Webmasters can now add poker games to spice up even non-gambling sites, thanks to a new feature of Internet poker portal Poker.com.
Poker.com's newly launched affiliate program enables webmasters to either link to ongoing games through Poker.com or, for a fee, customize a poker game of their own that would be specific to their site.
"Basically it will allow webmasters and other sites to be able to direct traffic to our games," said Henry Chu, vice president of Poker.com.
The program has two options: People with websites can put up a Poker.com link for free, or, for $60,000 plus royalties, they can buy a program and customize the table in such a way that users wouldn't know they were playing
through a larger operation.
"It would be like 'Anne's poker room,' 'Bob's poker room,' 'Jim's poker room'--they're all poker rooms funneling into the same poker room," Chu said.
The program was officially launched July 25, and since then 30 sites have signed up for the free link feature, Chu said. He said Poker.com reviews all the sites that apply for the link, which usually takes about 24 hours. So
far four sites are participating in the customized version. After barely a week in operation, the affiliate program is meeting Poker.com's expectations, Chu said.
"We expect it to slowly get out there, get out onto the Net, for people to know, hopefully targeting higher-traffic sites and more qualified sites," he said. "I'm talking to quite a few industry gaming sites at the present that
have expressed interest in our program, and those would be the ones that we would really like to have."
Chu said the company doesn't have any criteria at the moment regarding who can participate. Any relatively high-traffic site is a good candidate, he said. Gaming, financial, adult and a few actual Internet gambling sites are among those that have already signed up.
"It's a whole variety, it's just targeting where people would be and where people have money--have disposable money," he said.
Potential profit for a webmaster who takes part in the affiliate program averages $100 a month. Chu said the profit depends the tables the players use and what their skill level is. Poker.com calculated the $100 figure based on what a webmaster stands to make if one player uses the link to play poker for an average of 80 hours a month. The price of the table doesn't factor in, Chu said, because people tend to switch around, playing on a $1-$2 table for a while and then moving on to a $2-$4 table.
Beside the monetary benefit, Chu said the affiliate program helps webmasters establish more of a personality on the Internet.
"There are different benefits," he said. "I have some people who have their own sites, that are looking at this option right now-they have their own sites, their own following, and they want to create their own branding and
identity and have their database follow them."
As for Poker.com's gain, Chu said the affiliate program aims to increase activity for the company's licensee sites, therefore drawing a higher rake to the rooms. Poker.com gets a percentage of the rake on a monthly basis.
"You could say it's a numbers game; you're making a percentage on the higher number," he said.