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Affiliate Interviews: Jaume Lopez of Rahapelit-Netissa.com (Epicorns)

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Jaume Lopez - Epicorns

GAV: Hello Jaume, could you fill out the short form below so our readers can imagine your profile?

Name: Jaume Lopez
Age: 29
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?

 

rahapelit-netissa.com

 

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: george@gamblingaffiliatevoice.com

Affiliate Success

MyAffiliates announces its rebranding

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MyAffiliates announces its rebranding

MyAffiliates, the affiliate marketing software provider, announced today a major rebranding of its product image to reflect the company’s evolution in the online betting, gaming, forex and binary industries.

Clemence Dujardin, General Manager at MyAffiliates said: “MyAffiliates has been around since 2007. Our technology and our products have evolved considerably since then. It was high time for a rethink of our brand to plot our journey in the years ahead. We have been very successful over the years working with an ever growing number of online operators worldwide. Our new brand is an invitation to them to join us as we continue to improve our offering.

“The new brand recalls MyAffiliates’ sterling reputation as the most flexible affiliate marketing software on the market. This flexibility is built on the features we developed along the years. But our success also rests on transparency in our pricing structure and the support we provide our customers anytime they need it, whichever time zone they are in. Our vision remains to build software that answers the needs of the industry, backed by reliable and scalable technologies.”

Steven Harris, MyAffiliates’ founding Director said: “Over the years, our professional and well-grounded team, managed to evolve our product into the affiliate marketing software affiliates love. For us it is crucial that our clients find all they need and more to run a successful affiliate program and grow their business. It is equally important for us that the end users — the affiliates — continue to enthusiastically approve of our solution. We will not rest on our past successes.

“This rebranding tells the story of our evolution and better represents MyAffiliates as the young and dynamic company that we are, continuously striving to develop the best product of its kind on the market as we help our clients grow.”

Visit www.myaffiliates.com.

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iGaming Focus Areas and СРА Selection to Be Discussed at Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference

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iGaming Focus Areas and СРА Selection to Be Discussed at Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference

 

The second Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference organized by Smile-Expo will come back to the capital of Ukraine on September 26. Relevant case studies, networking, and afterparty: the conference program will be as efficient and useful as possible.

 

What issues will be raised by speakers

Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference will involve expert speakers: webmasters, affiliates, arbitrage specialists, marketers, and specialized lawyers. Presentations by most of them sparked the great interest of the audience at the previous event. This time, professionals will introduce new presentations and recent case studies of their practice.

  • Tatiana Nasonova, CEO at Gambling Pro and an arbitrage expert, will analyze why advertisers and affiliates need to work closely to reach the maximum result. She will talk about core factors in the brand confidence as well as explain how advertisers can offer the best possible conditions to webmasters so that it won’t cost a bundle. At the past event in Kyiv, the speaker revealed how to enhance the conversion of your own offer tenfold. Tatiana is a frequent guest at international events as well as the founder of ‘Tough Arbitrage of St. Petersburg’ and Black Inc public pages.
  • Roman Bout, Founder of Quints – a developer of affiliate program software, will illustrate how operators can seamlessly shift from Revenue Share to CPA and stress the importance of the registration to deposit conversion when selecting the СРА model. Besides, the speaker will mention special features of player behaviors and traffic analysis. At the first Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference, Roman shared examples of the high-quality support increasing online casino revenues and gave use cases of reducing the customer attrition by 50%.
  • Viacheslav Ustimenko, CEO at LAWBOOT and an expert in legal consulting of IT, fintech, and gambling companies, will tell attendees about the legal difference in gambling, games of skill, and loot box projects as well as examine pros and cons of work with them. Moreover, conference guests will discover all about the banking compliance in 2019 from the expert: what has changed since 2018, what should be taken into account, what is already inefficient in comparison with the last year. At the previous conference, Viacheslav clarified where to register a company for the affiliate program and why the GDPR was a significant aspect for iGaming company operations.

“LP and LLP partnerships are no longer legal solutions. If you need a reliable banking account, change LP for Hong Kong,” the expert stated.

For the first time, Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference will engage Vitaliy Stetsenko, a speaker at top conferences and events dedicated to arbitrage, CPA, and online marketing, and the founder of Initium Group (the holding company includes RichAdvert traffic arbitrage school). As an entrepreneur and infopreneur, he frequently provides the audience with interesting arbitrage best practices. At Kyiv’s second event, Vitaliy will present workable strategies for mobile traffic arbitrage and examples of efficient creatives and advertising campaigns.

Panel discussion

The conference will feature a panel discussion allowing influencers to talk about prospects of such areas as casinos, betting, and esports. They will highlight what to emphasize this year and how to find the necessary balance between the above-mentioned sectors. The discussion will be moderated by Levon Nikoghosyan from PartnerMatrix.

Target audience

If you are an operator, a developer, a webmaster, an arbitrage specialist, an affiliate, or a SEO expert, the major affiliate marketing event is a crucial point in your schedule.

Networking and afterparty

Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference means not only beneficial presentations and case studies. Event guests will also be able to take part in fruitful networking and obtain new partners for cooperation as well as for business promotion and growth.

The afterparty will be available to owners of VIP tickets, sponsors, participants, and speakers. It is the best chance to negotiate on professional issues in a relaxed atmosphere.

Organizer and partners

The conference is organized by Smile-Expo, an international company that has been holding business events on innovations for 13 years. Media Gambling Sponsor of Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference will be a business online publication called Login Casino, while Media Sponsor will be YOGONET International Edition.

The event program can be found on the official website of Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference.

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Boots on the ground: What it’s like being an affiliate in the US sports betting market

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Boots on the ground: What it’s like being an affiliate in the US sports betting market
Photo Source: imgarit.pw

 

Mike Murphy, founder of BettingUSA.com, talks about the challenges and opportunities that await those getting in on the action in the US sports betting affiliate sector

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018 has unleashed a sea change in the regulated US sports betting market.

What was once illegal and the realm of shadowy offshore sportsbooks has now come into the mainstream with legal in-person and online sportsbooks slowly but surely funneling gamblers back onto regulated platforms headquartered in the United States.

Change can be uncomfortable, but it also provides opportunity. Many affiliates made a lot of money and got comfortable during the unregulated offshore days, but those days are dwindling and a new order is rising.

The question for sports betting affiliates is whether or not they will adapt to the changing environment and capitalize on the new opportunities before them. We suggest taking full advantage while the getting is good but acknowledge we will all face challenges moving forwards.

Let’s consider what we face and what we stand to gain.

Challenges Facing Affiliates in the Legal US Sports Betting Market

The greatest opportunities in life always come with challenges, and the newly-regulated sports betting market in the United States is no exception.

The good news is these challenges will sharpen and diversify your skills. Overcoming these challenges will make you a better, smarter and more well-rounded affiliate.

You will also find these challenges act as a sort of filter such that when you emerge on the other side, your competition will be reduced in number. The competitors who remain will be skilled affiliates like yourself, but there will be fewer of you competing for a piece of the action.

Higher Quality Competition

The regulated online gambling and sports betting market in the US has already attracted the attention of big players with deep pockets. The quality of websites that appear in search results is a night-and-day difference compared to just a few years ago when the only real opportunities to make money as a US-focused gambling affiliate were either questionably legal or outright illegal.

Legalization and regulation have resulted in major media companies finally entering the US market now that they can do so in a fully legal and transparent manner. These companies have big budgets, hire the best writers and churn out high quality websites in bulk.

Competing against these types of affiliates is challenging, and there are no indications things are going to get any easier. If you’re an independent affiliate with a website, you have your work cut out for you. The bigger companies can outspend you and likely have better connections.

That doesn’t mean there is no room left for independent affiliates like some of the doomsayers have taken to claiming of late. It just means you’ll need to be agile, pick your target markets carefully and cultivate a real relationship with your viewers.

New Licensing and Compliance Hurdles

One of the most challenging and frustrating hurdles we see in the US market today is the introduction of regulations that impact affiliates. States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania require all affiliates to acquire a license in order to make money promoting licensed sites to players in those states.

The magnitude of this challenge remains to be seen as additional states pass legalization laws. New Jersey’s affiliate licensing process really isn’t all that difficult. Getting licensed in Pennsylvania has proven to be fairly complicated. Meanwhile, we have seen no indications affiliates need to be licensed in West Virginia.

The types of laws passed in the future will determine the true startup costs associated with licensing. Our best advice to smaller affiliates here is to target states in which the licensing hurdles are minimal or nonexistent and build out from there.

Additional compliance hurdles are likely to materialize at some point as well. We can look to recent developments in the UK online sports betting industry for a preview of what may come in the future.

Advertisers in the UK are subject to an increasingly complicated set of rules regarding how to promote gambling responsibly, for example. The US has not gotten to this point yet, but it is worth keeping in mind additional regulatory hurdles remain a distinct possibility.

A Fractured Market

Online sports betting and gambling are regulated at the state level, which means the rules vary from state to state. You may need an affiliate license in one state but not another. A particular betting site may be available in one state, but not in the next one over.

This means you’ll need to take a state-by-state approach to your affiliate business by promoting particular sites to visitors from particular states. Some operators have opened shop in multiple states, but you’ll need to stay on top of which sportsbooks are available where so you can direct your visitors to the proper websites.

The upside to this challenge is it too provides opportunity. As legal sports betting spreads across the US, people are going to have many questions regarding the law, where they can bet online legally, where to find licensed mobile betting apps and much more. Affiliates are well-suited to educate consumers and earn some money at the same time.

Opportunities

Now that we have the biggest challenges out of the way, we can move on to the fun stuff: the opportunities that await affiliates who are able to deal with the aforementioned obstacles. The United States presents some very big opportunities for those intrepid affiliates who dare tackle this market.

There is A Lot of Money to be Made

The US online sports betting market has enormous potential for simple reasons. The US has a large population, it has a pro-sports culture and the people have high levels of disposable income.

We also have a strong pro-gambling culture with hundreds of casinos spread across the US and widespread familiarity with sports betting even if it was limited (officially anyways) to Nevada for several decades.

Consider this: The American Gaming Association (AGA) has estimated that one quarter of the US population participated in a sports pool in 2017. The AGA has also estimated Americans already wager upwards of $150 billion per year on sports through illegal channels. That is a lot of pent up demand.

This isn’t just us talking up the industry – major industry players have been staking their claims in anticipation of widespread legalization. Caesars Entertainment, FOX Sports and even Buffalo Wild Wings have all made moves to position themselves for a piece of the pie.

Some affiliates have already made a fortune even though the industry is just now gearing up. We have seen multiple eight-figure sales of sports-oriented affiliate websites in recent times for monthly multiples that would have been unthinkable during the turbulent, uncertain offshore sports betting days.

Case in point: The Better Collective Group recently purchased 60% of the RotoGrinders network for $21 million up front, plus a plan to purchase the remaining 40% “at a valuation based upon an EBITDA multiple between 5x and 10x.”

We also saw Catena Media purchase BonusSeeker last March for $6.5 million with a potential additional payout of $9.5 million based on performance after two years. Mind you, this was before the Supreme Court decision. BonusSeeker was restricted to legal online casinos in New Jersey at the time, and still it sold for that much.

The financial potential for affiliates is almost overwhelming to consider, and yet the industry is still just getting started. Many more states have yet to pass legislation to legalize online sports betting and gambling.

Industry is Ripe for Innovation and New Ideas

This is an exciting time to be an affiliate with operators and traditional media companies alike exploring the possibilities of legal sports betting. We’ve seen the likes of PointsBet hit the market with innovative new ways to bet on games while other operators have greatly expanded their in-play wagering capabilities.

The United States, home to Silicon Valley, has a strong culture of innovation. Even though the European markets have had a lengthy head start when it comes to legal sports betting, nobody can innovate like motivated US companies.

Not only does this make it more exciting and interesting to be an affiliate, but it gives affiliates even more opportunities to show value by answering questions and sharing interesting updates with viewers.

It is Still Early in the Game

The US online gambling industry is still in its infancy. Yes, some of the bigger affiliate networks have already paid millions for well-established websites, but we haven’t even come close to reaching peak saturation.

Consider the acquisitions discussed above: BonusSeeker being purchased for $6.5 million up front with a final sale price of up to $9.5 million after two years; 60% of the RotoGrinders network being purchased for $21 million up front with a very real chance of the final deal being realized for $50 million or more a few years from now.

Consider that these purchases happened when the majority of states still haven’t legalized online sports betting or gambling. Major affiliate companies are not paying that much money for digital assets just for fun. They see the market potential. They know the US market is just barely getting started.

Now, imagine the types of buyouts that will be possible after 20, 30 or 40 states have legalized online sports betting – or if Congress steps in and passes nationwide legislation.
We see the occasional discussion among smaller affiliates bemoaning the “corporatization” of the affiliate business.

Some will tell you it’s too late to get in the game now with the likes of Catena Media and Better Collective out there spending millions on marketing, acquisitions and staff.

It’s true the level of competition has increased and affiliates do have to jump through new hoops with licensing requirements in some states, but the market is still just barely getting started. Those challenges can be overcome, and the rewards will be very much worth the trouble.

There are plenty of opportunities even for the lonely one-man operation. Those who work hard and provide informative or entertaining content have a world of opportunity open to them with the US market just now getting off the ground.

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