Interview with Juan Carlos Muñoz, SEO Manager at Epicorns

“Have a lot of patience and work hard. Nothing magically arrives from day to day.” SiGMA meets Juan Carlos Muñoz from Epicorns.

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

A year ago, this world was totally unknown to me, I knew basically what everyone knows, a few games, some online casinos and not much more. At that time, a lifelong friend of mine told me about a project (now a company known as Epicorns) that was starting up, and proposed me to be part of it. This project consisted of the launch of a several sites, such as www.casinosonlineespana.org and www.rahapelit-netissa.com. Since then, I have not stopped learning and getting more and more knowledge in this interesting online gaming world. Currently, I continue to be part of this project, and hopefully for a long time.

SiGMA-iGaming-Interview-with-Juan-Carlos-Muñoz-SEO-Manager-at-EpicornsCan you tell us a little about how your company business is structured? 

We are a very small company, but with great growth potential. We are seven employees in total, working mostly from home, some in Barcelona, some in Andorra and others in India (apart from freelancers helping us with content in Colombia, Finland and Sweden).

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

We are focused on the Nordic and Spanish markets mostly. These two markets is where we have most of our sites, such as www.uudet-nettikasinot.org and www.nya-casinon.org in the Nordicsand, www.tragaperras-online.org and www.bonocasino.es in the Spanish market. We could say that these are our most developed and growing websites.

For us, a market with a lot of potential is English, a huge and very competitive market, where making a site involves a lot of work and investment.

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

Of course, we are immersed in the development of a site that will be operating in several markets, we want to turn www.casinoslam.com into a benchmark of online gaming in different markets. So far, we have planned the UK, Finland, Sweden, Spain and some others that we would like to keep up our sleeves. It is a project of great magnitude on which we are much focused, and little by little it will be coming to light.

Other important plans are the sites www.ruleta-casino.es and www.svenska-casinon.com which are great domains that we can’t just leave without any usage. So, we are focusing on them with the little resources we have, knowing that some day they will be on the top!

Are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

The changes in this industry are constant, so we should always be on alert. The continuous changes in thepositioning algorithms force us to make changes almost daily, and it is something that we must get used to, since it is a market in constant evolution. We can’t be surprised and that’s why we have to try out new strategies. It’s a more mature sector than what it was a few years ago, so I guess it’s totally normal to get companies listed and buying smaller affiliates.

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?

Not at the moment, but I suppose it is a very logical business evolution, so I would never rule it out. It is true that we are not yet 100% prepared for this type of projects, but it is something that we will take into account as a way of business expansion.

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

Our intention for the next 6 months is to grow a lot in content. We understand that the content is a fundamental piece to reach the objectives set, always without forgetting that the quality in the content is before the quantity.

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

The challenge in this case is having to adapt our templates, trying to get it to work as you really want. For example, in www.svenska-casinon.com we had difficulties to fix the table where the sites are listed, in order to be shown perfectly to the mobile users. But anyway, the opportunities offered are countless. We all know that each day more of these devices are the gateway of new customers, we have to bet on it because sooner or later this route will be most used, whether in online gaming or any other sector.

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

Have a lot of patience and work hard. Nothing magically arrives from day to day. That is why they have to be constant and not abandon their projects for believing that they will not work. It is a very competitive market and in constant evolution, and we must be working to never be behind.

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

I’m not a big fan of slot machines, but I’ve tried them and fantasised about that possibility. The first thing I would do would be celebrating without limits; and once finished the celebration I would think of more serious things and more focused on the future, but not forgetting to save a little of that jackpot to try again.

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

Of course, yes. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to get to know this market first hand and to get to know all of us who move in. A fantastic opportunity to make new business out of the monotony of the office.

Meet Mathias Olsson, Owner of oddsonline.se and freespins365.co.uk

“Have focus and be patient. Nowadays, it will take time to get the rankings. Build something that you can be proud of and don’t lose faith too fast.” We interviewed Mathias Olsson, Owner of oddsonline.se and freespins365.co.uk.

Hello Mathias, how are you?

Hi Marius! I’m just fine. Summer has arrived here in Sweden making the weather a bit better.

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

I played poker and had an interest in HTML (this was way back, early 2004) and I combined these interests as I started our first site, spelapoker.se. After a couple of months, I noticed one could earn some money and after that, things escalated. In 2007 we changed the name of the company at the same time that two other guys came in as partners.

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

We have two offices, the head office in Karlskrona (in the southeast part of Sweden) and the other in Stockholm. We are a total of 8 people in the offices and we also have several freelancers on the roster.

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

We saw something similar starting during the early years of the poker boom. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act made a stall on that and with Black Friday, it totally died. We weren’t totally surprised when the M&A’s started but we didn’t think it would escalate that quickly. At the same time, I think what we see is a natural development of a young business.

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 been approached a lot of times during the years, especially during the height of poker. We have always decided not to take that route, especially not on a solo project.
Now we have a small stake at a fairly new casino. It’s interesting to see the “other” side of the industry.

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 are currently in a project where we do a big retake on much of our content. In the same time, we are redoing a some of the designs. We will continue focusing on making good content and make the sites more and more mobile friendly. Other than that, we might have some more up our sleeves.

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

We have always had a focus on the Swedish market. We try out things in different parts of the world and have some exciting plans.

How do you find Scandinavian market and competition?

It’s though and it’s one of the hardest markets to succeed at in the world when comes to iGaming. But if you make it, the player value is very high.

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

You must constantly be updated about the recent news regarding Google’s new updates. Normally it’s just minor changes and now we haven’t had any real issues for some years.

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

As I mentioned we have some new designs, casinosnack.com has already been updated for example, rolling out and one of our biggest site will get a big update. It’s needed but at the same time really scaring. You never know what the big G will think about an update.

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

We will continue adding good information and value to our visitors. For example, at oddsonline.se we have a lot of data with the best odds comparison in Sweden, news, updates and game tips.

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

We continue to see more and more visitors using the mobiles instead of desktop versions. It will challenge you to come up with new ideas and solutions and therefore get a better product in the end. The biggest challenge is to make a large amount of data presented in a way that mobile users can get a good overview and useful information.

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

It will be harder and harder to keep up with the bigger competitors. Companies like Raketech, Catena and XL Media have a lot of resources and they are moving fast. But we have a good team and will try to do our best to continue to make an impact.

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

Have focus and be patient. Nowadays, it will take time to get the rankings. Build something that you can be proud of and don’t lose faith too fast. Also, don’t think this is a simple way to get rich fast, you must put down a lot of hours to succeed.

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

I play occasionally, both online and offline when I’m in Vegas. If I won 1 million euro I would take the family on a nice vacation and then probably invest the rest.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

It will be my first-time visiting Bucharest and it will be a good opportunity to meet up with old friends and acquire new ones at the same time.
We are also already looking forward to this year’s Sigma and it will be interesting to see the new venue.

Relive the highlights 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 Emil Englund, Owner of ​New-onlinecasinos.co.uk​ and New-casinosites.co.uk​

“I would recommend new affiliates to do some kind of niche and try to rank for lower volume keywords at the beginning. There is money to be made even if you don’t rank on the top keywords, remember that!” We met Emil Englund, Owner of ​New-onlinecasinos.co.uk​ and New-casinosites.co.uk.

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

Hi Marius ! I’m very well, thank you! Summer is here and business is going great so I’m a happy person. With the Affiliate Grand Slam around the corner and my first conference attendance I have nothing to complain about!

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

Even though I have always had an interest in computers and web development in general it was only about 7 month ago I got introduced to the gambling space by a group of close friends. We talked for a while about online gambling in general and the possibilities that comes with it if you can tame it. From that day I felt more motivated than ever and was dedicated to give it a serious try in order to be successful. A few month later when I got my first deposited player I decided to set up my company and give it my full attention.

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

It’s basically a one man show right now (me) with help of a few content writers from time to time. As of right now I plan on keeping it like this even though there are a lot of things that needs my attention on a daily basis. As long as you have a good and well thought-out structure on a daily basis I have no problem running two sites right now. The company is based in Sweden where I also work mainly from.

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, not yet! As of right now all my attention and focus is to become a great affiliate and learn everything there is to learn within this space. I learn new things everyday as an affiliate and I love every minute of it. No plans of changing anything atm even though it sounds exciting to go down the white label route.

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 will continue to push unique content as I have been doing for quite some time, but I will probably put more effort into analysing how the content should be written, when I should post the articles and so on. There are so many other factors other than unique content that have an impact on how you will rank in the end and each of these will get more of my time during the next months.

How do you find UK market and competition?

The UK market is pretty tough but with a well thought-out structure from the start I think there are still many great opportunities available. Having a site that is more niched and content focused on a few keywords is probably a good start. I would not recommend a person that’s brand new to the affiliate gambling space and SEO to try begin optimizing for the toughest keywords available. My recommendations would be to begin with easier keywords and learn as you go.

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

Building new sites is always exciting and I’m currently working on a few new sites that I hope will begin generating traffic in Q1 2018. These will not only target the United Kingdom but many other english speaking countries as well. It’s a lot of work, but if you love you job it’s not that hard going the extra mile.

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

Well, since I’m doing the new niche, my sites new-onlinecasinos.co.uk and new-casinosites.co.uk will always be open for new and exciting ideas from the gambling community. At my sites you will find in depth-reviews of many of the latest casinos online together with exclusive offers. I’m always open to get in contact with new people and create new partnerships with great companies.

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

The major challenges I see with the move to mobile is the technical aspect of getting the sites to run smooth and sleek with an easy navigation and user interface. I do tweaks at the sites all the time and I think it will reward me in the end. Nowadays almost every person have a smartphone with a cellular connection so the potential of earning big bucks with mobile players is huge if you have a mobile friendly website. I think the following years will show even a bigger audience using mobile devices since more and more people nowadays use a mobile device instead of an ordinary computer. Exciting times for sure!

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

Make your homework and get to know the key fundamentals in how to SEO a web page. Build from you experiences as you work and be prepared to work for a long time without earning anything. If you want to make it, dedication and motivation is what you need so make sure you have a big pile of it before you get started. Also, as stated before, I would recommend new affiliates to do some kind of niche and try to rank for lower volume keywords at the beginning. There is money to be made even if you don’t rank on the top keywords, remember that!

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

No, not that often actually. I think I’ll be more successful at the other end of the spectrum in the long run. The only time I play is when new slots are launched and I’m about to write a review for it. If the luck would struck me I would probably buy a big and over the top sportfishing boat and go for a long fishing expedition with all my friends to the Norwegian fjords.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?

This will actually be my first conference so I’m super excited to finally experience it all. I’m looking forward meeting new people and exchange tips and tricks that will profit us all in the end. I’m sure the conferences will be a huge success like it have been in the past!

Relive the highlights 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 Bruno Berlafa, Head of Affiliates at GiG Affiliates

“Be connected. Good relationships are essential for your success.” We met Bruno Berlafa, Head of Affiliates at GiG Affiliates.

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

Hi Marius. All well man, more hectic than ever, but only good things on the current and future agenda. I hope life is treating you well also!

How did you come to enter the online gaming space?

Roughly 3,5 years ago I was working for one of the major Scandinavian affiliate networks (Euroads) and had Erik Bergman as one of my business partners. We kicked off well from the start and once BetIt at that time were looking for an affiliate manager he recommended me. The rest is as you say history.

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

Even the short version would be quite long here since so much progress has happened within a short period of time. I represent GIG Gaming, which is a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group that with the upcoming brand (launch October) will have 7 B2C brands in the portfolio.
My role as Head of Affiliates is together with my ass kicking team to promote and spread the word about the most innovative portfolio of brands in the industry towards our affiliates. One of the things that I am doing now is to transform www.gigaffiliates.com and add Thrills, Kaboo and Superlenny there. We have at this stage two different affiliate platform so first step is to have a united visual front so that is becomes clearer towards our partners that we are the same company.

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 could see it coming, but not at such a speed that we have seen. It has been a game changer in regards to many aspects. The competition, whether operator or affiliate, is fierce so long term besides capital and innovation it comes down to the basics which is work harder and smarter to stand out from the crowd.

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

The usual suspects (Scandinavia, UK, Netherlands, DACH-region). There is potential in more markets, but we don´t enter without a game plan. Once we do are 100% ready.

How do you find Scandinavian market and competition?

Acquiring traffic in Scandinavia, no matter through what channel, is very capital intensive and the trend has not declined since my first day in the business. What was once a vertical that relied heavy on the revenue share model has the recent years transformed into pure media buying in many cases. Affiliates are the powerhouses when it comes to driving the quality and quantities since they are dominating the SERP.
Since the operators, with some few exceptions were late in focusing on their inhouse SEO affiliates are not just dominating the major keywords, but also the long tail. I believe that a new brand that enters this region without the support of affiliates will have issues long term to sustain their business model, unless they have a product that differentiates from the crowd or are excelling in their daily operations.

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

I am married and have a kid so this interview is probably top 3 on most exciting events this year in my life. Joke aside! As mentioned Gaming Innovation Group is an extremely interesting phase so at this stage I would like to go slower to enjoy all the exciting things in the agenda. But exciting plans? What could be better for our current and new partners to be aware of that we will before this year launch our next brand.

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

When I look at our portfolio of brands I do see a lot of positive values combined that really tells me we are a company that want to make a positive difference in the industry. It makes me proud and also thankful for our all partners out that there are contributing to this exciting journey ahead of us.

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

More opportunities then challenges is how we treat it internally. Majority of our brands have more mobile users then desktop so from our end it is constantly about looking to improve the experience for our end users.

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

Generating traffic and leads would be the main challenge for both operators and affiliates. During 2016 more than 100 brands were released and the trend has not slowed down this year. Last time I checked there were not 100 new media sources that could cater for the traffic demand that all these operators would need to have a sustainable business model.

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

Be connected. No matter business, good relationships are essential for your success. The other thing would be that nothing is certain. As long as Google predict the conditions hard work and innovation can get you anywhere. Few things make me as happy to see as new blood entering the market that succeeds despite having a disadvantage in terms of resources compared to the big players out there.

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

Blood suckers was the first game I played and I am still loyal to it. I would save some, enjoy some and share some.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

Very ready! During Grand Slam Bucharest we will show the invited affiliates a bit of our upcoming brand so I hope they are ready from their end as well.

Relive the highlights 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?

Interview with Matan Waysler from The Big Free Chip List

“Cooperate with your fellow affiliates. We can all learn a lot if we share the info between us. Work together and not against each other.” We met Matan Waysler, the owner of The Big Free Chip List.

Hello Matan, how are you?

Hi Marius, I am great, thank you for asking.

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

I have always been into online marketing, offering people a unique and new experience and bring service to people. This is basically the main reason why this company was set up, to help users find exactly what they want when looking for casinos.

Matan Waysler

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

This company believes in building, not only professional partnerships with our clients, but also in building strong and lasting relationships with the people behind the monitors.

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 couldn’t say I am surprised. This industry, just like any other, must change in order to evolve.

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.

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 one thing which sets up apart from our competition. We work with unique content and we base our strategy on SEO. Our main goal is to offer the user a unique and new experience. Features from Brand Reviews (eg: min deposit, min withdrawal) weren’t even on the market when we established our business and we are the first ones to develop and create such a section.Our goal for the future is not to bother our users with things they don’t need, but offer them exactly what they are looking for.

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

Our business was built in such way that it targets all markets.

How do you find UK market and competition?

Although we know the UK market had a slight drop in the past years due to issues regarding the acquisition of a gambling license, we saw an increase in these past few months and we are happy about it.

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

As we build our company on SEO, we are keeping up with Google’s changes and we are working towards improving our SEO and content on a daily basis.

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

We plan on improving our network of websites, by adding some new and unique features. More than that, I can’t disclose, but stand by and you will see.

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

I think the most important thing is the fact that we have a team which improves and updates these sites daily. We are striving to be the best in the industry!

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

To be quite honest, we anticipated this move and our network of websites have been mobile friendly for a while now.  We see this move to mobile as a great opportunity for the industry and we gladly embraced it.

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

I would say that keeping up with the big number of affiliates out there could be considered a challenge, especially since that means more competition. But we are prepared to deal with anything coming in our way. At the same time, we saw an increase in the number of clients over the past years and we are happy that this industry is getting bigger. I think 2017 will be a great year for the online gamble industry.

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

Cooperate with your fellow affiliates would be my main advice. We can all learn a lot if we share the info between us. Work together and not against each other.

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

Really? only 1 million??? ;), well occasionally I am more of a BJ (BlackJack!) man. I would expand my car collection ( which is just one car for the moment).

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest and SiGMA17?

We are preparing ourselves for SiGMA17 Affiliate Conference and we can’t wait for it. As for Affiliate Grand Slam Bucharest, I can only say our trip to Tallinn was amazing, we really enjoyed our time there, and we are definitely going to be a part of the Grand Slam Bucharest.

Relive the highlights 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 Alex Szilaghi, Owner of JugglerDesign.com

“Be 100% sure which countries you target, prepare for mobile and new technologies and select carefully the brands you want to promote.” Meet Alex Szilaghi, Owner of JugglerDesign.com.

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

Hi Marius. Yes, I do feel great. Thank you for asking.

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

I have started in early 2006 when I had a contract with BetOnline. Was necessary to open a business to continue offer my services to other companies as well.

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

Can say that we target 2 different streams; one is the online gambling design and development which includes also the affiliate websites and the mobile apps, and on the second stream we target the consulting for startups.

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

Can’t say that it’s a big surprise. Lots of companies went down, some went up, and new players show up on the market. Important is that big players are steady and new ones enter the market with very attractive offers.

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 have never been interested in operating an online gambling business. More interested in design and developing the systems.

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

Currently I am working on developing an online slots machine game for mobile which is set to go live by the end of this year. You might ask what a new slots machine game can bring? Lots of things. Only thing you can do is to wait for the release of the game and play it.

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

My focus was on the North American market, but I started to be interested in the European and Asian market. Especially China has huge potential for online gambling.

How do you find UK markets and competition?

UK market is very strong and competitive.

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

Properly done SEO (the old school way) plus some updates will always keep you on top. Yes, Google is changing the algorithm from time to time, but let’s not forget one thing – they will not create a completely new one. Will always use what they already have and update it with new functions.

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

Yes. Currently I am working on developing an online slots machine game for mobile which is set to go live by the end of this year. At the request of the lawyers I am working on developing an application to manage cases, clients, and invoicing.

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

That our sites try to offer fresh and pertinent data for gamblers, especially online sports bettors.

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

Started design and develop for mobile 5-6 years ago. The switch of the traffic from PC to mobile devices did not catch me unprepared and can see that on the traffic. Over 85% of the traffic on the sites we own is from mobile devices. I find the mobile to be fast paced as the content has to be trimmed for fast loading, the ads need to display fast as well.

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

Getting clients is the biggest challenge. They got to be educated and the sites and applications need to be better, to have good content and up to date info. Without all these no site will survive the competition.

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

Be 100% sure which countries you target, prepare for mobile and new technologies and select carefully the brands you want to promote. And for sure they need to attend all the affiliate conventions out there.

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

I am working in the online gambling industry, but I do not gamble myself. With a big win I would invest the money in the business.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?

Yes! Can’t wait.

Relive the highlights 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?

Interview with Tero Lipponen from BigWinPictures.com

“Nothing in the affiliate world happens overnight, so I also recommend working patiently from day to day without resorting to black hat techniques and other questionable methods and your perseverance will eventually be rewarded.” We met Tero Lipponen, the Owner of BigWinPictures.com.

Hello Tero, how are you? 

Hi Marius, thanks for asking, everything’s great and it’s finally summertime in Tallinn.

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

I previously worked as a slot supervisor at a bricks and mortar casino for 13 years, during which time I got to know a lot of players. They were aware of my interest in casino games and started sending me pictures of their big wins by phone. The pictures were just in my phone, and I thought that maybe others would also be interested in these big wins, so I launched the website bigwinpictures.com and started posting photos and videos on the site. That’s how the site was originally born, and today it has almost 19,000 photos and over 1,100 videos.

bigwinpictures.com

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

At the moment the company has one full-time employee in addition to myself. I also use the services of a freelance programmer and graphic artist whenever necessary.

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?

So far I haven’t been tempted to go in this direction. The competition on the online casino market is fierce, and it is very difficult to stand out from the crowd. It’s no longer enough to open a casino, offer bonuses, and put up your feet and wait for money to come pouring in from every door and window. I have been entertaining some ideas and new approaches to online gaming, and if at some point I have a decisive eureka moment, I don’t consider it out of the realm of possibility that I might also enter this business at some stage.

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 are currently working on improving the mobile experience of the site, given current demands that is our priority number one. We are also looking to enhance the browsability of the site and have come up with new ways to increase its interactiveness.

How do you find Scandic markets and competition?

The Scandinavian market is very competitive and at the same time one of our most important markets. Finland, Sweden and Norway have very high quality websites and it’s very easy to find information about casinos and games. I totally understand that there is aggressive competition to land the Scandinavian players, because the quality of players in these countries is very good.

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

From day one, our site has been built around unique content, and we have never bought traffic or content. We follow Google’s updates closely, but at least so far we are unaware of any negative repercussions. The basic techniques of staying relevant in Google’s eyes have not changed, so by doing things right we will get the required visibility.

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

We’re renewing the player profile feature on our site, after which people who have sent us pictures will be able to find all their pictures in their own profile, as well as see stats including biggest win, average bet, total wins, etc.

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

Although there’s no denying that in the long run the house always wins in casino gaming, our website hosts a vast amount of evidence supporting our slogan “You can’t lose every time” so go check it out to see how players have scooped payouts from various games.

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

The biggest challenge by far is the increased competition, which is something you just have to live with. Today it’s not enough to compete with other sites, but you also have to compete with dozens of really good streamers, who produce quality content on a daily basis.

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

In this climate of increased competition, the concept for the site should be something novel and directed at a smaller slice of the gaming sector. A new site in its infancy is going to have a hard time being good at betting, slots, poker, table games, etc. and instead only be able to cover these areas superficially. Nothing in the affiliate world happens overnight, so I also recommend working patiently from day to day without resorting to black hat techniques and other questionable methods and your perseverance will eventually be rewarded.

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

Slots have been my passion for as long as I have been of legal gambling age (and maybe even before that). I play almost every day and aim to try as many new slots from different manufacturers as I can to stay on board with what’s happening in the world of slots. If I hit a one million dollar jackpot, I’d probably invest in real estate and go on a long vacation somewhere warm, provided that there would also be a nice, 24/7 casino nearby 🙂

Relive the highlights 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 Roman Doroshenko, Owner of SlotsUp.com

“Do more networking – that’s how you will get more info about the niche. Work hard and be patient, all truly great results need time (like a good wine).” We met Roman Doroshenko, Owner of SlotsUp.com.

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

Hello Marius, I’m really good, thanks for asking. Summer is the time when I feel work/life balance the most.

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

I was working as an SEO specialist and 4 years ago I was hired to try myself in gambling niche. After a great success of my projects, I wanted to launch my own project, but the company’s policies were against own projects in the same niche. So, after I quit my job I launched SlotsUp.com to repeat my previous success and I did just in one year. Along with my own projects, I also got a full time job where I’m a co-owner of such projects as OnlineCasinoHEX.ca, OnlineCasinoHEX.de, and other affiliate projects dedicated to specific countries.

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

Yes, easy one 🙂 There only 3 key people in this structure and a few copywriters on freelance. I’m doing all the design, SEO, affiliate deals, testing, ideas generation, etc. My girlfriend and partner Marina is responsible for the social medias, content and copywriters management. My developer Max is handling all the tech side, manages servers, develops all backend and frontend.

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

Even though I’m only 4 years in this niche, I’m not surprised at all. Big fish eats small fish, I guess that happens in any business. But for the past year I was more surprised with the price of those acquisitions.

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 didn’t. Maybe I will in the future (I guess that is hard, but interesting experience), but for now I’m more than happy to be an affiliate.

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

Regarding the content, it’s not enough to have it unique anymore. Now it’s even more complicated, as you should get a golden mean of all the criteria that content should match. As for my focus, I think I’ll be doing more media partnerships, more testings on my sites and more development of new cool features.

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

I want to conquer most of them. For now I have a great success in US, UK, Canada and all other english-speaking countries, followed by Germany, Netherlands & Finland. Next in the list are Sweden and Norway, obviously 🙂 Also, this year I plan to go after Brazil, Japan and maybe a few more exotic countries.

How do you find UK market and competition?

One of the best markets, but the competition there is just crazy. I worked with many markets over the last 8 years, but this one is one of the strongest.

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

I’d rather say that Google is helping me, as he fights all the rubbish sites and spammy webmasters. As for the SEO and content, for the last year I had a chance to sharpen my knowledge even more, so now it’s easier for me to create something Google wants to see in his top 10.

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

I guess the most exciting plans are to launch projects in exotic markets, because I’ve never worked with them before.

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

My sites like huge icebergs, everyone is seeing just a tip of them, but there are many algorithms, functions, tests and other things underneath. All of present and ,what’s more important, future things are developed to deliver the maximum value to the player in the first place.

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

Not much, as we try to make every site mobile-ready from the start. Back in 2009 when I was working with the huge diamond/jewelry US brand and we launched the mobile version of the site, that was the first time I realized that in a few years it’s gonna be a crucial for any business online.

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

Winning in new markets. Mobile app development. New algorithms and content for my websites to deliver even better value for my visitors.

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

Do more networking, that’s how you will get more info about the niche. Work hard and be patient, all truly great results need time (like a good wine).

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

I have a few thousands free slot games on my websites, and I’m pretty sure I played more than 1000 games already, to experience them and know them better. Sometimes I play them for real money.

If I win 1 million Euro, I guess I would buy a house in Italy for my mom, some money I would invest in business and some I would give to the charity.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?

I was born ready 😀

Relive the highlights 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 Haris Cejvan from Casivo

“I believe that affiliates will get more careful when selecting which partners to work with. Simply a consequence of a paradigm shift where several affiliates strive to create brands rather than simple sites.” Meet Haris Cejvan – an affiliate currently working on two websites: casivo.co.uk and casivo.se.

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

Hi Marius, I’m great, visiting some family and friends across Europe at the moment!

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

I’ve been working within the industry for a few years and all of a sudden, it felt like we’ve found the perfect team and had enough knowledge to win this race.

Haris Cejvan

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

At the moment we are only three people putting all the effort into building two quality sites, one for the UK market casivo.co.uk and one for the SE market, casivo.se. I’m a firm believer of quality over quantity which is the foundation for the entire company.

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. As competition is getting tougher, it is obvious that larger companies can benefit from their scale, creating synergies with anything from their link building, sales to staffing.

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?

When people think it is a gold rush, I prefer to be the one selling shovels.

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

First, I want to emphasize that quality is much more than just unique content. Regarding content, the focus is set upon providing the visitors with information that actually help them to become better players, making wiser choices and get a better understanding when playing.

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

There are a lot of interesting markets emerging, but I also believe that to become the best, you really must know your market. At the moment, we are looking for someone with experience from the South American market that can help us.

How do you find Scandic and UK markets and competition?

The main difference is that the share of traffic from organic SEO affiliates is less in the UK due to competition from more TV-commercials, social media affiliates, PPC affiliates, etc. Something that the Swedish market will experience rather soon.

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

As a new affiliate, we welcome changes in Google’s algorithm as we believe we can adapt to changes much faster than the older ones.

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

Let’s just say that I’m certain that changed market conditions and a smarter Google will surprise a lot of affiliates.

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

That we are rather careful by selecting our partners. This also breaks down to quality as we believe in creating a real customer value for our visitors, something you won’t be able to do if promoting the wrong brands.

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

The year is 2017; mobile searches accounts for more than 50%  which is why our sites are built with a “mobile first approach” to be as good as possible on all devices. For us, this is a huge opportunity as older affiliates (still) need to rebuild their sites.

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

Two main things. At first, I believe that affiliates will get more careful when selecting which partners to work with. Simply a consequence of a paradigm shift where several affiliates strive to create brands rather than simple sites. Additionally, I believe a lot of affiliates will start looking into more channels than just organic SEO.

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

Do not give up. It takes time to learn the industry, it takes time to rank in Google, and it takes time to learn about what’s working and what’s not. Also, be nice to people.

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

There is a Beer festival every year in Sarajevo. I’d like to bring all my friends within the gaming industry to have a party over there. Beer is cheap in Bosnia, so I’m sure 1 million euros would be enough.

Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?

Always. The best thing with the Affiliate Grand Slam is that you get an opportunity to come closer to current partners and find new ones under better conditions than the other conferences that too often gets too busy.

Relive the highlights 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?

Interview with TYS Marketing team

“We have found out that networking with the right people could deliver for great results later, for both sides.” We met TYS Marketing team to talk about how they see the iGaming industry and how they operate in it.

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

Our company started as a one-man team in the last few years and today we are 3 partners, each one is responsible to do what he is good at. We focus mainly on paid campaigns and SEO marketing to our gambling portals but we are always looking also for more verticals to get involved in.

TYS Marketing

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

We are trying to build some different sites, with high-level of design and content. We are aware to the fact many others are doing the same but we are putting big efforts on creating unique and better sites and portals, something that the users haven’t seen before in terms of design and structure (Look and feel).

What make TYS Marketing unique? What do you have that will make you succeed that some of the other companies maybe don’t have?

There are many talented guys outside, no doubt at all. But in order to succeed you don’t need to be afraid from failures. We know it sounds like a cliché but that’s the truth. You must be consistent, persistent and keep doing what you like to do. We are very passionate on what we are doing, and with the proper knowledge, experience and passion, we can do a lot of great things together.

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

We have focused in the last few years on the Nordics and DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). We have also started to work on Portugal and we are looking to get into more and more regulated markets. For us, each market is an opportunity for revenues and a new challenge, so definitely we are looking into other markets including Brazil, Japan, Colombia and more.

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

It’s not a secret, but mobile is much more dominant nowadays sometimes even more than desktops/laptops. We always put big efforts on customizing our websites to be mobile friendly and mobile responsive. You can’t ignore mobile traffic at all!

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

We are looking all the time for new projects and new challenges. Our next projects will be dedicated to Spanish and Italian audiences, while we are planning also to do some re-design to our sites.

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

We are very open-minded people and we have found out that networking with the right people could deliver for great results later, for both sides. We truly believe in honesty, something that is not so common unfortunately in our industry.

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

There is a lot of competition but there is enough place for almost everyone (; You need to find the right niche and invest there. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t afraid to take some risks. Oh and you have to be patient, don’t expect to earn millions in your first month (: Read on forums, get involved with people and see who is the bad guys and who is the good guys around.

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

Always! We were there for the 1st time at SiGMA conference last November and it was a very good event so we are sure that this year it’s going to be even more amazing. We were with you guys also in Tallinn and soon in Bucharest, and you are very talented in what are you doing. All the team, and of course Eman, the star!

Relive the highlights 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?