Seven Star Digital (SSD) was founded by Luke Eales in 2016 with the aim to provide better gambling comparison services to consumers in the UK and beyond. Since then, SSD’s first website TopRatedCasinos.co.uk has consolidated a very strong position in both PPC and SEO channels within the UK Casino industry, delivering thousands of FTDs to licensed casino operators every month. With a vision for creating a truly comprehensive global online gambling comparison site across all verticals, the company launched Compare.bet in October 2017. Seven Star Digital currently employs a dozen talented marketers and technologists in its London HQ.
Name: Luke Eales
Living in: London
Favorite Food: Italian
Must Read Book: The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten by Julian Baggini
Job title: Founder & CEO
GAV: Hi Luke, tell us and our readers as well, a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Luke really is. How did your career start in the industry? What was your first job?
Luke: This is my first real activity in the gambling industry. But if we’re talking digital marketing, I got started back in 2003. Personal SEO projects made for a nice side earner while studying – at the time I had no inkling that it’d become a career.
GAV: Do you still remember when you first heard about gambling or online casinos?
Luke: It was probably about fifteen years ago – I set up a very small and unsuccessful affiliate site with my brother called Bonkers Betting! It’s hard to avoid the industry when working in digital. Partly because it’s an incubator for bleeding edge acquisition tactics.
GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think your websites stand at this moment and what is that plus that the other comparison portals don’t have?
Luke: One of our strengths is we’ve come from outside the industry with a fresh perspective. Our inspiration also comes from outside the industry – the big travel and insurance comparison sites for starters. They’re a long way ahead of gambling comparison, but we’re aiming to catch up fast – in terms of content, user experience and brand.
GAV: Tell us about your team a bit!
Luke: We’re based in Shoreditch – hipster central in London. The area has a great buzz, full of startups, as well as vibrant bars, restaurants and galleries. There are currently around a dozen of us at the company, spanning marketing, commercial and tech. We’ve got a great bunch of people all striving to take gambling comparison to the next level. Also, we’re hiring!
GAV: What kind of SEO, digital marketing or affiliate techniques do you follow this year, and how about any new upcoming trends?
Luke: For us, the definition of good digital marketing doesn’t necessarily change monthly or even yearly. Paid search, paid social, organic search – the platforms and behaviours evolve, of course. We’re less focused on the next new thing, tactical marketing trick or short-term win. For us the differentiation is in execution, organisational agility and deep understanding of our lines of business. This allows us to adapt to the evolving landscape, including from a regulatory perspective. Of course, the big change happening right now for data/permission marketers is GDPR. We’re hopeful that this will succeed in ensuring users’ interests and personal data is protected.
GAV: What are the challenges that you and your team face in regards to affiliate marketing in 2018.
Luke: Put simply, the ever-increasing ferocity of competition in the sector. Everyone wants a piece of the pie – we are acutely aware that in order to maintain and grow ours, we have to earn it. This keeps us at the top of our game. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
GAV: How do you manage to keep the websites fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
Luke: The crusade for ‘fresh content’ has created a cottage industry of content churners who prioritise volume over quality. We take a different approach – while we do aim to create vast and comprehensive sites, we’re not fans of expansion for expansion’s sake. We find that writing for people rather than search engines acts as an automatic fluff filter.
GAV: We are pretty convinced 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. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built, and how not?!
Luke: Trust, transparency and sharing of insights. When you’re providing a quality service and valuable traffic, there is no need for smoke and mirrors in the partner relationship. This honest and open approach makes everything easier and is best for all in the long run.
GAV: Next to the UK market, which are the other ones that you already target or want to expand into?
Luke: We have our eye on several regulated/soon-to-regulate markets in Europe. We’re also growing Compare.bet with a global scope – the recent US news creates great potential, but we expect to pick up traffic from a real long tail of geographies.
GAV: How do you see the Nordic market?
Luke: Having been a fairly stable and attractive region for some years, things are starting to change – with regulation in Sweden and moves to restrict in Norway via payment blocking etc.
Our first step into Scandinavia is with our Swedish comparison site ToppOnlineCasinon.se – we already work with most of the top operators in the region but are being very careful not to make assumptions about user behaviour and what will work over there. Our eyes and ears are open to the requirements of Swedish players and operators alike, and we expect the user experience to diverge from our UK sites based on what we learn about specific local needs over time.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?!
Luke: We want running a ‘gambling affiliate site’ to be as well respected as running a ‘finance comparison business’. This will only happen with the industry taking more of a user focus and thinking bigger. There are certainly signs that this is starting to happen.
GAV: Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?
Luke: Get into the data. Not only will it allow you to improve your own metrics, but it will create transparency with partners and the opportunity to work together to grow based on real insights.
GAV: How about iGaming/online casino/gambling conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favourite and what is your most fun experience?
Luke: We try to attend as many as possible. It’s rare to leave without a killer insight or two, at least. Face time with partners is also invaluable We’re looking forward to Lisbon this autumn – the weather should in theory be better than Berlin, which is a plus!
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favourite country or region?
Luke: I haven’t seen much of it, so I’d have quite a long to-do list! In particular, I’ve heard great things about Slovenia.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Luke: I wouldn’t rule anywhere out!
GAV: How about a favourite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?
Luke: I’m not a big follower of celebrity. I have however been fortunate enough to have worked with a range of experienced and knowledgeable senior colleagues throughout my career, all of whom have had a great influence.
AffiliateINSIDER hosts first-of-its-kind Business Coaching Workshop at AIBootcamp with George Swift , Bigger Brighter Bolder
Celebrated UK entrepreneur business coach George Swift will host an exclusive ‘Elevate and Thrive’ Affiliate Business Coaching Workshop at March’s AffiliateINSIDER Bootcamp, the first time such an initiative has ever been offered at an igaming affiliate event.
Held at Under the Bridge, a unique and stylish venue positioned underneath Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge Stadium, the two-day event on 21-22 March has been designed to help igaming affiliates growth hack and gain expert digital knowledge for driving traffic to their sites.
Swift, who runs business coaching group Bigger, Brighter, Bolder (BBB), will ensure affiliate entrepreneurs focus on their individual journey in obtaining business success and have the right business mindset to drive revenue growth.
The workshop is built around the ‘hero’s journey’ – a powerful metaphor for the journey to business success. While learning tools and tactics is essential, equally important for success is having the right business mindset.
Business coaches can be an invaluable resource when it comes to bolstering your business model, with the International Coach Federation suggesting they can increase
profit margins by an average of 46%. Further research has demonstrated a 570% return on initial investment in coaching.
This coaching session is not only unique to the AffiliateINSIDER Bootcamp conference, it is the first time an affiliate event will host a dedicated business coaching workshop.
Curated by AI founder and CEO Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event boasts a full two-day agenda of digital expert speakers, an experts mentor panel and several opportunities to make new introductions, giving attendees the chance to grow their business network.
“We are delighted to be hosting the first curated affiliate business coaching workshop for iGaming affiliates at Bootcamp this year. Affiliates who are looking to growth hack their business will certainly get the digital insights they need to get ahead of the curve and we’ll help them build a stronger entrepreneurial mindset to support their business success,” Johnstone explained.
Swift added: “I believe entrepreneurism is the greatest vocation on earth and offers an unprecedented opportunity to those that step up to its calling. However, that opportunity comes at a price: it’s hard work, challenging and can be very lonely.
“Whilst every journey is unique, there are commonalities we all share and those are what I will be sharing on the day. I’m really excited to be part of the AffiliateINSIDER Bootcamp and I’m looking forward to sharing the Entrepreneurial Journey of Success with all present.”
LeoVegas really is making dreams come true this Christmas
LeoVegas is giving away 5 nights under the Northern Lights!
It’s that festive time of year when our customers begin to dream of log fires, Christmas trees and dashing through the snow on a reindeer-drawn sleigh with mince pie crumbs in their laps. Well, good tidings are here as LeoVegas would like to spread the festive cheer by making two of these lucky customers’ dreams come true this New Year!
We will send two players and their plus ones to the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Lapland on a once in a lifetime trip where they’ll sleep under the stars in glass roofed igloos – and may even see the Northern Lights flickering above while tucked up cosy and warm in a comfy bed as the snow falls around them.
This incredible trip also includes six activities which winners can choose themselves. These include a 4-hour husky safari, Aurora hunting on a horse drawn sleigh, visiting reindeer on a snowmobile or learning how to master Nordic skiing.
To be in with a chance of winning, new customers just need to deposit and wager 50 in the Live Casino or Casino (from 10/12/18 to 01/01/19) on any game to get one ticket into the raffle. The winners will then be drawn randomly on 2nd January.
A geo-targeted landing page promoting the campaign will be available by end of this week. Please contact your account manager or AffiliateTeam@leovegas.com for the media ID or if you have any queries. This campaign will be live in all markets except Italy from 10th December.
Leo really is making dreams come true this Christmas at LeoVegas!
The LeoVegas Affiliate Team
Affiliate Interviews: Steven Hubbard, of SweGaming and BettingLounge
This is our second interview with Swegaming. We are checking how they are doing right now.
GAV: Hi Steven, first off we’ve been talking with you before, around 2 years ago to be exact, and first wanted an update on what Swegaming and BettingLounge have been up to since then.
The last two years have been hectic for Swegaming as a company, and since I joined this year we’ve been ramping up our efforts towards the UK market with our site BettingLounge.
We’ve launched a completely new look and feel to the site while adding new sections including our popular betting tips. We have also added new functionality and content to help our visitors make the right decision when choosing which betting sites to use.
GAV: Could you tell us some quick facts about you?
Name: Steven Hubbard
Living in: Gothenburg
Favourite Food: Pizza
Must read book: Running: The Autobiography
Best dart player: Phil Taylor
GAV: Tell us more about yourself, we want to know exactly who Steven is, the product owner of Bettinglounge. How was it to move to a new country? How is it to work at a big affiliate company as Swegaming?
Well, I grew up in a small town in Norfolk, England. I spent most of my working life as a Lifeguard and Swimming teacher but decided to go travelling for a change.
There I met my Swedish girlfriend and moved to Gothenburg, where I met Andreas and David (founders of SweGaming AB). Moving to Sweden was a lot harder than the travelling I had done, but I had great support from my girlfriend and her family.
Working at SweGaming has been a wonderful opportunity to learn and develop new skills. They have a lot of valuable experience in the Swedish market and exciting ideas for the UK.
GAV: What would you say is the biggest competitive advantages for Bettinglounge? What makes Bettinglounge stand out from the crowd?
We are looking to change the affiliate industry by offering an honest, transparent and personal product. All while promoting safe and responsible gambling.
We have some really exciting long-term projects that I think will add a lot of value to BettingLounge, while continuing with our personal touch instead of hiding behind a brand name.
GAV: What is the biggest challenge for you as a product owner?
The need for constant innovation is the biggest challenge facing us. There are a massive number of affiliates in the UK, and we have to offer something special to stand out.
GAV: We have done some reading at your site and found out some really interesting betting tips, how can you know so much!?
Well, I am in no way a betting tipster or expert. But, I have been following sports, mainly football and darts for most of my life. Of course, you learn a lot from that over the years.
But, the most valuable information is gained by a bit of research. All of our tips are well researched with key stats and facts for the match. It is not a foolproof way of betting, but it will help in your decision making.
See our betting tips as a guide, or if you agree, of course, you are welcome to back them. But, remember to do so in a fun and responsible way.
GAV: Steven, who is your favourite model? Is it Zlatan or David Beckham?
Ah, that’s a tough one. Of course, David Beckham is my favourite model. I mean his boxers are not great, but what a man he is!
GAV: What betting tip has been your best in ROI?
The best betting tip so far has been a 12/1 win treble with Betway. Three away wins, Lincoln City, Leicester and Doncaster.
Although, Doncaster finished 3-2 and we had a nervy 7+ minutes of extra time that was not appreciated.
GAV: What is the best with TheGamblingAffiliateVoice?
The best thing is definitely to find new gaming conferences and read comprehensive articles . You are doing a great job writing about the conference Sigma on Malta. More affiliates and operators should definitely go to Sigma which is the best conference in my opinion.
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