The Betfair Affiliate Program has a couple of serious problems with the way it does business. Since the company’s merger with Paddy Power it seems to have adopted the type of anti-affiliate stance that program is already known for. As a result Betfair is now almost impossible to recommend to new or small affiliates and we have been forced to add it to our blacklist of firms.
These are the main problems:
- In August 2016 Betfair started to close affiliate accounts if there were a lack of referrals, amounting to an introduction of minimum quotas. Obviously if Betfair is closing accounts for active webmasters who have failed to refer many recent players, then there would be no hope for new webmasters starting out in the business. So our advice has to be to avoid this program entirely.
- The exchange only pays for the first five years and this is a major disappointment as all your initial referrals to the sportsbook section are bound to graduate to the betting exchange when they find their feet. In all probability they will split their activity between the two. So short-changing affiliates on the betting exchange is a false economy for Betfair as it will put most webmasters off giving best positions to the firm. The revenue share is 30% on all products except the betting exchange. For the betting exchange they pay 30% for year 1, 20% for year 2 and just 15% for years 3, 4 and 5. This is pretty despicable.
- A less tangible issue is that they simply do not make money. We have promoted Betfair on our sites for many years, and while we have no problem sending them new sign-ups, they just don’t make money. We can only make educated guesses as to why Betfair is so hard to profit from. We believe that, like their sister company Paddy Power, they are making massive hidden deductions. If you read our Paddy Power Affiliate Program review then you will see this issue analysed in detail. Paddy Power has been caught red-handed making hidden deductions, because their software accidentally published the information on a couple of brief occasions. It looks like Betfair is doing the same scam, and that would explain the lack of earnings.
Betfair has a betting exchange, sportsbook (that is a traditional online bookmaker section), casino, poker, games and bingo to promote. The betting exchange was the first product originally and is what made Betfair famous. The exchange was the first and is the largest of its type in the world and it matches bets from its player base. The way it works is that I might want to back Man Utd and you might want to lay them (profit from their loss and take my bet) in a particular match. The betting exchange facilitates that.
The sportsbook (also called “sports fixed odds”) is a newer addition but it is a crucial one for affiliates as it puts Betfair in direct competition with all the other normal online bookies. It is also a much easier sell to novice bettors than the betting exchange. The exchange, by nature, is more complex and appeals to seasoned punters who also want to play the role of bookmaker. Conversely, your mum could manage to use the sportsbook to place her yearly bet on the Grand National.
As for commissions, the Betfair Affiliate Program offers the typical cross-channel revenue share basis. They are paid for the lifetime play of your referrals on all products except, as mentioned previously, the betting exchange.
The cookie length is on the high side at 45 days, and that is good because cookie length is an area where some firms try to take advantage of affiliates by assuming they won’t notice a session cookie (like Paddy Power) or poor 3-day cookie (like William Hill & Ladbrokes).
The partner program software is theoretically one of the best in the form of netrefer, so webmasters have a plethora of stats and player details to dig into. However netrefer is the company facilitating the hidden deductions from the revenue figures, so possibly not the affiliate’s best friend.
If you heard about the Betfair Affiliate Program failing to respond to queries from their webmasters and being slow payers and generally not giving a damn, well that was once the case. Fortunately things have at least improved on that score.
Betfair Affiliate Program Review Verdict
We have to conclude that this program has gone rogue. The closure of webmasters’ affiliate accounts is a scam and completely unacceptable behaviour. The fact the referrals just don’t make the money they would at other firms is very suspect and the terrible deal on the betting exchange is a rip-off. Until all these things are reversed there is a huge question mark over their commitment to affiliate marketing.We have two pieces of advice:
- Existing affiliates who have been hit with an account closure should not remove their Betfair reviews. Just rewrite it to be negative. Bad publicity is one of the only ways to prevent scam tactics spreading to other affiliate programs in the future.
- As for new affiliates thinking of promoting this firm, well you would be mad to join as you are starting from zero with a company that closes accounts through lack of activity. They are already telling you that they don’t want you.
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I've started with Betfair affiliates about two weeks ago, and I brought them a few customers. I am in direct contact with two of those customers who I know for a fact are using Betfair for matched betting and therefore placing a lot of lay bets in Betfair exchange, but in my dashboard, it only shows £1.09 in net commissions, and this value hasn't changed since day one. On the other hand, games shows a negative balance of £-174, when my customers are not playing games, they are using matched betting, so my questions are, is Betfair reliable? Is it possible that such a huge company is actually scamming and deceiving their affiliates? And would it be possible to prosecute them if I get physical evidence that the commissions aren't being recorded as they should? I could get my customers to print their Betfair statements and send them to me.
We promote Betfair on our affiliate sites (now to a very small degree) and we don't trust their affiliate program. The revenues are simply far too low. They are now part of Paddy Power, a firm that it has been proven deducts 86% in secret / hidden deductions. NetRefer is the affiliate software they both use and they too must share the blame for criminality of reporting and theft being done via their systems. As for court action, we can't advise you on that, though we would love to see one of these shaving firms brought to account for cheating affiliates.
Is there a minimum number of clients who need to be registered by me? If I only refer one person, will Betfair pay me affiliate commission?
There is no minimum, but if you only have one and it is you then you are not a genuine webmaster and they will promptly close your affiliate account and not pay you. It is always a condition of affiliate programs that you can not refer yourself. Anything disingenuous like that would quite rightly be met with short shrift. Even if it is one friend, that would be treated the same. It is a deliberate abuse of the system which is not tolerated by any affiliate program in any industry.
Do they pay the share on their commission? So If the player loses £100, do we get £30, or 30% of what Betfair earns. So 5% default commission £5, then 30% of that = £1.50?
You are right on both counts. In the exchange you get 30% of their commission (30% of the £5 you use an example = £1.50). In the sportsbook (the normal bookmaker part of their site) you get 30% of the player losses (£30 from the £100 the player loses in your example). However there are hidden deductions for taxes and other fees they encounter. We have struggled to make money with Betfair, which suggests those deductions (which are not transparent) are too big.
I notice this review hasn't been updated since 2014. Have Betfair started incorporating the Exchange into the revenue share basis in 2016?
Yes they pay on exchange but only on the first five years activity. It is 30% in year 1, 20% in year 2 and a token 15% commission for the next three years. Then they stop paying for betting exchange referrals. This is a really bad deal. It is at least lifetime for all the other products. By the way we did have this information in the review already, but we have now made it more detailed and updated it.
Does anyone know if this programme has a negative roll-over if your referrals make money on the bookmaker accounts?
No, they do not have negative rollover. But they have left it as an option. They have the usual totally moronic term that they have copied from some other rubbish program (for instance Paddy Power has the same arse-covering nonsense). It says: In the event that the Amount Due for a calendar month is a negative amount, Betfair may, but will not be obliged to, carry forward and set off such negative amount against Amounts Due for future months which would otherwise be payable to you.