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Affiliate Interviews: Chris, CEO of Allfreechips.com

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In this weeks affiliate success story you’ll get to know Chris Trenka, CEO and web developer of Allfreechips.com, a great website which gives you insights on the operators, but it’s also a good  source to get latest no deposit bingo and casino bonuses!

GAV: First of all thank you very much for the opportunity Chris! Could you share your profile with us so our readers can get a better idea of who you are?

Name: Chris Trenka
Age: 44
Hometown: Hudson
Living in: Hudson
Favorite Food: Ribeye
Must Read Book: The Stand
Profession/Job title: Pretend CEO and web developer

GAV: Hi Chris, first of all, tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry? What was the key idea of developing this great online gambling casino guide/community ?

CHRIS: It all started in 2004, I found you can play slots online with no deposit. This was the coolest thing and I cashed out $350 from a Micro gaming casino plating the double magic slot from a $10 bonus. At this same time 1and1 was offering a free domain name and web hosting as their promotion for just launching and a co-worker told me to get it, its free! Well this started a thought of what kind of website do I want to have as I had no idea how to make one. Then it hit me, I can make a site telling people how to plat casinos for free, and I hoped if I sent them players I could maybe get a few more free plays from them. At this point I had no idea what an affiliate was so things were going to change real fast. I got the Allfreechips domain name and learned how to make a table on the web with the casinos, a link and the amounts. The rest is databases and history.

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

CHRIS: I think I have really made a brand name. I have a monthly contest I run that pays out $300 to $500 each month for my members. My forum Mod Catlicker does a great job coming up with new contest each month and making the forum a fun family feeling area. So between the great loyalty of my members and great SE rankings on Google we keep moving forward.

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

CHRIS: I see it getting overwhelmed with white labels and fly by night operators. I also see retention falling with so many options out there. Do people get tired of going to new casinos for $5 bonus at this point is the question. Also the affiliate community is growing of course, many great people from 2004 are no longer in the game but many many more are. We also see a lot of blackhat operations that come and go that take up a lot positions that I just can’t compete with doing things cleanly but then again I have done well since 2004.

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

CHRIS: Getting users obviously and learning what html is. Users was a funny thing as back then there were a lot of casino forums on free hosts, and they had a lot of friends on the forum pages. This was great as I would drop little posts in there and add something about their site to my 2 page website. Also seems like simply making a site ranked in Google pretty easily then as I had no deposit poker and bingo in top 10 pretty fast for some reason. The next big bump was updating offers, what a pain it is to update a static table all the time!

allfreechips.com

GAV: We have analyzed Allfreechips.com 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 forum, tell us a bit more about it?

CHRIS: I was very stubborn about anyone doing anything with my site forever, but once I started adding slots I needed help. A good friend now, my content writer Doug has done a great job of writing for my 4200 slot machines now on Allfreechips. I keep thinking I’ll catch up to them all one day but it seems impossible. The forum is remnant of the old days, but that is what really turns Allfreechips into a family, its amazing what you learn about people and the real life bonds that are formed there.

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

CHRIS: Well with new bonuses and new slots appearing all the time the content is pretty fluent. Right now I have 35 slot reviews I need to add so there is very little time to not have new content. I also added a daily list of casino promotions that runs on the homepage and leaves the last 10 on each casinos review page to give my players all the possible info I can. I also started posting the games and bonuses to Facebook, Google plus and Twitter.

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?

CHRIS: Well I have a group of managers I consider friends now, and that goes a long way. I don’t respond well to emails as they get lost really. I also won’t update a casino every 2 days, or work real hard for one that is not converting. If they want my attention Skype is the way to go.

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

CHRIS: I do believe its already global, what I am more afraid of is more local run operations like New Jersey, they not only want a piece they want a monopoly, a true government operation. East Europe will hopefully continue to grow and hopefully Canada becomes more open.

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

CHRIS: Real regulators. I mean I want them to ensure the software can not be manipulated for payouts to protect the players, and also insure the affiliate numbers are not editable by they operators. I have had 3 very large whales since 2004, all 3 times they deposited 50K plus in one month and either decided not to play anymore or asked to have their accounts closed. I can see that happening but not all three, and I would also assume since they came from me they would re-appear at some point?

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

CHRIS: Today you better know what your doing, when I started it was not difficult to get players and conversions. I think today you better have a solid plan, knowledge and real expectations to produce something competitive. I am building multiple other sites still but my main focus is still Allfreechips because it does take that much time and resources to keep going.

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

CHRIS: With 2 kids in school I nerve had much of a chance to travel a lot, and 4 years ago I had a real job. I have managed to go to the CBG Canadian get together twice, both times I had a great time meeting the people in person.

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?

CHRIS: As I stated before I think that’s the big new area, Russia can be very large as they become more open. I think the industry really needs more structure and proof that it is not the crooked sham that many people still think it is today.

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

CHRIS: I would love to visit Germany and Russia, I think the old architecture is amazing, and married to an architect we would have a great time. At this point with the refugees in Germany I think I will wait a few years before traveling though.

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

CHRIS: I’m up for anything as long as its safe, see some Rugby games and have fun.

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

CHRIS: I don’t really waste a lot of time with TV or movies, I also think the celebrity mindset of you should do what we think because were famous is a real turn off. I would like to hang out with the boys from ‚Trailer Park Boys‘ something my son got me into watching when I need a break.

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

CHRIS: I think it is a great idea to focus on the affiliates, we are a great bunch of people that are all very helpful with each other. We of course have our secrets and strategies we wont share but when in need its a great group. Giving a voice and view into the personal side is a great idea.
GAV: Thank you very much for your answers and time Chris, we appreciate it! All the best to you and if you have some news or updates that you’d like to share, feel free to contact us!

 

If you would like to suggest some more questions or subjects for future interviews, be sure to send your suggestions to: george@gamblingaffiliatevoice.com .

Affiliate Success

Exclusive Q&A with Jeton Kodia Co-Founder at Oddspedia

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Let’s start with a few words about yourself. Our readers love top executives talking about themselves.

My name is Jeton Kodia and I have been in the gambling business since 2009. I became an iGaming affiliate when I turned my hobby into my profession. Gambling is part of my life – I love betting, casino games, and poker. Additionally, with my first name Jeton, it was somehow destiny that I had to step into this industry. I am addicted to football, and I had to lose quite some bets on my favorite team until I learned that when you want to take betting seriously, you need to refrain from your emotional attachment to a particular team and turn your attention more to comparing the odds. Besides football and pro sports in general, I bet on pretty much anything with my friends. This ranges from prop bets about winning at Playstation games to whether my first child will be a boy or girl. There is always something going on in my life which we can bet on.

Now on to Oddspedia. What led to the founding of Oddspedia?

As I already hinted at before, I wanted to focus more on the odds at sports betting. Therefore, I teamed up with Jan, whom I know since we were 18 years old, and who is equally passionate for sports in general and football in particular. Together, we co-founded our company and website Oddspedia. The main goal of our company is to provide valuable, competitive and user-friendly services for sports betting fans, players and publishers. Since its inception and over the course of several years, Oddspedia established itself as one of the biggest international affiliates in the sports betting world.

Could you elaborate on the cutting edge that Oddspedia possesses? There are other companies that offer similar services. What makes Oddspedia “the number one sports companion” of punters?

The website aims to provide as much value to the user as possible, and the information is conveyed in a manner to ensure a great user experience. It starts with guaranteeing a reliable odds comparison – odds on Oddspedia are being scanned in real-time across more than eighty bookmakers to ensure that only the most up-to-date data is displayed. This is complemented by features not commonly found in competing websites, such as geolocation to show only relevant betting sites for the user, direct links to bookmakers’ betslips, full odds movement history and various betting tools. This is part of what makes Oddspedia one of the best sites for odds comparison. But as a matter of fact Oddspedia offers much more than that. The website has amazing sports coverage as well, providing livescore information on more than 30 different sports. Users can also explore sports statistics, bonuses and promotions, or read the latest news on their favourite leagues, teams and matches. All of this wrapped in an app-like web experience, with quick performance and a state-of-art modern design makes it easy for Oddspedia to stand out from its competitors.

You recently overhauled the Oddspedia website. What are the new features that have become user favorites?

In August Oddspedia had the biggest makeover yet with its relaunch. The new version was in development for more than a year, and enabled the development team to apply new tools and technical innovations that were simply not possible on the old site. Major front-end and back-end changes were done to improve the user experience, and the new UI provides much more natural and polished user flow. To ensure seamless operation, updates regarding back-end software, systems,  processing odds nodes, and new integrations are introduced almost on a day-to-day basis.

You have also launched widgets for webmasters and digital publishers which help them monetize their website through affiliate marketing? Tell us more about the widgets and process of monetizing.

One of the main issues from editors, publishers and affiliates is providing real time data to their customers. Is extremely hard to find a proper way to do it. The Oddspedia Widgets fill the gap between the sports data feeds and the operators.

For editors, the Oddspedia Widgets have been developed as a real “all-in one” solution. These tools can be implemented into any site by simply pasting their code, providing that site’s users with real time odds data. Publishers can benefit from the live information by not only providing their users an odds comparison widget for free, but they can include their affiliate link to the respective bookmaker. Clicks are simply shared on a 50/50 basis. The way the split works is that the widgets rotate with two links, one for the publisher and the other for Oddspedia which will be applied with equal chance.

 Publishers will get real time sports data without any cost for them, at same time they offer that to their customers and readers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the betting and gambling companies, especially the traditional forms of betting and gambling. It is not yet done yet. How have the lock-down and social distancing measures affected your business?

In every crisis there’s an opportunity. The coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating impact all over the world and on our daily lives, with many businesses in almost every industry feeling the pinch. That’s no different with the gambling industry, as most major sports were suspended in the first lockdown during spring time.

At Oddspedia we expected that the interest in sports will even grow bigger in times of social distancing and isolation. But with the vast majority of sports canceled we had to find a way to react to the situation. We focused on increasing our sports portfolio and cover almost any event going on worldwide. As crazy as it sounds, the matches from a Table Tennis tournament in Russia were checked over a million times on Oddspedia.

There are still positives that can emerge from the pandemic, with virtual sports and esports being one of them. Virtual Sports truly boomed in interest. Esports betting is a vertical in the industry that was already rising in popularity before the outbreak. But now, it’s well on its way to establish itself as a major offering for operators and affiliates, which is set to continue even after we come out the other side of virus lockdowns.

It has been seven years since Oddspedia was launched. Most of these times, you focused mainly on Europe, especially the German-speaking countries. You are now venturing in to South America. How has the user response so far from the Latin American countries, who certainly love their football? Any plans to start operations in Asia?

Our entry into the South American market has been very successful. The audience there is extremely passionate about sports and betting, and they show a great demand for our product. Of course, we provide local users with well-targeted information from local bookies in their native language. We began with the integration of Spanish and Portuguese languages for our product, then we structured our content to be as engaging as possible for local users. It’s no secret, that for users from Brazil, as well as for other Latin American countries, football is the most popular sport. So when entering our website, we meet users with the most interesting football matches from their local leagues. These are shown first and then followed by popular worldwide championships.

This personalized approach is very successful and we have good and stable traffic coming from these countries

Several Asian countries, like Japan for example, are very interesting for oddspedia, as well. However, we deem it highly important to find the right partner when entering a country like that. It is crucial to have the right partner who is fond of the language, can translate and adapt to the correct betting terminology, and possesses local SEO knowledge. We envision to grant sublicenses for oddspedia if the right company to partner with comes knocking on our door.

The technology is moving at an unimaginably high speed. How do you think artificial intelligence and machine learning would impact the betting industry, and specifically the odds comparison

Automation based on machine learning has been key within ecommerce for years and the igaming industry should apply insights gained in other sectors. Offering a personal user experience in a responsible environment comes from understanding and catering to each individual player’s needs from an entertainment point of view. AI is a type of software or hardware that learns – and it could be programmed to learn mostly about users and their behavior and utilize those insights to drive the developments of new, hyper-personalised gaming and internet betting experiences. The technology is being applied to learn our habits, our likes, and our relationship patterns. Online gaming is an industry that runs on data, such as results, stakes, percentages, odds, stats, and so on. All of these numbers are constantly crunched, calculated and analysed behind every major gaming platform. For this reason, ML is actually playing a growing influential role in the sector, changing the game for both online gaming businesses and their players

Finally, what would be your key advises to any new entrepreneurs starting something new in the gambling industry or affiliate marketing sector?

Don’t start something just on your own if you are a newbie. First, dip your foot in the water and gain some experience in the industry. I would recommend starting with a job at a bigger affiliate company or in affiliate marketing at an operator. If you are smart, you can learn a lot quickly and avoid a bunch of costly mistakes you might have made otherwise. In the next step, you can try out your own ideas. By then, you already have a sound understanding of the industry, which allows you to make even better products right from the beginning and the timeframe until you are able to realize a return on your investment is likely to be much shorter, as well.

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Affiliate Announcements

Bojoko crowned Casino Affiliate of the Year 2020

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Bojoko crowned Casino Affiliate of the Year 2020

 

Online casino comparison site takes home its first EGR Operator Award off the back of a hugely successful year

 The party is continuing at Bojoko after the online gambling comparison site was named Casino Affiliate of the Year at the prestigious EGR Operator Awards 2020.

Bojoko fought off stiff competition from some of the biggest names in the affiliate industry, including Gambling.com Group, Catena Media and Blexr, to take home the trophy.

EGR judges said that Bojoko had showed “very strong growth” over the past three years having been the first to use the Airbnb and Trip Advisor model in the online casino sector.

The EGR judges said: “They continue to be innovative with a number of new features which has allowed them to grow to 26,000+ registered members.

“I really like the concept, it’s a true affiliate giving customers choice who to choose, growth looks decent and operators managing the page ensures compliance and cost control.

“It is a clever idea and model and shows good growth,” the judges added.

Bojoko allows online casino operators and game developers to create their own listing and tell their story through their own words, images and videos.

Bojoko members then rate and review online casinos and games based on the experience they receive, with Bojoko’s member base now standing at 26,000+.

Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko, said: “We are thrilled to have been named Casino Affiliate 2020 at the EGR Awards and for Bojoko to be recognised as a true leader in the space.

“The Covid-19 pandemic saw operators pivot to casino as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the global sports blackout, making the casino comparison sector even more competitive than normal.

“The Bojoko team rose to this challenge and I am so pleased that their efforts have been recognised by EGR and its panel of esteemed judges.

“Our mission from day one has been to help players find the best casinos for them while also meeting the highest possible standards when it comes to responsible gambling and safe gaming.

“We continue to innovate and introduce new tools and features to help players filter and compare the 160+ casinos and 40+ game developers listed on Bojoko.

“We have ambitious plans for the coming 12 months, including expanding into the US market, and look forward to doing this with our first EGR award in the bag.”

 

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Affiliate Announcements

Karhu launches Professional Gambling Affiliates Association

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Karhu launches Professional Gambling Affiliates Association

 

Bojoko’s Chief Business Officer launches industry group with the aim of creating contractual security between affiliates and operators for the first time

Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko.com, has launched the Professional Gambling Affiliates Association (PGAA) to help improve the relationship between affiliates and operators and create contractual security for the first time.

Karhu formed the association after becoming concerned with the imbalance in the relationship between affiliates and operators. The PGAA will address this with affiliates coming together as one in order to push for contractual security and fair terms and conditions when promoting operator brands.

At present, there is no contractual security for affiliates who are forced to sign agreements that are one-sided and subject to change at any time. This can see life-time revenues slashed and fees increased with little to no notice.

This is not the case in other B2B industries and makes running an online gambling affiliate business incredibly difficult. Operating an organisation without a secured contract is unsustainable, making it impossible to invest in growth and putting jobs at risk.

The PGAA intends to create a contract that provides the security its members need to be able to promote operator brands now and moving forwards. The contract will be signed by PGAA members and their operator partners.

Bojoko will handle the initial communication between the PGAA and operators, and will also cover the legal cost associated with creating the PGAA contract. This includes any potential reviews or amendments required now and in the future.

Karhu is now calling on affiliates of all sizes to join the Professional Gambling Affiliates Association. Those interested in signing up can do so by requesting to join the dedicated Professional Gambling Affiliates LinkedIn Group here.

Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko, said: “The situation online gambling affiliates face is unprecedented when compared with other industries and sectors. Running a business without a secured contract is simply unsustainable and puts organisations and their employees at great risk.

“By creating the PGAA, I hope to be able to provide the contractual security that affiliates need to be able to promote operator brands and be confident that the players they send and the revenues they generate are secured over time.

“I am now calling on all affiliates to join the PGAA and for operators and other industry stakeholders to support the association and its mission to level the playing field for affiliates and to provide the contractual security they need and deserve.”

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