The journey continues, and we strive to bring you all, and I mean all of the inspirational stories out there. We have recently come across an interesting brand, which is based in the Scandinavian market. It’s called Rebel Penguin – interesting name, you can find out why they’ve chose it in the interview – and is founded by Jonas Warrer. So, without any further delays, here goes our interview with Jonas Warrer.
GAV: First, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to interview such a highly appreciated professional of the industry. Could you fill out the short form below so our readers can imagine your profile?
Jonas: Thanks – I am thrilled by the opportunity to share my experience and story with the iGaming community.
- Name: Jonas Warrer
- Age: 37
- Hometown: Copenhagen
- Living in: Copenhagen
- Favorite Food: Seafood
- Must Read Book: The Old Man and The Sea
GAV: Tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Jonas Warrer Petersen really is, the main person behind the Rebel Penguin brand and its websites. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing this large brand which covers every aspect of the Scandinavian gambling market?
Jonas: It all started when I was studying in New York. The big sites covering American sports impressed me (e.g. espn.com and sportsline.com) and I wanted to do their counterpart in Europe. It seems a bit naïve looking back but I reckon you have to aim for the stars.
GAV: I must say that I’m impressed with your flagship product Live Goals, where do you think your websites stand at this point?
Jonas: We have spent quite some time on usability, content and making pages all responsive. Overall I am quite satisfied with our websites within these aspects. Our key theme right now is making things stable and (more) scalable. Within sports things are so event driven so everything happens in peaks which you really need to be able to cope with.
GAV: What are the strong points of the website and what makes it stand out from the niche websites, beside its already gained credibility?
Jonas: It has to be simplicity and responsiveness. A lot of our competitors – and especially the big ones – have not updated their website nor design in the last several years. We have tried to take a less-is-more approach when designing the website. As over 60% of our traffic now comes from mobile you really have to optimize for all devices; a key aspect here is trying to focus on what is need-to-have and what is-to-have. If you try to include everything and target everybody – at least in my experience – you end up with a product nobody really thinks is amazing.
GAV: What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?
Jonas: Building a business model around banners is dead (or you really need high numbers of traffic). The biggest bump on the road definitely was to understand how to convert users into customers. I can highly recommend the book “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug if you are starting out online. Focusing on the user sounds so simple but you often get entangled in doing things you personally think are awesome – whereas the users really don’t care. Kill your darlings!
GAV: Why Rebel Penguin? It’s seems to be a catchy and interesting name.
Jonas: Penguins are true survivors; they survive in the coldest and harshest climates on earth where they can often be the only animals there. I would be proud to manage a business with these qualities and that’s why the penguin name came up. Everybody has to be a bit of a rebel – haha – so the name sort of wrote itself when we started out.
GAV: We have browsed your websites and found some high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing the reviews? How many reviews are there on your website?
Jonas: We have two full-time journalists working in the team. They wire a lot of reviews and previews – both focusing on events and sportsbooks/casinos. We also have a bigger team of freelancers focusing on their local language. Content needs to be unique – otherwise don’t bother to do it.
GAV: We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?
Jonas: Trust and stability! If you want your business to grow you need to optimize and optimize. In my experience you only get the opportunity to do this if you work in a stable relationship with a handful of Affiliate Managers. Landing pages, calls-to-action, key claims etc. – there are so many opportunities to improve things as you move down the conversion funnel. My best advice is to focus on that – rather than hunting short-term enhanced deals or promos in the iGaming industry. Trust is the oil that makes this process run smoothly. Be honest and assume that your Affiliate Manager is equally intelligent as you. I have seen too many newbies trying to outsmart their Affiliate Manager – which I really believe is a killer for your business.
GAV: How do you see the future of the gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?
Jonas: I think we will see more and more countries regulate online gambling. Like with everything else online the entire world is becoming the local market place. Gambling might be restricted in e.g. the US – but people find a way around. The young can’t understand why you ever would go to a betting shop to gamble. As the older generations are replaced the pressure will intensify on the countries that are trying to restrict online gambling.
GAV: Can you name one change that you want to see in the sportsbetting affiliate ecosystem?
Jonas: More transparency and more trust between affiliates and operators. We would all benefit.
GAV: What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?
Jonas: Nothing beats hard work. Attend all the conferences and events in iGaming when starting out and share your ideas with people. Nearly all people like to share their experience – utilize that. There are so many opportunities in iGaming – and such high growth – so don’t be afraid of people copying your ideas. People are already stuck in their own fantastic idea that they want to realize.
GAV: Who is your favorite celebrity?
Jonas: That’s a tricky one. It’s boring I know but the first person to think of is really Bill Gates. I am impressed by how he is using his personal wealth – and connections to other wealthy people – to make a better world. It would be so easy for him to sit back and enjoy but instead he chose to get involved in making a better world. I love the process towards making things better. Hope is just a very strong feeling and motivator.
GAV: If you would just open your YouTube search bar, what would you search for?
Jonas: The Strokes – One Way Trigger. It’s manic and crazy. Great for working. 🙂
GAV: Back to work. Do you attend any iGaming conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Jonas: London, Amsterdam and Berlin are all great conferences to go to. I attend all of them. I really like clubbing with Affiliate Managers after a long day of meetings. The opportunity to talk outside of the work setting creates a stronger relationship which makes things much more fun. Personally having a great relationship with the people I do business with motivates me. Going crazy in Felix Club in Berlin with bet365 is just one of those great moments that I think is so unique to this industry. You get the chance to work hard – and the chance to party hard. 🙂
GAV: How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotspot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
Jonas: In my mind most things here depend on lawmakers adapting to the new world. Eastern Europe is very much online and very much likes to gamble. Lawmakers should adapt to that and give people the freedom to decide what they want to spend their money on rather than trying to confine them to an old regime of control and boundaries.
GAV: Alright, here comes the fun part…., where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favorite destination around the world?
Jonas: A country like Ukraine is so vast and so full of history and culture. I would love to find myself stuck out there just meeting the locals without a bigger plan for what should happen. My country – Denmark – is just tiny compared to the vast landscapes in Eastern Europe. I would love to experience the “endless” landscapes out there. Favorite destination has to be Greece – how can you not love a country where everything is going so slow and relaxed. They are really miles apart from traditional Scandinavian efficiency – I love that part – they got life figured out.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Jonas: It’s probably best advised to stay away from some Russian borders right now, but I don’t have any no-go areas.
GAV: What is your opinion about EEG/GAV (Eastern European Gaming – eegaming.org)/Gambling Affiliate Voice – gamblingaffiliatevoice.com?
Jonas: I think it’s awesome that eegaming.org focuses on the Eastern and Central European markets as they hold the potential for future growth in iGaming. I would very much side with perfecting the Affiliate – Affiliate Manager relationship so cheers for the good work guys. Keep it up.
Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June
Last month saw the launch of the first Digital Marketing Mixer, a FREE business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone which hosted over 150+ iGaming and Affiliate Marketing professionals in attendance.
The event which received outstanding delegate reviews, will be hosted again on Monday 30th June between 4-6pm (BST) via Zoom. The aim of the speed networking event is to bring together affiliates and digital marketers, technology providers , agencies, experts and marketing service providers together to promote their services virtually.
With limits on travel and attendance at physical events still in play opportunities to network for new business have been limited. That combined with increased remote working has had a natural impact on business development slowing in the short term.
The Digital Marketing Mixer has been created as an open platform for professional social networking to take place in a structured but relaxed virtual atmosphere. The event has been created to support new business and continued lead generation for all businesses operating in the Affiliate industry.
Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event host commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer is a key event for digital and affiliate marketing businesses to get better connected during this uncertain time. The objective is simple, bring people together to talk, to collaborate and ensure new business and service opportunities continue to thrive. I’ve created this FREE networking event for EVERYONE to benefit from in the affiliate industry to help get new business deals done.”
The mixer remains 100% FREE for delegates to attend and is open to any vertical. Once again the event is held in collaboration with founding collaborators GPWA.org, iBet Directory, and AffiliateINSIDER collaborating to deliver this event.
“The toughest part of the conference experience to replicate online was always going to be those oh-so-important conversations in the bar. I was delighted to find myself in just such conversations at the Digital Marketing Mixer – top marks! “ said Sue Dawson from bestnewbingosites.co.uk who attended last month’s inaugural event.
The Digital Marketing Mixer will offer a host of fun networking games, speed selling challenges and enable delegates to enjoy discussing the latest industry trends whilst providing a platform to market their goods and services. The focus of this event remains on getting digital and affiliate marketing professionals quickly connected, getting new deals – done!
Lloyd Richman, founder of iBet Directory commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer Party is a great concept and offers all delegates the option to contribute unlike other webinars and conferences. It had a good mixture of natural event speakers, experienced iGaming professionals and new people to the industry. A great event which was highly successful.“
If you are an agency, affiliate, consultant, operator, digital marketer, payment provider or saas product owner, everyone working with or in the affiliate industry is welcome to attend.
RSVP FOR FREE and join the Digital Marketing Mixer – HERE
Mr Gamble is the fast growing iGaming affiliate taking the world by storm
Player-friendly approach to casino comparisons sees audience grow to new highs
In January 2019, two iGaming enthusiasts from southern Finland, Paavo Salonen and Jonas Kyllönen, created an affiliate site which follows a different path to competitors in the sector – Mr-Gamble.com was conceived to provide a user-friendly service that details the key benefits for different online casinos.
In a little over a year, the team at Mr-Gamble (owned by CashMagnet Ltd) has grown from two to sixteen people, and their site is attracting millions of views and an audience of thousands, eager to find a more discerning comparison site for online casinos. With such impressive growth, the company is now moving to bigger offices in their adopted home town of Tallinn, Estonia.
Putting the players first has been key to this success, with the team’s focus to build a casino comparison site which highlights the various benefits from leading online casino operators. Easy-to-use filters allow players to match specific search criteria to their needs, such as high quality casino bonuses, with a brand promise to help users “find a 200% bonus in under one minute”.
Moreover, with responsible gaming high on regulators agendas for 2020, not least due to COVID-19, Mr-Gamble’s onboarding policies for new casinos include strict criteria to ensure player protection. Time-out periods, self-exclusion options, financial limits, and more are all in place to reassure players that beyond the entertainment factor, their well-being is key.
Jonas Kyllönen explains, “While our competitors focus simply on the bonus offer and a select few aspects of gaming, Mr-Gamble.com highlights things like hidden T’s & C’s and other small details that make up the overall quality of a casino’s service and the bonuses they offer. We even include a section purely for casinos that offer free spins, allowing players to find free spin offers without deposits. This sets us apart from old school affiliates and builds trust with our audience, resulting in a high proportion of returning visitors.”
Kyllönen, who leads on all aspects of marketing for Mr-Gamble, also realises that staying plugged in to media platforms such as Twitch and Instagram enable the company to attract some of their users from the elusive millennial market.
“In just six months”, says Kyllönen, “we became the most watched slots channel on Twitch in Finland, and alongside our Instagram following, this allows us to stay in touch with our audience across multiple touch points – it’s been key to our growth. We still see SEO and PPC as the main pillars of the casino affiliates sector, but complimentary channels like Twitch are both entertaining and good for business.”
This well-rounded approach to the casino comparison sector is both innovative and forward-thinking, standing the company in good stead for the coming decade, during which adapting to change and staying on top of market trends will separate the men from the boys.
Mr Gamble’s affiliate offering is already well-established in Finland, and in April 2020 Mr-Gamble expanded operations to more English-speaking markets including the UK and Canada. The company also plans to target the US market, with licensing currently underway, and is looking at opportunities in Asia.
Alongside Finnish casino enquiries, the company invites English language operators from international markets, particularly in the UK and Canada, to contact email@example.com for more information on deals and listings.
Exclusive Q&A with Marinos Shiapanis, CEO at Campeón Gaming Partners
We shall begin with the iGB award. How do you feel after winning this award? Had you expected this award?
We really didn’t. This was our very first time being nominated at the iGB Affiliate Awards and, given the fact that the competition was really high, we were not expecting to hear our name. Needless to say, we were – and we still are – overwhelmed and very excited. It was a team effort, and this is why we celebrated as a team after receiving the award in London.
This is the first time Campeon has been nominated for iGB Awards. And you hit the bull’s eye in the first instance itself. How do you see this honour: as a reward of your hard work or as a stepping stone for future innovation?
I think it is a little bit of both: it is definitely a reward and a recognition of the whole Campeón Gaming Partners team’s hard work and effort, but, at the same time, this is a stepping stone for us to do more, invest more in innovation, expand and further develop across all sectors. The whole team, and especially the Affiliate & Partnerships team, really devoted themselves to the company and they are the reason we have managed to win this award. Such an award is extremely important for us, as it shows how far we have gone in such a short period of time; we have managed to slowly establish ourselves in the iGaming industry, become a familiar face for affiliates in the market, expand our network and grow as a team and a brand. However, winning this award doesn’t mean we stop here; this is not just a motivation for us, but an obligation as well to work harder, focus more and deliver even better results. I think you will hear more of us the coming months.
The award recognises how Campeon stood out in terms of “transparency, inclusiveness and continuous support”. What are the things unique to the affiliate program of Campeon Gaming Partners?
Since the beginning, our vision was to create an affiliate program that would not only attract affiliates, but it would also keep them engaged. We started off with a small network and as we were building it up, we were also improving our program. Today, our network is comprised of over 1,000 affiliates and our affiliate team has managed to establish personal relationship with each and every one of them. To us, it’s crucial to put a face to the name; it’s not just about numbers, it’s about having a person who you know will listen to you and deal with your issues no matter how big or small. This is our way of thinking: we treat each affiliate’s request as equal, and I believe that our affiliates appreciate this.
In early 2019, our team dedicated themselves into redesigning the program’s strategy, aiming at building stronger, more interpersonal relationships with our partners, and providing them with better models in order to maximize their profits. At the same time, we optimized the affiliate experience, from the registration of the player, all the way to the affiliate statics’ analysis we have successfully merged, integrated, and incorporated all of the Campeón Gaming Partners’ brands into new platforms, ensuring that no affiliate activity was ever disrupted.
The award also mentions how Campeon offered tailor-made program to the affiliates. Could you shed more light into the deeply customizable affiliate programs of Campeon Gaming Partners?
Each affiliate has his or her own needs that looks into serving through a program. At Campeón Gaming Partners, we understand that, and every time we onboard an affiliate, we go into deep discussions with him or her to understand what they are looking for in our program. I think the most important fact for our affiliates is that we assign them their very personal point of contact, who is there for them whenever they are in need. So, when we onboard a new affiliate, we first assign him or her their point of contact, who makes sure to talk to him or her, understand his or her needs and goals and together they create a program tailor-made to the affiliate’s needs.
What are the qualities that you look forward to in an affiliate? Not all affiliates are likely to become successful, right? Based on your experience, what separates the successful affiliates from the rest?
We want our affiliates to treat us the same way we treat them: with respect and transparency. We always do our best to accommodate our affiliates’ needs, so we are looking into building partnerships based on trust. I think this is the most important part for us.
Regarding the second part of your question, I believe that definitely industry knowledge and audience play a significant part in separating successful affiliates from the rest. But besides these, I think that players are looking for affiliates who will be honest with them, affiliates they can trust; I believe it is the only way to build up a players’ audience.
New new social media platforms are increasingly micro-targetting the end customers and automated CRM tools are getting more and more advanced. In this scenario, how do see the future of affiliate marketing evolving?
I believe that affiliate marketing is already changing and with these new tools it will change even more in the future. We are now entering a new era: the digital and customized era. Customers are increasingly becoming more and more demanding; they now know they don’t have to compromise anymore with mass solutions, so they are asking for customized ones. They demonstrate their needs and preferences and demand for an experience tailor-made to them. I believe this is where affiliate marketing will focus in the future, and all the new or upcoming tools available, will give us the advantage of analysing the customers’ behaviours and providing the best solutions to them. Affiliate marketing of the future will evolve around customized player’s experience, in my opinion.
Finally, tell us about any big announcement in the near future. Expanding to more countries? Launching or integrating new products? Or a new marketing campaign? Our readers will be eager to read something first here.
A couple of weeks ago, we launched our first Pay N Play platform for the Scandinavian market, SvenPlay. In a few days, we will be launching our brand new, themed platform, Sons of Slots. This is a challenge for us, as it will be the first time we are introducing such a themed platform to our players. The Sons of Slots story goes back to the motor gangs of the US and it all evolves around that; rough street battles, leather jackets and ripped jeans, long hair, and endless road trips on their Harleys. This is what inspired us and we wanted to bring something very exciting to our players. Entering the Sons of Slots platform, our players will be transferred to a new world, the world of American motor gangs; they will play their favorite games in a new, adventurous environment, with exciting features, which will take their gaming experience to a whole new level. To bring this project to life, we have invested heavily in technology and this is why we partnered with a major agency, MaxCreate, specialized in bespoke front-end design, in order to be able to offer more flexible and versatile platforms to our players and to our affiliates.
I think 2020 is our year, and people will hear more of us: exhibitions, PR, awards… We will make it happen.
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