Living in: Malta
Favorite Food: Thai
Profession/Job title: Gaming Affiliate
GAV: Hello Olga, first of all, tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry? What was the key idea of developing this great online slots guide?
Olga: There is a big community of “iGaming people” in Malta where I live and I happen to be friends with some of them and got interested in this industry. Almost 6 years ago I created my first website (in Russian) and since then have been working as an affiliate. About a year ago I started working on bestonlineslots.info project the main purpose of which is to provide as much information as possible to slots fans around the world, guide them through the game process, introduce them to the best casinos there they can play slots from different software providers, give them up to date information about bonuses and promotion.
GAV: Since there are thousands and thousands of websites in the slots niche out there, where do you think BestOnlineSlots.info stands now?
Olga: It is still a new project so it has not made a big name for itself yet. But hopefully it will get there. Now the main priority is to review any new slot games that come out and any new online casinos that are dedicated to slots lovers.
GAV: How do you see the online slots market/industry at this moment?
Olga: There are so many providers of slots right now – both that have been there forever and new ones – and everyone is trying to attract as many players as they can to their product. I think it is good because it makes providers work harder, be more creative and give us the best gaming experience possible. Nowadays the priority is given to video slots with incredible graphics and design and games developers don’t stop surprising us with visual effects of the slots, creating an engaging story – playing slots became an experience which involves a player fully in the process of the game.
GAV: How did you start and most of all what bumps did you have to overcome at the beginning?
Olga: I started with a casino reviews website in Russian – onlinecasinoworld.ru. It wasn’t easy at the beginning, I was making a lot of mistakes since I had no experience in a content writing/website developing/SEO at the time, but I was learning and overcoming challenges on a daily basis and made it to the top. I had to be creative to come up with new keywords and topics to be featured on the website, look out for the competition and protect my website against their attacks.
GAV: We have analyzed BestOnlineSlots.info and found some great quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you? How many slots are there on your website?
Olga: Thank you for the compliments. All the content I write myself, but I am planning to hire some freelancers. At the moment there are about 40 slot games reviews and around 20 casino reviews, but there will be many more soon.
GAV: How do you manage to keep the content fresh and relevant on your website, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?
Olga: I always put the interest of my website’s visitors first. I ask myself “If I was looking for this information, what would I like to find on a website like mine?” When thinking only about search engine optimization and writing content “for Google” you will never make it to the top. I always look out for the news in the industry – if there is a new interesting casino opens or a new slot comes out I try to be among first affiliates to write about it. I also keep players up to date about casino promotions, free spins give away etc.
GAV: We are pretty sure that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built?
Olga: I like professionalism and personal approach to each affiliate. An affiliate manager should always be aware what is happening on his affiliate’s website, keep the affiliate up to date about any changes and promotions, offer custom-made deals. I really appreciate when Managers come up with their own ideas about what could be improved or done, better in promoting their brand on my website. Efficient communication is very important, of course.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
Olga: I think it will. In the future more countries should legalize online gambling, it should become more acceptable. With people using smart phones online casinos will become more easy to reach. Casino games will become more creative, involving more interaction from the player and players will have more opportunities to interact with each other while playing in online casino so it will bring a social aspect to it. Regarding affiliate companies, there is a clear tendency to monopolization – a lot of acquisitions are going on. So in the future there might be just few big companies owning lots of affiliate websites.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer for the newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
Olga: The competition is very strong today, there are thousands of affiliate websites out there so I would suggest to:
– Choose a unique and narrow niche in the field – like this you will target a smaller segment of the gaming traffic, but in this small segment you will have a chance to get to the top faster.
– Be creative – generate new unique ideas daily. You can take an example from other affiliates websites, but never copy, always think of new ways of SEO and traffic generation.
GAV: Do you attend any iGaming/online casino conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Olga: I attended a few. My favorite one is Sigma I guess which is held in Malta every year. I love meeting new people during these conferences, get to know news about the industry. The parties are fun too.
GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe to become a potential gaming hotspot in the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
Olga: I come from Russia and it is considered to be a part of Eastern Europe. As I already mentioned, my first website which was a success is in Russian language and targets on Russian market. Unfortunately, online gaming is now not legal in Russia and it is difficult to continue working in that segment. It would be great if online casinos became legal in more Eastern European countries than now, including Russia, and the market became regulated.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe?
Olga: Funny that you ask since I am traveling to Eastern Europe in two days – going to Hungary and Slovakia, never been there before and very excited. I would love to visit Czech Republic so might extend my holiday.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Olga: There is no country I wouldn’t like to travel to. Travel is my passion and I try to do it as often as I can. There are countries which are at the end of my list, but I definitely want to visit them all.
GAV: How about a favorite celebrity, do you have one?
Olga: I don’t have one.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
Olga: It is a great portal, we need more websites like this. It keeps us, affiliates and people from other positions in the industry, up to date, providing a lot of useful information and making this sector of business more transparent.
GAV: Thanks for the interview Olga, we wish you all the best for all your projects and have a lovely holiday!
Ad Fraud and Affiliate Marketing Strategies: How Online Gaming Companies Can Transform Their ROI
By: Richard Metcalf, Global VP, Sports Betting & Online Gaming, TrafficGuard
Betting companies can adopt cutting-edge technology and offer the very best odds, but amplifying your brand is still difficult in a saturated industry. As a result of relaxing regulations, international players can break into an increasing number of new markets but reaching local target audiences can be a challenge. For these businesses, affiliate marketing is a vital channel in driving new user acquisition and some of the largest sportsbooks like Paddy Power and DraftKings are among those utilising the strategy.
With competition fierce, businesses are in a constant battle to keep costs low. Cost-per-thousand (CPT) payment models for traditional TV advertisements are progress towards paying for performance, but vendors still cannot guarantee that exposure will translate to depositing customers. Affiliate marketing provides a cost-efficient, low-risk alternative because businesses pay for conversions only.
But with money to be made, affiliate advertising fraud is rife and affiliate partners are likely delivering invalid engagement. If betting companies are looking to expand their user base and market amongst big players, they must improve their visibility over affiliate partners’ traffic.
Tracking Affiliate Activity
From smaller players to large conglomerates, there’s an exciting opportunity for betting companies to establish their presence across global markets. In the US especially, rapid legalisation across multiple states has turned betting into a million-dollar industry and created a profitable opportunity for overseas operators to move into the new market.
However, marketing globally can be expensive and driving brand awareness in a new location is often time-consuming and resource-heavy. With affiliate marketing, betting companies can create a network of partners from across the globe and easily access international audiences. This strategy is also much more efficient and expansive than physical marketing methods as it removes the difficulties that are tied to building a target audience from scratch.
Although affiliate marketing is a valuable marketing tool for increasing brand awareness and authenticity, affiliate management platforms aren’t prioritising fraud. The measures they put in place themselves are often basic and easy to get around and fraudsters can easily fly under the radar by taking advantage of the lack of protection. The nature of affiliate marketing means there is a disconnect between the promotion, analytics and payment, preventing companies from getting a holistic view of the fraud impacting them in addition to paying out for valueless traffic.
Affiliate fraud in the betting industry includes any deceitful action taken by a third party to exploit marketing techniques. This can include click fraud, where fake clicks are generated on ads to earn commission payments; or cookie stuffing, where fake cookies are placed on computers to hijack affiliate sales. Malicious affiliate ad programs do this so they can earn money from false clicks or sales and target high-investment marketing campaigns.
Research by Forrester revealed that 81% of advertisers include affiliate marketing as part of their marketing strategy. The growth of the market, paired with the increase in competition, is why many are turning to affiliate marketing. However, by being cost-effective through performance-based pay, there is an increased attraction from fraudsters. Sports betting companies are not well-equipped to address the problems they face with ad fraud.
Statista predicts affiliate marketing spending in the US alone will reach $8.2 billion by the end of 2022. With the vast amount of money involved, sports betting companies are a target for fraudsters.
Getting Instant Access
In order to prevent fraudulent traffic, betting companies must increase the visibility they have over affiliates. By keeping track of partners’ activity, including reviewing their demographics, reputation and quality of traffic, they can increase the quality of their affiliate partners.
Betting companies can do this using third-party technology that can indicate that affiliate scams are taking place in real-time to deliver the most reliable fraud protection. Intelligent software that uses behaviour analysis, such as machine learning, can track the volume of data required to deliver an accurate, instant analysis of which traffic is valid, invalid and fraudulent. Machine learning can identify granular details such as an unusually high number of clicks on an ad, or a high number of sales from a single IP address to confidently assess and deal with invalid traffic so the betting company doesn’t have to pay out.
With this data, operators gain the confidence to cross reference the engagement affiliates charge them for, prevent any partners from trying to outmanoeuvre them and safeguard their business against malicious activity. With more protection over advertising campaigns and a larger proportion of clicks coming from conversion-ready leads, companies can build cleaner audience groups from high-value affiliate partners.
Better Visibility, Better ROI
Reaching a market size of $231 billion in 2022, the sports betting industry is becoming increasingly attractive to international operators and fraudsters alike. If you’re running an affiliate marketing program, there’s a high chance you’re paying out for partners’ invalid traffic.
Only using the data your affiliate program partners declare means you’re at risk of being misled. Affiliate programs need to be monitored to avoid scams and program fraud. By understanding which affiliate partners are directing invalid traffic to their websites and charging a premium price for it, sportsbooks can optimise their pay-outs and exceed competitors’ efforts.
Vita Media Group wins Casino Affiliate of the Year Award at the EGR Operator Awards 2022
Vita Media Group, a Danish iGaming company, won the Casino Affiliate of the year award at the 2022 edition of the EGR Operator Awards held in London.
The Casino Affiliate of the Year Award is the first major award that Vita Media Group has won.
Vita Media Group’s CEO Jimmi Meilstrup believes this award comes as an appreciation from the iGaming world to all the employees in the company who are delivering extraordinary results every day.
“On behalf of everyone in our company, I am deeply grateful for this award which is the first large-scale award that we have won as a company. From day 1, we promised the iGaming world we are going to build this company on the principles of loyalty and trust. Through hard work, a lot of research, and indeed a great amount of quality traffic generated and delivered, we have excelled in casino affiliation. To everyone who chose Vita Media Group as a partner, thank you, and be sure to expect even better results from us in the future” commented Jimmi Meilstrup.
During the award night held in London on October 27 th , 2022, Vita Media Group was shortlisted 4 times in different categories:
• Affiliate of the year (Headline category)
• Casino Affiliate of the year
• In-house product for the in-house developed iGaming loyalty and reward platform Ekstrapoint.com
• Affiliate Program for the fast-growing developed affiliate program OMG Affiliates
In the Casino Affiliate of the year category, the judges from the EGR Operator Award were reviewing applications based on significant traffic, player numbers, ROI for operators, ability to build strong partner relationships, brand innovation and marketing, and player retention strategies.
The EGR Operator Awards, considered the Oscars in the iGaming industry, are organized by EGR Global, a leading publisher of online gaming B2B news, analyses, and research.
In 2021, Vita Media Group was shortlisted for the first time at the EGR Operator Awards in the Affiliate of the year category for affiliation services and the Rising Star category for its affiliate program OMG Affiliates.
Casino Guru establishes Awards Project to recognize greatest industry achievements
The Casino Guru Awards is the latest project by Casino Guru inspired by guiding the dialogue on consumer safety, and it reflects on the company’s ambition to acknowledge and reward achievement in the gambling industry, specifically in the sectors Casino Guru has contributed to –responsible gambling and consumer education. Casino Guru Awards is the result of this long-term commitment to making gambling safer, fairer, and more accountable for all participants.
Drawing on years of experience as the defining affiliate service in the industry, Casino Guru has transcended its core model to make global changes to the industry, including through its Global Self-Exclusion Initiative, Casino Guru Academy, Fair Gambling Codex, and other initiatives.
Now, the company is stepping up its responsibilities of a gambling industry custodian with the Casino Guru Awards which will celebrate the most committed operators in industry and the professionals who shape its future. The inaugural edition of the event is designed to raise awareness for the Awards and help the most deserving companies serve as good role models industrywide and reach a broader audience.
To participate, companies may nominate themselves through the end of November 2022. Casino Guru will also select worthwhile nominees that will be added to our list in a process that is fair, transparent, and above all else, distinguishes and focuses on merit. A shortlist will be announced in December2022with the official ceremony held online in February 2023. All decisions regarding the outcome of the event will be carried out by hand-picked judges.
Casino Guru Awards will feature judges from some of the biggest companies that are well-established names in the industry, including Kindred Group, Betsson, Gamban, Epic Risk Management, Gordon Moody, and more. The panel will include close to 15 external judges and five of Casino Guru’s own specialists.
Commenting on this project, Daniela Kianicová, PR & External relations Lead at Casino Guru, said: “Casino Guru Awards is a natural continuation of the efforts Casino Guru has put into making gambling safer, fairer, and more transparent for everyone. We worked on the Awards and the categories with the idea to emphasize on areas of the industry that are crucial to consumer safety and can always be improved on.
Our commitment to safer and responsible gambling is unflinching and I am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the industry’s most distinct professionals to make gambling safer for players. It’s clear to me that Casino Guru Awards will be a benchmark for companies in the industry and a high accolade for any entity that wants to help write the gambling world of tomorrow.”
Casino Guru Awards will run in several categories which will focus on a mix of business achievements and consumer needs. The company feels strongly that achieving a level of excellence across these verticals will result in a better gambling industry for all. The categories include “The Fairest Bonus Policy,” which assesses the fairness of Bonus T&C’s and whether a bonus accounts for breaching applicable rules by accident, among other and equally important criteria.
“The Fairest General T&Cs” category will focus on how a casino’s T&Cs ensure that customers are protected and safeguarded and that they do not fall prey to predatory or hidden rules and details. In true Casino Guru spirit, “The Most Impactful Social Responsibility Initiative” will focus on those operators and companies who understand the importance of responsible gambling and problem gambling prevention.
There is a separate category that will independently assess “The Best Implementation of RG Tools” and “The Most Transparent Casino.” Another important category will be “The Most Effective Handling Complaints,” which is another area where the Casino Guru team feels improvements can be made, giving operators an incentive to operate in a clear and consumer-centric way. Casino Guru is experienced in this particular area having established the Casino Complaint Resolution Center which has thousands of closed cases already.
Last but not least, there is “The Voice of the People” which will be decided by the players, without any intervention. You may find out more about the Casino Guru Awards on the official page, including details about submitting a nomination, who the judges are, and what to expect in the months that lie ahead.
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