Back when the internet was a new thing all bingo sites were independent but over time things have changed and these days most bingo sites are run either as full white labels or on third-party networks.
The reason for this is it is much quicker and cheaper to use an existing software platform than develop your own. This is why we now have 100’s of bingo sites available to us but underneath the surface there is very little variety between them. You might have noticed white label bingo sites close down a lot, and this is because many brand owners have churn and burn approach. Start a new site, clone it, start another site, etc. They are not really interested in customer loyalty or progressing the product.
New independent bingo sites are very rare these days. It takes a lot more money and effort to build a site and a network completely from scratch and in a competitive market place most, therefore, opt not to do this. Those few sites that do choose to put the effort in, though, give something unique that other sites cannot match. It is like shopping with small local businesses rather than going to the supermarket. Players like the personal touches that independents bring and they often reward player loyalty better.
Bingo Sites With Independent Software
If you’ve played much bingo online you will notice that while there are 100’s of sites many run exactly the same games. This is because many bingo sites use third-party networks, in effect licensing the games to use on their site. The bingo site themselves do not run the games, these are hosted by the software provider (e.g. Dragonfish for 888 sites, 15 network for Jumpman sites, etc.).
Playing bingo with different sites on the same network is essentially the same thing. There are limited numbers of networks available and each have their own pros and cons but because the network is designed to be used on multiple sites they are often quite generic. Many operators also add bingo on to their existing products and do not dedicate themselves to it.
Independents, however, develop their own games in house and run their own networks. This is a hell of lot more expensive to do, time consuming and requires more staff, knowledge and recourses. The benefit of building something from the ground up is the brand can deliver the site and games exactly as they want to.
With independents you are getting something you cannot get elsewhere. The games are unique, the players in the games are unique and this is what attracts people to them.
Pros and Cons Of Independents
There are a lot of benefits of independents. As already mentioned they have their own games and network you cannot get anywhere else providing a personal touch. In the same way people often prefer to shop with small businesses or eat in independent restaurants rather than chains, lots of people like independent bingo sites because it is easier to feel in touch with the brands.
The fact the games are developed by the same people that own the site and the sites are built from scratch means they deliver the product they want to. They come up with their own promotions, their own terms, they run their own customer service, banking services, etc. They also hold their own gambling licenses, which means they tend to take responsible gambling more seriously (white labels especially have been found lacking in this regard a lot in the past).
There are negatives, of course. The fact the network is proprietary means there are less people in the community. A large network, such as Dragonfish, share the players between sites. You can go into a room and play against players from 10’s of other sites at the same time. This helps increase the prize pool and frequency of games. Independents, therefore, tend to have less regular games for this reason.
Independents also have higher costs. This means they tend to grow over time and can mean that some features or game options are lacking initially. The converse of this, however, is independents stay around far longer and have far more loyal customers. Eventually an independent brand will far surpass a generic white label clone.
Personal Touches & Loyalty
Some people make extra effort to find things in life that provide something different, such as traveling further or paying a higher price to shop with an independent rather than a large store. These are the type of people that often favour independent bingo sites.
Loyalty goes both ways too and the independent operators know they need to be better than the average in order to keep players. They therefore tend to provide fairer terms, better support and more enticing promotions to keep players.