You Know What Big Fish Games Affiliate System Is Missing?

I’ve been the member of the Big Fish Games Affiliate program for some time now and have promoted the program a bit every now and then. The good news are that the income has been steadily increasing (and effort put on promoting that stuff has been steadily decreasing…), the bad news are that there’s some fundamental issues with their system. It’s “okay”, but it could be much more.

Here’s some ideas that could improve their affiliate program so that people would really start promoting their games:

  • They should give detailed statistics: I guess average Guy Gamer doesn’t care how many people have played their games or whatever, but I’d say that the bare minimum essential data BFG should offer are visitor count info, clicks, pages where they go, reports about conversions (which games were sold, how many downloads) and basically the information that would help affiliates know which games are selling well. It should also give information about lifetime sales (which games the customers have tested, which they bought, when they joined through your affiliate link).

    Now almost all the info you get is close to “how many friends you have” and “how much $$$ you have earned so far”. (I know there’s bit of reporting about 2 week sales, but that’s crappy. (Right now it says to me that “Sales origin: X% from BFG, Y% my site(s)” – that’s virtually useless information, especially since “top selling games for your account” shows empty.

    I know some of this stuff can be partially handled with own systems (like “click count”, but that’s still very little and doesn’t give any information about conversions).

    Affiliates could even start spending ad money to promote the affiliate offerings if they could have more control over their accounts. When affiliates are happy, BFG is getting very nice flood of traffic (and money) from the affiliates. It’s their interest.

  • Improve the Affiliate portal: I have my own portal (took almost 5 minutes to set up). The portal is okay, the template is nice… but it’s lacking options. I’d want to clone BFG portal. I’d like to have more power to customize what I show and where (okay, I know how to program PHP but that would be something where I won’t be going – it takes time anyway). Also, they have got XML feed issues every now and then (not a biggie, but still). I realize the portal version is 0.7 (or something) so things are getting better, and I believe they are working on this.
  • Better tracking of affiliate network: I have network of people who have joined through my affiliate link but I have pretty much no idea where they joined, who they are or whatnot. I have no way of checking if there’s certain person that joined through my affiliate link. This way I could even offer incentives for people to join the PNP network through my affiliate link (and validate if they did) – and this would benefit BFG as well.

The better sales conversion reporting alone would give tremendous power to estimate “where the money comes from”, and thus would help decide how to promote the program. Now you hope to hit something when promoting the program.

I like the program (and I think it has potential), but there’s some essential features that would need to be polished to make it work really good.

P.S. I wonder what they are going to do with the My Game Space page… check out the latest news (from January 01/2008 – “Coming Soon: new rewards!” Coming soon – brand new rewards for you to choose from! Keep checking back for more updates.)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Well you might not want to join BFG…. Since they rolled out the new program they have not issued a single payment. In fact they still do not have a payment system in place at all. Your time may be spent better working for a program that actual pays out.

  2. So have you seen the changes to the affiliate program and if so, what do you make of it all? Yes, it’s good that the commission is now 40% (gross percentage) compared to the 25% it was before, but am wondering how things are going to be affected with the fact that you no longer earn a percentage of the commissions from people you referred. Also, with the fact that any customers who signed up under over 12 months ago will no longer be your customers, it will be interesting how this affects commissions overall. I guess time will tell. Even though I will have to wait and see because I am not even able to re-register as the form won’t accept my address details…

  3. same problem here.

    I ve setup a full feature site for BP based on xml feed (several week of work) and now my revenues is still 0 .

    I m sure there s at least two sales , because i tested myself the system and bought two different games from 2 differents emails (including a totally new hotmail email that cant be in their database already)

    other companies like real/trygames provides stats with number of download … sales and refund etc.. ,

    I ve heard of the point mentionned by Neroli but how can we verify they dont cheat ? at least they should report sales (which game sold and when) and report that this customer is already someone else affiliate.

  4. Good point. Let’s hope the field keeps growing. :)

    Also wondering about the My Game Space page. Not much seems to be happening there. One thing I noticed…if you look at the My Games Space home page, it automatically lists featured games, even if you haven’t changed anything. Now, if you look at somebody else’s game page, it usually lists different games, or games in a different order. I think this hints at the games which are selling best for your particular affiliate code (based off of what I’ve been promoting and what appears to be featured on my own page).

    But yeah….real stats would totally help! It’s kind of odd that they didn’t include these from the beginning.

  5. I think there’s still room for people. Casual games sales (and digital sales as well) is going way up, while retail model is getting down.

    One could even start doing casual games program via his local town, introducing leaflets to people to try free games. (Or whatever! :) I’m 100% there’s still plenty of room for newcomers.

    In fact… those who will come today will be one happy campers after 3 more years… ;)

  6. @Andre: My guess is that YOU are someone else’s affiliate. Because they have a lifetime model, even if you signed up for your account years ago, you belong to whoever introduced you. Even if you click through over another account and buy games, the first guy that caught you owns you as a customer.

    That is why it’s harder to get in now, vs. 3 years ago. A lot of the regular customers are taken. It’s tougher to convert new customers, so you really need to think out of the box.

    As a late comer, I’d like to see them adopt a new model so that we get paid for directing traffic at the moment, sort of like Amazon?

  7. @Andre: that’s quite an accusation.

    I’ll wanna test this too and see what happens. They might track your IP and disallow discounts when buying through affiliate account.

    Or maybe the purchase will be tracked later time (like after potential chargeback or something?).

    @James: yes, I agree.

  8. The first thing they need to do is hire an affiliate manager. I have started pulling information from the big fish twitter page on current promotions.. The last time andrew mcnett updated the site was 6 months ago! The affiliate program is pretty much non-existant as far as they are concerned.. The gamespace program should have launched bfg’s into the stratosphere with the explosion in social networking and they just did not manage it correctly.. sad so sad

  9. I signed up for the bigfishgames affiliate program.

    The first thing i did was test my affiliate link to see if they track sales. I signed up as a customer and bought a product and the sale was not tracked in the affiliate program. So clearly they cheat sales.

    I asked for a chargeback and explanation for the reason they were not tracking my sales. Contact form and email got me no replies three months down the track.

    I ended up making $20 off sales through them by selling their downloadable games (mostly because i didn’t get around to changing the link)

    And now today I get charged by paypal for buying a $6.99 game through them from my customer account. A game I did not buy. (after making more than 15 game sales to them, the ones that were tracked, nither of my sales were).

    I have reported this to paypal.

    So i’m $15 down for making two game purchases (that were not tracked and one I didn’t even make). Which gives me a total of $5 for over 15 game sales.

    If you have any dealings with this company be very careful. They are uncontactable and from my experiance unscrupulous. They don’t even track clicks.

    I’ve been promoting and selling stuff through affiliates since 2001. I have never seen customer service or sales scraping as bad as this.

    Stay away.

  10. Hello Juuso,

    My name is Madhu, i am working as a Sr. QA Lead in a mobile gaming company. I want to become a “Game Producer”. I need direction to see myself a Game Producer.

    I really doesn’t know from where to start ? what all the things i need to learn …

    I need your help to built myself. Please help me out ….


  11. Did you email them these suggestions? I would suggest you do so.

    Their PNP portal states…

    “PNP will be going through some changes in the upcoming months. That means more tools, improved features and better support for managing your site partner site!

    We want to hear what you think about the program. Please help us improve PNP by sending us your ideas and feedback.

    Thank you! Check back frequently for more news about updates to the PNP site.

    – PNP Team”

    What’s sad is that this has been posted there for over 2 years now and they haven’t made any significant changes!

    Maybe you could start some kind of petition to get them moving on improving the stats/reporting?

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