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Interview with Luke Cotton, founder of CSGOBetting.com – esports betting

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The earliest known video game competition took place on 19 October 1972 at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. Stanford students were invited to an “Intergalactic spacewar olympics” whose grand prize was a year’s subscription for Rolling Stone, with Bruce Baumgart winning the five-man-free-for-all tournament and Tovar and Robert E. Maas winning the Team Competition. The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 was the earliest large scale video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 participants across the United States, establishing competitive gaming as a mainstream hobby.

Fast forward to our times, eSports betting has been born and some affiliates are already taking advantage and ripping the rewards from it. This is the story of eSports Affiliate, Luke Cotton, founder of CSGOBetting.com

GAV: First, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to interview such a highly appreciated professional of the industry. We look forward to this interview and are sure that all our readers also are going to read this with huge interest.

  • Name: Luke Cotton
  • Age: 25
  • Hometown: Haslemere, UK
  • Living in: Birmingham, UK
  • Favorite Food: Seafood Paella
  • Must Read Book: Moneyball – Michael Lewis

GAV: Tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Luke really is, founder of CSGObetting.com. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing this great website?

Skipping the boring, early days, and moving on to how CSGOBetting.com (and our other sites, like LeagueofLegendsBetting.com and Dota2Betting.com) were born, I started playing video games competitively in a team with some friends in early 2004. A couple of summers of not seeing a lot of sunlight later, I started playing at the high end of the competitive esports scene for Battlefield 2, winning a number of events and was fortunate enough to be paid to play throughout college. From then onwards I’ve been involved in esports, running professional teams, leagues and events. Like most Brits, I’ve always had an interest in betting, and was convinced that esports betting could become the next big thing. Back in 2011, I attended LAC and tried to pitch the idea to anyone who would listen, and I ended up working with Paddy Power to test some markets. Whilst initial results were promising, it was something that we couldn’t scale at the time. A couple of years later, we snapped up a lot of esports betting related domains, and now the betting market has matured somewhat, we’ve started launching our network of sites.

GAV: Are you doing this full time? Was there a moment when you have switched from your daily job to being a full time affiliate?

No – currently it’s an evenings and weekends project; currently we are running at a loss as we look to build up our search engine rankings and dominate the space. We’re sure that there will be a point at which esports betting takes off, however currently most is undertaken through black-market skin (virtual item) tote pools, which we have decided to steer clear from, as we only wish to promote legal betting websites.

I am involved in the industry full-time though, I work as Head of Affiliates at Digital Fuel, a marketing agency, running our affiliate network – just on the other side of the table or as an intermediary.

GAV: What are the key markets you are targeting?

We’re English language, as we are native speakers, with a particular focus on the UK & Australia. We intend to remain in regulated markets only, which limits us much further than that. There are a few other countries in mind for the future, at the point that we’re able to hire people who know the languages.

GAV: Since there are thousands of sports betting review websites out there, and the especially the free bets market is quite ruff, where do you think CSGObetting.com?

We’re the first affiliate site focused solely on betting on the video game CounterStrike, which is a market that has only really developed in the past couple of years. I don’t think many professional affiliates understand esports, particularly the intricacies of each game, which means that we have an air of authenticity that is difficult to replicate.

GAV: What are the strong points of the website and what makes it stand out from the niche websites? We can certainly say it jumps out of the routine websites since it employs certain news for this popular Counter Strike games.

The knowledge that we have of CounterStrike means that we can write interesting, unique features ourselves, and hire writers who we believe are interesting for our readers, rather than those that churn out pretty generic content. The CSGOBetting.com domain also shows readers that we have been around the industry for a long time.

GAV: What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?

We’ve sat on our domain portfolio for some time and did not have the skills to really develop websites. We took some investment from our employer, Digital Fuel, whereby they are building out our network of sites and providing knowledge in other areas, such as SEO, where personally we have a reasonable knowledge but aren’t experts.

GAV: We have browsed your website and found some high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing your editorials?

It’s a combination of the two. It’s a market that we are very knowledgeable about, so we do write some articles ourselves, but it also helps in finding writers that can create the quality of content that we think our readers will expect. With all the tasks related to running a network of sites, we like to use writers for the day to day content, but will write key articles ourselves where necessary or when we personally have something to say. It’s an industry we are passionate about.

GAV: How do you keep the content fresh and devoid of clutter when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?

Our content strategy is threefold: tips, where the intention is to be able to create regular content specific to upcoming matches, which our readers are likely to be wanting to bet on; features, which are completely new rather than rehashed from other websites, and informational, where we try to assist with queries like how to bet. It is pretty simple in terms of a strategy, but having people who can write in an interesting way is key.

GAV: We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?

As I still work as an Affiliate Manager during the day, it’s a difficult question to answer! Personally, I like things to be clear, simple, and with no bullshit. I think affiliates are some of the savviest people in the industry so trying to pull the wool over their eyes is a waste of time, and it annoys me when affiliate managers try and cover up key points that affect my decision to work with them.

GAV: How do you see the future of the gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?

I can only see growth. Many African countries support online betting, though growth there will be dictated by growth in GDP. In my opinion the USA will regulate at some point in the next five years, as the tax benefits are too great not to. In Asia, it may be further away due to more cultural influences on regulators, and remain grey or black in most key territories for some time.

GAV: Can you name one change that you want to see in the betting and casino affiliate ecosystem?

I would like affiliates to be given more access to data around their players’ betting activity. There’s no logical commercial reason not to give affiliates such data; it’s just a question of both the affiliate software providers and operators making technical changes to be able to do so.

GAV: What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?

Find a niche you understand well, and specialize where you can. Outsource the non-essential parts of your business. Do your research into which operators are reputable and make sure you work with those which are trustworthy.

GAV: What about SEO, are the ongoing Google algorithm updates influencing your ranking? If so, is it a positive or negative way?

Given that our website is reasonably new, it’s not something that we’ve closely monitored. We haven’t undertaken any SEO strategies previously that might be affected, and our content is good, so we’re hopeful of winning in the long-term.

GAV: Who is your favorite celebrity?

Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, not for his ski jumping, but thanks to his glorious performance winning awful reality TV series Splash having being punted in from 40/1.

GAV: If you would just open your YouTube search bar, what would you search for?

I’m a big fan of Hereford Football Club, so it’d be their YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UCEiCmSxoZFgiP_XO987CWLg) which has a ridiculous amount of highlights for a club at such a low level. Either that, or this video that I like to refer to as “heaven on earth”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgIz1Add98s

GAV: Back to work. Do you attend any iGaming conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?

I go to LAC each year, and try to make at least one of the other affiliate conferences. It’s always good to catch up and have a beer with people I am working with or friends in the industry. As the events are about the attendees, LAC is the best, as it has the most attendees and is the conference everyone sees as “the one to be at”.

GAV: What is your opinion overall about affiliate conferences such as SiGMA?

Conferences in general are essential: in such a fragmented, yet people focused industry, they provide a chance to get everyone in a room together which doesn’t happen frequently away from the conferences. I wasn’t able to attend SiGMA last year, but from all accounts it was a good event in a good location.

SiGMA-logo

GAV: How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotspot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?

It’s not a region that I’m overly familiar with. Culturally, I think there’s a good fit; at least, Poland is one of the more popular countries for CSGO betting. Mostly, I think it will depend on how the region develops economically. I think it has a good chance of developing into an area that operators and affiliates do well in, due to lower costs and skilled employees in internet and development related areas.

GAV: Alright, here comes the fun part…., where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favorite destination around the world.

I’m not particularly well travelled, but think the most important part is who you are travelling with. I had a great time in South Korea a couple of years ago, which is the most interesting place I’ve visited. There’s nowhere in particular in Eastern Europe on my list, so I’m open to recommendations! If you offered me a free holiday tomorrow in the region, I’d probably go for Croatia.

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

I’d rather keep to the safer countries, but wouldn’t rule anything out permanently.

GAV: What is your opinion about GAV (Gambling Affiliate Voice – gamblingaffiliatevoice.com)?

It’s always interesting hearing other affiliates’ views, and Gambling Affiliate Voice provides a great platform for that with your interviews.

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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