Ian Sims – Rightlander: Playing by the rules

Ian Sims, founder of affiliate landing page tracker, Rightlander, discusses how operators and affiliates can ensure compliance during the World Cup

The World Cup is set to be the betting event of the year. Operators will be keen to leverage the opportunity to increase new player sign-ups, boost wagers and, ultimately, drive a significant uptick in bottom line.

Affiliates will be keen to get in on the action, too. So long as they create and publish top-notch content, the tournament presents a rare chance to engage new readers en-masse and turn them into all-important FTDs.

But the World Cup looks set to be the most competitive for bookmakers and affiliates alike, with a raft of brands competing for the same punters. To stand out from the crowd, operators will have come up with generous and exciting promotions.

Affiliates will be able to use these bonuses alongside their content to engage bettors, and push them to the sportsbook brands they work with. It sounds simple, but unlike previous World Cups, both operators and affiliates have a significant challenge to overcome.

Compliance…

Operators must now ensure the promotions and bonuses they run are 100% compliant with the rules and regulations in the markets in which they are active, and also where they are licensed. This is certainly true in the UK, a key market for both operators and affiliates.

In recent months, the Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have come down hard on operators they believe are not taking a responsible approach to the way they market to consumers.

They have also made it clear that operators are ultimately responsible for the content affiliates – who do not have to be licensed by the UKGC or any other regulatory body for that matter – use to promote their brands on their behalf.

For operators, ensuring affiliate compliance is a massive undertaking. At the same time, they must also meet ever more stringent requirements when it comes to anti-money laundering and fraud, and KYC and data.

In some ways, they are fighting compliance fires on many fronts. This means they are at risk of missing the target when it comes to the World Cup. So how can operators, marketers and affiliates ensure they don’t drop the ball?

Aside from adhering to the guidelines set out by the ASA in its CAP code, operators need also be aware that FIFA has put in place a number of protected words and images, including images of the official mascot and the World Cup 2018 emblem. If you are a non-sponsor brand, you are prohibited from using them.

FIFA’s intellectual property also includes trademarks such as ‘FIFA’, ‘World Cup 2018’ and ‘Russia 2018’, preventing brands who are not official sponsors from using these terms in marketing and promotional campaigns.

Finally, operators should properly track and monitor the content affiliates are using to promote their brands on their behalf.

This can be done manually, or through automated platforms that scan affiliate websites and compile a list of where their brands are mentioned and linked to. The Rightlander platform, for example, will find brand references and also highlight events and conditions defined by the operator that relate to how their brand is being represented.

These can be inclusive or exclusive and specific to the individual operator. Our technology also captures images and the content of anchor text used to link to the operator’s brands and creates a variety of custom reports and alerts for the operator

This helps operators discover affiliate websites linking to their brands that they are currently unaware of, allowing them to ensure the affiliates sending traffic to their sites are acting responsibly.

By taking this approach – playing by the rules, avoiding trademark violation, and properly tracking and monitoring affiliates – operators and affiliates can leverage the potential of the World Cup and get their hands on the trophy come the end of the tournament.