word type: noun
- An independent party that refers new players to a poker website in exchange for some form of payment.
Affiliates need a way to let poker sites know that a new player came from their website. Generally this is achieved through using a tracking link or a referral code. A tracking link is a special link to the poker site that includes a cookie that notifies the poker site about where the player clicked to get to their site. A referral code is something the player enters themselves when signing up.
CPA vs. Revenue Sharing
Affiliates are generally paid in one of two ways: CPA or Revenue Sharing. In the CPA model, they receive a flat amount of money for each new player they refer that passes certain requirements. These requirements usually include making a deposit and/or generating a minimum amount of rake or player points on the site.
In the Revenue Sharing model, the affiliate is paid a percentage of their referral's rake for life.
A kickback affiliate is one type of affiliate where a player can sign up an account and receive some sort of one-time benefit, such as a poker chip set, a gift card, or free money in their poker site account. We recommend PokerSourceOnline as a reliable kickback affiliate.
A rakeback affiliate is a type of affiliate that is on the Revenue Sharing model and gives back a percentage of the revenue they receive to the players as incentive to play under their trackers. We recommend ThisIsTheNuts.com if you are looking to sign up for rakeback.
Misconceptions and Controversy
In the early days of online poker, players were generally not very knowledgeable about affiliates and usually did not even know that affiliates existed. Players played poker and affiliates simply brought more players to play poker.
As knowledge has spread about "incentive" affiliates (particularly regarding rakeback), there has been a growing sense of entitlement around players to be linked to the affiliate of their choice, including on poker sites where they already have an account. Despite the clear disparity in purpose here -- affiliates exist to bring poker sites new players -- different poker sites have responded to this in different ways. For instance, Full Tilt will not "retag" players to a new affiliate under any circumstances. The other 5 biggest sites or networks in the world don't allow affiliates to offer rakeback at all, likely to avoid the problems Full Tilt has experienced in trying to satisfy players who want rakeback but can't get it. Some of the smaller sites have shown willingness to retag players for rakebackin order to entice them those players to play on their sites.
The result of all of this in recent years has been quite a lot of fallout among players, who usually don't fully understand the purpose of affiliates but only understand that they aren't getting a substantial benefit that other players are receiving and to which they feel entitled. The general consensus among knowledgeable industry followers is that the poker industry is moving towards a system that puts both affiliates and players on a more level playing field.