Bookmaker Affiliates - Tipsters Vs Review Sites
Bookmaker Affiliates - Tipsters vs. Review Sites
Anyone with even a passing interest in sports betting who has a Twitter account will no doubt have come across tipster affiliates — even if you aren’t aware of the term or precisely what it is that they do. In essence, tipster affiliates provide their followers with bets that they think are either dead certs or offer good value, and encourage them to get on. To make this easier, they provide a link to an online sports book site that is offering the bet at the right odds.
Most tipsters also provide a commentary on how their bets are doing (along the lines of “made £30 on this bet” or “down £15 today”), and often encourage followers to re-invest winnings on another tip in the hope of capitalising on a winning streak. Some tipsters specialise in football, others in racing, while some tipsters will provide you with tips across the board, often encompassing obscure fixtures with teams you’ve never heard of on the other side of the world. The biggest tipsters, like @FootyAccums, have hundreds of thousands of followers, others like @pinchbet and @WeLoveBettingUK in the tens of thousands, but they all operate on roughly the same affiliate model.
If you’ve ever followed a tipster on Twitter (they’re usually on Twitter as it’s the most immediate way of communicating tips, essential for in-play betting), you’ll know that when you follow a link that’s contained in a tip it will lead you to a particular sports betting site. And this is the essence of how tipster affiliates work — and why some in the industry have their reservations about them.
While on the face of it this might seem an odd arrangement, affiliate marketing has been around for years and pre-dates the internet, with Amazon being one of the first major brands to design and deliver a successful online affiliate marketing program. And while it’s used in all sorts of industries — from travel, to dating sites, to blogs — the online gambling industry is where affiliate marketing probably has the most impact.
However, tipster affiliates are not the only model the industry uses to great effect. Another popular and successful way in which affiliate marketing is employed is through review sites, which are used extensively in both the sports betting and online casino sectors. These have proven to be a highly effective way for operators to reach out to new customers, but there is a quite significant difference in the methods and approaches they put into practice when compared to tipster affiliates.
Rather than providing tips, review sites instead give players assessments of the relative merits of different sports books, online casinos or poker rooms (and even tipsters), outlining their best (and worst) features and giving them ratings. And where tipster affiliates tend only to promote only well-known and established bookmakers, review sitesvery often promote a larger selection of newer sites such as Betbright , who are trying to establish a foothold in a highly competitive market. For newcomers to the industry partnering with a review site affiliate is one of the most cost-effective ways of getting their name out there.
So, what are the key differences between the way tipster affiliates and review site affiliates operate? Essentially, they both earn their money through referrals and will be paid on either a CPA or revenue sharing model. So even when you follow a link from a review site to a sports book site, when you lose the affiliate site that referred you wins, just as is the case with tipster affiliates.
There are nevertheless some important differences. A tipster affiliate is likely to be working in partnership with just one major betting brand, so while you are getting real tips, you’re not necessarily getting a real overview of the entire market. Review sites, on the other hand, tend to promote many different operators at the same time. They feature reviews of both new and well-established brands, and give you detailed breakdowns of what they have to offer in such a way that enables you to compare them side by side and make a relatively informed decision. In addition, review sites tend to operate on the internet as opposed to their main focus being on social media, as is generally the case with tipsters.
Perhaps the most significant point of difference, however, is that review affiliates don’t give you direct tips — they won’t, for instance, suggest that you put £10 on the favorite at Chepstow, or wager £20 on Chelsea scoring four away from home. This is the key element of what tipsters do — they suggest a selection for a race or a match, give you the odds and recommend that you have x amount of cash on the bet. The only trouble is, following their advice can cost you money if the bet doesn’t come in.
This has led many people to speculate about the integrity of tipster affiliates and whether they are genuinely providing betting advice in which they believe, or instead are doling out a proportion of dud tips knowing that for every punter who follows them and loses, they make money.
To be fair, the best tipsters will publish their bet slips, showing that they too have invested in the tips they give out, and many will also publish a monthly profit and loss record that reveals how much of their own money they have invested in their own tips and how successful (or otherwise) they’ve been. But with some tipsters, it is hard to escape the conclusion that not every tip is given in good faith, especially once you realise that even a small proportion of losing bets is still very good for their business. Review affiliates, however, operate on a different model; although they also make money from your losses (sometimes for years to come), they are not telling which horse or team to back, nor how to much you should put on it.
Although affiliate marketing in the gambling industry is entirely legal, this is not to say that it hasn’t come under close scrutiny. In 2017, for instance, the Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK launched an investigation into a number of casino and betting site affiliates, concluding that many did not provide full and frank disclosure in their marketing communications, particularly when it came to bonuses and the use of terms like “free spins” or “free bets”. Several operators were fined significant amounts of money, while others cancelled their affiliate marketing agreements altogether, preferring to take their promotion and advertising back in house.
Nevertheless, there seems to be no immediate prospect of regulation being introduced to guide or limit the activities of affiliate marketers beyond those which are already in place. In essence, it remains a self-regulating market where the operators are ultimately held responsible for the actions of their affiliates. It is, however, something of a grey area.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has decreed that,” Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer” while also making clear any “commercial intent”. If you have ever followed any tipsters on Twitter, you’ll know that this isn’t always the case. And while they may disclose how much they have punted when they give you a tip, it’s very rare to see any sort of disclosure from a tipster that they are in fact receiving remuneration every time you place a losing bet — not just from their tips that you follow, but from every single bet you make.
So, while review affiliates are likely to remain under scrutiny moving forward, with the CMA and other regulatory bodies following their activities closely, there don’t appear to be any plans in place to regulate tipster affiliates and the relationship that exists between the quality of their tips and the size of their payouts. For some, this is a real cause for concern and one that ultimately causes reputational harm to the entire online gambling industry.