Once you’ve been in the poker webmaster business for a little while, you start to realize that the “standard” commission deal offered by poker affiliate programs is only a starting point. Bigger commissions and different deals are available from almost every poker affiliate program; the only trick is negotiating a deal. Here I offer some tips about how to negotiate with poker affiliate managers.

How To Negotiate With Poker Affiliate Managers – Tip #1 – Have a real website.

If you’re running a “poker room A bonus code” site, or a network of sites that each target a tiny niche term like that, then you don’t have much of a position to bargain from. You’re not adding any kind of value to the poker room by ranking for a phrase like that, because the customer is already going to sign up for “poker room A”. If you want to negotiate a better commission from a poker affiliate manager, you need to bring some value to the table. Having a real website is the easiest way to bring value.

What’s a real website? A real website offers something unique and useful to its users. Poker webmasters often complain that there’s no such thing as unique content, and that there are only so many ways you can write a review of a poker site or explain poker rules. That’s pretty lame, really. If you have a real perspective to share about your experiences playing at a cardroom, then you can offer a unique review. Poker rules might be the same, but you can offer a unique perspective to almost any topic. Your website shouldn’t necessarily focus on dry, factual information without your unique opinions anyway.

How To Negotiate With Poker Affiliate Managers – Tip #2 – Don’t make enemies.

Some situations arise in the poker webmaster industry that frustrate or anger you. Resist the urge to embarrass or belittle a poker affiliate program or a poker affiliate manager on a forum. You’ll lose goodwill, and goodwill can be a powerful negotiation tool. And if you become known as the unreasonable troublemaker who only posts at PAP to berate programs who have wronged him, word will get around, and most poker affiliate managers will prefer not to deal with you at all, much less negotiate with you.

Being a poker webmaster is a business, and you should conduct yourself with your business goals in mind. Making enemies serves no legitimate business interest unless your business model is that of a “watchdog”. Most poker affiliates aren’t watchdogs, and most poker affiliates shouldn’t try to be.

How To Negotiate With Poker Affiliate Managers – Tip #3 – Care, but don’t care too much.

If you’re trying to get a better deal from a poker room, you should care about the outcome. But if you care too much, you’ll give away the farm. If your top banner spot has been given to a program that pays you a $200 CPA and makes you $1000 a month, and you want a $300 CPA from the guy with the banner #2 spot, don’t automatically give him that top banner spot. What if his conversion rate is only 1/3 of that as your current partner? You’ll make more per player you send, but you’ll lose $300 or $400 in revenue by moving the programs around on your page in order to achieve that outcome.

  • Think big picture.
  • Be patient.
  • Take your time.
  • Desperation sucks.

If you’re getting $100 per depositor now, but you really want $200 per depositor, don’t immediately accept an offer for $150, even though it’s a big improvement. Wait a while. If you’re not in a hurry, you’ll seem less desperate to an affiliate manager, and you might get your $200 later.

How To Negotiate With Poker Affiliate Managers – Tip #4 – Affiliate managers are people too.

Treat your poker affiliate manager well. Say “please” and “thank you”. Some poker webmasters treat affiliate managers like lackeys. That’s a big mistake, because affiliate managers have more influence over how much you get paid and what the terms of your deal with the poker room is going to be than some people realize. If your affiliate manager likes you, the chances of your negotiations being successful improve dramatically.

“I need your help” is the most effective phrase to use in a negotiation. But it doesn’t work if you’ve irritated your affiliate manager for years by treating him like a lackey.

How To Negotiate With Poker Affiliate Managers – Tip #5 – Negotiations are multifaceted.

When you’re negotiating with a poker affiliate manager, you want something from him. And he wants something from you. The thing to keep in mind is that there are multiple ways of adding value to the relationship besides just getting more money. And there are other ways of adding value to the relationship other than just getting better placement on a website.

Maybe your poker affiliate manager is unable to offer you a higher rev share percentage. Can you think of some other ways to negotiate a better deal from the program? I can think of several possibilities:

  • You could negotiate a brand-specific landing page to send your traffic to, which should increase your conversion rate and help build your brand. That has a real dollar value, even though it’s not a commission increase.
  • You could negotiate a monthly freeroll tournament to offer your community, or a monthly tournament with a guaranteed prize pool. Maybe you kick in part of the prize money and the poker affiliate program kicks in the other part of the prize money. This builds brand loyalty too.
  • You could negotiate exclusive bonuses for their players. This one’s a real trick to get unless you’re a big affiliate, but the value proposition for you should be obvious.
  • You could negotiate a bonus payment based on performance. For example, your revshare payment stays the same, but if you refer 100 depositors in a month, you get a $5000 bonus payment on top of your commissions.
  • You could negotiate links back to your site. This has obvious value too, but it’s also a hard one to pull off with most programs. But some poker cardrooms operate a network of sites of their own, like portals for their star poker players, and those sites might be a lot easier to negotiate links from.

Those are just a few examples of stuff you can negotiate for.

I’d be interested in hearing from you in the comments field about techniques you’ve used when negotiating with poker affiliate managers, and I’m also interested in hearing success stories about negotiations.