GAV: Hello Jaume, could you fill out the short form below so our readers can imagine your profile?
Name: Jaume Lopez
Hometown: Viladecans, Barcelona – Spain
Living in: Andorra la Vella – Andorra
Favorite Food: Spanish cusine
Must Read Book: I won’t recommend any since I am not into reading books
Profession/Job title: Online Marketing/CEO at Epicorns
GAV: Hi Jaume, first of all tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Jaume really is? How did your career start in the industry? Since when are you active at rahapelit-netissa.com?
JL: I am born in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, where I studied and got the title of Senior Technician in Administration and Finance. Afterwards I started studying online but at the age of 23 the crisis hit very hard in Spain and it was very difficult to get a good job. I then decided to move to Malta and there is where I started working in the Igaming industry. First, I started working for a very well-known poker/casino affiliate within the Spanish market. 2 years after that, I moved to Cyprus to work as a Head of SEO, where I was working and living for almost 2 years. In Cyprus, I met my better half and we decided to move to Andorra, where we then started doing consultancy and creating affiliate sites, and that’s how our company started.
GAV: We know that you also have an international online marketing company, tell us all about it?
JL: At Epicorns we do a lot of services like SEO, web development, content writing.., but we don’t focus much into selling the services, since our main income nowadays is affiliate marketing and lead generation. We currently have over 150 websites in 11 different languages.
We are growing fast, and now we are in total 9 employees, plus more or less same number of freelancers (mainly for content). All of us work from home in different locations: India, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Andorra, Colombia..
GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think rahapelit-netissa.com stands now and what is that plus that the other portals don’t have?
JL: With no doubt, I will say the variety of the content, we talk about betting, lotteries, casinos, poker and basically whatever that is considered gambling. That makes rahapelit-netissa.com a site for all kind of gamblers.
GAV: Which markets do you target with your site and why?
JL: We target mainly Finland since the site is just in Finnish at the moment.
We created the site since we saw that there was a gap. The market either targets betting, poker or casino.. all by separate. Since Finnish people are “gamblers by design” they basically like all kinds of games, and that’s where rahapelit-netissa.com stands out.
GAV: How do you see the online casino market/industry at this moment?
JL: It is still a quite new industry, especially in some locations and markets. In places like UK or Sweden the market is more mature and you can see that the game is very different.
What I noticed, is that there is a lot of new casinos, every time more, which is making the value player way lower and the quality of the support, CRM.. it’s every time lower and lower.
I think that this is happening because the big players in the industry makes money from TV ads, sponsors and so on, and they don’t take care much about the affiliates, that’s why so many new casinos are coming to fill this gap.
GAV: In your opinion what are the strong points of rahapelit-netissa.com and what makes it stand out from the other niche websites?
JL: The variety, you can find everything in one place and that makes it unique.
GAV: We have surfed your website and found some great quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you?
JL: Thanks for noticing! Yes, we have a small team of freelance content writers, in addition to that my partner Nina Sparv is also writing and over checking that all content is properly written and placed in the website.
GAV: How about the online marketing and SEO of your websites, how many team members do you have, let us in on a new trend that you guys are following?
JL: In the marketing part of the company we are 3 people, and we basically divide our job by markets or countries. We don’t follow any strategy, we´re just focusing on to keep growing the sites with good content and get links from reliable sources. Like this you will always grow progressive, and with less risk than when using more aggressive techniques.
GAV: How do you manage to keep all the websites fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
JL: We have content writers. Before they were not experts in the area, but after writing tons of content about our industry they already became experts. Which is very important to keep the site fresh and with interesting content.
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?!
JL: In here I think the volume and the size of the affiliate influences a lot. It´s not the same, a relationship with a startup than with a big corporation.
In our case, we love the affiliate managers that help us grow, check how to improve conversions, how we can bring more traffic…
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
JL: I think it will always exist, and every time I think it will be more regulated in the countries.
Regarding global.. I think it is already, and most of the world still didn’t even start gambling online, so in few decades I am sure it’s going to be truly a global business.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino industry?!
JL: There are a lot of things, especially regarding the regulations. But the one I am going to say, is “trust”. Nobody trusts the business fully yet, we look like a bunch of scammers that do weird things, banks don’t give you credits, countries check what you are doing because it can be “suspicious”, most of online casinos are located in countries where gambling is illegal so you have to hide that you work on that…
I don’t think our business is what the rest of the world thinks, but that will take a lot of time to change.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?
JL: Take it easy and learn on the way. At the beginning invest in time, not in money and when you have a better understanding, then start investing in it. It’s not rocket science, but it needs patience and knowledge.
GAV: How about iGaming/online casino or affiliate conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
JL: I start going to conferences last year, so I didn’t go much. Since I don’t have much experience I can’t say which one is the best, probably in 1-2 years I will be able to answer that question better.
GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe to become a potential gaming hotspot in the near future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
JL: I think it will become a gaming hotspot, now everybody is in the Nordics and UK, once these markets are completely saturated, people will start looking more and more into the opportunities in other countries, especially in Europe.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favorite country or region?
JL: I would like to travel to Romania since I’ve never been there. My favorite country (from where I´ve been before) would be Poland, and my favorite city is Budapest.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe 🙂 ?
JL: Since I love travelling I would love to travel everywhere!
GAV: How about a favorite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?
JL: I don’t have a favorite celebrity, but mentors fortunately I had a lot, so I can’t mention just one.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
JL: I think it’s a great online magazine, the industry is growing and we need more sources to be aware of what’s going on in the market and thanks to GAV we are always updated.
GAV: Jaume, thank you for your time and interest, we wish you guys all the best!
If you would like to suggest subjects for future affiliate interviews, send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Meet Reza Shojaei, the founder of multinational CasinoTop.com
Value Marketing is a successful iGaming affiliate company that has its base set in Malta. Reza Shojaei, the founder of the company has spent years patiently building the company up, reaching multiple markets around the globe. The journey is not even nearly finished yet, and there is much more to come. Shojaei is excited for 2020 and what it will bring for Value Marketing’s two major brands: CasinoTopp.net and CasinoTop.com.
Who is Reza Shojaei?
Reza Shojaei is the founder of Value Marketing. Here, we will meet Reza.
Name: Reza Shojaei
Living in: Norway
Job title: Founder of Value Marketing
Favorite hobby: Playing poker and taking my dog, Bofflee, to long walks, racing cars on track
Tell us about Value Marketing
Value Marketing used to operate within face-to-face sales industry, but I personally was not passionate about it. So, after some time, I decided to take the company to another direction. In 2017, we discussed about getting into iGaming, because it was of interest to me and also because we saw a problem in the industry that needed to be solved.
I have been playing poker for over 15 years, so I was familiar with the industry already. As the online casino market is ever-growing, there are more and more iGaming related companies and especially online casinos opening all the time. The problem is that there are so many casinos that it is hard for players (especially new ones) to choose a reliable casino that is also high quality.
I founded Value Marketing and its two brands, CasinoTopp.net and CasinoTop.com, to provide honest and transparent information about reliable casinos. We never recommend any casinos that do not meet our standards and our readers respect us for that. Also, we provide other valuable information for players, such as casino guides and up-to-date casino news.
Frankly, we never got into this business purely for money and that is not our first priority. The top priority is to put our readers first and make sure that they are happy with our content. In fact, we even give our readers the chance to contact us and share their casino experiences. So, in a way, we build our brand with the help of our readers and also take their opinion into account.
What is the ultimate mission of Value Marketing?
We want CasinoTop.com to operate all over the world and have the biggest casino affiliate network across the globe. Currently, we operate in 12 countries. They include, for instance, Finland, Norway, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and India.
Why is Value Marketing different from other casino affiliate sites?
The number one reason why Value Marketing is different from others is that we do not work with any casinos that do not meet our standards. For us, it is important to provide 100 percent accurate content and write articles that are valuable for our readers. We also offer the readers a chance to be in touch with us, which is something that many sites do not do.
Why did you decide to launch Value Marketing and its brands?
I was tired of field marketing/face-to-face sales and wanted to do something that I had a passion for. I love playing poker, so transitioning to the iGaming world was only natural. Also, we saw a need for a big casino affiliate company that covers multiple markets and also offers honest opinions and reviews. This way, our readers know that they can trust us, and we can build a great reputation globally.
How do you see the iGaming market in the next years in Europe?
In Europe, online casinos are a big thing. There are constantly more and more casinos and rules and regulations change. One of the biggest things recently was the Swedish license, and we hope to see such a change in other countries too, for instance, in Norway and Finland, though it may not happen very soon.
What would you like to change in the gambling industry?
The mission of Value Marketing is to provide excellent and honest reviews that are transparent, and we hope that other sites take that approach as well. Though there are not many rogue casinos out there, there are casinos that are more reliable and better quality than others. Those are the casinos that should get the traffic and the attention from affiliates and players.
What is the hardest thing about running Value Marketing?
At the moment, we have launched 12 markets and we have copywriters, editors, designers, and developers in our roster, all from around the world. Keeping in touch with everyone in a timely manner can get challenging because of time zone differences. But overall, I love what I do and look forward to my work every day.
What do you expect from the gambling industry in the next year?
We can definitely see more pay & play casinos, as they have been trending among players recently. Also, we can only expect even better-quality games and especially NetEnt and Wazdan has really been on top of it. 3D graphics and more interactive games are great and perhaps virtual reality takes off, too, in the iGaming industry. Some rules and regulations might relax as well, considering that the US already opened a few states for online gaming and Sweden has their own license now.
What do you expect from Value Marketing in the next year?
In 2020, we are hoping to open more markets in addition to the ones that are already open. Also, improving our current content and redefining goals is always on my plate.
A Representative of Storm International will Speak at the Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference
Lavrenty Gubin will present a report on the key elements of a successful casino
There is a series of conferences and exhibitions to take place in Kiev in the coming months due to the upcoming gaming business legalization.
The Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference will take place in the capital of Ukraine on December 18, 2019.
The core topic of the conference is gaming business legalization in Ukraine and adoption of international experience in the field of regulation.
Lavrenty Gubin, Marketing and PR Director of Storm International, was invited to the conference as a speaker to cover the land-based casinos sector. Lavrenty will make a presentation on the international experience required to open a brand new casino like Shangri La Tbilisi or SL Casino Riga.
The conference will gather government officials, operators, software developers, marketers and other industry professionals to discuss the future of the Ukrainian gaming business. The conference is run by Smile Expo, a well known industry events organizer in Western Europe and CIS.
Conference website: affiliateconf.com.ua
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