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Affiliate Interviews: Sirp de Wit of PokerListings.com (HighLight Media Group)

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Today you get the chance to meet Sirp who is the Managing Director of PokerListings, the world’s most comprehensive online poker guide with in-depth reviews of online poker sites and exclusive bonuses, promotions, tournaments and freerolls, Sirp is active in Igaming since 2009.

Name: Sirp de Wit
Age: 34
Hometown: The Hague, THE NETHERLANDS
Living in: Sliema, MALTA
Favorite Food: Italian/French cuisine
Must Read Book: Papillon (Henri Charrière)
Job title: Managing Director at HighLight Media Group

 

GAV: Hi Sirp, first of all tell us and our readers as well, a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Sirp really is. How did your career start in the iGaming industry? Since when are you active at PokerListings?

SDW: I graduated in 2008 in the UK and moved straight over to Stockholm, SWEDEN, after receiving a call to join a Lead Generation company (HighLight Media Group) that is active primarily in the iGaming vertical. My career started as a Site Manager for the Dutch Market and I have been with the company ever since, taking on different roles throughout the last 8.5 years and currently the Managing Director running the Poker side of the business. We control many different poker affiliate sites that generate traffic from Europe to North/South America and Asia. The biggest brand in my portfolio is PokerListings.

Out of office you will find me a lot in the park, spending time with my 2.5 year old baby girl. Other than that I will try to watch as much football as possible and enjoy good food/drinks with my better half.

GAV: Do you still remember when you first heard about poker or played it?

SDW: Yes, this was during my time as a under graduate student in the USA. We played quite some poker on campus and around that time I also got introduced to the online version.

GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think PokerListings stands at this moment and what is that plus that the other poker portals don’t have?

SDW: PokerListings is up there with the other big players. We still hold a leading position in the industry while looking at traffic numbers, returning visitors, and value per lead. With the latter being the most important KPI.

 

PokerListings

 

PokerListings has a true identity which is the key to lasting in this industry. There are more poker portals that have one, but the majority of the websites don’t. They focus only on the business side, while not catering for the primary need of the customer. We, as well, are running a Poker portal that focuses on the business side in order to exist, but we do focus more on delivering for the true need of the customer, even though in most cases this is not directly connected to our business model. We cater for all different types of poker players, delivering the best strategy articles to introduce players to the game, bring the latest industry news, have the most in depth reviews, the rules covering all the different poker games, an extensive video section and even have our own annual live tournament, The Battle of Malta, taking place in Malta with a guaranteed prize pool of 500k EUR. From a business perspective we could deliver the same bottom line without half listed above, but we don’t, as we know that we fill a gap that nowadays others are leaving behind which gives us the opportunity to take on a leading role.

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

SDW: Poker industry is not what is was, and for smaller affiliates a tough environment to gain market share. However, there will always be a place for online poker affiliation within the iGaming vertical and it is now all about adjusting to a new level of normal.

GAV: What are the strong points of PokerListings and what makes it stand out from the other niche websites/guides?

SDW: Identity, history, value. We are a poker guide that is over 14 years old and has something to offer for all kinds of poker players.

GAV: We have analyzed PokerListings and found some great content. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you? How about the blog section?

SDW: We have a Content Team in place in HQ in Malta and have freelancers located all over the world. In order to be top of the game in poker affiliation, you need to deliver top notch content. You won’t survive long enough to tell the tale if you try to do this with half work. Content is King in the world of SEO. In order to keep the visitors engaged and thus the Search Engine valuing you, you need to see this as an investment rather than a cost.

GAV: Tell us about the online marketing and SEO of PokerListings, do you have someone inhouse for that our you outsourced it?

SDW: Also the marketing team is situated in HQ in Malta. We focus primarily on onsite SEO strategies. On top of that we spend time on email marketing, social media marketing, and PPC where allowed.

Our Marketing/SEO strategy has changed over the years, as we needed to adjust due to updated guidelines from the biggest Search Engines. Important to keep up to date with the latest trends as no strategy last forever and you need to keep adjusting.

GAV: How do you manage to keep the website fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?

SDW: We run our own content agenda. Yes, from time to time stories need to be covered as they are too big to skip, but most of the fluffy nonsense we don’t touch. The online media landscape is changing to focus primarily on clicks and traffic in order to justify the media budgets. We keep it simple, focus on the world of poker, strategy, bonuses and a bit of fun. So far this has been serving us well.

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?!

SDW: Yes, we do. I think –honesty- is still most important. We have worked with almost all poker brands available. And no matter how good your product pitch is, sooner than later your real performance will be public.

GAV: How does the online poker affiliate ecosystem look at this moment, how about the future? Let us in on a few secrets…

SDW: The affiliation part has seen a negative market trend over the last 7 years. However all about adjusting and setting a new strategy with new goals to reach. Still big upsides on the horizon: US market to open, South America/Asia is emerging, possible liquidity sharing between some Southern European countries etc.

GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online poker industry?!

SDW: I would like to see the US open up and get the ball rolling with California. This will happen eventually and this will give a boost to the industry. Politicians should to stop talking BS, and start doing their jobs. Too much talk, too little actions. It does not make sense to me that now in 2017 the fast majority of the US landscape is blocked from online poker. Not only are you depriving the US citizens from such a fun game, you are also missing out on extra income you can strike up on a state/federal level. This so called land of the free is not so free after all.

GAV: Do you have any advice you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?

SDW: Whatever segment within iGaming you go into, keep the full focus on the visitor. Keep adding value to the chain. It might be a slower and more costly path to success, but once you are there it will last way longer.

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

SDW: I myself only go to those in London and Berlin. I normally skip Amsterdam, Barcelona and the Nordic Conference but then have my Account Managers on the ground. London and Berlin both are special cities. I enjoy coming down every year for some days.

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?

SDW: It will take time. These things won’t just happen overnight. Not only does the IT infrastructure need to be in place but capital as well. This is still lacking in most of these countries on a scale that it would be interesting to invest. We always set up products in new places where we see potential in the future so that we are ready when needed, but for now keep the marketing spend to a minimum.

GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favorite country or region?

SDW: Big fan of Prague. Still has the vibe of a medieval town while excellent place to party and enjoy good food.

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

SDW: No place comes to mind.

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

SDW: Tommy Cooper

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

SDW: Fine site. I check the site from time to time for industry latest news headlines.

GAV: Thanks for your time Sirp, we really value it. 

 

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

Affiliate Success

3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

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3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

 

There can be no question that the online casino business is flying right now. It seems that nothing can stop the rapid rise of this exciting industry!

Individuals across the globe are looking to get in on the action, creating gambling affiliate websites to tap into the lucrative wealth that the industry can provide.

Although seriously competitive and ever-changing, the affiliate biz is an exciting one that brings endless possibilities. Whether you are looking to strike out as a review and information portal such as newcasinosites.me.uk, or prefer something slightly different, the affiliate industry can be truly exciting.

In this article, we will take a look at 3 things to consider before starting a new casino affiliate business. From research to the importance of tech, we will cover it all.

Let’s get going with the foundation of any career in the affiliate industry.

Know your stuff: The importance of research

If you are serious about launching a new casino affiliate business, you’re really going to have to know your stuff.

Online gambling is a lucrative yet complex world, packed with variables and jargon and more that can leave newcomers bewildered. If you are looking to launch a new casino affiliate business, you will need to research the industry heavily. Of course, the best way to do this is to play some casino games yourself! Sign up to a few different sites and get playing, practice makes perfect after all!

You will need a strong grasp of modern technology

If you are serious about starting a new casino affiliate business, understanding the tech behind the industry is also key. You will save plenty of money when building your website if you can learn basic HTML, not to mention you will gain total creative control of your project. After all, this is your project!

When you know HTML, you can constantly revamp and polish your site to keep things fresh for new players. Image is extremely popular in the new casino affiliate business and so you should not underestimate this aspect.

Another key tech to understand is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In fact, this is more a type of marketing than anything else, which functions by using keywords, interlinking and meta titles to ensure that a given site finishes as high up as can be in search engine results. If it sounds simple, then that’s because it is, at least on the surface. There is no end to the ways you can manipulate SEO to ensure that your new casino affiliate business gets plenty of airtime.

Consider using gambling affiliate programs

If you are still interested in starting a new casino affiliate business, well done! One of the best ways to do so is to join a program, which removes plenty of the burden on you at first.

Basically, these programs show new casino affiliate businesses how to drive traffic to their site, thereby getting your foot in the door of what can be a seriously tough industry to break into. You should really consider joining a program if you feel that your site is not getting the coverage you desire.

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Affiliate Success

The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

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The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

 

The 3rd iteration of the Digital Marketing Mixer  a FREE business networking event will kick off the British Summer Bank Holiday weekend in style. Guests will enjoy a Mad Hatter Summer Themed, virtual Tea Party on Friday the 28th August between 4-6pm (GMT) via live Zoom.

The virtual networking event, hosted by AffiliateINSIDER CEO and affiliate industry veteran, Lee-Ann Johnstone – is designed to help connect suppliers , brands, agencies and affiliates together virtually to kick start new commercial conversations whilst physical conferences are delayed.

Join the party – Learn the latest SEO Insight and enjoy the show!

“The Digital Marketing Mixer is about making new personal connections virtually in a structured setting. This month we are privileged to also have visiting lecturer Matthew Hughes from the Arts University of Bournemouth (AUB) in the United Kingdom, which offers leading digital media courses. Matthew will be giving an exclusive SEO Masterclass – which shouldn’t be missed!”  mentions Johnstone.

The event offers hosted speed networking sessions where a variety of industry topics are discussed in groups along with fun ice breaker games (with great prizes to be won) and themed entertainment. The Mad Hatter Tea Party will also offer guests a mind boggling display of “Alice in Wonderland” style visual trickery delivered live by Canadian entertainer and magician, Ray Anderson.

The focus of this event will bring digital and affiliate marketing businesses together to start new commercial discussions.

Sarafina Wolde Gabrielle, VP of strategy at Income Access, a Paysafe Company, said The Digital Marketing Mixer offers affiliates, suppliers and operators  a chance to connect in-person and enjoy a fun, short and structured virtual networking session” , whilst Lloyd Richman, the founder of iBet Directory said:  “The Digital Marketing Mixer offers guests a great opportunity to make new contacts and gain an inside view on current changes taking place in our industry. This is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses, publishers, agencies and operator brands to come together and get new business done!” 

 

RSVP FOR FREE and enjoy the next Digital Marketing Mixer HERE

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Affiliate Announcements

Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

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Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

 

 

Last month saw the launch of the first Digital Marketing Mixer, a FREE business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone which hosted over 150+ iGaming and Affiliate Marketing professionals in attendance.

The event which received outstanding delegate reviews, will be hosted again on Monday 30th June between 4-6pm (BST) via Zoom. The aim of the speed networking event is to bring together affiliates and digital marketers, technology providers , agencies, experts and marketing service providers together to promote their services virtually.

With limits on travel and attendance at physical events still in play opportunities to network for new business have been limited. That combined with increased remote working has had a natural impact on business development slowing in the short term.

The Digital Marketing Mixer has been created as an open platform for professional social networking to take place in a structured but relaxed virtual atmosphere. The event has been created to support new business and continued lead generation for all businesses operating in the Affiliate industry.

Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event host commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer is a key event for digital and affiliate marketing businesses to get better connected during this uncertain time. The objective is simple, bring people together to talk, to collaborate and ensure new business and service opportunities continue to thrive. I’ve created this FREE networking event for EVERYONE to benefit from in the affiliate industry to help get new business deals done.”

The mixer remains 100% FREE for delegates to attend and is open to any vertical. Once again the event is held in collaboration with founding collaborators GPWA.org, iBet Directory, and AffiliateINSIDER collaborating to deliver this event.

“The toughest part of the conference experience to replicate online was always going to be those oh-so-important conversations in the bar. I was delighted to find myself in just such conversations at the Digital Marketing Mixer – top marks! “  said Sue Dawson from bestnewbingosites.co.uk who attended last month’s inaugural event. 

The Digital Marketing Mixer will offer a host of  fun networking games, speed selling challenges and enable delegates to enjoy discussing the latest industry trends whilst providing a platform to market their goods and services. The focus of this event remains on getting digital and affiliate marketing professionals quickly connected, getting new deals – done!

Lloyd Richman, founder of iBet Directory commented: The Digital Marketing Mixer Party is a great concept and offers all delegates the option to contribute unlike other webinars and conferences. It had a good mixture of natural event speakers, experienced iGaming professionals and new people to the industry. A great event which was highly successful.

If you are an agency, affiliate, consultant, operator, digital marketer, payment provider or saas product owner, everyone working with or in the affiliate industry is welcome to attend.

RSVP FOR FREE and join the Digital Marketing MixerHERE

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