Born and raised in Belgium, Christiaan Bollen (Boljoro) is among the few LRT Certified Professionals in the world.
EEGReport Magazine: Hi Christiaan, tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Christiaan Bollen really is. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing these skills that got you so far in the industry?
Christiaan: I am born and raised in Belgium. As a kid, there was always a big interest in computers. In high school I started creating my first affiliate websites, it was a nice extra income for a teenager. Later in university I graduated in Software Development, during my time at university there was not so much time for the websites, there were other priorities during those years and the affiliate websites were put on hold.
After graduating at university, I started working as consultant in a local Belgian software development agency.
In the evenings after work the urge to make my own websites came back. At that time in 2012 in Belgium the gambling market just got legalized. Because there was not really a website that gave an overview of which casinos were legal I decided to make a website that gives an overview of legal gambling websites. I had no idea how much money there was to make as an affiliate in this industry.
My first website Goedgekeurdegoksites.be started small, an overview of all the legal websites with some information and a few affiliate links. From time to time some extra news was added. Nothing big. After some months the income became bigger and bigger. Later I decided to stop working as software developer and started up my own company. Today Goedgekeurde Goksites is one of the biggest iGaming affiliate websites in Belgium. The website also has a version for the French speaking part of Belgium, Jeux de Casino Approuvés .
Being an affiliate gives you a lot of freedom. As long as there is an internet connection and you have your laptop with you, you can work. There are even some people who claim to do all their work on their smartphone.
Having all the freedom in the world, last year I decided to move to Barcelona, my favorite city. The company is now also officially in Spain. Soon more Spanish and International websites will be released. At the moment those are in development.
What I like and focus on is SEO. In the 5 years I have been to many SEO conferences and got really good in it. Last year I was honored to join the SEOktoberfest, one of the most exclusive SEO conferences with all top experts. Sometimes I also speak as SEO specialist at conferences.
Going to conferences gives me a chance to travel around the world and discover new places. It is also a good variety in my daily life as affiliate.
EEGReport Magazine: Since there are hundreds of Search Engine Optimization, Online Marketing and Web Development agencies out there, where do you think Boljoro stands in relation to the competition at this moment?
Christiaan: Boljoro is a small company, I mainly do consultancy work as SEO specialist. Build an SEO strategy for a company that their in house team can execute.
It is hard to say about myself but I believe my knowledge is above average of other SEOs. Going to many conferences talking with other experts but also getting ideas from other people you talk with. It doesn’t always have to be an expert that has good ideas.
Being part of closed communities like the SEOktoberfest gives me the opportunity to be in close contact with people from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and big agencies. This is my biggest source of information. It benefits me as affiliate and my clients.
EEGReport Magazine: Tell us which markets do you target with Boljoro and in which fields/niches are your clients active?
Christiaan: The biggest market for Boljoro is still Belgium, next to that the focus is going to Spain as we relocated. As I am an igaming affiliate, the igaming niche is the most important. But Boljoro also has clients in other niches, the car industry for example.
In the beginning you try to get clients and don’t really focus on a market. Now there is so much work that I don’t take random customers in different markets anymore. My focus is on the gambling industry. I am open to new projects in other markets but only if they are interesting enough for me.
EEGReport Magazine: We know that you’re constantly travelling, could you share the most interesting events that are dedicated to SEO/link building or affiliate conferences/events?
Christiaan: The most interesting SEO conference for me is Ungagged, this conference is 2 times a year. In June in London and in November in Las Vegas. For a igaming affiliate the fact that it is in Vegas is an extra plus.
If you focus on a specific country, try to go an SEO conference in that country. The local people will have their own strategies that you can learn from. Some things work different in other countries.
Always try to blend in with your competitors if you do SEO, just be a little bit better then them.
For the igaming affiliates, they can not miss the London Affiliate Conference. This conference makes it possible to talk affiliate managers from most of the brands. The other iGB Affiliate conferences are also good but there are less brands present. At the iGB events lately the level of SEO presentations also got better.
EEGReport Magazine: Google rolled out it’s final version of Penguin, what’s your angle on this “real-time update” ?
Christiaan: Calling it the final version might not be so accurate, it keeps getting updated. You have to be even more careful with your link profile as they can push a change every day. One of these updates might have a big influence on your website. My advice is to keep a clean link profile.
EEGReport Magazine: How about Google’s New Mobile Index?
Christiaan: An obvious evolution, mobile had a big growth in the last decade. These days everyone is walking around with a smartphone and using it whenever they can. The amount of mobile traffic got higher than desktop. It is normal that Google follows this evolution and puts mobile before desktop now.
EEGReport Magazine: Can you tell us how did you see this year in terms of Google and what do you predict for the New Year, any major updates or so that you expect?
Christiaan: Continuing on the previous question, mobile got more important. We saw Google put the mobile friendly tag first, now the mobile first index. In the next year I expect that AMP will grow more and become more important. Or at least that is what Google wants. This way they have even more control over the internet.
EEGReport Magazine: Which term do you prefer link builder or link earner, and why?
Christiaan: Link earner, the links you can earn naturally are probably way more relevant and helpful for the reader. This will also reflect in the user behavior on your website which will have a positive impact on your SEO. These links are also more likely to convert your users. After all that is what you want to do with your site.
Buying links is possible but be careful what you do, Google is watching. I prefer earning links.
EEGReport Magazine: How do you see this “new era” in the backlinks world, I mean is content king in your opinion?
Christiaan: Don’t believe people who say that links don’t matter, they do. Even Google’s, Gary Illyes said it last year: “Ranking without links is really, really hard”.
EEGReport Magazine: Do you use metrics like Alexa Rank, PA and DA, Trust Flow and Citation Flow. if yes what’s your opinion about these?
Christiaan: For me metrics are important, mainly I use Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Next to that I also use Link Research Tools Power and Trust.
But don’t get to focused on metrics. You also have to visit the website. See how it looks, what is your “feeling” about a website. The more experience you have as an SEO this feeling will become more accurate and clear. There are so many factors that matter.
A website with lower metrics can be better for your link profile than a website with higher metrics. It is important that the content in which your link can be found is related to your website. The website must fit yours.
Be careful with websites or self-called SEO’s or marketers that try to sell you links. Many times they manipulate you into buying to expensive links. Alarm bells should start ringing if you get an email from [email protected] that has these great links for sale.
Always try to check the history of a website. How long has it been online, did it have a big change in the last months, has it been offline for some time, etc.
EEGReport Magazine: Let’s talk affiliates a bit, how do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
Christiaan: Is it not already global? Gambling is everywhere over the world, online and offline. Where people have the possibility to go online there will be people gambling online. There are also affiliate websites all over the world. Some regions might not be as popular as others but when casinos or affiliates see a way to earn money they are there.
I am not sure how legal it will be in different places in the world. As we can see in Europe, more and more countries start legalizing online gambling. The reason they give for this is to help people, don’t get them into debts or addicted. According to me their main reason is that they see a way to earn more money by charging taxes for gambling.
EEGReport Magazine: Do you have any advice that you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
Christiaan: 100% agree, this industry is great. For newbies, don’t give up! It is a really hard and competitive market. You need confidence that you can do it, make a plan. You will need a lot of patience.
Don’t expect that it will be easy or quick money. You should work hard for it and it will take time. It can take months or a year before you earn your first euro. If you plan to give up your job for it, don’t do it. You need savings to go through the first year or keep your current job next to it.
EEGReport Magazine: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino/gambling affiliate world?!
Christiaan: More cooperation between (European) countries in their gambling laws. Every country has its own laws, in some countries the laws are even different for parts of the country like in Germany.
Affiliates but also gamblers can’t see the wood for the trees. As I told before, this was the first reason for me to start up my main website Goedgekeurde Goksites. Everything I publish on my website is legal in Belgium. If you translate the title to English it is “Approved Gambling Websites”. I want my visitors to be able to browse my website without having to worry about legal stuff when they are on my website.
EEGReport Magazine: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe?
Christiaan: Everywhere, I love traveling. I have only been to Budapest, Hungary, in Eastern Europe. In the future I hope to see more of the East of Europe. Usually my travels are a combination of work and fun. I go to a conference and stay a bit longer to explore the area. If you can advice me any conferences?
EEGReport Magazine: Do you have region or country that you wouldn’t want to visit in Eastern Europe, if so why?
Christiaan: There is no specific country that I would not like to visit. The only thing places I wouldn’t want to go to are places where it is not safe.
This interview Affiliate Superstars: Interview with Christiaan Bollen appeared first on EEGReport Magazine.
ReferOn celebrates SiGMA presence with 5 Star Award!
SiGMA is time for celebration as ReferOn wins Rising Star of the Year award from 5 Star Media!
ReferOn, the state-of-the-art affiliate management platform for the iGaming industry, celebrated its first presence at SiGMA Malta Europe with numerous partners and client meetings and is delighted to announce that it won the Rising Star of the Year award from 5 Star Media for 2023!
Exhibiting at an iGaming conference and expo for the first time since launching in February, ReferOn welcomed clients and prospects at its stand and showcased the Rising Star of the Year award it won from 5 Star Media’s Starlet Awards.
David Harris, Tech Team Lead at ReferOn, commented: “SiGMA Malta Europe was a fantastic event for ReferOn. The event was not only valuable for the significant potential arising from the meetings held, but also because SiGMA fosters an environment where like-minded individuals can deeply understand the market and discuss all its aspects in an ideal setting. This can be in relation to the iGaming market’s weaknesses or areas for growth and it generates a continuous flow of ideas for improvement on all sides. ReferOn was no exception to this and this gave us plenty of food for thought to grow into 2024.”
ReferOn’s platform is focused on ease-of-use, speed and leveraging its state-of-the-art technology for the benefit of affiliates. By joining the platform, affiliates benefit from ReferOn’s brand new features such as Dynamic Reporting, user-friendly dashboards and Instant API Reports.
Boomerang Media is the Best PPC Affiliate at SiGMA Europe Awards 2023
Boomerang Media claimed “The Best PPC Affiliate” nominee at the recent SiGMA Europe Awards 2023, reinforcing its position as an industry leader
Boomerang Media, part of Boomerang Partners, won “The Best PPC Affiliate” at the SiGMA Europe Awards 2023, demonstrating its competitive strength among top industry players. The award ceremony was held on the opening day of the SiGMA Europe Malta event on November 14. Boomerang Media was honored after an open vote and jury decision, beating out fellow nominees Identi and RevenueLab.
“We are thrilled to have secured this prestigious SiGMA Europe award this year,” said Vitalii Prokofiev, CEO of Boomerang Partners. “It validates our team’s dedication and commitment to offering best-in-class experiences tailored for each market we operate in.”
Not just a contender for prestigious awards, Boomerang Partners has also appointed its leading brand – Boomerang Sportsbook, a sponsor of the ‘Best East Europe Affiliate 2023’ category. This underscores their commitment to emerging European markets. With a strong presence in these regions already, Boomerang offers affiliates extensive opportunities to expand globally, including into both Europe and Latin America.
“We applaud Boomerang Partners’s dedication to expanding across Europe and beyond,” Denis Dzyubenko, CIS Region Director at SIGMA Group. “Earned win for Boomerang Media in the “The Best PPC Affiliate” nominee and Boomerang Partners’s sponsorship of the “Best East Europe Affiliate” category demonstrates a strategic understanding of key growth regions and a commitment to supporting the entire ecosystem. Operators like Boomerang, who foster industry development while delivering innovative platforms, are vital to our sector’s success”.
SiGMA Europe is a premier global gaming event and forum for industry experts and affiliates. It convenes over 800 sponsors, 200 exhibitors, 200 speakers, and 25,000 delegates to discuss gaming trends, share ideas, and network. SiGMA has raised over €300,000 for charity since 2020 through its global events. For 2023, the SiGMA Foundation aims to launch significant initiatives, including an educational facility in Ethiopia for 1,000 students, two Camino de Santiago hikes with €70,000 targets each, summiting Mount Toubkal, and continuing the Kilimanjaro Challenge, which has raised €1 million since 2004 – all guided by principles of transparency and impactful philanthropy.
“It’s great to be recognized by the industry’s best. We are glad that our initiative to develop professional sports around the world did not go unnoticed,” stated Vitalii Prokofiev, CEO of Boomerang Partners. “We will continue to push the envelope and deliver the best products in our categories experience globally.” At the SiGMA Europe in Malta, Boomerang Partners is represented by the booth of its flagship brand Boomerang Bet.
SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP NAMED AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR AT THE EGR OPERATOR AWARDS
Spotlight Sports Group Triumphs with the Affiliate of the Year Award, Solidifying Position as Industry Leaders
Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content and media company specialising in sports betting, was named the winner of the EGR Operator Award’s headline category, Affiliate of the Year. This achievement underscores SSG’s successful development and growth of its four leading sports betting affiliates.
The winning submission included data on differentiation and quality of offering, quality and scale of traffic, audience growth innovation and strong partner relationships, including a particular focus on the promotion of safer gambling measures.
The Affiliate of the Year award is the first award that SSG has received recognising the success of its affiliate brands on a global scale. In the UK, SSG is led by the Racing Post, which is the unrivalled leader in horseracing news and tips, in addition to being the largest horseracing affiliate in the world.
In North America, SSG’s flagship brand is Pickswise, which has grown the largest audience of any affiliate launched in the market since the repeal of PASPA in 2018.
Spotlight Sports Group also owns and operates leading affiliates, myracing and Free Super Tips. Myracing is a trusted resource for every horseracing and greyhound race in the UK and Ireland. Free Super Tips specialises in providing football tips for matches and leagues around the world and has developed large audiences in the UK, Ireland and other regulated markets globally.
Combined, the four properties provide operators with a hard-to-match combination of platforms that boast extensive and loyal audiences in a variety of markets.
Discussing the award win, Spotlight Sports Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Renshaw, said: “We are thrilled to have won this award from EGR. In addition to it being an especially prestigious award, it is something that our entire company can take pride in and look to as proof that our hard work is being recognised by our industry peers. The award win helps solidify SSG as one of the few super affiliates in the industry as all of our affiliate brands have taken major strides forward in the past year by growing their audiences and increasing engagement.
He continued: “We are also honoured that this is our second industry award win of the year from EGR, following being named winner of the Sports Data Supplier award at their B2B ceremony in June. We look forward to continuing to go above and beyond the odds for our audiences and unlocking audience value for our partners through all of our products and services.’’
The EGR Operator Awards winners were announced on Thursday, 26th October, at the Grosvenor House in London.
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