In mid-April, Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (www.GPWA.org) member "greek39" posted a message in the member-only section of the GPWA forums claiming that a Euro Partners affiliate had been using spamming techniques, providing several links as evidence.
While some less scrupulous affiliate programs do not have terms and conditions barring affiliates from using spamming techniques, most responsible affiliate programs do. Euro Partners belongs to the second group, and after looking into the situation, they closed the affiliate's accounts for violating the terms and conditions of their affiliate agreement.
"Whenever it is fair to do so, we close affiliate accounts," said Amit Klatchko, affiliate manager for Euro Partners. "This has hardly ever happened as most of our affiliates work hard and do not spam."
But instead of just closing the account, Euro Partners went one step further, donating the $600 in revenue earned by the spamming affiliate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the name of the GPWA and its members.
"Donating the money to children in need seems like the right think to do," said Klatchko. "We should focus on working together ethically and fairly, and we should also be trying to do something meaningful as a group."
Euro Partners would like to see the online gambling industry, and the GPWA in particular, continue to make charitable contributions. It is proposing that GPWA members have the option of signing up under a parent advertiser where the two percent parent affiliate commissions are donated monthly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (or another worthy charity) in the name of the GPWA.
"The gambling industry is so lucrative for many people and giving back a little can help big time in lobbying for legalization in certain countries," Klatchko said. "It's something that should have been done long, long ago!"
Reducing the amount of spam associated with Internet gambling will also help improve the reputation of the industry. While affiliate managers can do their best to track down spammers, tracking thousands of affiliates can be tough. That's why it's helpful when affiliates find and identify spammers and let affiliate managers know about rogue affiliates through the GPWA message boards.
"There are various types of spam, and we don't agree with any type," said Klatchko. "This one fell into the category of very bad, especially because it was correlating us with child pornography, which is terrible! Our affiliates' assistance in recognizing these problems is critical and we appreciate it."
The outcome has been roundly praised by GPWA members, who go through a rigorous application process to earn the GPWA Seal of Approval. The seal ensures that portal sites do not spam or use malicious search engine optimization techniques, among other things.
"Along with myself I am very confident most members are very pleased with this outcome," greek39 wrote in the GPWA thread after learning of Euro Partners' donation on behalf of the GPWA and its members. "Not too often programs take responsible action! I thank each and every member who took the initiative to get involved on this issue."
"We all very much appreciate your follow through on this and hope this serves as a warning to those who steal, scrape, etc.," wrote GPWA member "kwblue" in a post on the thread. "Let's turn that crap into help for the needy."