Affiliate Interview: Jonas Warrer founder of Rebel Penguin
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.