Paul Ross Tribute

“The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright”

In Lewis Carroll’s poem, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the two principle characters deceive a colony of young oysters in to lining up thinking they’re going to hang out with them for a pleasant chat. Unbeknownst to the shell-dwellers, this was all just a plan for them to become snack-fodder for our cunning protagonists.

I’m not suggesting that Paul Ross selected the Walrus and the Carpenter pub over the road from Old Billingsgate to host his bygone LAC meetings with affiliate managers out of any foreboding sense of literary-based predilection – it was simply the closest boozer. But as every affiliate manager who dodged the dual carriage-way traffic on Lower Thames Street to make it to the Walrus will testify, the reality of the meeting with Paul and one of his Punters Lounge sidekicks was anything but a tea party.

One element of Paul’s character that I’ve heard echoed since his sad passing on Friday night was his generosity. For every Jack Daniels-heavy expense receipt that was logged by the affiliate manager he hammered to land the commission deal he wanted, there were ten stories of how ‘Sir Puntalot’ had served to help within the community he had built – the first betting forum in the UK – and the industry in which he worked. Punters Lounge Technical Director Stephane Travostino refers to Paul as “the most generous person I have ever met in my career”. There was material generosity, but all the stories I’ve heard of Paul really zero in on his generosity of spirit and of time.

I can speak to both. In his final months, when he knew that his time was running short, Paul was generous enough to give some of it to me, providing some of the greatest and – in a way that only Paul could do without offending – frankest advice I’ve ever been given. He went out of his way to address problems I was facing when his outlook was evidently bleaker. I can’t thank him enough for that.

The reaction to Paul’s passing has hit Punters Lounge members hard, but it has given those who so enjoyed the forum community Paul built the chance to thank him and to share their thoughts and memories.

His colleague Steve Day summed up what ‘Ross the Boss’ had built with Punters Lounge. “His enthusiasm for Punters Lounge was infectious. I’d struggled to buy into any roles I’d previously had when it came to work. Paul made it easy to fully invest in this place. He not only believed in what Punters Lounge was and should become, but he also believed in those that wanted to make it happen”.

That included every one of the forum’s contributors, who were treated to some of the most entertaining race day outings imaginable thanks to the forum’s success. I went on one of them – PL Raceday XVI back in 2013. This involved an overnight stay in Wolverhampton, a coach ride seeing the farmyard sights of the Black Country with 50 or so forum members – or as PL member ‘aliando’ calls them, “like-minded lunatics”, who had flown in from beyond the British Isles, a chilly, wallet-emptying afternoon at Ludlow racecourse, followed by an unsteadying evening at the renowned Crooked House pub in Dudley. At the centre of it all was Paul, who put on one of the most fantastic racing hospitality events that I’ve ever been to, that day. Give me Paul’s Ludlow over the Queen’s Ascot any time.

It’s easy to see why those race days attracted so many from so far and to see how Punters Lounge has grown to become one of the leading sports betting affiliate sites anywhere on the planet. One of his long-time PL sidekicks Graham Sarson shares the recipe for Paul’s secret sauce. “He tried to make engaging on the forum a pleasurable experience and likened it to going down the pub. I think to this day we still have that feeling about the place”.

Paul was especially proud of the recognition the site received being named as one of the EGR Power Affiliates in both 2019 and 2020. This pride was stooped in the blood, sweat and tears that Paul has given Punters Lounge. There were good times, but like most single site affiliates, there really were bad times. Unlike many webmasters I deal with, Paul always told you about them. He was refreshing, always to the point and ever-ready to provide advice – whether you wanted to hear it or not.

His long-time friend and fellow affiliate Danny Campbell recalls such a time. Paul forwarded him a series of emails he had been swapping with an affiliate manager. “His payments had been delayed and they were attempting to change his commission structure against his wishes”.

“Paul forwarded me the email thread and proceeded to be very vocal about the affiliate manager’s ability to do their job… in what can only be described as very colourful terms. The mistake he had made though was to copy the affiliate manager into the forwarded email he sent to me. The affiliate manager called me up. I spent 15-20 mins telling them Paul was a good bloke and must have just been having a bad day. They came close to suspending his account. I’m not sure to this day if Paul ever had to meet this affiliate manager again at a conference, but I would have loved to have been there and listened to their conversation.”

No doubt it would have been forthright and honest.

Paul spent his final months driving Punters Lounge forward. The site and the forum are better placed than ever and they will continue to be the unique betting community that Paul strove to build with such wholehearted dedication.

Graham added that “Paul was the most optimistic boss I have ever worked for. ‘This time next year’ was his favourite saying”. It is incredibly sad that Paul does not get to see what that next year brings – tragically cancer sees Paul leave behind his young son Anton, sister Kayla, his father and a community of friends hell bent on continuing his legacy.

To honour that legacy, I’m delighted to announce that there will be another Punters Lounge Raceday – or more specifically a Paul Ross Memorial Raceday – at some point soon. All those affiliate managers Paul put through their paces are welcome as part of the community – but please expect to see oysters on the menu.

Calling Sports Betting Affiliates – World Cup Tipster Application to use

Tell Gaming, the forward thinking online gaming operation has just launched a World Cup tipster competition called Liga Football.

I feel the competition provides a great opportunity for affiliates to generate not only fly-by visitors, but repeat visits to their sites over the course of the World Cup. If you visit www.ligafootball.com, please take a look through what the concept is all about in general and then consider the opportunity of running your own league, with prize money fronted up by Tell Gaming (minimum €100 to use as you wish – this can be increased once discussed).

If you run a forum, it’s a great opportunity to have a tool for your punters to compete for a prize pool. If you run a search traffic driven portal, running this on your site is going to significantly increase your chance of repeat visits, bookmarkings and future loyalty to go alongside the great content you no doubt produce and plan to produce over the World Cup and it’s fantastic if you’re a social media focused affiliate, as it certainly provides a strong platform for conversation. We are also prepared to run leaderboards for every affiliate who promotes Liga Football, adding to the social aspect that most other World Cup advertising falls short of.

Tell Gaming use the Oddsmatrix sports betting platform and are relatively new to market, meaning that not only will your visitors be entering the tipster competition, by default, they will also be opening a brand new betting account, and depositing funds within it, of which you will earn your revenue share. Entrants pay for entry and must also make a minimum deposit – totalling about €20 in total.

Beyond that, Tell Gaming has been built on the logic of rewarding both players and affiliates with shares in the business. The more you bring, the more ownership units you own – and this is on top of your revenue share package – just name your price – we can be pretty flexible here.

I see this as being great value for money, and whilst you may have much of your ad space filled for the World Cup, this will provide your visitors with genuine value, and give you the value in terms of repeat visits, ownership and revenue. Down the line, the plan is to run Liga Football throughout the upcoming football season and beyond, so this is a tool that will provide you revenue for longer, increasing player values and lifetimes.

If this appeals to you, please, get in touch! If you’re ready to join the affiliate program, please click HERE

GameOn Affiliates partners with BetWize

GameOn Affiliates, the leading iGaming outsourced program management agency, has partnered with BetWize to provide affiliate recruitment and management services to the Oddsmatrix and Net Entertainment powered operation, using the Income Access software platform.

BetWize offers the ultimate online gambling experience backed with market leading customer service, design and unique client/company access. The operation provides high quality online gambling that features optimum technology and software, plus reliable online infrastructure.

Tom Galanis, Director of GameOn Affiliates, said, “I’m delighted to be working with BetWize and the team there on the continued development of a fantastic brand and product suite. GameOn Affiliates is delighted to have been selected to build up the BetWize affiliate program and has been encouraged by the vast understanding of the affiliate environment at the company and its determination to place sports betting and gaming affiliates at the spearhead of its marketing efforts.”

The Tens – Decade of the Sportsbook?

If the last few years of the Noughties saw sportsbook’s market leaders shifting their focus towards the cutting edge technologies of in-play betting and live streaming, the first few years of this decade should see affiliates reap the rewards. Since online sports betting first evolved, betting affiliates have never received the same levels of respect and support as their poker and casino counterparts. However, this should all be about to change.

As businesses look to diversify, adding a sportsbook to their product suite is an ever appealing option. Affiliates find themselves in precisely the same position. Opportunities in the casino space are becoming far more competitive and we’ve all heard more than enough poker affiliates state claim that “there’s no money in poker anymore.” Whether you agree with the latter, what is certain is that extending sideways by adding a sportsbook, is certainly more appealing to businesses on both sides of the fence.

Whilst the likes of the operator Mangas and the affiliate Pokerlistings are striving down the acquisition route, it simply isn’t an option for most operators and affiliates at the moment. This has led to an increased focus and success of the white label solution, such as those offered by the B2B arms of 888, Bwin, Paddy Power and Partygaming, as well as the rapid emergence of specialist sports betting solutions available with the likes of OddsMatrix.

Affiliates are doing precisely the same thing. They are seeing the need to not only diversify, but to lower costs in the short to medium term as they fight for space in ever competitive markets. It is no secret that the acquisition cost of a sports bettor is significantly lower than that of acquiring a casino or, even still, a poker player. Traditionally, sports betting-centric operators have been reluctant to share lifetime rewards of their cross promotion strategies, but with the growing international success of fair, cross product paying, sports betting-focused affiliate programs, such as bet365, Victor Chandler, Stan James and Ladbrokes, this landscape is changing. This means the affiliate is being rewarded, over the lifetime of a player with a brand, across the entire product suite. In essence, lower acquisition costs for increased returns and this means the rise of sports betting as a viable affiliate marketing channel.

This has taken a while to come to fruition. Sports betting affiliates have long been viewed with suspicion by many bookmakers and betting groups, particularly those whose margins are tightened by high overheads and unreliable trading patterns. This is largely due to the large amount of quality information affiliates can feed to players via odds comparison feeds, quality content or tipster forums, pushing such margins to the brink. Poker rooms and casinos have nearly always welcomed the education of players and affiliates in those arenas have reaped the rewards.

Sports betting is not ready for a PokerStrategy.com-type model just yet, but there are a number of projects on the horizon that seek to bridge the ‘education v margin’ conundrum. Tipster forums have long been havens for groups of serious ‘bookie breakers’ and survived on a fragile equilibrium between bookmaker and affiliate. Now, some highly innovative groups of affiliates are looking to take on social media and take a tipster-like conversational model from a finely-tuned group of professional bettors to the masses, and this should massively appeal to the bookmaker concerned about his margins.

Bingo has grown hugely on the back of its social connotations in a past life, but the next few years should see sports betting become the first mainstream online gaming channel to conquer the social network and monetize it effectively. As an event driven hobby, betting is far more contextual and naturally reaches out to more people than any other form of gaming, with the result of one person’s bet carrying significant importance, albeit more in an emotional sense than anything else, to many others in his or her network of friends. People brag about winning far more and bemoan a loss on a far greater scale than a poker player on the end of a bad beat and nowadays, their first habitual venue for a brag or a whinge will be via a social network, where they will not always be met with an appropriate congratulation or commiseration.

It’s the responsibility of the affiliate of the 2010s to monetize sports betting’s emotional drivers and social networks are where affiliates such as Flutr.co.uk seek to tap into people’s unerring passion for sport and entertainment. With the FIFA World Cup 2010, the largest ever betting event approaching in June this year, now is the time for sports betting affiliates to take the lead in cracking social media.