Tournament on June 19th was in direct breach of the Poker Rewards Terms and Conditions with over 17 valid accounts at Golden Tiger and other Prima properties.

So there are rogue affiliates running around telling players how to open multiple accounts to get rakeback. Then the player realizes rakeback isn't giving him much, he doesn't wager high enough amounts. But - lots of nice bonuses to be had. So now, armed with the education provided by the rogue affiliate, you have them signing up repeatedly to gain repeat bonuses.

Some poker rooms, such as Superior Poker, are avoiding contributing to this and pioneer by building in a "rake back" themselves in the form of a VIP reward that refunds parts of the rake to larger players, just as decent rake back affiliates like Poker Addict do.

Regarding Party Poker - they have some weird feature where some affiliates can incentivise players they did not bring to the table. They are expected to make a statement at CAP about this. On one hand they reject the rake back idea, on the other they install this odd feature. Some explanations are certainly needed, the situation is more than confusing. Many affiliates have stopped promoting Party Poker. Many are poised to pull them off their sites pending the explanation of this odd feature.
just as decent rake back affiliates like Poker Addict do.

Just to be clear I am not an affiliate for any poker room. I simply run a website that is a directory for rakeback affiliates that I feel has done wonders to legitimize a business that many shady elements to it. Of course as Dominique stated rakeback has added a criminal element to some people who try over and over under different affiliate domains or emails to take people on rakeback signups with no intention to pay.

Jetset you may quote any part of any post or reword them however you need to make fit into an article.

Link Removed ( Old/Invalid) is the latest example, as his website now pretty much says TOO BAD!

I also forgot the affiliate spam in poker rooms Dominique mentioned and poker is not all that is spammed although it is the most prominent, casinos, home loans, porn and others have been spammed there. Party finally removed the ability to hyperlink chat but that has not stopped them and yes it has been known that shady rakeback affiliates have paid players to spam poker rooms. Party has not listened to player suggestions that a player should have to make a real money deposit to be able to chat at any real money table. That should take care of at least 95% of the spam because someone could not just keep reopening accounts.

Dominique also has another good point, players that play very low limits will find rakeback to be lower then expected as it is really aimed at 2/4+ players or at least 1/2 or players expecting to make it higher up but especially aimed at current high volume players. A casual .50/1 player that plays 1000 hands a week will find after a month the rakeback is only $50, but now that an affiliate has taught him how to create multiple identities the 20% up to $100 sign up bonus is a much better deal so now this player may try to create new users over and over. These have been called gnomes or clones. Sometimes players get caught and have their funds confiscated when doing this over and over so now an honest player has now had greed take him over and now lost an entire deposit. This does not happen often but it does happen and is an idea I am sure many players would have never had on their own.
Working on this now...but this new information coming to light will have to be included too. I'll be in direct contact with you shortly, PA.
but now that an affiliate has taught him how to create multiple identities the 20% up to $100 sign up bonus is a much better deal so now this player may try to create new users over and over.

The Frankenstein of the poker world and no seperating the Einstein from the Frank in this case.

The "NEW" breed of affiliate webmaster is doing as such, luring players into a scam situation. 6 or so months ago I had to ban a new member of our poker forum who came in and PM'd a load of members promising free money, detailing how to defraud a particular room in great detail, and saw nothing at all wrong in his actions.

This, along with site scraping may be currently seen as an affiliate problem. Will this extend to the future annihlation of the affiliate model in general?
deaning said:
Will this extend to the future annihlation of the affiliate model in general?

It may very well - in the gambling industry. Entirely too much greed here.

In all other online industries affiliates are and will continue to be the backbone of business, affiliates are the online sales force.
I do not understand why someone sighing up people for poker rooms are against rakeback.

Someone plays thousands hands a month. The person who sent them to some poker room gets all the rake the poker room gives them?
realwtfsup said:
I do not understand why someone sighing up people for poker rooms are against rakeback.

Someone plays thousands hands a month. The person who sent them to some poker room gets all the rake the poker room gives them?

The affiliate would get a % of the rake back in most cases regardless of whether they are kicking some back to the player or not. This is why many affiliates who offer general portals are against it. Not only does it hurt margins but requires more work. Being a portal owner is a full time job in itself as is being a rakeback affiliate. It is very hard to be both, especially if your portal is busy or if you are a big affiliate.
I don't think most established affiliates have any problem comping anyone who spends a lot of money playing - be it Poker, Casino or Bingo. Just contact your affiliate.

I personally have no problem paying personal attention, finding the best places to play and spoiling the heck out of any high roller, handing out comps and presents and whatever I can think of.

High rollers of any type can easily be spoiled twice, once by the poker room, casino or bingo hall and once by the affiliate who will take special care of them.

Giving discounts and special service to good customers is nothing new - all industries everywhere do it.

It's the chasing after people, pulling them out of their established accounts and the math of caring for large numbers of people who only marginally benefit from the association that is a problem.

Rake back in my opinion is an attempt to pull these players away from the usual affiliates. The more affiliates get into the rake back field, the more criminal activity you will see. The number of high rollers is somewhat finite, but the number of people trying to make a buck online is ever growing. That results in unfair competition methods, aquisition of players who have nothing to gain and everything to lose because the rake back to them is negligible but the possibility of being kicked out of their favorite room for multiple signups is big.

I also don't think it is a particularly viable business model. The competition among rake back affiliates is fierce and results in many problems, such as stolen website content and all kinds of underhanded tactics. It also means that affiliates will continue to underbid each other until squeezed out. Plus many just walk away at some point, leaving players high and dry. I think it is a very difficult way to try to make a living.

I see poker addict as trying to give exposure to some more established rake back affiliates - that makes a lot of sense to do. It keeps the situation above board and lends credibility as long as the affiliates renting space are thoroughly screened, don't engage in criminal conduct, don't hire others to engage in criminal conduct, and are in it for the long term. A rake back place one can trust.

Most of the affiliates opposed to rake back see it as a criminal element and bad for their reputation and business.
dominique said:
Most of the affiliates opposed to rake back see it as a criminal element and bad for their reputation and business.

Exactly what crime is committed?

My play has a monetary worth. A quite substantial monetary worth, in fact. An affiliate that understands that and is willing to share the worth with me get my action. He is happy. I am happy. The site is happy because they get a massive MGR every month.

If the affiliate I signed up under on another skin in the same network doesn't like it, tough. He has already made money on me. He has zero reason to complain. As I see it affiliates trick people into what they want to be lifetime servitude by not explaining exactly how an affiliate benefits from me signing up under him. Meanwhile, the rakeback affiliates are completely honest about what is happening. The complaining affiliates aren't on any moral high ground here.
I don't think you read the thread.

There is not an affiliate alive who won't spoil you rotten if you identify yourself.

That is totally not the point.
dominique said:
I don't think you read the thread.

There is not an affiliate alive who won't spoil you rotten if you identify yourself.

That is totally not the point.

Ah, then you aren't against my affiliate spoiling me rotten by kicking back 25% of my MGR after all.

You still haven't told us what the crime is.
pokeraddict said:
I think the criminal element that was refered to was the certain small % of affiliates who promise rakeback (or other comps) to lure players only to disappear.

Which basically isn't much worse than the affiliates that never tell the player they get a chunk of the players rake over the lifetime of the account to start with. At least when you get screwed by a rakeback affiliate you can stop playing on that account to shut off the income stream to the bad affiliate and I am pretty sure that disgruntled players don't hesitate to contact the site to blow the whistle on scamming affiliates.

But sure, there are scammers out there. That doesn't mean that rakeback is bad. Just that scamming is bad. Sites like Rakeback Review definately does a good job of helping directing players towards serious affiliates.
Well I dont know that I would call non rakeback affiliates rogue but you do have a few good points. Keep in mind that many affiliates buy or produce content that costs money, other sites are magazines or new feeds etc. They need the affiliate income to afford these extras that make them different from a banner farm. Also keep in mind Party, Paradise and Poker Stars forbid and make just about impossible to pay rakeback. In fact as far as I know Poker Stars pays their affiliates a one time signup bonus (CPA) and that is it so rakeback there is impossible.

Yes I feel that an affiliate that sets up a banner farm is not doing their job, on the other hand calling affiliates that use the proceeds to produce content are using their profits to benefit players as well.

Another thing to consider is that you know about rakeback because you frequent forums, many dont know what it is or how to get it, on the other hand they easily find large mags like Cardplayer and find a great bonus and to them that is great. It really depends I guess on whether your site appeals to casual players or serious pros or semi pros. Obviously however I may have some bias on rakeback :)

Thank you for the compliment on my site.
As a player I love rakeback (and I love your site pokeraddict - since I've been burned in the past by shady rakeback con artists).

In fact, one of the big problems I have with the CAP forums is their blanket opposition to rakeback. Which is why I've stayed out of the discussions on rakeback over there (I think).

Anyway, I'm going to go on the offensive here, and not mince words. I apologise in advance for offence I probably will cause.

I find CAP's anti-rakeback positon greedy, and closed minded.

The affiliate's payments from the poker site are theirs to do with as they wish. I can pass the payments on to players, I can give them to charity, I can give them back to the poker site (because Anurag Diksh*t isn't rich enough already), whatever - it's MY money and if I want to share it with my signups, I can and should be allowed to. Just because you are too greedy to consider sharing your commissions does not mean I should be banned from doing it.

I do not see the difference between spending your affiliate revenue on traditional advertising and promotion to bring in new players and spending it on. Just because the affiliates from a casino background did not get their heads around it first does not mean it is evil. Rakeback is just another marketing tool, just like PPC advertising.

[for the record, I do not currently run a rakeback program, however I do have a couple rakeback accounts at some sites]

Maybe I have misinterpreted their position, and like I said, I apologise for offence, this wasn't intended to be a personal attack, I just enjoy strong language.

Yes, I oppose player-poaching (and I have stayed loyal to my original party affiliate even though he probably got me on a CPA plan 3 years ago) and the guy who has 17 accounts is a cheating moron. I would be VERY surprised to learn this was because of rakeback though. The need to try and cheat the system is reduced because you don't need to create gnome accounts to get bonuses - you still get paid for your play no matter how much you play). My thought was that trying to blame the non-WSOP trip on rakeback was actually a better argument to ban non-rakeback affiliates since you know rakebackers are on MGR and not encouraging chasing deposit bonuses :p

Another argument in favour of allowing rakeback is that if we (the affiliates) let the rooms dictate how we're doing business on this matter and some affiliates openly support the rooms screwing over other affiliates (and rakeback affiliates were getting screwed by RETROACTIVE changes to Ts and Cs by some rooms) then it sets a very dangerous precedent.

What's next? Sites with honest reviews being banned because they are taking business from the banner farms packed with copy written by the casino's sales department?

I'm not saying Dominique runs a banner farm, everything I've seen from her suggests she's a much nicer person than I am, and has high quality websites. Unfortunately she's just become the representative of the anti-rakeback position, which as you might have guessed, I strongly oppose.

One more apology for the road, I've been ridiculously cranky today, which is why I am hanging out in forums rather than doing important stuff, and poor Dominique's copped an earful of less than polite language from me. I hope I've made my point though and I am sorry for any offence I caused.
Another argument in favour of allowing rakeback is that if we (the affiliates) let the rooms dictate how we're doing business on this matter and some affiliates openly support the rooms screwing over other affiliates (and rakeback affiliates were getting screwed by RETROACTIVE changes to Ts and Cs by some rooms) then it sets a very dangerous precedent.

Yes this is a big problem IMO. I know of several VERY large Party affiliates that had permission in writing to offer rakeback at Party (under a gift certificate program which is something Party was never opposed to until recently) and all at a sudden Party pulled the plug. Much of this was due to the discussions at CAP about one in particular. I am sure if the affiliates that had something in writing in that discussion from any AM or program and suddenly this changed without notice and retroactive this would create a riot but instead it was encouraged that Party actually do this to these affiliates with agreements, ones who were not even paying cash.

Party also tried this with Pokernow, a skin they now have absorbed. Party took all signups away from affiliates regardless of whether they were rakeback or not and stopped paying period. This is another example of Party retroactively changing affiliate T&C's. When this first hit it was on the day payments were due! No warning at all. You did not have to be a rakeback affiliate to not get paid. Some small affiliates got paid, most big ones did not. Luckily as far as I know all got paid even though it took months but everyone lost their signups.

As I said before I believe it is up to the affiliate. I am not an affiliate but obviously have a stake in it. I also have total respect for those that do not go that route. Affiliates can use the money for advertising, content, freerolls or whatever I dont care. If you did not promise rakeback to a signup you are under no obligation to pay it and if a player gets poached then I agree that is BS.
I have another big point about rakeback. Lets say you sign up a player and he plays 5/10. He deposits $1000 and gets a $200 bonus. He is a -.5BB/100 loser. If he plays 800 hands a day (about 12 table hours so multi tabling gets that way down in time) at the end of the month he is bust and often will not be back, at least not for a long time. You as an affiliate just made about $1800 at 30%. If you kicked back 25% rakeback this player can now reload about $1500 for next month and play again. He made a profit or his hobby and so did you. Next month he gets down to $200 or so but generates the same rake, this month without the bonus to deduct. Now he gets $1750 and you get $250 or so. This player keep playing and after several months you have made back the initial affiliate pay AND you have a happy player still playing to create more rakeback. These numbers are just estimates and out of thin air to be used only as an example of a middle limit player.

The above example is what baffles me when Party and Paradise are so against rakeback. Why would Party rather a player not get this money? When a player busts that is no more rake, if you give him the rakeback reload he is happy and keep playing generating more rake and keeping more tables alive. Now they have the money going to affiliates and not going back into the cashier system and the players running for the skins to get rakeback. It just doesnt seem bright at all. Sure they think they will crush rakeback, maybe they will on their network but not without a nasty battle they may not be willing to fight all the way, one that will leave players and many affiliates pissed off. Party of course feels they are the only game in town. You can tell the skins have a much better grasp on what is going on. The following will tell you just how stupid Party Poker is as if we needed more proof.

I just moved and Party Poker wanted me to send them a faxback to change my address so I could get some of their items in their store and because I like to have the info at places correct in case there is ever a dispute later. They wanted my DL (doesnt have correct address anyway on it but they said that didnt matter) and a utility bill. I always use Neteller and have had an account with them for years. I only play tournaments there and I refused to go through the hassle for something that did not even involve a cashout and cashed out all of my money. All of the other skins, any other poker room, Neteller, my bank and my credit cards all allowed me to either do it over the phone or on the internet. How come I can change my address on my no limit AMEX on the internet but Party Poker requires me to go to a Kinkos and fax them a drivers license with the wrong addres on it when it does not even involve a cashout? Pure stupidity, and they lost $2500 worth of action because of it. I talked to 3 people and they all had this stupid answer.

Sorry I know that is off topic but just an example of how some places cant grasp customer service, much less logical marketing.
QUOTE:I do not see the difference between spending your affiliate revenue on traditional advertising and promotion to bring in new players and spending it on (your players). Rakeback is just another marketing tool, just like PPC advertising.UNQUOTE

Cash Mirrors makes a good point imo - the affiliate is managing a business and provided he or she acts in a professional and honest way with his players, where's the harm? Unless the poker sites would rather affiliates brought in streams of newbies instead of retaining their loyal players?

But I think the original point of this thread revolved around rogue affiliates abusing rather than legitimately using the rakeback system ie screwing players over after making promises of a share of the commission.

I believe Pokeraddict's point on CRM is well made, too - there seems to be an unfortunate correlation between company size and dumbass customer treatment, but that applies often on the casino side too!
OK, we have somewhat of a consensus that rakeback, if done honestly and without stealing other's players, isn't a bad thing. Mostly.
So...question. What is the difference between rakeback by poker affiliates, and kickbacks to players by CASINO affiliates? I seem to recall the boards all lit up with allegations against two affiliates at the mere suggestion that they had done this.
Why is one bad, and the other "a good marketing tool"?
I think on the poker side it's well known that the number of players any site has is extremely important, so there's more of a willingness to pay players to play (that's certainly true in the land industry, where there are "proposition players")

Players don't add to the value of a casino the same way they do a poker room nor do players see how their money is extracted from them, plus the house assumes more risk in terms of fluctuation. It's tradition that the house take care of offering rebates to players in terms of comps and promotions; the house has better information about which players deserve such benefits through player loyalty programs.

The growth of rake-back programs on the poker side is educating players on how the whole affiliate marketing system works and may create acceptance of similar programs for casino players along the lines of a player's club arrangement.
(that's certainly true in the land industry, where there are "proposition players")

There are prop players online too. I have been one and I would bet there are 1000-2000 of them. Actually there are more jobs then players willing to fill them. A prop player would usually get 100% rakeback and most times paid directly from the poker room into their account, of course they dont have the freedoms either. They have to play short handed and help start games.

Casino rakeback would probably not be as easy to figure out. If you were to sign up 10 players, 9 lose and one hits a jackpot then you are in the negative but then you have 9 players wanting to get paid their rakeback right? So now this one player is negative $5000 while the other 9 are combined the other way. Your jackpot player would never come back if he had to work himself out of a $5000 winning hole to get a kickback. In poker the most a player would ever get in the hole is $100 or so from bonuses, unless the player only played during bonus times and then rakeback is worthless to him anyway unless the poker room did not deduct bonuses from MGR.
Yep. house-banked casino games wouldn't be paid on actual win/loss. Slot clubs rate players based on their action and ignore the outcomes for just that reason.

A casino player who just won $5k on a slot machine is more likely to return to that casino/machine because they were lucky. Introducing a rakeback model would counteract that effect.

For a casino affiliate to offer casino players a loyalty club based on total action, the affiliate would need information from the casino about that player's betting history on an ongoing basis and I don't see that happening any time soon.

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