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Affiliate Interviews: Luke Eales, Founder of Seven Star Digital

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Affiliate Interviews: Luke Eales, Founder of Seven Star Digital

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

Age: 32

Hometown: London

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.

 

Affiliate Announcements

Rightlander partners with BetBull

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Rightlander partners with BetBull

 

Supplier to help tier one operator improve affiliate compliance

Rightlander.com, the ground-breaking compliance platform has signed a deal with BetBull to help them improve affiliate compliance and boost responsible gambling measures.

Nicole MittonHead of Customer Success at Rightlander.com, said: “It’s great to see operators like BetBull partnering with Rightlander to ensure adherence to advertising regulations. These efforts are not only noteworthy from a regulatory point of view, but are also a solid indicator that BetBull are invested in protecting the interests of their stakeholders, affiliates and players in regulated markets.”

Rightlander will offer its technology which encompasses a comprehensive range of affiliate compliance tools which include the Automated Compliance Monitor, a PPC Monitor and a Proactive Affiliate Finder allowing BetBull to remain proactive and in control of their affiliate marketing.

Gabrielle Mallia, BetBull said: “We decided to opt for Rightlander because of its ability to give further visibility into our affiliate’s practices. The PPC Monitor is particularly key in allowing us to ensure adherence to policies specifically related to keywords and geos of promotion. Rightlander increases the efficiency in our compliance monitoring with its wide scope and allows us to quickly identify any breaches should they occur.”

The Automated Compliance Monitor helps detect non-compliant content across territories including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and the United States. The monitor flags potential violations such as missing terms and conditions, outdated offers, incorrect marketing assets allowing BetBull to remain compliant according to their jurisdiction’s regulations.

The Proactive Affiliate Finder scans millions of web pages every month to identify new and prominent sites and the innovative PPC Monitor identifies harmful ads to stop them from appearing on an operator’s branded keywords.

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Affiliate Program News

1xBet Partners: An affiliate program that stands out from the crowd

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1xBet Partners: An affiliate program that stands out from the crowd

 

Nominated for the Affiliate Program of the year at the Global Gaming Awards, the 1xBet Team reveals how the bookmaker has built a 30,000-strong network of healthy partnerships across the globe, with each 1xBet Partner receiving feedback and exclusive promotional materials to ensure they accurately represent the 1xBet brand of quality and success.

 

iGT: How important are affiliates to the betting industry and, in particular, 1xBet?

1xBet Team: The mechanics of affiliate programs make affiliates a vital part of any industry. Betting is no exception because also, thanks to partners, brands manage to increase growth rates. This is quantifiable, with key indicators being new users, deposits, player activity.

We have great respect for the 1xBet affiliate program participants who introduce their audience to our brand. We have more than 30 thousand partners from all over the world on our side, and this list includes both the owners of huge sites and novice bloggers, for example.

The contribution of each affects the results that we achieve. Therefore, a partnership is a two-way road. After all, we, in turn, offer affiliates favourable terms of cooperation.

 

iGT: What is the key to a successful affiliate program?

1xBet Team: Today, the number of affiliate programs is growing, including among bookmakers, and you need to be able to stand out. How to do it? There may be different approaches here: someone offers high commission rates, someone has an original approach to communication, and someone invents new models of cooperation.

We constantly evaluate our work in the area of ​​partnership programs. Our positive results are reflected in victories and nominations at prestigious awards. For example, this year, we were nominated for the Affiliate Program of the year at the Global Gaming Awards. This is a good sign that we are continuing to move in the right direction.

 

iGT: How has 1xBet assisted its affiliates to overcome challenges and reach their target markets?

1xBet Team: An affiliate program is a good opportunity to make your project profitable. For many of our affiliates, working with us is their primary source of income.

We are fully aware that partners have their own goals and challenges, and therefore we make collaborating with us reliable and orderly. Each partner can count on feedback and receiving exclusive materials for publication. We stand for quality, and we need partners to convey information about our brand correctly.

1xBet Partners is a story about healthy partnerships, where both parties try to give their maximum to achieve the optimal results.

 

iGT: What feedback have you received from affiliates over the last year?

1xBet Team: We have received many positive messages from affiliates. 2021 is turning out to be a great year because it’s been an exciting sports season: the Euro, the Olympics and dozens of other events. Therefore, we prepared various large promotions for all these activities.

This allowed partners to monetise their traffic, and for us – to introduce new users, who could bet on their favourite sports, to this feast of sporting action.

Let’s not forget that 1xBet is also a prominent player in the esports arena. We have major agreements with ESL and WePlay, an excellent range of betting options, plus attractive promotions dedicated to top tournaments. This only expanded the potential for cooperation with us, especially for those sites that do not gravitate towards sports.

In short, the partners are excited about how things are going in 2021. We are too.

 

iGT: How do you plan to continue to support and help grow your affiliates in the future?

1xBet Team: We have a number of ideas on how to make our affiliate program even better. Of course, we are constantly working on improving what we have, but we also have new ideas in our plans.

We would not want to reveal all our cards yet, but the partners will definitely be happy with any new methods adopted by 1xBet Partners. Stay tuned!

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Affiliate Success

Blexr has been crowned Best Casino Affiliate at this year’s IGB Affiliate Awards

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Blexr has been crowned Best Casino Affiliate at this year’s IGB Affiliate Awards

The IGB judges said the company’s innovative work with SEO “helped Blexr stand out as a winner, and we liked the deposit guarantee that they offer to their customers”.

The judges added: “Their selective way of working means Blexr only collaborates with top quality partners, which judges felt had helped contribute to their impressive growth over the last 12 months.”

IGB also mentioned how “Blexr’s charitable work within the community helped them stand out as an affiliate to be highly commended”.

Blexr is a lead generation company which operates in the iGaming, sportsbook and forex affiliate markets. It also owns the Home Grounds website, which serves a community of home baristas.

Ian Hills, Blexr’s general manager in Malta, said: “We’re delighted and thrilled to be recognised by IGB this way.

“We pride ourselves on recruiting smart people with innovative ideas and winning a prestigious award like this one is a lovely way for the whole team to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication.”

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