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Affiliate Interviews: Marina, CEO of Bonusparadise.com

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Marina interview

In this weeks affiliate success story we present to you Marina B. who is the CEO of Bonusparadise.com, the complete guide for those wanting information about online gambling. Their mission is to give you, the player, the best possible advice regarding the best casinos, greatest offers and where you can play for free.

Name: Marina B.
Age: 47
Hometown: —
Living in: Netherlands
Favorite Food: Italian
Must Read Book: Can’t tell which one is a must read. Also long ago that I took time to read a book.
Profession/Job title: CEO

 

GAV: Hi Marina! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. We want to know who the real Marina is – the main person behind Bonusparadise.com. What was the key idea of developing this great online gambling guide and forum?Mike and Marina of BonusParadise

Marina: Hi GAV. OK, so I was born and raised in Austria but it was love that actually brought me to the Netherlands where I now live with Mike – my life and business partner. It was actually through online gambling that we found each other 🙂 .
In answer to your question about the idea of developing BonusParadise.com: We knew from the beginning that we wanted to give new players good information and help them find trusted online casinos with excellent bonus offers.

 

GAV: Since there are hundreds of online gambling guides and forums out there, where do you think Bonus Paradise stands in relation to the competition at this moment?

Marina: Yes that’s true, there are some really great online gambling websites out there and it’s also true that the competition is tough. Where do we stand? Well that’s hard to say. I am not the type of person who checks out search engine rankings every day. It’s more important for us that our members and visitors are satisfied with the information we provide. I always remind myself that our site is made for real people, not for Google and co.!

For a while, we used SEO tools but I found that using them did not alter our site’s success in the long run. I have a basic understanding of SEO and I believe that it is enough for BonusParadise.com’s operations. In my opinion, it is more important to provide good content and useful information for your visitors and focus on that.

GAV: What are the strong points of Bonus Paradise, and what makes it stand out from the other websites?

Marina: Do we stand out from others? Even if that were true, it would feel kind of arrogant to admit that! I tend to focus on the fact that there are always things that can be improved, and there are always new things you need to learn about the business.
You asked about strong points. One of which I am proud of is the fact that we are a very stable site. We’ve been online for many years and we are on active on our forum every single day! Even on weekends and holidays Mike and/or myself are always checking at the forum and keeping abreast of what’s happening in the industry.

GAV: How did you start and what bumps did you have to overcome after the launch of the website?

Marina: When I was still living in Austria, I started a free forum about online gambling. I loved playing online and wanted to create a like-minded community with other players from around the world. I liked the fact we could discuss online gambling and that I could help them with good information on a free forum. After a few months I started making money from this forum.

One day we realized that we were receiving no more traffic from Google. We learned that a free hosted forum is not a good idea and you do not have sufficient access to your website. We also found that Google de-indexed all our pages from the free forum (although we never found out the reason) and so we started to build a forum at Bonusparadise.com. We had to start everything from zero, which meant that could not migrate members from the free forum and also none of the content. That was a tough lesson to learn but we believe that we only improved the second time around!

GAV: We have browsed your website and forum and found great quality content. Do you write it yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you? How many online casino reviews are there on your website?

Marina: I have several excellent contributors to our site, one of them being Renee from Quality Writing Services (qualityws.com). I also write some content myself, although because my native language is German, it’s easier for me to do so in German obviously.  There are approximately 50 casino reviews on our site, but as you know, we add fresh content on a very regular basis so that number will only grow.

bonusparadise.com

GAV: Is it hard to keep the content fresh and relevant, especially when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the web on a daily basis?

Marina: Yes, of course. But we do our best and we believe we’re doing a good job providing interesting and relevant information to our readers.

GAV: We are sure that you receive many messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis 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?

Marina: Honesty is very important! Like all other relationships in life, it wouldn’t work without complete honesty from Day One. I also like to maintain personal contact via Skype. There are some things you just can’t get across via email! What else? It’s very important for me to have a contact for player relations. I was told by one affiliate manager: “Sorry, I can’t help you with this player’s complaint. I am your affiliate manager and I’m not responsible for player support…“ That really upset me, especially since he couldn‘t give me another person to contact about the problem – only the standard casino support.

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

Marina: Definitely! I’ve been long enough in this industry to say with absolute certainty that online gambling will become even more popular than it already is. But don’t only take my word for it. I read recently that analysts predict that the online gambling industry will be worth $4 BILLION by 2020 – and that’s only 3 years away! There is no doubt that gamblers like what they see in online gambling. It is very convenient for players as they don’t need to travel far to visit a casino. They also aren’t limited to the opening and closing hours of the casino, and you can literally play 24/7, every day of the year and from wherever you happen to be. Also, players like the fact that they have literally hundreds of games at their fingertips – you won’t find a range that big in any land-based casino. And of course, we also can’t ignore the fact that mobile gambling is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As technology improves and graphics and sound features get better, players are able to enjoy incredibly realistic casino experiences in the palm of their hands.

GAV: Would you change something in the online casino legislation?

Marina: Every country has its own legislation and governments are making their decisions based on what they feel is good for the people. I believe that there has to be some regulation when it comes to online gambling, as there should be for any type of industry. However, I feel that sometimes authorities aren’t in touch with what recreational gamblers are after. In their bid to protect problem gamblers (which make up a truly tiny percentage of the industry), the laws and regulations come across as being archaic. It’s kind of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The entertainment factor, as well as the millions of euros that the industry contributes to local governments is sometimes overlooked when laws are made. Anyway, we can’t forget that this is still considered a fledgling industry and the issue of regulation should be seen as a learning curve. I believe that world governments will eventually find a happy medium.

GAV: Name one change that you would want to see in the online casino affiliate ecosystem.

Marina: That would be: Legalization – Regulation – Protection… Unfortunately, we affiliates sometimes have bad experiences because of the lack of legalization, regulation and protection. For example, we’ve come across affiliate programs that change their terms retroactively, and it has been known for some programs to even go rogue …..

GAV: What advice would you offer newbies who are looking to venture into this industry?

Marina: I would say: Build a good website that contains unique and useful content. Make sure to list reputable brands. It is very important that the brands treat players well (and us affiliates too of course!)

GAV: Do you usually attend any iGaming/online casino conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and tell us why?

Marina: I’ve attended a conference in Amsterdam and my plans are definitely to attend more in the future. I’m not a great fan of traveling and as we have a young daughter at home, I’ll keep these plans on the back-burner for now. I’m sure things will change as she gets older.

GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe on becoming a potential gaming hotpot in the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?

Marina: I believe it will take some time still until we will find good player potential in Eastern European Countries. I would predict another decade or so but the market is very dynamic so who knows.

GAV: Alright, now here comes the fun part: do you have a favorite celebrity?

Marina: LOL! Oh… there are so many celebrities! Naah, can’t think of a favorite off the top of my head.

GAV: Name a country or region in Eastern Europe where you’d like to travel?

Marina: As said before, I don’t really have the travel bug. But maybe Hungary would be nice to visit one day.

GAV: Where would you NOT want to travel in Eastern Europe?

Marina: I can’t really think of an Eastern Europe country which I would not like to travel to. I think you can find interesting things and people everywhere.

GAV: What is your opinion about GAV (GamblingAffiliateVoice.com)?

Marina: I’m impressed with the work that you put in to build a community of fellow affiliates and to create a safe and innovative climate for us all to work in. I love the articles on your platform and I always find something interesting to read.

GAV: Thank you very much for your time Marina, we appreciate it, keep up the good work and don’t be a stranger!

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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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Affiliate Success

Meet Reza Shojaei, the founder of multinational CasinoTop.com

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Meet Reza Shojaei, the founder of multinational CasinoTop.com

 

Value Marketing is a successful iGaming affiliate company that has its base set in Malta. Reza Shojaei, the founder of the company has spent years patiently building the company up, reaching multiple markets around the globe. The journey is not even nearly finished yet, and there is much more to come. Shojaei is excited for 2020 and what it will bring for Value Marketing’s two major brands: CasinoTopp.net and CasinoTop.com.

Who is Reza Shojaei?
Reza Shojaei is the founder of Value Marketing. Here, we will meet Reza.

Name: Reza Shojaei
Age: 35
From: Norway
Living in: Norway
Job title: Founder of Value Marketing
Favorite hobby: Playing poker and taking my dog, Bofflee, to long walks, racing cars on track

Tell us about Value Marketing
Value Marketing used to operate within face-to-face sales industry, but I personally was not passionate about it. So, after some time, I decided to take the company to another direction. In 2017, we discussed about getting into iGaming, because it was of interest to me and also because we saw a problem in the industry that needed to be solved.

I have been playing poker for over 15 years, so I was familiar with the industry already. As the online casino market is ever-growing, there are more and more iGaming related companies and especially online casinos opening all the time. The problem is that there are so many casinos that it is hard for players (especially new ones) to choose a reliable casino that is also high quality.

I founded Value Marketing and its two brands, CasinoTopp.net and CasinoTop.com, to provide honest and transparent information about reliable casinos. We never recommend any casinos that do not meet our standards and our readers respect us for that. Also, we provide other valuable information for players, such as casino guides and up-to-date casino news.

Frankly, we never got into this business purely for money and that is not our first priority. The top priority is to put our readers first and make sure that they are happy with our content. In fact, we even give our readers the chance to contact us and share their casino experiences. So, in a way, we build our brand with the help of our readers and also take their opinion into account.

What is the ultimate mission of Value Marketing?
We want CasinoTop.com to operate all over the world and have the biggest casino affiliate network across the globe. Currently, we operate in 12 countries. They include, for instance, Finland, Norway, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and India.

Why is Value Marketing different from other casino affiliate sites?
The number one reason why Value Marketing is different from others is that we do not work with any casinos that do not meet our standards. For us, it is important to provide 100 percent accurate content and write articles that are valuable for our readers. We also offer the readers a chance to be in touch with us, which is something that many sites do not do.

Why did you decide to launch Value Marketing and its brands?
I was tired of field marketing/face-to-face sales and wanted to do something that I had a passion for. I love playing poker, so transitioning to the iGaming world was only natural. Also, we saw a need for a big casino affiliate company that covers multiple markets and also offers honest opinions and reviews. This way, our readers know that they can trust us, and we can build a great reputation globally.

How do you see the iGaming market in the next years in Europe?
In Europe, online casinos are a big thing. There are constantly more and more casinos and rules and regulations change. One of the biggest things recently was the Swedish license, and we hope to see such a change in other countries too, for instance, in Norway and Finland, though it may not happen very soon.

What would you like to change in the gambling industry?
The mission of Value Marketing is to provide excellent and honest reviews that are transparent, and we hope that other sites take that approach as well. Though there are not many rogue casinos out there, there are casinos that are more reliable and better quality than others. Those are the casinos that should get the traffic and the attention from affiliates and players.

What is the hardest thing about running Value Marketing?
At the moment, we have launched 12 markets and we have copywriters, editors, designers, and developers in our roster, all from around the world. Keeping in touch with everyone in a timely manner can get challenging because of time zone differences. But overall, I love what I do and look forward to my work every day.

What do you expect from the gambling industry in the next year?
We can definitely see more pay & play casinos, as they have been trending among players recently. Also, we can only expect even better-quality games and especially NetEnt and Wazdan has really been on top of it. 3D graphics and more interactive games are great and perhaps virtual reality takes off, too, in the iGaming industry. Some rules and regulations might relax as well, considering that the US already opened a few states for online gaming and Sweden has their own license now.

What do you expect from Value Marketing in the next year?
In 2020, we are hoping to open more markets in addition to the ones that are already open. Also, improving our current content and redefining goals is always on my plate.

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