Affiliate marketers and affiliate beneficiaries have a closer relationship than ever before, especially in a regulatory and legal sense. In the United Kingdom in 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that 888 Group was responsible for “misleading” advertisements posted by affiliate partners in their name. In the United States, a federal district court ruled that a non-gambling affiliate marketing network was using deceptive practices in their advertising strategies, and their beneficiary company was also deemed responsible.
To put it simply, whether you are working in affiliate marketing or benefiting from an affiliate program, you need to be very careful who you associate with.
Even outside of legal and regulatory concerns, it is important for all stakeholders to remain aware of, and engaged with, their affiliate program partners. Responsibility and sustainability are critical to the gambling and betting industry — without these pillars, it’s impossible to imagine a bright future for the sector. With this in mind, adopting a careful and considered approach is crucial as we build our affiliate portfolios and craft reliable and identifiable brands.
How to Get to Know Each Other Better
So, how do businesses get to know the affiliates they are working with? And how do responsible affiliate marketers build better relationships with gambling providers and other stakeholders?
- Put Communication First
As we’ve seen from recent rulings, pleading ignorance is no longer enough when it comes to affiliate wrongdoing. Regulators have shown that they can, and will, rule on collective responsibility for both affiliates and beneficiaries. This means partners need to be in almost constant communication with one another, carrying out regular meetings and working collaboratively on projects. Opening up a dialogue on an advertising campaign is much easier than having to deal with the fall-out if it goes awry.
- Draft a Charter of Identity and Responsibility
Responsible gambling is vital to the industry, which means all gambling providers and affiliate firms need to build responsibility into their corporate identity. However, this commitment cannot end here. All entities in the industry need to extend this charter of responsibility to all of their partners. When interviewing affiliate candidates, take time to ensure that their values align with your own, and make sure that all partners are willing to adhere to the same high standards. Affiliates themselves should also adopt this policy when looking for companies to partner with.
- Take Ownership
Unfortunately, mistakes can happen. Regulations can be breached, and wrong moves can be made. Responsibility is about preventing these mistakes, but it’s also about working to put mistakes right if they do occur. Affiliates and their partners need to be ready to work together to improve operating procedures and policies in the future, standing side by side and taking ownership of any problems that arise.
The Future of Affiliate Programs
The future is going to be about far more than just lucrative affiliate programs — it’s going to be about responsible affiliate programs. But these two things are not opposed. Gambling providers and affiliate marketers can still enjoy fruitful relationships in a sustainable and responsible fashion. They just need to be proactive in getting to know one another and developing shared values.