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Affiliate Interviews: Toni Halonen, Co-founder & CEO of Good Game

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Affiliate Interviews: Toni Halonen, Co-founder & CEO of Good Game

Good Game is an iGaming lead generation company based in Malta. Good Game differentiates itself from its competitors by concentrating only on a handful of sites, focusing on user intent and creating recognisable brands from these few sites. Long-term value for the user and partners has been the key to their success in the Finnish casino affiliate market.

Name: Toni Halonen

Age: 34

Hometown: Ilomantsi, Finland

Living in: Malta

Favourite Food: Traditional Finnish home cooking, Japanese, Indian, Thai

Must-Read Book: The Lord of The Rings, The War of Art

Job Title: Co-founder & CEO

Hi Toni, tell us and our readers a little bit about Good Game. How did your career start in the industry?

I’ve always been fascinated by all sorts of games, be it sports, computer games, board games or gambling. I opened my first online casino account when I turned 18 and started dabbling with online poker around 2004.

After finishing my studies in 2008, I started thinking what I should do for a living and it was then that I came across poker affiliation. The idea of having my own site came to me in 2008, but it took one year of the “real working life” before I jumped into playing poker professionally and chasing my affiliate dream. 🙂

Luckily I wasn’t alone in this, because my childhood friend, Ville Sissonen, also played online poker and showed an interest in affiliation. Our half-serious, half-joke motto in the beginning was: “maximising the passive income”. 🙂 Passwords to our affiliate accounts were always something like “BuyM3rc3d3s2010” back in the day, haha. I still don’t have a Mercedes, but Ville bought his first this year. (The passwords have since been changed, so no point trying to log in. 😉 )

Good Game was established in Malta in 2011 by me and Ville. We came to Malta to play online poker professionally and build affiliate sites on the side. The affiliate business only really started to pay off after our Head of SEO, Jussi Kauppinen, joined the company in 2013. During that time, we also began concentrating only on casino affiliation.

We sold our then main domain in 2015 and went all-in with the money from the first sale straight into building our next project – this time in an actual office 🙂 and with a team of ten people. That project came to an end at the beginning of this year when our main casino site was bought. Now we’re concentrating solely on our UK project.

Explain your current UK project, Bojoko.com, in one sentence.

Airbnb for online casinos.

What makes it different from other casino affiliate sites based on player communities, casino reviews and social proof?

The biggest difference from our competitors is that Bojoko allows casinos and game suppliers to create their own reviews, and publish their own offers and game reviews. This way they can control their brand (tone of voice, design etc.) beyond their own website and ensure that affiliate marketing for their brand is done according to the UK Gambling Commission’s standards.

Casinos and game suppliers have understood this concept well. New casinos have been especially keen on listing themselves on Bojoko.

What’s the reason behind launching Bojoko? In other words, why does Bojoko exist?

There are a couple of reasons why we’ve built Bojoko. First of all, we wanted to minimise the role of an affiliate in everything the user sees and interacts with on the site. Secondly, we see a big gap in how iGaming is consumed compared to other industries operating online. Selecting, playing and transfering money to casinos could be a lot more fluid and safer than it is now.

Our purpose is to build tools for Bojoko users, which they can then use to create this more fluid, safer vision of iGaming. We want to positively transform the iGaming user experience. This way we can establish casino games as an acceptable mainstream pastime too.

How do you see the UK market?

It’s certainly more competitive than the Finnish casino affiliation market and there are many more established brands which are almost non-existent in Finland. It’s a good challenge to build a site for a large market.

Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?

I’d like to see all forms of online gambling becoming as accepted in the mainstream as lotteries are. Offering more user-centric products and safer gambling will move the needle to the right direction. There are good initiatives underway in the UK in these two areas, although I’d like to see us, the gambling companies, driving this change and not relying or waiting for regulators to do it. There’s a much bigger pie waiting to be shared in the long run if iGaming becomes a widely accepted and respected industry.

Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into casino affiliation?

You should constantly ask yourself questions which reveal what kind of person you are. This helps you find the values and ideals you want to push forward in the industry you’re working in. It will also boost your motivation immensely and endow you with a more holistic approach to building your business.

What do you think will be the biggest trends in iGaming in 2018?

Regulation is one, for sure. It will bring new rules to online gambling once again, but it also brings predictability (such as in Sweden) and new markets (US sports betting) to the table. Predictability and new markets are great things for the entire online gambling industry.

What other new things can we expect from Good Game and Bojoko in the second half of 2018?

Bojoko has just rolled out a new tool which helps users tremendously in their casino selection. The tool is attached to our casino lists and lets users filter and sort online casinos easily with over 30 different data points so you can really get to the one casino that satisfies all your requirements. Just like hunting for the perfect vacation home on Airbnb.

In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on bringing more user features like this to Bojoko. They will help users mainly in two ways:

  • Selecting online casinos more quickly and easily
  • Interacting with other Bojoko users in our community

If you find this interesting, the best way to stay tuned to Bojoko and join in the fun is to sign up on the site.

Affiliate Success

Gambling.com Group is the 2021 EGR Affiliate of the Year

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Gambling.com Group is the 2021 EGR Affiliate of the Year

 

Gambling.com Group Limited, a leading provider of player acquisition services for the regulated global online gambling industry, announced it has won the most prestigious award for affiliates in the online gambling industry: the Affiliate of the Year award presented by eGaming Review (“EGR”). The Group accepted the honor at the 2021 EGR Global Operator Awards in London on November 25th. It is the second time the Group has won the award, following its win in 2018.

Gambling.com Group beat out 15 other affiliates shortlisted in the Affiliate of the Year category by delivering outstanding financial performance during the July 2020 to June 2021 judging period. Not only was the Group a leader in revenue growth, based on public disclosures, but 100 percent of its growth was achieved organically, without any contribution from acquisitions. The Group considers organic revenue to be the hardest thing to achieve in the affiliate industry and the most important financial metric affiliate companies report. This revenue outperformance helped fuel a successful initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Global Market in New York, making the Group the first online gambling affiliate publicly traded in the United States.

Charles Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer of Gambling.com Group, said of the honor, “Being named the 2021 Affiliate of the Year is the crown jewel on top of a monumental and historic year for the Group. I am grateful to work with our first-class, professional and dedicated team which drove significant growth in the business as well as delivered on our key, strategic projects.”

For the Group’s Affiliate of the Year nomination, the judges commented, “They have had a stand-out year and quite a lot going for them. Stellar growth and they have done so much over the past year. Differentiation, quality and scale – they cover it all off with a data-driven approach.”

The EGR Awards are judged by a team of independent, external judges with a diverse range of in-depth online gambling expertise. The awards were given by EGR Global, a B2B publisher and networking group for the online gambling industry.

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Affiliate Announcements

Blexr has won its fifth award in three years after being crowned Best Casino Affiliate at the EGR Operator Awards

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Blexr has won its fifth award in three years after being crowned Best Casino Affiliate at the EGR Operator Awards

 

The event, held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on 25 November, saw Blexr pick up this award for the second time, having previously won the same prize in 2019.

Blexr is a lead generation company which operates in the iGaming and sportsbook affiliate markets. It is a remote-first company with an office in Malta.

The EGR Operator Awards describes itself as the Oscars of the iGaming world, and its judges said Blexr offers “quality products and truly covers the globe”.

They added: “Blexr has innovated with some unique features that go over and above the standard affiliate offering, which is always great to see.

“One for the ages – a truly long-standing operation that has successfully evolved with the times, and most importantly with compliance.”

Koen Bongers, Blexr’s head of marketing, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised once again by the EGR Operator Awards.

“Our whole team works very hard to offer quality products and create innovation, so it’s fantastic to win another award, one which all our Blexrians can be very proud of.”

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Affiliate Announcements

Rightlander partners with BetBull

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Rightlander partners with BetBull

 

Supplier to help tier one operator improve affiliate compliance

Rightlander.com, the ground-breaking compliance platform has signed a deal with BetBull to help them improve affiliate compliance and boost responsible gambling measures.

Nicole MittonHead of Customer Success at Rightlander.com, said: “It’s great to see operators like BetBull partnering with Rightlander to ensure adherence to advertising regulations. These efforts are not only noteworthy from a regulatory point of view, but are also a solid indicator that BetBull are invested in protecting the interests of their stakeholders, affiliates and players in regulated markets.”

Rightlander will offer its technology which encompasses a comprehensive range of affiliate compliance tools which include the Automated Compliance Monitor, a PPC Monitor and a Proactive Affiliate Finder allowing BetBull to remain proactive and in control of their affiliate marketing.

Gabrielle Mallia, BetBull said: “We decided to opt for Rightlander because of its ability to give further visibility into our affiliate’s practices. The PPC Monitor is particularly key in allowing us to ensure adherence to policies specifically related to keywords and geos of promotion. Rightlander increases the efficiency in our compliance monitoring with its wide scope and allows us to quickly identify any breaches should they occur.”

The Automated Compliance Monitor helps detect non-compliant content across territories including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and the United States. The monitor flags potential violations such as missing terms and conditions, outdated offers, incorrect marketing assets allowing BetBull to remain compliant according to their jurisdiction’s regulations.

The Proactive Affiliate Finder scans millions of web pages every month to identify new and prominent sites and the innovative PPC Monitor identifies harmful ads to stop them from appearing on an operator’s branded keywords.

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