In the last couple of years, I’ve gone from a straight poker affiliate to a sports betting affiliate and then diversified elsewhere into spread betting, Forex, binary options, precious metals, retail and banking.
I’ve also started working in some non-affiliate sectors, with a CPC monetization strategy.
With these experiences, I’ve been able to make some pretty interesting comparison between the gambling affiliate industry and other markets, and why the gambling market seems to come out on top in terms of revenue, education, fun and creativity.1) Gambling is an Easier Market to Start Out in
You don’t need a lot of traffic to make money in gambling.
Although it’s competitive, gambling CPAs are HUGE compared to any other industry.
Think about it, where else are you going to find $200 CPAs on the Internet?
Banking sites and hosting providers will only be paying around $50 per active customer, and even in the precious metals niche (where you can literally be referring customers who purchase $100k+ of gold bullion) you’re unlikely to get more then a $40 CPA.
That’s why I think gambling is an easier market to start out in.
Yes, it’s competitive, but realistically you only need to bring in a few CPAs per month to grow your business.
The gambling industry is also constantly changing with new technology (such as mobiles and tablets), markets and events throughout the year.
This leaves space for new affiliates to pounce and take advantage of events in the news.2) Gambling Conversion Rates are Very High Compared to Other Industries
Given the nature of gambling, people have already decided they want to gamble some money on slots or bet on an even like Euro20120.
You just need to provide them with the links to sign up.
In my opinion, this makes gambling conversion rates really high.
A typical gambling affiliate site, like my future site oddswinner.com, will have a 5% CTR and a 30% conversion rate (sign up to FTD).
This basically means that even if you have very little traffic on a generic WordPress theme, targeting the right keywords will make you money.
In other industries that I work in, such a student banking, retail products or investing, you need to provide high quality information, educate users, build trust and bring in more traffic to make up the numbers in the first place.
People won’t automatically click your link so to speak, they’re more likely to leave your site after a few seconds if it doesn’t look reputable.3) More Operators in Gambling means there are more Opportunities to Negotiate Deals
It’s pretty rare in any other market that you’ll get 20+ operators all emailing you and trying to be in the prime location on your site.
From my experiences, in most other markets there’s usually only been 1 or 2 affiliate programs to work with.
This generates much higher risks for affiliates and gives you a much worse negotiating position.
You have a much lower chance of selling fixed-fee listings and you also won’t get to meet your AMs socially at events such as the LAC and iGaming Super Show in Dublin.4) There’s a Much Bigger Community and Educational Resources for Gambling Affiliates to Learn from
Gambling affiliates probably don’t think about this much, but there’s an insane amount of educational resources information for starting a new gambling affiliate business on the internet, ranging from forums such as PAL and CAP, to affiliate blogs and affiliate magazines like Gaffg.com.
The sub-affiliate program in gambling also encourages people to lend their hand to helping new affiliates and steer them in the right direction.
Even in Forex, there isn’t single specialized affiliate forum on the Internet; where as in gambling there’s forums where you can find writers, advertisers, coders, free WP help and program recommendations pretty easily.5) Gambling Sites give you more Creativity and Options for Making Money
Most other markets require you to stick to a certain plan: look authoritative, provide high quality information, and don’t be too salesy.
I honestly feel that in gambling, the Webmaster has more control in how he wants to run his business.
You can create a snappy brand, publish sports picks in a friendly/personalized way, choose a range of ways to monetise your site (email lists, poker training, ebooks, odds comparison, forums, premium picks, news, strategy) and with a relatively short life-span of players you can refer them to different places or promotions and make more money.
You can choose to cover different tournaments that you wish and don’t always have to curtail to what everyone else is doing.
If you’re working in insurance, loans or retail on the other hand, there’s very little you can do in the way of creativity or choosing different monetization strategies.
Customers will be looking to buy a specific service and not care much about following or enveloping the website “brand” and writers.