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Interview with Duncan Garvie about ThePOGG’s new announcement

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ThePOGG.com approved for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service by UKGC 

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has approved ThePOGG.com as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. A spokesperson for ThePOGG.com stated:

[blockquote style=”2″]We have been successfully managing player and casino disputes for over three years and our tally of complaints managed is now nearing 500. We are extremely proud of the fact that the UKGC has recognised the value of the service we provide and the integrity of our team. We look forward to working closely with the UKGC to continue mediating and acting as a conduit between players and operators.[/blockquote]
ThePOGG.com is one of the first affiliate sector organisations to be granted ADR status by the UKGCand the individual responsible for managing the complaints side of ThePOGG has recently attained mediation and arbitration qualifications from The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, further adding to the quality of service ThePOGG can provide. Notably the ADR service provided by ThePOGG.com differs markedly from the services provided by all of the other ADR service operators in that there is absolutely no charge for utilising the experience the team at ThePOGG has. No ADR charges players for use of their service but ThePOGG is unique in providing a cost free service to operators wishing to call upon its team’s 10 years of experience in the online gambling industry. The ethos behind ThePOGG is to provide the best possible support service to those requiring dispute resolutions and to ensure that cost is not prohibitive – hence why the service is free to all.

The full license and it’s text can be viewed here: http://thepogg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ThePOGG-approved-ADR-service-UKGC.pdf

We have managed to interview the manager of ThePOGG, Mr. Duncan Garvie, a well respected affiliate which has been in the industry for quite a while.

TheVoice: Wow, this is huge news for you guys, ThePOGG.com has been approved for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service by UKGC. You are the first affiliate to be granted this license. How does it feel?

Duncan: In a word – fantastic! A significant amount of time was invested in getting the site ready to submit our application and seeing that work pay dividends is very very satisfying.

TheVoice: What was the main idea behind applying for this license and was this included in the masterplan when building ThePOGG?

Duncan: When ThePOGG was first started, the UKGC license hadn’t come into place yet and most of the market was still unsure of exactly what form it was going to take. So the ADR structure that exists today wasn’t a factor in the initial development of our business plan. That said, as soon as we became aware of the ADR system that the UKGC intended to implement it seemed like a natural extension of what we do already.

The primary objectives behind ThePOGG.com has always been to offer players a genuine service and resource to players. Our focus has always been on ensuring that we provide players with a wealth of information to help them make the best decisions regarding who to play with. To do that though, we need to ensure that player complaints are being taken care of appropriately. This focus on quality information has been continued in our newest product – POGGStrategies.com – which looks to offer the highest quality information on mathematically sound strategies for all casino games. Unlike so many other affiliates who focus on SEO and marketing, the player is our focus.

Initially we did have concerns that the UKGC license was going to restrict operators to ONLY discussing complaints with their listed ADR providers – this would have significantly impacted our complaint service making gaining ADR status essential to our ongoing business relationship with many UKGC accredited operators. As ThePOGG places such a strong emphasis on maintaining a positive reputation, ranking operators by their treatment of players rather than their willingness to pay upfront advertising fees, not being able to actively resolve complaints for our well placed operators would have significantly undermined our model.

Fortunately those concerns turned out to be unjustified. However that didn’t change our opinion of the value such an accreditation would bring. At the present time I’m confident that most people on both sides of the table in the online gambling industry would agree that the UKGC represent the most credible regulatory force in the market. Achieving ADR status involved significant work on our part and required us to answer a lot of questions regarding potential conflicts of interest for the UKGC. I feel that being the first affiliate operator to gain ADR status demonstrates how well our system holds up to external scrutiny and our commitment to integrity.

TheVoice: Can you shortly explain the process on which these disputes are received on your end and how are they disputed?

Duncan: From this point there will be minor differences between the way complaints are managed depending on whether the operator being complained about lists us as one of their ADRs. The essential difference is that an operator that lists us as an ADR has a responsibility to discuss complaints fully with us, whereas an operator that does not hold a UKGC license, or chooses not to list us as an ADR has the choice whether or not they will discuss the complaint. An operator choosing not to engage automatically results in a negative status for the final report and at that point we will often assist the player taking their complaint to whatever regulator body or ADR service the operator will talk to.

Beyond that difference the process for dealing with complaints is essentially the same. When a player submits a complaint firstly we review and publish the complaint, acknowledging that we have received the complaint. At this stage the complaint is published in such a manner that it is not publically available – only the submitting player and ThePOGG complaint team have access to the complaint thread. This system is set up this way to ensure that any accusations that are made are based in fact or removed before publication to prevent any unjustified damage being done to an operator’s reputation.

We then contact the operator that is being complained about to get there feedback on the issue. At this stage the process isn’t rigidly defined. There can be several rounds of back and forth communication between our team, the player and the operator, as we try to establish exactly what both parties feel the issues have been and whether terms and conditions have been adhered to.

Finally, once we feel we have all of the relevant information, where appropriate we will try to guide both parties to a reasonable middle ground and where there is one party that is clearly right we will provide the involved parties with our conclusion the justifications for those conclusions. The only exceptions to this is where there’s security concerns suggesting that a player has been engaged in illegal activities at which point we provide the conclusions without the justifications so as not to educate others as to how to circumnavigate security procedures.

To date I would consider the process remarkably successful as we rapidly approach the point where we’ve returned over half a million dollars to player!

It’s also worth point out that within the next two weeks we will also be launching a similar service for affiliates – POGGWebmasters.com. This service won’t fall under our UKGC ADR remit, but will provide affiliates with a dedicate complaints service run by the same team.

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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Affiliate Announcements

Mr Gamble is the fast growing iGaming affiliate taking the world by storm

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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 silver@cashmagnet.money for more information on deals and listings. 

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Affiliate Success

Exclusive Q&A with Marinos Shiapanis, CEO at Campeón Gaming Partners

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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.

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