Meet Rinat Shamir, Senior Affiliate Manager at IbexNetwork

“Mobile is full of opportunities – it opened for us new traffic channels, publishers, and a whole new market.” We talked with Rinat Shamir, Senior Affiliate Manager at IbexNetwork, on how the company brings value to the affiliates and operators.

Hello Rinat, hope you are keeping well in this festive season.

Hey Marius, all is great, working hard and enjoying the summer.

How did you come to enter the online gaming?

My friends told me I have the right personality to be an affiliate manager, so I decided to go for it and seek an opportunity. I’ve posted my CV on LinkedIn and from there it’s all history. Beginning of last year I joined IbexNetwork.

Can you tell us a little about how IbexNetwork business is structured?

IbexNetwork is an affiliate network specialized on casino traffic. We work with hundreds of publishers, some of which we represent exclusivity and monetize their entire traffic inventory. We also have our own sites and traffic sources.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

I am not surprised, the market has become more mature, and consolidation is part of that process.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

At the moment we are focused on what we are good at, serving operators on their players acquisition and, helping publisher achieve the most efficient monetization on their traffic.

Business Development is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

Our focus is to bring more exclusive deals. And to continue developing tools that help affiliates make a better monetization of their traffic.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

Our main focus is Europe, we see great potential still within the UK and Germany. And we continue our strong hold within the Scandinavian market.

How do you find UK market and competition?

UK is a great market for us; we see good conversion and good player value. UK is definitely the most crowded market when it comes to competition but we see growth potential there.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

We see Google as a partner and we try to respect their rules. We focus on bringing added value for all parties and Google appreciates that.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

Exciting plans are part of the routine at IbexNetwork. But unfortunately we cannot yet share them. I am sure Q4 2107 will be very exciting.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your services?

Our service is impeccable both towards operators and affiliates. All of our partners get VIP treatment. We have great technology; fast payout and we are super fun to work with.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

Mobile is full of opportunities; it opened for us new traffic channels, publishers, and a whole new market.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for IbexNetwork and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

Our challenge is to continue growing while bringing added value.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Be innovative and bring added value to the ecosystem.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I am not a slots player, but I am sure 1M euro in the bank account will make my life more fun…

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

Absolutely yes!

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Dobromir Mitev, CEO & Founder of Dench eGaming Solutions

“Staying close to your players and actively seeking feedback is key. Since purchasing customer loyalty instantly isn’t an option, you can purchase technology which lets you generate loyalty faster through continuous engagement and deep personalisation.” We met Dobromir Mitev, CEO & Founder of Dench eGaming Solutions for an interview about the company and his advice for young entrepreneurs.

Hello Dobromir, hope you are keeping well in this festive season?

Great Marius, thanks for the opportunity to introduce Dench to your audience. We are entering the summer season, which is actually great for active networking with the iGaming Super Show ahead of us. On the other hand, the summer period will let us purely focus on the delivery of the deals we have closed in the first half of the year.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

It is a long and exciting story when I look back, it took me 10 years. In 2006 I got introduced to online poker and precisely to Texas Hold’em. The game grabbed me but pretty fast I realized being a pro player is not my thing. I began building affiliate sites, providing players with a truly transparent online space. Transparency was missing back in the days. In the following two years, I learned a bunch of we related things and was trying to help a number of online poker rooms localize and penetrate Eastern Europe. 1st of March 2008 I woke up and knew I wanted to start a poker magazine. From that day since a few months after the poker Black Friday in 2011, I had the pleasure to produce, edit and publish Card Player Magazine across four regions – Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Hungary.

Through those years I was consulting various online companies, mainly poker focused, joined Sportingbet in order to help them boost their poker revenue and eventually took over the Casino product, marketing and brand advertising. As it seems that was not enough for me and made me organize some of the biggest international poker tournaments in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe at that time.

All that helped me to move to the operators’ side, striking a couple of significant partnerships with leading gaming brands listed on the stock market. Eventually the change in the Bulgarian gambling regulation unfortunately forced me to terminate these relationships.

I continued to collaborate with different brands, operating in various regions until a stage when I kind of felt ready to bring my own vision on the products and technology I would like to see and use if I were running my own brand. This is how Dench was born – with the ambition to bring more flexibility and let gaming people launch brands with a platform, which actually does the job and respond adequately to the market reality.

Can you tell us a little about how your company is structured?

Dench eGaming Solutions is a true B2B turnkey gaming platform provider based in Sofia with highly skilled and experienced development people along with the founders who have been in the industry since the times when online gaming brand Gamebookers went live back in 1999. I am very proud we have managed to compile a team, which perfectly understand what we are aiming for and managed to translate all business requirements into a technology, which resonates entirely with the current needs of the operators.

In business terms, we are offering turnkey and white label solutions as well as Giselle V2 as a standalone product available for integration with any platform.

How do you think technology is driving business forward? What are the little secrets that help Denchsolutions.com in innovating yet again?

As the industry matures, operators realize the technology, which they choose, will ultimately define the success of their operation. In the last years, we are seeing more niche and dedicated to the iGaming industry products appear, which aim to provide wider game offering, operation management; help with data analytics, visualizations, player segmentation, engagement, gamification and so on. That’s definitely driving the industry forward. However, still many operators are using legacy technologies and the integrations with new technologies remain a painful topic.

We are trying to isolate as much as possible the reliance on third party providers and services and bring all pieces of the puzzle together to deliver a new generation, fully integrated platform able to reduce operational costs and allow significant improvement in user experience.

Removing the need to integrate a number of different 3rd party services, we allow operators to have more efficient operation in terms of costs, as having a number of 3rd parties and the people to operate them squeeze the margins significantly.

Another huge benefit lies in the ability of Dench platform to capture, process and aggregate data in real time and translate obvious behavioural patterns into actionable insights. Certain functionalities are designed with agility in mind, so they are easily scalable and represent and opportunity to bridge the gap between the core daily operational activities and the days for creativity. We provide operators with the instruments to deep dive in players’ data, look for interesting patterns and experiment and design new players’ experiences. The limitless bonus definitions and the eventful campaign scenarios allow the operators to get outside of the boundaries of the traditional retention strategies and automate the most relevant incentives and communication along the customer journey.

What sort of gaming-specific technology services do Denchsolutions.com offer online gaming firms?

Since the start of the project, through the architecture and the actual development of Dench Core and Giselle V.2 we have always tried to design processes and features in a simple and practical way. We have been dealing with operations for quite a long time and all of the functionalities we have designed aim to address areas which have been overlooked for a very long time such as lack of diverse bonus and campaign offerings, customer retention, churn and operational transparency. All of these seem to be very problematic and with extreme potential to improve revenues.

We have built the Dench Core in order to provide more intuitive user management, deeply integrated sports betting and casino verticals, advanced BI instruments delivering full operational transparency and advanced analytics, well-structured payment service, while considering all the regulatory requirements towards KYC and responsible gaming.

As a separate solution, we have developed Giselle V2, product that is capturing and structuring customer data in real time, providing operators with advanced player analytics, activity and value segmentation, event driven bonus automation scenarios as well as in house developed communication tools deeply embedded in the campaign process.

The unique combination between Dench Core & Giselle V.2 on one hand simplifies basic day-to-day operational processes and on the other hand sophisticates the way operators interact, entertain and reward their players. The revolutionary way we handle customer data and translate it in actionable insights creates the perfect environment for marketing teams to anticipate, encourage and most importantly design the depositing and playing habits of clients.

What makes Denchsolutions.com unique? What do you have that will make you succeed that some of the other companies maybe don’t have?

Through our complete set of products, you can run your brand as” one man show” up to certain size. That’s kind of a joke around our office, even though it is actually possible from an operational point of view.

Seriously, now, we believe that the current market reality represents a unique opportunity for agile, breaking barriers, hands on companies, which is ready to listen to operators’ demands.

We deliver products, which are built from operators’ perspective, not from development perspective and are being delivered fast, very fast.

Lastly, we have built our features in the context of AI and AI automation and we continue to do so. This means that once the time is right we will have the amazing opportunity to offer automation which is not driven from numbers only, but driven at its large portion by the individual player.

For now, finding the right ways to solve today problems is our biggest advantage.

Are there any other exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

I let something go out in the previous question in that respect. We are working on improving our current products based on operators’ feedback while working towards introduction of AI across a number of processes. Aside, there is HANNAH, the third product in our family which will be, in my humble opinion – ground breaking; at least for the players.

We are envisaging that by 2020, online gaming operators will be choosing their platform not by the number of current product integrations, however by the way AI has been accommodated in the main services and helps them cultivate long lasting relationships.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your business?

In 2017 loyalty in the gambling industry is fleeting and it has never been harder to acquire retain and engage with players. Operators have tons of player data, which collected and structured wisely can give you commercial attributes to build a detailed profile. As you start to understand your players better you can figure out what they like and what they don’t and start using this data to improve loyalty and grow your business exponentially.

You can adapt how you approach them by optimizing your bonus campaigns and make their journeys more relevant. Users respond better when they see something that they are interested in and are more willing to communicate when they are approached in the most relevant time.

Staying close to your players and actively seeking feedback is key. Since purchasing customer loyalty instantly isn’t an option, you can purchase technology which lets you generate loyalty faster through continuous engagement and deep personalisation.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any entrepreneur starting today?

You will fail a number of times or you might get lucky and become billionaire from the first time, who knows. No matter what, don’t you ever give up and don’t get frustrated by all the news, buzz and everything which happens publicly in your sector. In most cases it is what it is – PR stunts and wasteful buzz. Noise which will steer you away from your goals.

Never go blindly and invest all your money in your project, no matter how small or big it is. Especially if you are the only one putting cash on the table. This hurts tremendously when you fail and this might eventually happen.

Nothing happens easily and you need to put all the hard work to stand a chance. By hard consider everything above the 12-hour mark daily. When you work hard you might start getting delusional. Constant reality checks will keep you down to earth and make your life easier.

One last one, if you are open, honest and modest person keep it that way. If you change in the sake of succeeding one day you will realize that all the tricks and things you have done was worthless. The end goal is not that important, but the journey to reach it will be the thing to look back.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

Well, indeed I do play slots and probably every other game I come across. With a million euros I would do one of two things. Either secure education and life experiences for young kids or I will start over from the scratch if I don’t have an exciting project. Ideally, making sure I can go back and do what I mentioned first.

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

We are planning a trip for SIGMA for sure. For the last couple of years, the event proved to be a one not to be missed on the iGaming calendar as it provides a great opportunity for networking in very vibrant atmosphere. I really like that all kind of gaming companies are welcomed which inevitably creates a playground with people with very diverse background bringing new and exciting ideas.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Pablo Benrey, Co-Owner of Affiliedge.com

“Be innovative and don’t waste time trying to copy other business models. It won’t work”. We met Pablo Benrey, Co-Owner of Affiliedge.com – check what else he has to say about his company and the growing competition on the market.

Hello Pablo, how are you?

Hi Marius. I am doing well. I can’t complain.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

Back in 2007 I was working as an employee for a lead generation company within the industry and it didn’t take me long to understand that this was the path I wanted to follow.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

The work is basically distributed between our two companies. One running the traffic acquisition operation and the second one managing the network and the websites.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

Not at all, every single market has its peak time when it is easier to profit, but once the market settles down only a well established business can remain competitive.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

We have thought about it more than once but for now we think it is better to keep doing what we are good at. However, we might explore this channel later down the road.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

I truly believe we should offer our costumers added value and that’s what we will keep on focusing at.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

With most of the European countries being regulated I believe this trend will spread to the entire world and it will force us to globalize our business and operate world wide.

How do you find UK market and competition?

UK is one of our core markets and it is definitely our intention to grow there.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

We believe content quality and user experience are the key for good traffic and that’s what we focus on in each of our projects.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

We are always on the move and we are working on a few new prospects. I will give you inside info when it will be possible.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?

Well, I would like them to know www.affiliedge.com is a great business alternative for both publishers and advertisers.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

Mobile is the present and for us it is already a major part of our strategy and development.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

Remaining competitive while globally expanding will be the key to success.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Be innovative and don’t waste time trying to copy other business models. It won’t work.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot  winnings?

Not really, but if I hit the jackpot I will probably invest in….

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?

I am looking forward to Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SIGMA17. Last year was great both on the business and the networking sides and of course pleasurable as well. Hope this year will be even better.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Lena Sciberras, Content and SEO Manager at Casino Hawks

“I always try to think in the same way as the players think, trying to predict what they would want to learn, search for, find exciting and, most importantly, useful and entertaining.” We talked with Lena Sciberras, Content and SEO Manager at Casino Hawks, about the challenges of running and affiliate website and the fierce competition in the industry.

Hello Lena, hope you are well in this hot summer weather?

Hi Marius, I’m great, the summer is finally here in Malta, and I’m ready to enjoy it in full.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and your current workplace?

I have a background in journalism, copywriting, marketing and website management for different industries so it was only natural that after a few years of living in Malta I joined iGaming industry. There are so many opportunities to learn, grow and meet the most interesting and passionate people. And it’s fun! I started at Game Lounge Ltd. in the beginning of 2016, and it’s been the best time of my life ever since. We honestly have the most helpful, professional and friendly team.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured? Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

Game Lounge is a very strong affiliate company with a lot of experience and 10 different markets. Our best-known brands are so far the Scandinavian affiliate websites. But in the last few years, we’ve been expanding and adding more markets, languages, countries. One of them is the UK market, and the website that I manage for this market is called casinohawks.com. My project is one of the newer ones, but the best thing is that I can use all the knowledge and experience that the company has gained from operating in all the other markets.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

I wouldn’t call it surprising, as bigger companies at a certain point will always try to acquire smaller successful brands. That’s exactly what happened to Game Lounge, which sold 51% of shares to Cherry Group in 2015. Being part of a bigger player helps a lot, but we also have quite a bit of independence and our own unique culture and business strategy.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

Yes, Game Lounge has a couple of white label casinos, but they’re not part of the market that I handle personally, so maybe one day some of my colleagues can tell you more about it.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

For me, it’s always trying to think in the same way as a player thinks, trying to predict what they would want to learn, search for, find exciting and, most importantly, useful and entertaining. So apart from the typical reviews, news and promotions, I like to concentrate on some useful guides, how-to’s and even shorter articles that just answer one specific player’s questions.

How do you find UK market and competition?

I won’t exaggerate if I say that it is probably the toughest, hardest markets to compete, at least from the ones that Game Lounge operates in right now. But the extreme level of competition also indicates that the market is not only massive in size already, but also still has a lot of potential for growth in the future. So while admitting the fierce challenges, I certainly see the bright future.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

Of course, we are constantly adjusting our ways and strategies, not only after the Google’s updates but as the market changes and grows in general. Being on top of your game is crucial, and that’s what defines a good affiliate.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about? What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your site?

Recently we’ve added an in-house video production department, so we are creating and publishing unique video content on our websites and social media. And it’s not just the game reviews, but more exclusive, behind the scenes videos that can show our readers and players how the iGaming industry works from within. So far we’ve had great feedback, and people are liking it a lot. So concentrating a bit more on the videos will be one of the key points in the next few months.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

All our affiliate websites are fully compatible and responsive and work perfectly well on mobile, but let’s face it, this is more of a technical side of our business. And I can only say that I am grateful to our awesome IT team who is always on it, making the life of more creative people much easier.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Firstly, think if you have enough patience and budget to deal with the competition. Secondly, try to be unique, even though it’s getting more and more impossible. If you don’t think you can handle these two key components, maybe there is not that much point in entering this market right now.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I play online slots as part of my job, but recently I had a pure pleasure of trying the best land-based slot machines in the best casinos of Las Vegas. The whole Game Lounge team went there for a team-building trip, and it was the best adventure.

If I hit the jackpot… I wouldn’t do anything crazy, that’s for sure. Maybe I’d buy my own small place and have a good month-long trip. Then I would go back to my normal life and invest the rest of the money.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

SiGMA is always one of the biggest events of the year, and we are preparing for that. But going to Romania and seeing Bucharest, meeting people in perhaps a bit less formal environment is truly exciting. I can’t wait!

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Maria Petkovic, Project Manager at Casinocountdown.com

“In the business world, Profit is Prince and Cash is King, and nobody can deny it. We follow the principle Content is King, Content is Prince, as long as it’s kept fresh and accurate.” We met Maria Petkovic, Project Manager at Casinocountdown.com, for an interview about the importance of good content and her experience in the industry.

Hello Maria, hope you are keeping well this festive season?
Hi Marius Yes, I am, thanks for asking.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
Casino Countdown, or Casino Bonuses Countdown, is a one stop destination for any online casino player, regardless of what the player is looking for. We try to deliver the latest news and updates, accurately and in a timely fashion. After all, the information provided is only as good as its accuracy and the time when it’s provided. We think these two are the biggest issues casino players have to deal with. Of course, this calls for long hours and extra effort.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
The big fish eats the little one. The online gaming industry is like any other. It’s a dynamic market, and as such, events like these are inevitable. As long as there’s a win-win outcome, there’s nothing bad about them. Both affiliates and operators are always on the lookout for what’s going to be the next big thing. Brexit certainly is going to have a notable impact.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?Let’s put it this way. In the business world, Profit is Prince and Cash is King, and nobody can deny it. We follow the principle Content is King, Content is Prince, as long as it’s kept fresh and accurate. Over the past 2 years, we’ve carefully listened to what our visitors have to say. We try to keep things simple, yet we want to be thorough. It’s a never ending battle to be honest. Moreover, we don’t like to fix things if they’re not broken. However, changes are inevitable. We do not think we’re going to make any drastic changes, but they’re inevitable, and if we feel our visitors will benefit from them, we’re up for anything!

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We can’t exactly put a finger on what a few markets. Players from Australia, Canada and New Zealand are pretty important. The Scandinavian trio, Sweden,  Norway and Finland are also of great importance, but it takes time, resources and a lot of effort to penetrate these markets. Our sister site, Spielhallen is dedicated to casino players from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which we have to admit are huge markets!

How do you find UK market and competition?
Ever growing. Both of them, to be honest. It’s a big, profitable market and everybody is trying to get a share of the pie. Fortunately, the number of casino players grows as well. Affiliates who are going to pick the right niche can expect returns sooner, but they too need to put in extra hours of work. Penetrating the UK markets is a marathon. New affiliate should simply finish the first race, the first year. Otherwise, you burn out and you quit.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Considering our strategy and what we provide, we had to make minor adjustments. Many of our competitors have had detrimental issues. Nonetheless, Google has definitely rewarded webmasters who have paid greater attention to the content. Design is also important, but for the player. Trying to catch the attention of a crawler with the intelligence of a 5 year old child that sees nothing but content can be a double edged sword. For what it’s worth, players are now taken to webpages with fresh and thorough information. This is probably the best time to become an affiliate.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
I can’t tell you anything in detail, but, the answer is yes. We’re going to work more on delivering a custom experience to any of our visitors. A few other upgrades are also scheduled, and I’ll be happy to discuss about them with you once they’re live. Maybe next year, before SiGMA18!

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
If you want to find out more about any online casino, learn about them, inside out, there’s no better place than Casino Countdown. The content, the information we provide, spiced up with the minimal, user-friendly design will get you coming back for more. It’s as simple as that. This might sound arrogant, but it’s what we’ve been told.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
Mobile visitors are a totally different target group. A desktop visitor will come and look around, literally explore. Individuals that browse the net with a smartphone is onto something. If you don’t provide them with what they’re looking for in the first few seconds, you’re going to lose them. Design is the biggest problem. There’s just so much information that needs to be displayed on such a small screen. Furthermore, not every visitor is in a comfortable state. There are people who look for a new game, new online casino while they’re on the bus, or they’re drinking their coffee. These are the people who know what they’re looking for, and we have to give it to them in a matter of seconds.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
Growing restrictions. In the past few years, key operators have moved away from big markets. Whenever this happens, affiliates lose significant share of their player base. This is why it’s important to diversify your porfolio. If you focus on one or two markets only, sure, you’ll be successful. But if something radical happens in the legislation of the said markets, the affiliate has to start from scratch, well almost.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Know where you’re headed. There are affiliates who start without any strategy. After a few months, they’re basically lost. It sounds simple, but it’s better to get things right the first time, than to go back through your entire webpage to fix something. The second advice, it’s an uphill ride. Do not expect any returns in the first year. Otherwise, you just might be disappointed. Conversions in this period should be reinvested immediately.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
As a matter of fact, yes! To be honest, i’m not fond of the latest additions. I tend to be nostalgic for the “aged” slots, like Immortal Romance and Starburst. Not that I have anything against any new slots. No two players alike.
€1,000,000 is a lot! I’ll probably get myself more free spins, play my favorite games, while i’m sitting on the balcony of my recently bought new house, looking at my brand new car, while I’m planning what country to visit next. I’m modest.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?
Yes I’m very excited to attend both events. Affiliate Grand Slam Tallinn and SiGMA16 were amazing! We have already started with the preparations for this year’s Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17 events. I am positive Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17 will set the bar even higher, considering it’s moving to a different, more spacious location.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Håkan Klingén, Owner of Nicerodds.co.uk

“Focus on what you do best and take help with the other things. And always think long term.” We met Håkan Klingén, the owner of nicerodds.co.uk to talk about his extensive experience in sportsbook business.

Hello Hakan, hope you are well in this festive season?

Hi Marius! Yes, I work with my biggest hobby – the life can’t be better.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

In 1987 I was 18 years and opened betting accounts in London. I placed my bets by email, fax or phone. I got coupons from three bookmakers every week, so the odds comparison work was very manually. After 16 years I started to doing my living from my betting and also started my odds comparison site.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

I had worked on a temporary service company since 1988 so for me outsourcing is something very natural. I don’t have any employees but many consultants and freelancers.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

No, it’s the same in all new businesses.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

No, I don’t have the money to compete with the biggest bookmakers, so I continue to focus on what I do best.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

We already have odds comparisons on like everything, but will have even more pages about next manager in different football clubs.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

Well, my English site has visitors from the whole world and many people in the emerging markets speak English – that’s the boring answer you got from me… But of course gambling on internet has just started…

How do you find Scandic market and competition?

Well, I live in Sweden and since 4 years I am biggest in Sweden on odds comparisons, but to be honest it is not so many competitors.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

Nothing. We focus on good content.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

Next step will be odds comparisons on the transfer windows.

What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?

That you can compare odds on the matches everywhere, so we focus on special bets, outrights and novelty bets.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

I am 48 years old, so for me a computer is something you have on a desk… But I have help with developing the mobile sites.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

I understand what you mean. But my answer is preparing for the winter Olympics and football World Cup 2018.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Focus on what you do best and take help with the other things.

And always think long term – it took me some years to get trust from Google but after 14 years…

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

Sorry. My focus is on odds.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

Yes, I had been on many conferences but not this two, so I am very excited.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Bertan Baytekin, CEO at Baytekin Media

“Focus on your product and deliver the best quality. Forget about money – if you are in it to make a living, you need to be the best in what you do first.” We met Bertan Baytekin, CEO at Baytekin Media for an interview about ProTipster and the company’s approach to different markets.

Hello Bertan, how are you?

Hi Marius, all good. Business is thriving and I’m happy to lead one of the most magnificent teams in the market.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

I was one of the founding managers of Runningball Sports Information GmbH. Since we changed the online betting landscape with our product, I had business relationship with top representatives of European and Asian online gaming companies. After that I worked at Global Sports Media and Perform Group to polish my B2B skills and learn the affiliate industry. I was ready to setup my own venture in 2011 and I started developing different projects with my partners.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

I have an excellent team in Katowice that helps me build technical platforms and market them. We are getting better and better at cost-effective user acquisition and conversion. My partners are in Istanbul, Stockholm, Lisbon, Tblisi and Zurich so I’m involved in several projects but the team in Katowice is baking the bread at the end of the day.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

No I’m not. I always thought the value stays with the brand that has the loyalty of players. Lots of gaming and payment platforms emerged during the past 10 years thanks to the computing technology that lowered transaction costs. Add on top the local regulations on online gambling and the increasing turn-key capabilities, it’s only natural that the players sides with the affiliate sites that understand their value, which means proposing them some sort of value apart from just offering them content to consume. In a world that’s full of online gambling operators with nearly the same content, the value is with those who have the loyalty of the players and those are smart affiliates that offer players a product experience.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

I haven’t practically done it but I consulted several white labels. I prefer to take full responsibility in only what I enjoy and what I’m good at.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

We focus a lot on video content. It’s not only because it’s more engaging, it’s also because it goes hand-in-hand with offering a product – video is harder to produce but it’s way more rewarding thanks to the branding spillover effect.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

We approach markets per language so our primary targets are markets where people speak English, Turkish, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Slovakian, Croatian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian, Latin American Spanish and Russian languages. We also aim to launch our German and Italian versions before the new year.

When it comes to emerging markets, Latam is definitely interesting. On top of this, there are a few newly regulated markets like Poland that are full of opportunities for those who understand how to do their business properly.

How do you find Turkish market and competition?

It’s a unique market. It looks tasty and easy from outside but the competition is fierce and corners are mostly taken. It’s impossible to do business within Turkish-speaking countries without having a reliable Turkish partner because business is an integral part of culture in those lands. Therefore, I strongly recommend joining forces with the right people before entering an adventure in that market.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

We are only affected by it positively because we are producing unique and good quality content in multiple languages. We don’t do translations of our English content and we go the extra mile. I believe companies with this kind of long-term mentality always get rewarded in the end.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

We are focusing on Protipster at the moment and our aim is to make it the largest social tipping community until the 2018 World Cup begins. We are also developing Appjobs and it’s one of the strongest projects we’ve ever been involved in. On top of this, we will keep our position in the current markets with our existing brands. All in all, next 10 months will be busy and exciting for us.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?

We focus on user satisfaction. It’s not about making money fast, it’s about creating brand value on long-term. I always believed financial success finds those who prioritize their principles over short-term cash and our principle is creating quality and happy users.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

We’ve foreseen this a while ago and adopted a responsive strategy in our brands. I think the main challenge is to think mobile-first because my generation is quite used to desktop view. Since we are the ones with capital now, it’s sometimes hard to adopt this strategy but it works. The main opportunity is creating totally different revenue streams by diversifying the core product in a mobile app – I believe apps should represent the brand value but should offer a different product experience and value to the end user.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

I think the main challenge is overregulation. Online gambling is an entertainment industry and it provides jobs to hundreds of thousands. Governments must understand that the entertainment is simply killed when players are up against impossible odds to make returns. When operators aren’t happy, they will reflect it to affiliates sooner or later.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Focus on your product and deliver the best quality. Forget about money – if you are in it to make a living, you need to be the best in what you do first. What’s the point of all that cash if you aren’t doing what you are good at and what you love doing?

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I never spent a single cent on slots but I do play them in fun mode. If I won a million, I would invest it in my team by giving them much better working conditions so I would invest it in my business.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

I’m always ready to meet new people and understand their perspectives. I am where I am thanks to what I learnt from the experiences people shared with me during these conferences for the past 13 years and I cannot afford to skip any.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Henrik Olsson, co-owner of NorskCasinoguide.com

“A lot of new brands pop up all the time and you have to choose carefully which one of them you want to work closer with.” We met  Henrik Olsson, co-owner of Norsk Casino Guide for an interview about his affiliate activity and his company’s strategy.

Hello Henrik, how are you?

Hi Marius, I’m very good, thanks.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

We are a team that is working with several sites. In areas like travel, retail, investing, forex and of course casino, bingo and poker. I haven’t worked so much in the casino area until recently, but I enjoy it a lot.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

No, I am not surprised at all.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

We have considered it, but affiliate business is our thing and I’m pretty sure we will not go that way.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

Write long articles about relevant themes will be important and to continue to make honest reviews.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

We are focusing on unique content to rank organically and we even have been hit of some of the updates we believe unique and honest content is the way to go.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

To be honest we have mainly focused on the content and not so much on the technology. That have made us back on mobile, but we are getting there and the sites are getting better day by day in this areas as well.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

The industry is developing fast. The competition gets harder every day, and new regulations come up that you have to follow closely. A lot of new brands pop up all the time and you have to choose carefully which one of them you want to work closer with. And of course you have to follow what Google wants and be a close friend.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Be patient and don’t give up. Work hard and find your niche.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I enjoy playing slots from time to time. If I won a million Euro I would invest them. I enjoy investing in the stock markets and we also find it exciting to invest in start-up companies.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

I hope to attend Affiliate Grand Slam and  SiGMA Conference this year, I have heard a lot of great things about it.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Marcos Oliveira, Business Manager at Clever Media

“Affiliate platforms still don’t have good tracking systems for mobile. 2017 is a good year to update them.” We met Marcos Oliveira, Business Manager at Clever Media, for an interview about the company and challenges for mobile traffic.

Hello Marcos, how are you?

Hello Marius, I’m very well thank you!

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

The company started very early in the gaming industry, but it was in 2010 when Clever Advertising was created starting with PPC investments and then switching to a media buying company.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

We are growing everyday, but at the moment we have about 150 employees spread on all our projects from Media buying, Social Media managing to SEO Content Websites

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

Not at all, regulation created a number of small / medium size affiliates to become very aggressive on specific markets where the big boys of the affiliate industry have more difficulty to enter, so it makes sense for them to be acquired!

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

We think of this every time that we review our monthly numbers! Why are we giving traffic to multiple operators and only get a piece of the game when we could be doing that by ourselves and take it all, well we strongly believe that we are very good on what we do and we have great relations with operators, each one should do what they do the best!

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

We will continue to focus on our core business and continue to create new websites and new content in different market focus.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

We are a worldwide marketing operation, but we do focus heavily on licensed markets, as an affiliate emerging markets represent a great opportunity for us to keep growing and developing new partnerships.

How do you find UK market and competition?

UK is a key market that keeps growing and growing, you see. Every year new operators and new affiliates coming to this market. Our data shows that UK is still an amazing market and there is still room for everyone that has a good strategy and product.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

We take Google very seriously and try to always keep updated as the algorithm grows and develops, our main focus its creating amazing content and deliver the best content to our readers.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

The industry its always at super speed, we are working in multiple projects and markets and we will let everyone know as we launch them.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?

Clever Advertsing is a power house on lead generation, its our goal to deliver the best traffic to our operators partners.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

It’s on mobile where the gaming industry its still behind to affiliates. Affiliate platforms still don’t have good tracking systems for mobile. 2017 is a good year to update them.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

Regulation is still an unknown process. We are waiting for Poland and Czech Republic to have more operators in the game, and we never know what is the next market to close for regulation, and mobile tracking is challenging.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Focus on the market that you know well and keep your product always on the next level of innovation and interaction with the traffic that you drive.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

Now a lot less than I used to play, but with a jackpot I would buy whatever my lady would want and the rest save it.

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

Here in Clever we are very excited with this year’s SiGMA since last year we had an amazing time there!

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Meet Daniel Stensio, owner of Casinofeber.se

“We see many competitors who – when reaching the top in the SERP – stop innovating and developing their sites. We believe that it is a crucial mistake and one that probably will cost them dearly in the long run.” We met Daniel Stensio, owner at Casino Feber to talk about the developing his affiliate website and the increasing competition on the market.

Hello Daniel, how are you?

Hi Marius! I’m great, thanks. Just celebrated my Birthday.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

I’ve been in the affiliate business for about 10 years and gambling was a natural step for me after a couple of other verticals. The competition – and of course the potential earnings – are intriguing.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

At the moment we are a two man team running our company, me and my colleague Lukas. We both have different skill sets and complement each other very well. We run the business like a normal start up. We barely sleep and love our job so much that we forget to eat.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

Not surprised, but a bit impressed that everything is moving so fast. There are no signs of the speed of change declining either. We are also going towards a license system in Sweden within a couple of years. That will require a lot of adjustments, and I think it will fuel more changes.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white label. Have you also done this?

Not yet, but in the long term that is one of our goals. We are open for suggestions.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

We have always written content with our primary focus on the end user – the reader – and will continue to do so. The competition only pushes us to do better, and that is one of the things that we love with the gaming affiliate industry. We are planning some really cool stuff where content is blended with unique functions to increase usability and engagement.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging market?

Currently we are focusing on the Scandinavian market and have our goal sets for the usual suspects of countries. However, when the time is right there is a thought about entering markets that the competition is easier, but of course I won’t tell you which ones yet.

How do you find Scandic market and competition?

The competition in the Scandinavian market is insane. Almost every competitor in the SERP top 10 has been acquired with a strong team and big bags of money in their backpacks. However the competition is what strives us to do even better and work harder. Of course we don’t have the budget of the giants, but we are hungrier!

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” – Napoleon  Hill

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

Well. Google has – for sure – updated their algorithms. But they haven’t changed their stance or view on how important the end user experience is. Their algorithm is only getting better at making decisions that are more and more like how humans would decide on a web page.  With that in mind, and some other factors of course, we have only gained from the algorithm changes. We will continue to develop sites for the end user and not for Google.  This way require a lot of patience, which of course isn’t always that fun when living the life of an entrepreneur.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

We are shortly launching our primary site CasinoFeber in Norway.

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?

If you are a competitor: We hope you have a good rear view mirror, because we are right behind you, accelerating. Anyone else: CasinoFeber.se has the best casino bonuses available, and our reviews are great!

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

Mostly challenges with optimizing the design and call to actions for a smaller screen as we got a lot of content, which not always are what you are looking for when you are on the go.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

The competition won’t stop increasing. Therefore it is imperative to never relax nor be satisfied with keyword positions, content or any other parameter. We see many competitors who – when reaching the top in the SERP – stop innovating and developing their sites. We believe that is a crucial mistake and one that probably will cost them dearly in the long run.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Never stop believing in that it will work in the long run and be patient. As soon as the doubt sets in, so does your decline of moral. Don’t think too much. Just do it, review and redo it.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I mostly play for fun money when a new slot is released to be up to date. With a big jackpot win I would probably host an epic party and buy casino stocks.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA?

Hell yeah!

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?