Lock Poker recently left the Merge Gaming Network to create the Revolution Gaming Network, which was previously known as the Cake Poker Network. There were many issues with this move. Players complained about a lack of support emails. Affiliates have complained about issues with stats and support as well. Most dismissed this as growing pains that would be resolved. That was until a poster at Poker Affiliate Listings complained about a massive deduction from their commission.
Update 6/27: After this was posted on many news sites and forums, Lock Poker agreed to pay the player 10 of the 11 CPAs. This puts them in line with the industry standard.
Affiliates get paid to refer players to an online poker room. There are two payment models for affiliates to choose at most affiliate programs. One is CPA, the other is revenue share. The CPA models pays an affiliate a flat amount per referred player once that player reaches a certain amount of rake generated. The revenue share model pays an affiliate a percentage of all rake generated by a player minus deductions. There are typically no deductions in the CPA model because the amount paid per player already takes into account the lifetime value of the player.
One deduction that is common with CPA commissions is a chargeback. A chargeback occurs when a player’s deposit was fraudulent. This happens when a stolen credit card was used or when a player loses and decides to make up a story to their bank and gets the charge reversed. Affiliates that get paid CPA typically will not get paid on a player that initiates a chargeback because the player is worth less than $0. All affiliates would understand not getting paid on a player that basically stole from the poker room. Poker rooms have to reverse fraud traffic payments to prevent rogue affiliates from abusing the system.
A Lock Poker affiliate that earns CPA had a situation where a referred player made a chargeback that was equal to 11 times their CPA for that player. The standard practice for an affiliate program in this situation would be to remove the CPA from the affiliate. Lock Poker decided to deduct the entire chargeback from the affiliate even though their terms and conditions do not appear to give them the right to do that. This meant that not only did the Lock Poker affiliate lose the original commission, they lost commission on ten other referred players. The affiliate ate the entire amount of the chargeback. Even a revenue share affiliate, where chargebacks are standard, would only lose a percentage of the chargeback.
The thread at Poker Affiliate Listings started in a private sub forum. It was moved after Lock Poker confirmed this was not an error. Before going public, the affiliate attempted to contact Lock Poker. The affiliate was unable to get the issue resolved partly due to a lack of response. I know how hard it is to get issues with Lock Poker resolved. I am still waiting on a response from June 7th from what was basically a test question for a review I was writing.
Getting stuck with a massive chargeback that is not industry standard is bad enough. After going public, the affiliate received this email from the owner of Lock Poker:
I am the owner and CEO of Lock and Revolution Gaming. It has been brought to my attention that you have been slamming us on the forums and just being overall disrespectful. We consider all our partners as just that true partners. We would never go out into a public forum and disrespect you but we would work to resolve any issues.
Based on your actions we have decided to no longer work with you. Gerry and Shane have come to me on multiple occasions with the constants issues and just overall stress they feel when it comes to you and its just not the making of a healthy partnership. We invest over 500K into affiliate marketing a month and regardless of any problems that may happen both parties are always looking for resolution. That does not appear to be what you are looking for at all.
Shane will make sure that all CPAs are paid in full on July 1st. Please remove us from your sites as we no longer wish to work with you.
CEO | Founder
Not only is Lock Poker attempting to say that their behavior is correct, they are also saying that they are going to drop him as an affiliate for bringing the issue public. The email seems to imply that the affiliate will not get paid on any players that make their first deposit after July 1st. It is common for players to sign up for a poker room and deposit months or even years later. If that happens, it would appear that the affiliate that referred the players will not get paid.
This made up my mind on whether I will ever play or promote Lock Poker. I wanted to warn potential players and affiliates that Lock Poker may make up terms as they go along and find a way not to pay you as they did to this affiliate.