NetRefer Gets Stream of iGaming Affiliate Criticism for Lack of Transparency

Affiliate marketing in its essence represents what can be called a mutually beneficial business relationship between affiliates and affiliate programs. A simple definition of a relationship that, within the context of the online gambling industry, requires affiliates to send players to different iGaming brands and these iGaming brands to pay their affiliates for their marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, the cases of one affiliate or another, or a group of affiliates complaining about their relationships with affiliate programs being marred by lack of transparency have become too many. And it is rather shocking that the names of programs that represent some of the world’s largest gambling operators have been mentioned in such cases.

Members of the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA) forum (which has turned into a popular space for discussing iGaming affiliate related-issues and giving them greater publicity) have commented on the lack of transparency topic on multiple occasions. And one particular name has frequently been mentioned by affiliates, when discussing the issue.

NetRefer is currently one of the biggest and highly preferred providers of performance marketing tools for the international iGaming industry. Its software powers the affiliate programs of some of the world’s largest gambling operators.

However, it seems that popularity and impeccable reputation may not go hand in hand at times. A number of affiliates working with NetRefer clients have recently complained on the GPWA that they cannot see key information about the deposits made by the players they have been sending to iGaming operators.

There are several clarifications to be provided first for the sake of precision. In the first place, the affiliates that have criticized NetRefer for not displaying deposit info are all ones on revenue share plans. On the other hand, deposit figures are visible for those on CPA and hybrid plans.

Affiliates have argued that they have been deprived of crucial information about their players, information that could help them prepare better marketing plans for the upcoming months. After all, an effective marketing strategy can benefit all involved parties.

However, NetRefer is not the only to blame here. As a supplier, it provides its client operators with the opportunity to decide whether to show or not to show deposit info. A great number of operators (Paddy Power, Kindred Group, and Boylesports to name a few) and their affiliate programs have decided to deny affiliates on revenue share plans access to that particularly valuable piece of information. Other iGaming brands provide such deposit stats only on request from separate affiliates.

Should this be seen as lack of transparency? Absolutely. Do iGaming brands, both those working with NetRefer and others, have something to hide? Maybe yes, maybe not; too many affiliates have been stung by too many rogue programs over the past several years, so the suspicions they have raised should not come as a big surprise.

Transparency is a prerequisite for trust. And trust is a prerequisite for a successful relationship between an affiliate and an affiliate program. With that said, to what extent can an affiliate trust an affiliate program that hides information? What is more, how can a program that hides information not be suspected in manipulating that information? These are all answers that operators and their programs should try to provide answers to, given the above-mentioned circumstances.

What Can Be Done?

It is true that NetRefer and its likes are paid by operators and not by affiliates, but it is also true that without affiliates to promote operators, there will not be affiliate marketing business at all. This is why, both performance marketing suppliers and programs that opt for their tools should probably first change their attitude and treatment of their partners – the affiliates.

In the second place, transparency and its lack should be an issue that receives greater publicity and attention by media and all interested parties.

According to GPWA forum members the lack of transparency can be combated with regular audits of programs’ activity. Who and how would this audits be performed are two questions without any solid answers. The number of operators and programs that would readily provide raw information without being required to do so by law would probably not be that big. In other words, it turns out that affiliates are simply reliant on the good will of the affiliate programs they work with.

*Casino News Daily welcomes opinions and comments from all involved parties.

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