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Affiliate Superstars: Interview with Christiaan Bollen

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christiaan bollen

Born and raised in Belgium, Christiaan Bollen (Boljoro) is among the few LRT Certified Professionals in the world.

EEGReport Magazine: Hi Christiaan, tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Christiaan Bollen really is. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing these skills that got you so far in the industry?

Christiaan: I am born and raised in Belgium. As a kid, there was always a big interest in computers. In high school I started creating my first affiliate websites, it was a nice extra income for a teenager. Later in university I graduated in Software Development, during my time at university there was not so much time for the websites, there were other priorities during those years and the affiliate websites were put on hold.
After graduating at university, I started working as consultant in a local Belgian software development agency.

In the evenings after work the urge to make my own websites came back. At that time in 2012 in Belgium the gambling market just got legalized. Because there was not really a website that gave an overview of which casinos were legal I decided to make a website that gives an overview of legal gambling websites. I had no idea how much money there was to make as an affiliate in this industry.
My first website Goedgekeurdegoksites.be started small, an overview of all the legal websites with some information and a few affiliate links. From time to time some extra news was added. Nothing big. After some months the income became bigger and bigger. Later I decided to stop working as software developer and started up my own company. Today Goedgekeurde Goksites is one of the biggest iGaming affiliate websites in Belgium. The website also has a version for the French speaking part of Belgium, Jeux de Casino Approuvés .

Being an affiliate gives you a lot of freedom. As long as there is an internet connection and you have your laptop with you, you can work. There are even some people who claim to do all their work on their smartphone.
Having all the freedom in the world, last year I decided to move to Barcelona, my favorite city. The company is now also officially in Spain. Soon more Spanish and International websites will be released. At the moment those are in development.

What I like and focus on is SEO. In the 5 years I have been to many SEO conferences and got really good in it. Last year I was honored to join the SEOktoberfest, one of the most exclusive SEO conferences with all top experts. Sometimes I also speak as SEO specialist at conferences.
Going to conferences gives me a chance to travel around the world and discover new places. It is also a good variety in my daily life as affiliate.

EEGReport Magazine: Since there are hundreds of Search Engine Optimization, Online Marketing and Web Development agencies out there, where do you think Boljoro stands in relation to the competition at this moment?

Christiaan: Boljoro is a small company, I mainly do consultancy work as SEO specialist. Build an SEO strategy for a company that their in house team can execute.
It is hard to say about myself but I believe my knowledge is above average of other SEOs. Going to many conferences talking with other experts but also getting ideas from other people you talk with. It doesn’t always have to be an expert that has good ideas.
Being part of closed communities like the SEOktoberfest gives me the opportunity to be in close contact with people from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and big agencies. This is my biggest source of information. It benefits me as affiliate and my clients.

EEGReport Magazine: Tell us which markets do you target with Boljoro and in which fields/niches are your clients active?

Christiaan: The biggest market for Boljoro is still Belgium, next to that the focus is going to Spain as we relocated. As I am an igaming affiliate, the igaming niche is the most important. But Boljoro also has clients in other niches, the car industry for example.

In the beginning you try to get clients and don’t really focus on a market. Now there is so much work that I don’t take random customers in different markets anymore. My focus is on the gambling industry. I am open to new projects in other markets but only if they are interesting enough for me.

Boljoro

EEGReport Magazine: We know that you’re constantly travelling, could you share the most interesting events that are dedicated to SEO/link building or affiliate conferences/events?

Christiaan: The most interesting SEO conference for me is Ungagged, this conference is 2 times a year. In June in London and in November in Las Vegas. For a igaming affiliate the fact that it is in Vegas is an extra plus.
If you focus on a specific country, try to go an SEO conference in that country. The local people will have their own strategies that you can learn from. Some things work different in other countries.
Always try to blend in with your competitors if you do SEO, just be a little bit better then them.

For the igaming affiliates, they can not miss the London Affiliate Conference. This conference makes it possible to talk affiliate managers from most of the brands. The other iGB Affiliate conferences are also good but there are less brands present. At the iGB events lately the level of SEO presentations also got better.

EEGReport Magazine: Google rolled out it’s final version of Penguin, what’s your angle on this “real-time update” ?

Christiaan: Calling it the final version might not be so accurate, it keeps getting updated. You have to be even more careful with your link profile as they can push a change every day. One of these updates might have a big influence on your website. My advice is to keep a clean link profile.

EEGReport Magazine: How about Google’s New Mobile Index?

Christiaan: An obvious evolution, mobile had a big growth in the last decade. These days everyone is walking around with a smartphone and using it whenever they can. The amount of mobile traffic got higher than desktop. It is normal that Google follows this evolution and puts mobile before desktop now.

EEGReport Magazine: Can you tell us how did you see this year in terms of Google and what do you predict for the New Year, any major updates or so that you expect?

Christiaan: Continuing on the previous question, mobile got more important. We saw Google put the mobile friendly tag first, now the mobile first index. In the next year I expect that AMP will grow more and become more important. Or at least that is what Google wants. This way they have even more control over the internet.

EEGReport Magazine: Which term do you prefer link builder or link earner, and why?

Christiaan: Link earner, the links you can earn naturally are probably way more relevant and helpful for the reader. This will also reflect in the user behavior on your website which will have a positive impact on your SEO. These links are also more likely to convert your users. After all that is what you want to do with your site.
Buying links is possible but be careful what you do, Google is watching. I prefer earning links.

EEGReport Magazine: How do you see this “new era” in the backlinks world, I mean is content king in your opinion?

Christiaan: Don’t believe people who say that links don’t matter, they do. Even Google’s, Gary Illyes said it last year: “Ranking without links is really, really hard”.

EEGReport Magazine: Do you use metrics like Alexa Rank, PA and DA, Trust Flow and Citation Flow. if yes what’s your opinion about these?

Christiaan: For me metrics are important, mainly I use Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Next to that I also use Link Research Tools Power and Trust.
But don’t get to focused on metrics. You also have to visit the website. See how it looks, what is your “feeling” about a website. The more experience you have as an SEO this feeling will become more accurate and clear. There are so many factors that matter.

A website with lower metrics can be better for your link profile than a website with higher metrics. It is important that the content in which your link can be found is related to your website. The website must fit yours.

Be careful with websites or self-called SEO’s or marketers that try to sell you links. Many times they manipulate you into buying to expensive links. Alarm bells should start ringing if you get an email from company@gmail.com that has these great links for sale.
Always try to check the history of a website. How long has it been online, did it have a big change in the last months, has it been offline for some time, etc.

EEGReport Magazine: Let’s talk affiliates a bit, how do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?

Christiaan: Is it not already global? Gambling is everywhere over the world, online and offline. Where people have the possibility to go online there will be people gambling online. There are also affiliate websites all over the world. Some regions might not be as popular as others but when casinos or affiliates see a way to earn money they are there.

I am not sure how legal it will be in different places in the world. As we can see in Europe, more and more countries start legalizing online gambling. The reason they give for this is to help people, don’t get them into debts or addicted. According to me their main reason is that they see a way to earn more money by charging taxes for gambling.

EEGReport Magazine: Do you have any advice that you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?

Christiaan: 100% agree, this industry is great. For newbies, don’t give up! It is a really hard and competitive market. You need confidence that you can do it, make a plan. You will need a lot of patience.
Don’t expect that it will be easy or quick money. You should work hard for it and it will take time. It can take months or a year before you earn your first euro. If you plan to give up your job for it, don’t do it. You need savings to go through the first year or keep your current job next to it.

EEGReport Magazine: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino/gambling affiliate world?!

Christiaan: More cooperation between (European) countries in their gambling laws. Every country has its own laws, in some countries the laws are even different for parts of the country like in Germany.
Affiliates but also gamblers can’t see the wood for the trees. As I told before, this was the first reason for me to start up my main website Goedgekeurde Goksites. Everything I publish on my website is legal in Belgium. If you translate the title to English it is “Approved Gambling Websites”. I want my visitors to be able to browse my website without having to worry about legal stuff when they are on my website.

EEGReport Magazine: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe?

Christiaan: Everywhere, I love traveling. I have only been to Budapest, Hungary, in Eastern Europe. In the future I hope to see more of the East of Europe. Usually my travels are a combination of work and fun. I go to a conference and stay a bit longer to explore the area. If you can advice me any conferences?

EEGReport Magazine: Do you have region or country that you wouldn’t want to visit in Eastern Europe, if so why?

Christiaan: There is no specific country that I would not like to visit. The only thing places I wouldn’t want to go to are places where it is not safe.

 

This interview Affiliate Superstars: Interview with Christiaan Bollen appeared first on EEGReport Magazine.

 

Affiliate Success

A Representative of Storm International will Speak at the Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference

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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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Three-peat for the King Billy Affiliate Program at the SBC Awards!

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Three-peat for the King Billy Affiliate Program at the SBC Awards!

 

We should know by now that King Billy Casino was bound to be in the limelight for one more time. True to the words of the great Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”, King Billy does it for the third time in a row.

So, after being shortlisted at the prestigious iGB Awards (and from there, winning it all), being shortlisted again at the prestigious EGR Awards, the King Billy Affiliate Program has now also been shortlisted at the prestigious SBC Awards (event to be held on December 3). Moreover, the operator is also on the SBC Awards short list for Casino Rising Star.

We asked the mastermind behind this tremendous streak, Ruslan Legenzov, King Billy Head of Affiliates to share his feelings with us and a few words about this new distinction. He was, understandably, in a state of euphoria:

“This is beyond our wildest dreams! To complete the “Big 3” of the industry’s annual biggest awards shows, by being short-listed in each and every one of them fills us all with immense pride. At King Billy Casino, we set out with a single goal in mind: to move beyond the commission and offer to our affiliates a program never seen before. We are happy that our effort is recognized by both judges and Affiliates!”

The SBC Awards, now in its 6th year, recognize the achievements of operators, affiliates and suppliers from across all major disciplines including payments, marketing, platform providers and data. The Awards will be held at Battersea Evolution, in the heart of London, bringing together 700 gaming industry delegates.

King Billy Casino is a new generation online casino, available in 5 languages (English, German, Russian, Finnish and Norwegian and soon Japanese) with an impressive record in awards and an amazing variety of games providers and features. King Billy has built on creating a superb user experience focusing on the myth of King Billy and his Kingdom and treats all players with the specialness they deserve.

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First Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference: What Was Discussed at the Event?

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First Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference: What Was Discussed at the Event?

 

On October 18, Smile-Expo held the first Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference in Tbilisi. The event was dedicated to the specific nature of online and offline gambling business operations, Georgian gambling market prospects, and casino promotion using affiliate marketing.

The conference brought together casino managers, affiliate network representatives, government officials, webmasters, arbitrage experts, SEO specialists, as well as gambling regulation and taxation professionals.

Speakers’ presentations

Sviatoslav Slaboshpitskiy, Head of SEO at Digital Choo (DC), spoke on the topic: The Art of War in SEO: How to Win the iGaming Niche. The speaker stressed that one should develop niche websites to achieve efficient results. At the same time, it is significant to analyze the response and to evolve resources showing the best performance. Sviatoslav also talked about the rules of SEO team building. The expert recommended entrusting the content creation to single-discipline specialists as well as developing checklists and tutorials for newcomers.

Dmitriy Makarov, CEO at Zlodei Advertising Agency, and Gleb Sanzharevsky, CMO at Zlodei, made a collaborative presentation dedicated to ad placement on YouTube and Twitch. They explained that promotion via influencers could increase conversion better than direct advertising. The experts stressed that user stories and popular memes made ads more fruitful.

Nikola Minkov, CEO at Serpact, examined the application of the so-called Featured Snippets, zero blocks in the search results. According to the speaker, Google provides users with such snippets in 40% of the queries. They allow online resources to generate organic traffic and enhance the click-through rate.

The audience was intrigued by Ketevan Bitskinashvili, Chief Financial Officer at the Ministry of Finance of Georgia. The speaker told them about the special features of the Georgian gambling market regulation. She mentioned that the cost of gambling permissions depended on a venue type, a target region, and a number of installed gambling machines. The same parameters affect tax rates.

Ms. Ketevan stated that Georgia had already issued 214 gambling licenses. 20 casinos are operating in the country now. 10 of them are located in Batumi and its suburbs, 6 in Tbilisi, and one each in Gudauri, Tskhaltubo, Kazbegi, and Sighnaghi.

Giorgi Gvenetadze from Adjarabet raised an issue of online casino customer acquisition. The speaker believes that the core feature of advertising banners used by Georgian casinos is the availability of luxury car images. Besides, promotion messages mostly appeal to senses of beauty, control, and simplicity.

Panel discussion

The conference featured a panel discussion titled ‘Offline and online casinos. Review of tools for the competition for user attention’. It involved:

Shota Amiranashvili, President of the Association of casinos in Adjara;

Levan Kavtaradze, Director of Gaming department at Pokermatch;

Giorgi Gvenetadze, Head of Product Marketing Department at Adjarabet;

Lavrentiy Gubin from Shangri La Casino, an invited guest.

Experts said that primary advantages of land-based casinos included reach experience of the gaming process, expensive surroundings, and staff attentiveness. Virtual gambling platforms are lack of these aspects. Therefore, discussion participants think that offline gambling venues will never shift to the online space.

Speaking about the most in-demand gambling entertainments, specialists highlighted simple and user-friendly games like roulettes. Moreover, they noted that poker was becoming less popular because of the high buy-in. Currently, we can see a crypto casino trend, as such platforms ensure anonymity.

Participants also focused on the state regulation of the gambling market. According to them, countries failing to regulate the gambling business lose money that could go to the government budget as taxes. One more fact specified: gambling advertising bans give an impetus to look for new audience engagement channels.

Afterparty

The conference ended with a party. Guests, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors were able to enjoy live music, Georgian sweets, beverages, and snacks. The afterparty allowed participants to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere and establish useful business contacts.

We express our gratitude to the Afterparty Sponsor, NOFLEAD gambling resource, helping to carry out the afterparty in an extremely comfortable environment.

Sponsors, exhibitors, and participants

Companies offering various iGaming goods and services introduced their solutions and services in the exhibition area. Event sponsors were exhibitors as well.

Badge and Bag Sponsor: Digital Choo, an international marketing agency with deep expertise in gaming.

Exhibition Area Sponsor: SoftGamings, a provider of advanced В2В solutions for online casinos.

Afterparty Sponsor: NOFLEAD, an online gambling resource aimed at both beginners and experienced gamblers.

Lanyard Sponsor: ZLODEI, an advertising agency with deep expertise in native advertising.

By the way, attendees were able to examine a stand by IBCCS TAX, an international company providing a wide range of fiduciary services.

Another event participant was Partners.io, an affiliate network for cryptocurrency gambling programs.

The Smile-Expo team expresses its gratitude to sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors for participation in the conference. We look forward to seeing you at the next events dedicated to gambling and affiliate marketing.

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