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Affiliate Success

Affiliate Interviews: Lee James Gwilliam OnlineCasinosVegas

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Lee James Gwilliam

Please meet Lee James Gwilliam, of OnlinceCasinoVegas and Commercial Manager at Blexr Ltd!

 

Name: Lee James Gwilliam
Age: 35
Hometown: Middlewich, Cheshire, UK
Living in: Sliema, Malta
Favorite Food: Steak
Must Read Book: East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Profession/Job title: Commercial Manager

GAV: Hello Lee, first of all, tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry?

Lee: I ended up in gambling quite by accident! Despite being a keen poker player, I had no ambitions to work in the industry. I’d been involved in online marketing and affiliation in other sectors for many years and semi-retired with my own retail operation to Malta in 2011. A few years ago, I found myself needing to get a ‘proper’ job again and being in Malta, iGaming seemed a good fit with my e-commerce and content background.

GAV: We know little about Blexr other than it is an international performance marketing company, tell us all about it?

Lee: We’ve always preferred to be a private company, small but with a big footprint. We’ve various product verticals across casino, sportsbook, poker, bingo and financial services. I’ve actually just got back from the EGR Power Affiliate event at Goodwood where we are now ranked in the top 50 affiliates worldwide, in fact, top 10 in some of our niches.

The website you contacted us about, OnlineCasinosVegas, or OCV as we call it in-house, was an acquisition made by us rather than an in-house product. It’s one of our smaller properties but not to be underestimated. We bought it last year as part of a wider network from a very well-known UK affiliate and seasoned gambler.

GAV: Since there are thousands and thousands of websites in this niche out there, where do you think OnlineCasinosVegas.com stands now?

Lee: What makes OCV stand out, is the very thing that made it attractive as an acquisition. So many modern affiliate sites offer just basic cookie cutter content, OCV was written by a professional gambler and although the design might be a little antiquated to modern eyes, it’s incredibly knowledge driven throughout. This shows through in the quality of the site’s audience and we think this will become even more important in the future. Serious gamblers want serious content.

GAV: How do you see the online slots market/industry at this moment?

Lee: More competitive than ever. Just a few years ago a few some companies, such as NetEnt, were miles ahead of the other developers. Now, you have a whole host of bespoke operations offering great game content and with VR and skill based games on the way these are very exciting times for both the industry and players alike. Sports betting too, with expansion into E-Sports and other niche areas is far more diverse than ever before.

GAV: How did you start and most of all what bumps did you have to overcome at the beginning?

Lee: Once, Blexr was a small affiliate like thousands of others, with a simple poker rake back site. This was successful and led to further acquisitions. The founders have been very careful to re-invest in both the company and its employees which has allowed us to grow to where we are today. Outside of the challenges faced when any affiliate business becomes ‘a real company’ rather than a small team, the biggest roadblocks were managing our migration into a full performance marketing operation instead of ‘just’ an affiliate.

Before several of the modern ‘super affiliates’ landed, affiliate operations simply didn’t have such a wide remit and there was no model to copy for structure. Building such a structure from scratch is a challenge that many have failed, fortunately, we didn’t. As a result, we now offer consulting in CRM, market research, marketing, affiliation and brand launch in addition to the direct acquisition that a stock affiliate provides.

 

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GAV: We have analyzed OCV 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? How about the your news section?

Lee: The nature of my current role sadly prevents me from contributing as much to content as I once did though I still mentor one of our writers and do a little key content to keep my hand in and stay match fit. We’ve a writing team of more than 40 people across the network and they are looking to add more slots to OCV in the coming months in addition to the several hundred already on the site. We’ve also been expanding the detail in some of the older articles and written some in depth guides for skill based games. The news section has fallen a little by the wayside in recent times but we hope to turn that back into an active blog in the future once we’ve dealt with all the existing articles.

GAV: How do you manage to keep the content always fresh and relevant on your website, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?

Lee: Hire experienced, well-trained and knowledgeable writers and then pay them well. Really, it’s not that hard when you break it down. A number of slots sites are just concerned about being first to market, they don’t even play the games they are reviewing, they write a preview based on a few screenshots available before launch. Whenever we advertise for a new writer we are inundated by ‘content-writer’ CV’s who’ve been working in the industry for years just on the basis they were native speakers. That isn’t enough if you want deep value content. It’s like auditioning for the national football team because you own a pair of boots and can kick a ball. Writing is a profession like any other and you want the best professionals who have put years into their trade.

GAV: With all the Google updates that we’ve all witnessed how do you guys approach SEO, content and of course generating good traffic?

Lee: Google is being very helpful to us just lately with its move towards prioritising ‘value’ based content. Fluff is yesterday’s content, just being first to write on a subject is barely enough to get you there and certainly isn’t enough to keep you there. The same applies to SEO, spam is dying, both content and SEO must be top notch for you to rank for good keywords and bring in good traffic long term. Things are biasing more and more to user value and this can only help people who are trying to do the job right. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of tips and tricks or shortcuts still out there, but, the fundamentals are becoming ever more important.

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?

Lee: Literally hundreds, by 9 AM any given day my skype looks like a Christmas tree! A good AM(affiliate manager) will earn their employer a fortune, a bad one will cost them the same. It would terrify some operators to know how much an AM has potentially cost them at one point or another because a relationship went sour. That said, affiliates have a responsibility to try and help bridge the communication gap too and help AM’s gain experience.

I’ve accepted a speaking position at a conference later in the year on managing affiliate relationships from our point of view and am starting a LinkedIn series next week called ‘Friday frustrations’ to try and get some things out there from the affiliate standpoint. It isn’t fair that affiliates complain about the ways AM’s approach them and deal with them when they aren’t making any attempt to feed back the data – we want to do our part in correcting this and contributing to the industry.

GAV: Which markets do you target at this moment and are you planning to break in into emerging markets?

Lee: We are already a global network, with our reach approaching triple digits in terms of the countries we target for. That being said, we think emerging markets and newly regulated markets should be the big focus for affiliates and operators alike.

GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?

Lee: I think my point above indicates that to be so! Yes, some countries are way behind and others have stumbled due to regulatory processes but this will be and, in many ways already is, a global business.

GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the casino affiliate ecosystem?!

Lee: Proper affiliate software between the affiliate and the operator. Transparency is the first step to rebuilding trust on both sides of the gambling industry and neither party can optimise their business with each other properly without full accurate data sets.

GAV: How about the UK market, is there still place to grow, what is your position?

Lee: The UK is one of the hardest markets out there right now amongst the premium countries. The existing, and future regulations facing both operators and affiliates only adds to the difficulty. However, this also creates opportunities for those companies which can navigate this and create stable, sustainable business models. It will be a tough market with lots of opportunity for the right businesses.

GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?

Lee: Have a niche and master it. There is a new casino every other day, white labels which are all but identical bar their branding. The brave and creative businesses which do something different are the ones we will be talking about as the next success stories in 5 years time.

GAV: Do you attend any iGaming/online casino conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?

Lee: I seem to spend as much time at networking events and conferences as I do at home these days. I’m a big fan of the IGB events and the EGR event recently at Goodwood was an exclusive treat. SiGMA, as our local conference, is very important and we will exhibit there this year. Their local networking events are impressive too and so is the new Affiliate Grand Slam concept.

GAV: Tell us about your experince at the Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn?

Lee: An excellent new take on the traditional affiliate conference, the second one coming up in Bucharest is only going to build on the first one. To have a small number of operators and a larger number of key affiliates improves the opportunity to take time over business discussions and keeps networking at maximum value.

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?

Lee: If you look at places like Malta and Gibraltar a key ingredient for success in a gaming hot spot is the support of a local regulatory body. Eastern European destinations have masses of opportunity for all areas of the industry both as operating spaces and markets but, the regulatory infrastructure needs work.

GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe?

Lee: I’d really love to spend some time in Russia and Kiev is on my hit list too. I spent a lot of time in Romania last year and it’s my favourite country in the world right now. I wintered in Transylvania which was amazing and Bucharest is an incredible city. Will be heading back there this year for the next AGS event and probably again in winter for some much needed down time.

GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?

Lee: Never really been attracted to Bulgaria, though, I’d be happy for someone to change my mind.

GAV: How about a favorite celebrity, or a mentor do you have one?

Lee: I’ve had several good business mentors including our current founders. Celebrity wise I’d have to admit a liking for Kate Beckinsale and Robert Downey Jr is a modern icon.

GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?

Lee: It’s incredibly important for affiliates to have a voice in the industry and the GAV gives us exactly that! I think for new/smaller affiliates which are just starting out or attempting to grow resources like this cannot be underestimated.

GAV: Thank you for the interview Lee, enjoy the summer and perhaps we’ll meet at AGS Bucharest!

 

 

If you would like to suggest subjects for future affiliate interviews, be sure to send your suggestions to: [email protected]

 

Affiliate Success

Casino Guru wins Affiliate of the Year at AffPapa Awards for third consecutive time

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Casino Guru wins Affiliate of the Year at AffPapa Awards for third consecutive time

 

Casino Guru, the premier platform for online casino reviews and industry insights, is thrilled to announce its victory in the “Affiliate of the Year” category at the prestigious AffPapa iGaming Awards 2024.
This marks the third consecutive year that Casino Guru has received this esteemed recognition, cementing its position as a leader in the affiliate industry.
The AffPapa Awards celebrate excellence in the iGaming sector, highlighting outstanding affiliates, operators, and B2B providers. Casino Guru’s consistent triumph in the “Affiliate of the Year” category is a testament to its commitment to transparency, innovation, and player safety. The platform, known for its comprehensive reviews and user-friendly interface, continues to set industry standards, ensuring fair play and informed choices for online gamblers worldwide
Over the past year, Casino Guru has achieved unprecedented growth and several notable milestones. The platform has maintained its status as the largest online casino database, with reviews of over 6,200 casinos. In a commitment to transparency and player protection, more than 450 online casinos have adjusted their terms and conditions based on Casino Guru’s recommendations. Additionally, the online gambling forum has surpassed 5,000 monthly posts, reflecting its strong community engagement.
“We are honored and delighted to receive this award for the third time,” said Ivona Kulichova, Casino & Affiliate Communication Lead. “This recognition reflects our unwavering dedication to providing high-quality, trustworthy information to our users and partners. We extend our gratitude to the AffPapa Awards committee and our incredible team for their hard work and passion.”
Casino Guru’s dedication to responsible gaming initiatives has been a cornerstone of its success. Partnerships with organizations like Mindway AI further this mission, emphasizing responsible gaming practices. The Casino Guru Awards recognize the industry’s top operators and professionals who align with Casino Guru’s mission to make online gambling safer.
Additionally, the Casino Guru Academy has introduced new courses on key industry topics, such as player verification, ESG in gambling, customer complaint handling, and affiliate management, highlighting its commitment to professional development and high standards. The Global Self-Exclusion Initiative, which includes the Self-Exclusion Standards project developed with international experts and City, University of London, exemplifies Casino Guru’s proactive approach to player safety.
The Complaint Resolution Center has also achieved remarkable success. Over the past year, 12,161 complaints were published and 3,428 resolved, saving players over $11 million. This represents a significant increase in both the number of complaints handled and the amount of money recovered for players, underscoring Casino Guru’s role in protecting consumer interests.
Amidst these achievements, Casino Guru remains steadfast in its mission to provide comprehensive and reliable information to the online gambling community. The company is committed to continuous innovation, responsible gambling practices, and fostering a trustworthy and engaging online environment for its visitors and the broader public.
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Affiliate Program News

AskGamblers Awards: Boomerang Partners Among “Best Affiliate Program” Nominees

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AskGamblers Awards: Boomerang Partners Among "Best Affiliate Program" Nominees

 

Boomerang Partners, the rapidly growing affiliate program, has been named among the notable finalists for the highly coveted “Best Affiliate Program” category at the 2024 AskGamblers Awards

Boomerang Partners has been selected to the top 10 for the ‘Best Affiliate Program’ category at the 2024 AskGamblers Awards. This major nomination highlights Boomerang’s dedication to delivering excellent value and innovative solutions for affiliate partners in the iGaming industry.

The AskGamblers Awards, established in 2006, hold immense prestige as selections are based directly on real player feedback and opinions. Earning a finalist spot is a significant achievement that affirms Boomerang’s status as a trusted source for superior affiliate opportunities within the industry.

“We deeply respect AskGamblers as an important voice in our industry,” said Vitalii Prokofev, CEO at Boomerang Partners. “Being nominated alongside other top programs shows our focus on positive interactions and impact for our valued affiliate partners.”

Given the brand’s many advantages and high standards, Boomerang invests resources in launching new initiatives and tries to improve the market. Like the global Golden Boomerang Awards traffic championship, offering real-world awards for best affiliates in the market. This approach helped Boomerang expand its affiliate network by 135% to over 5,200 partners worldwide in over 70 countries.

Highlighting its industry significance and recognition by industry leaders, last year Boomerang Partners earned prestigious accolades, such as the “Casino of the Year” at the SiGMA BALKANS/CIS Awards, the “Commission Offer Of The Year” at the AffPapa iGaming Awards, “The Best PPC Affiliate” at the SiGMA Europe Awards, along with special recognition at the BiS SiGMA Americas 2023 for enhancing the iGaming & Betting ecosystem in Brazil.

While voting for the AskGamblers Awards remains open until June 12th, the “Best Affiliate Program” category which Boomerang Partners is nominated is not open for public vote, as stated by AskGamblers. Check out the full list of nominees and vote for your favorites at AskGamblers.com

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Affiliate Success

MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software by the iGaming industry.

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MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software by the iGaming industry

 

MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software used in the gaming industry.

The exercise was conducted on a sample of 1,100 affiliate programs with data provided by Statsdrone revealing that MyAffiliates is used by almost 16% of gaming operators, followed by Affilka (11.8%), Income Access (10.5%) and NetRefer (7.8%).

The findings of the recent exercise, based on a sample of 1,100 affiliate programs, affirm MyAffiliates’ position as the preferred choice among gaming operators. With nearly 16% of operators utilizing our software, we are honoured to be entrusted with facilitating their affiliate marketing efforts.

While we celebrate this achievement, we also recognize the evolving landscape of the industry. The fact that 17% of gaming operators still rely on proprietary software presents significant opportunities for ready-built solutions like MyAffiliates to further expand our market share and empower more operators to optimize their affiliate marketing strategies.

Considering this significant milestone, we at MyAffiliates extend our heartfelt gratitude to our clients and partners for their unwavering trust and support. This achievement underscores not only the effectiveness of the MyAffiliates platform but also the dedication of our team to continually innovate and provide unparalleled service to our users.

John Wright, CEO of Statsdrone, expressed his insights regarding MyAffiliates’ dominance in the iGaming industry, stating, “We know that MyAffiliates has an advanced platform for operators and is one of the reasons we know that MyAffiliates has become the most popular affiliate platform in iGaming. We hear from affiliates it is one of their preferred platforms to work with so for us it isn’t much of a surprise to see why operators choose MyAffiliates. In the last 6 months, we’ve noticed more MyAffiliates brands being requested on our platform, and I can’t see why that trend won’t continue.”

Clemence Dujardin, MyAffiliates Group CEO added: “As the leading affiliate marketing software in the iGaming industry, MyAffiliates remains committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions that empower gaming operators to maximize their affiliate programs’ performance and ROI.”

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