Massive Change To PokerStars Affiliate Program On June 1

PokerStars Institutes Massive, Retroactive Change To Affiliate Program

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The world’s largest online poker site is set to make a drastic – and retroactively applicable – change to its affiliate program.

That’s per an email from PokerStars to affiliates (included in full below) announcing that as of June 1st, revenue share will only be paid on referred players for the first two years of the player’s activity.

The previous terms saw affiliates credited with revenue share for the lifetime of the player.

The change applies to new and existing referrals. The upshot: Affiliates will no longer be paid revenue share for any player referred before June 1, 2013.

It’s not clear if the change applies to all affiliates, although the language of the email suggests that it does.

Email from PokerStars to affiliates

Dear —,

As we look towards the future, PokerStars wants to significantly grow the game of poker by introducing the game to new audiences and continue to acquire recreational players. Consequently, we are announcing plans to rebalance the PokerStars affiliate payment program.

Our existing agreement with you requires us to give 14 days’ notice of changes, but in this instance, we will give 30 days’ notice, so these changes will take effect from June 1, 2015.

From June 1, 2015, PokerStars will pay revenue shares to affiliates for only the first two years of activity on a player’s account. This will affect all referrals by affiliates, including retrospectively affecting those players referred prior to 1 June, 2015.

We believe that this change will ensure that the PokerStars affiliate program rewards affiliates who join PokerStars in introducing the game to new audiences, rather than the current program which disproportionately pays affiliates for rake generated by existing players.

Over the last few years, the global online poker industry has changed significantly, and we must change with it. Unfortunately, the realities of today’s marketplace means that fewer and fewer new player acquisitions are coming from affiliate marketing. As a result, we must rebalance the incentives to benefit affiliates who maintain and grow new player acquisition.

We recognise that this will have a significant impact on some affiliates. Consequently, PokerStars is launching a series of new and exciting efforts to drive significant growth in the poker economy. We believe that these efforts provide a great business opportunity for affiliates who choose to join us in growing the poker world.

We have three primary plans for growing poker:

1. Entering new markets;

2. Creating consumer demand and excitement through innovative marketing and promotions that can reach mainstream audiences;

3. Continue to innovate with new and exciting forms of poker that will appeal to wider demographics.

This means that PokerStars will invest more (in terms of both staff time and direct expenditure) in marketing the game of poker to new audiences. Affiliates have an opportunity to support these marketing efforts and benefit from PokerStars’ new investments in growing poker.

In the short term, we will focus on attracting new customers and growing the game, while we are laying the grounds of acquisition-driven affiliate programs across all of our products in the long term.

We believe that players will not see any direct impact on their playing experience. However, by spending our marketing funds on attracting new players to the game, rather than on paying for past marketing efforts, we believe that we will be able to grow the game of poker. Growing the game of poker, and introducing new players to the game, will benefit everyone who loves poker.
Kind Regards,

The PokerStars Partners Team

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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