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Licensing isn’t the answer to ‘cowboy’ affiliate problem

| By Joanne Christie | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Jesper Søgaard, founder and CEO of Better Collective, says affiliates should be held accountable for their actions, but not to the point where a licence is required.

Jesper Søgaard, founder and CEO of affiliate Better Collective, says affiliates should be held accountable for their actions, but not to the point where a licence is required.

Due to the global nature of the internet, the unethical practices associated with affiliates go way beyond the gambling industry. Any industry that uses digital marketing can contain affiliates that easily bypass ethics and the use of such practices needs to be addressed.

At Better Collective, we believe that all affiliates should follow the code of a licence in a similar way to operators. Just like any other industry, affiliates should be held accountable for any unlawful, or unethical, practices that are used to gain a profit — but this liability shouldn’t have a detrimental effect on the entire gaming world.

The requirement to obtain a licence would be an extreme measure that would have negative implications for the entire gaming industry and is something that should not, by any means, be enforced.

Taking responsibility is key
Gambling operators should take responsibility, just like companies in any other industry, for whom they select as subcontractors in their supply chain. Operators, as a rule, must be responsible when deciding who to work with, and the right processes need to be in place to ensure the partner in question is fit for purpose.

They can’t just shift the blame onto the affiliate industry for their own mistakes in choosing unethical affiliate partners. If operators don’t do their own due diligence, then they have nobody to blame but themselves.

The gaming industry is fighting a negative reputation to begin with. Those operators crying out for licensing of affiliates could easily be supported by the general public, who would like to see the gaming industry more controlled due to its reputation.

However, if any other industry demanded this type of licensing, it would not find the same reception. For example, when Nestlé was found to be using subcontractors which were violating labour laws, it was Nestlé that was, rightfully, held responsible.

If operators are aware of unethical practices that are associated with some affiliates, it is their own responsibility to make sure their partnerships are meeting their own (licensed) standards.

Licences would hurt the affiliate industry
It’s fairly common knowledge that there are some affiliates out there which like to bend the rules to get traffic to operators – but at Better Collective, we pride ourselves on adhering to the strict codes and ensuring we follow the rules of regulation.

Our core values are built on transparency and honesty, so we would be doing ourselves and our customers a disservice to stoop to that level.

If it became a necessity for affiliates to obtain a licence, many of the major affiliates which have followed the rules would not be overly impacted, including us at Better Collective. However, a licence requirement would create a huge barrier to entry for other, smaller affiliates trying to enter the industry.

Licences cost money. For a small, one-man operation that is following the code of regulations, licence fees could break their business and leave them out of pocket. We can all agree this isn’t what we want to see in this industry and we should be doing all we can to help out the honest start-ups.

What licences would do is cause an oligarchical affiliate industry, which is something that nobody wants, and while we’re strong in our opposition against cowboy affiliates, licensing just isn’t the answer to solve that issue.

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