We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you’ve also managed to rest and recharge your batteries for 2017!?! In this years first affiliate success story we present you Lena of CasinoHawks.com, an expert website, which is constantly gathering the most relevant information, news, reviews of online casinos, game developers, online slot games and jackpots.
Name: Lena Sciberras
Hometown: Kemerovo, Russia
Living in: Sliema, Malta
Favorite Food: pepperoni pizza
Must Read Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Profession/Job title: Content and SEO Writer https://www.casinohawks.com/
GAV: Hi Lena, first of all thanks for your time and interest! Tell us and our readers a little bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry? What was the main idea of developing this great UK focused online casino website?
LENA: I have a long background in journalism, copy-writing, editing, SEO and marketing. About 7 years ago I moved to Malta from Moscow. In Malta, the iGaming is very strong, so many expats find themselves joining this exciting industry. I did too a few years ago, and have been absolutely loving it ever since. For the last 9 months, I’ve been working on CasinoHawks.com, so it’s now nearly like a baby for me.
GAV: Since there are thousands and thousands of websites out there, and the UK market is quite ruff, where do you think Casinohawks.com stands now?
LENA: That’s very true. The UK casino affiliate market is extremely saturated, but from my perspective, there are not that many affiliate websites that combine the strong quality of writing together with the exclusive deals and offers. Casinohawks.com website is a part of Game Lounge Ltd group which has established itself as one of the strongest affiliate companies in the Nordic markets. This year Game Lounge won “Affiliate of the Year” award as a part of the first instalment of “Malta iGaming Awards”. So together as a company, we have enough know-how to build a solid and successful affiliate brand in the UK. Just give us a few more months, and we will show our full force.
GAV: How do you see the online casino industry at this moment? How about the UK market?!
LENA: As we said, the UK market is quite overloaded with affiliates of all kinds, sizes and quality levels, but we believe in high-quality content and exclusive deals with the coolest online casinos, so there is always room for us. In general, I feel like UK casino market changes in a way that players get more aware of the newer casino brands, more international casinos, that have already established themselves on, let’s say, Scandinavian markets, and now they are conquering the UK. We have a long relationship with many of these casino brands, and that’s another strength of CasinoHawks.com.
GAV: How did you start and most of all what bumps did you have to overcome in the beginning?
LENA: It’s always hard at the beginning, you have to write so much and make all those exclusive deals and offers, but you have zero return or feedback in the first few months. No results at all, which can be extremely discouraging and frustrating for many other affiliates. But we have a positive experience from the other markets and great support system from the Game Lounge affiliate group, so it was possible for CasinoHawks.com to survive that first period and now things are definitely picking up and I start seeing results, which is very rewarding.
GAV: We have analyzed Casinohawks.com and found some great online casino reviews. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you? How many reviews are there on your website? How about the news section, tell us a bit more about it?
LENA: Thank you, that’s great to hear! When it comes to Casino brands and casino websites, I review them all myself, so we have a certain uniformity and a proper system of how we go through the process to establish whether a casino is worth trying or not. Right now we work with more than 25 casino brands, but next year this number will probably grow a lot.
Game reviews, casino guides, promotions and news are a bit different, and here we have a small team of dedicated writers to make sure that there is always new fresh content for our readers to discover.
GAV: Is it hard to keep the content fresh and relevant on your website, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
LENA: It’s true to some degree, but I feel like because the industry is booming there is always something new. New games, new casinos, new promotions, cool campaigns, etc. So I never feel that there is nothing to write about on any given day. But it’s also important to sometimes take a different look at things, maybe bring some more analytical (but still fun!) articles that show things that are trending right now. One other thing that we started lately is the exclusive video content. On CasinoHawks.com we now have a whole section of videos and interviews, all produced in-house, where we take our readers behind the scenes of the different casinos or game developers and show the people who run all those casinos and how. We feel that it’s unique content, it’s fun to watch, but it also does a fantastic job at building trust. It creates a more human approach and shows the real people, casino management that players can relate to.
GAV: We are pretty sure that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built?
LENA: Yes, absolutely! There are so many casinos, and you cannot work with all of them, even if you wanted to. Naturally, we concentrate on promoting casino brands that give us a fair commission and the above average size bonuses for our readers and players, so everyone is a winner. On the other hand, it also comes down to building an actual relationship, feeling comfortable with the casino affiliate manager. There has to be some genuine personal connection, so it’s easy to work together and overcome any issues that might occur. We are lucky that we are based in Malta, where many casino brands have their headquarters as well. So we can physically meet in real life and actually get to know each other. I feel that is something that helps a lot.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
LENA: It’s hard to say, but we see some markets opening up. For example, the Asian markets are becoming more viable.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino affiliate ecosystem?!
LENA: To be honest, it’s fine as it is. Time will show which casinos and which affiliates are the strongest, most professional, consistent and have something unique to offer and those will thrive no matter what.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer for the newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
LENA: For the affiliates – consistency, creativity, patience. For the new casinos, it’s definitely a different angle, something unique and exclusive to offer when it comes to design, overall theme and the loyalty program. Any new online casino that opens today has to stand out from the crowd to be noticed and remembered.
GAV: Do you attend any iGaming/online casino conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
LENA: The last one was SiGMA 2016 in Malta in November, and it certainly was a lot of fun, especially because of the video-interview project that CasinoHawks / Game Lounge had going on. Our whole team really enjoyed bringing this new venture to life. And thanks to our casino partners, who all happily went along, it turned out to be a great adventure.
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 still improve upon?
LENA: Some countries in Eastern Europe are embracing casino, gaming, IT and other parts of the whole process, but some others, as we know, only make it more complicated. So I don’t think we can talk about the Eastern Europe as a whole, only about particular countries with their specific views, legislation’s and attitude towards iGaming. In many countries, gaming is still a grey area, but the potential is certainly there. We just have to remember that in this region too much depends on the political decisions and not the iGaming industry efforts as such.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe? Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
LENA: Being native Russian myself, I have visited quite a few countries there, and for me, it’s easier to feel more comfortable in these places. But I know many Europeans who feel a bit uneasy with the thought of it, and it’s understandable. If we are talking more about casual tourism and not business, I would love to visit Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic soon. I have a lot of friends there; and they are all beautiful places with great history, culture, architecture and lots of yummy food.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
LENA: You guys are doing a great job. Your website is one of those, that I regularly visit, because you truly help to keep up with the latest news, trends and just interesting stories that all of us, affiliates, can relate to. Just keep it up!
GAV: Thanks for your time and kind words Lena, we hope that 2017 will be a great year for CasinoHawks / Game Lounge!
If you have any questions or subjects for future interviews, be sure to send your suggestions to: email@example.com.
Mr Gamble is the fast growing iGaming affiliate taking the world by storm
Player-friendly approach to casino comparisons sees audience grow to new highs
In January 2019, two iGaming enthusiasts from southern Finland, Paavo Salonen and Jonas Kyllönen, created an affiliate site which follows a different path to competitors in the sector – Mr-Gamble.com was conceived to provide a user-friendly service that details the key benefits for different online casinos.
In a little over a year, the team at Mr-Gamble (owned by CashMagnet Ltd) has grown from two to sixteen people, and their site is attracting millions of views and an audience of thousands, eager to find a more discerning comparison site for online casinos. With such impressive growth, the company is now moving to bigger offices in their adopted home town of Tallinn, Estonia.
Putting the players first has been key to this success, with the team’s focus to build a casino comparison site which highlights the various benefits from leading online casino operators. Easy-to-use filters allow players to match specific search criteria to their needs, such as high quality casino bonuses, with a brand promise to help users “find a 200% bonus in under one minute”.
Moreover, with responsible gaming high on regulators agendas for 2020, not least due to COVID-19, Mr-Gamble’s onboarding policies for new casinos include strict criteria to ensure player protection. Time-out periods, self-exclusion options, financial limits, and more are all in place to reassure players that beyond the entertainment factor, their well-being is key.
Jonas Kyllönen explains, “While our competitors focus simply on the bonus offer and a select few aspects of gaming, Mr-Gamble.com highlights things like hidden T’s & C’s and other small details that make up the overall quality of a casino’s service and the bonuses they offer. We even include a section purely for casinos that offer free spins, allowing players to find free spin offers without deposits. This sets us apart from old school affiliates and builds trust with our audience, resulting in a high proportion of returning visitors.”
Kyllönen, who leads on all aspects of marketing for Mr-Gamble, also realises that staying plugged in to media platforms such as Twitch and Instagram enable the company to attract some of their users from the elusive millennial market.
“In just six months”, says Kyllönen, “we became the most watched slots channel on Twitch in Finland, and alongside our Instagram following, this allows us to stay in touch with our audience across multiple touch points – it’s been key to our growth. We still see SEO and PPC as the main pillars of the casino affiliates sector, but complimentary channels like Twitch are both entertaining and good for business.”
This well-rounded approach to the casino comparison sector is both innovative and forward-thinking, standing the company in good stead for the coming decade, during which adapting to change and staying on top of market trends will separate the men from the boys.
Mr Gamble’s affiliate offering is already well-established in Finland, and in April 2020 Mr-Gamble expanded operations to more English-speaking markets including the UK and Canada. The company also plans to target the US market, with licensing currently underway, and is looking at opportunities in Asia.
Alongside Finnish casino enquiries, the company invites English language operators from international markets, particularly in the UK and Canada, to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on deals and listings.
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.
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