The winner is going to select one of these destinations for a 3-day trip for two, with paid flights, bed & breakfast: Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dresden, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Madrid or Lisbon.
Condor-Affiliates stated that: “We thank all of you who have engaged in this Condor Affiliates’ promotion and we wish you much success in business, always.”
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Affiliate Interviews: Toni Halonen, Co-founder & CEO of Good Game
Good Game is an iGaming lead generation company based in Malta. Good Game differentiates itself from its competitors by concentrating only on a handful of sites, focusing on user intent and creating recognisable brands from these few sites. Long-term value for the user and partners has been the key to their success in the Finnish casino affiliate market.
Name: Toni Halonen
Hometown: Ilomantsi, Finland
Living in: Malta
Favourite Food: Traditional Finnish home cooking, Japanese, Indian, Thai
Must-Read Book: The Lord of The Rings, The War of Art
Job Title: Co-founder & CEO
Hi Toni, tell us and our readers a little bit about Good Game. How did your career start in the industry?
I’ve always been fascinated by all sorts of games, be it sports, computer games, board games or gambling. I opened my first online casino account when I turned 18 and started dabbling with online poker around 2004.
After finishing my studies in 2008, I started thinking what I should do for a living and it was then that I came across poker affiliation. The idea of having my own site came to me in 2008, but it took one year of the “real working life” before I jumped into playing poker professionally and chasing my affiliate dream. 🙂
Luckily I wasn’t alone in this, because my childhood friend, Ville Sissonen, also played online poker and showed an interest in affiliation. Our half-serious, half-joke motto in the beginning was: “maximising the passive income”. 🙂 Passwords to our affiliate accounts were always something like “BuyM3rc3d3s2010” back in the day, haha. I still don’t have a Mercedes, but Ville bought his first this year. (The passwords have since been changed, so no point trying to log in. 😉 )
Good Game was established in Malta in 2011 by me and Ville. We came to Malta to play online poker professionally and build affiliate sites on the side. The affiliate business only really started to pay off after our Head of SEO, Jussi Kauppinen, joined the company in 2013. During that time, we also began concentrating only on casino affiliation.
We sold our then main domain in 2015 and went all-in with the money from the first sale straight into building our next project – this time in an actual office 🙂 – and with a team of ten people. That project came to an end at the beginning of this year when our main casino site was bought. Now we’re concentrating solely on our UK project.
Explain your current UK project, Bojoko.com, in one sentence.
Airbnb for online casinos.
What makes it different from other casino affiliate sites based on player communities, casino reviews and social proof?
The biggest difference from our competitors is that Bojoko allows casinos and game suppliers to create their own reviews, and publish their own offers and game reviews. This way they can control their brand (tone of voice, design etc.) beyond their own website and ensure that affiliate marketing for their brand is done according to the UK Gambling Commission’s standards.
Casinos and game suppliers have understood this concept well. New casinos have been especially keen on listing themselves on Bojoko.
What’s the reason behind launching Bojoko? In other words, why does Bojoko exist?
There are a couple of reasons why we’ve built Bojoko. First of all, we wanted to minimise the role of an affiliate in everything the user sees and interacts with on the site. Secondly, we see a big gap in how iGaming is consumed compared to other industries operating online. Selecting, playing and transfering money to casinos could be a lot more fluid and safer than it is now.
Our purpose is to build tools for Bojoko users, which they can then use to create this more fluid, safer vision of iGaming. We want to positively transform the iGaming user experience. This way we can establish casino games as an acceptable mainstream pastime too.
How do you see the UK market?
It’s certainly more competitive than the Finnish casino affiliation market and there are many more established brands which are almost non-existent in Finland. It’s a good challenge to build a site for a large market.
Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?
I’d like to see all forms of online gambling becoming as accepted in the mainstream as lotteries are. Offering more user-centric products and safer gambling will move the needle to the right direction. There are good initiatives underway in the UK in these two areas, although I’d like to see us, the gambling companies, driving this change and not relying or waiting for regulators to do it. There’s a much bigger pie waiting to be shared in the long run if iGaming becomes a widely accepted and respected industry.
Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into casino affiliation?
You should constantly ask yourself questions which reveal what kind of person you are. This helps you find the values and ideals you want to push forward in the industry you’re working in. It will also boost your motivation immensely and endow you with a more holistic approach to building your business.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in iGaming in 2018?
Regulation is one, for sure. It will bring new rules to online gambling once again, but it also brings predictability (such as in Sweden) and new markets (US sports betting) to the table. Predictability and new markets are great things for the entire online gambling industry.
What other new things can we expect from Good Game and Bojoko in the second half of 2018?
Bojoko has just rolled out a new tool which helps users tremendously in their casino selection. The tool is attached to our casino lists and lets users filter and sort online casinos easily with over 30 different data points so you can really get to the one casino that satisfies all your requirements. Just like hunting for the perfect vacation home on Airbnb.
In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on bringing more user features like this to Bojoko. They will help users mainly in two ways:
- Selecting online casinos more quickly and easily
- Interacting with other Bojoko users in our community
If you find this interesting, the best way to stay tuned to Bojoko and join in the fun is to sign up on the site.
Affiliate Interviews: Luke Eales, Founder of Seven Star Digital
Seven Star Digital (SSD) was founded by Luke Eales in 2016 with the aim to provide better gambling comparison services to consumers in the UK and beyond. Since then, SSD’s first website TopRatedCasinos.co.uk has consolidated a very strong position in both PPC and SEO channels within the UK Casino industry, delivering thousands of FTDs to licensed casino operators every month. With a vision for creating a truly comprehensive global online gambling comparison site across all verticals, the company launched Compare.bet in October 2017. Seven Star Digital currently employs a dozen talented marketers and technologists in its London HQ.
Name: Luke Eales
Living in: London
Favorite Food: Italian
Must Read Book: The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten by Julian Baggini
Job title: Founder & CEO
GAV: Hi Luke, tell us and our readers as well, a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Luke really is. How did your career start in the industry? What was your first job?
Luke: This is my first real activity in the gambling industry. But if we’re talking digital marketing, I got started back in 2003. Personal SEO projects made for a nice side earner while studying – at the time I had no inkling that it’d become a career.
GAV: Do you still remember when you first heard about gambling or online casinos?
Luke: It was probably about fifteen years ago – I set up a very small and unsuccessful affiliate site with my brother called Bonkers Betting! It’s hard to avoid the industry when working in digital. Partly because it’s an incubator for bleeding edge acquisition tactics.
GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think your websites stand at this moment and what is that plus that the other comparison portals don’t have?
Luke: One of our strengths is we’ve come from outside the industry with a fresh perspective. Our inspiration also comes from outside the industry – the big travel and insurance comparison sites for starters. They’re a long way ahead of gambling comparison, but we’re aiming to catch up fast – in terms of content, user experience and brand.
GAV: Tell us about your team a bit!
Luke: We’re based in Shoreditch – hipster central in London. The area has a great buzz, full of startups, as well as vibrant bars, restaurants and galleries. There are currently around a dozen of us at the company, spanning marketing, commercial and tech. We’ve got a great bunch of people all striving to take gambling comparison to the next level. Also, we’re hiring!
GAV: What kind of SEO, digital marketing or affiliate techniques do you follow this year, and how about any new upcoming trends?
Luke: For us, the definition of good digital marketing doesn’t necessarily change monthly or even yearly. Paid search, paid social, organic search – the platforms and behaviours evolve, of course. We’re less focused on the next new thing, tactical marketing trick or short-term win. For us the differentiation is in execution, organisational agility and deep understanding of our lines of business. This allows us to adapt to the evolving landscape, including from a regulatory perspective. Of course, the big change happening right now for data/permission marketers is GDPR. We’re hopeful that this will succeed in ensuring users’ interests and personal data is protected.
GAV: What are the challenges that you and your team face in regards to affiliate marketing in 2018.
Luke: Put simply, the ever-increasing ferocity of competition in the sector. Everyone wants a piece of the pie – we are acutely aware that in order to maintain and grow ours, we have to earn it. This keeps us at the top of our game. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
GAV: How do you manage to keep the websites fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
Luke: The crusade for ‘fresh content’ has created a cottage industry of content churners who prioritise volume over quality. We take a different approach – while we do aim to create vast and comprehensive sites, we’re not fans of expansion for expansion’s sake. We find that writing for people rather than search engines acts as an automatic fluff filter.
GAV: We are pretty convinced that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. You, of course select them by the brands they work with. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built, and how not?!
Luke: Trust, transparency and sharing of insights. When you’re providing a quality service and valuable traffic, there is no need for smoke and mirrors in the partner relationship. This honest and open approach makes everything easier and is best for all in the long run.
GAV: Next to the UK market, which are the other ones that you already target or want to expand into?
Luke: We have our eye on several regulated/soon-to-regulate markets in Europe. We’re also growing Compare.bet with a global scope – the recent US news creates great potential, but we expect to pick up traffic from a real long tail of geographies.
GAV: How do you see the Nordic market?
Luke: Having been a fairly stable and attractive region for some years, things are starting to change – with regulation in Sweden and moves to restrict in Norway via payment blocking etc.
Our first step into Scandinavia is with our Swedish comparison site ToppOnlineCasinon.se – we already work with most of the top operators in the region but are being very careful not to make assumptions about user behaviour and what will work over there. Our eyes and ears are open to the requirements of Swedish players and operators alike, and we expect the user experience to diverge from our UK sites based on what we learn about specific local needs over time.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?!
Luke: We want running a ‘gambling affiliate site’ to be as well respected as running a ‘finance comparison business’. This will only happen with the industry taking more of a user focus and thinking bigger. There are certainly signs that this is starting to happen.
GAV: Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?
Luke: Get into the data. Not only will it allow you to improve your own metrics, but it will create transparency with partners and the opportunity to work together to grow based on real insights.
GAV: How about iGaming/online casino/gambling conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favourite and what is your most fun experience?
Luke: We try to attend as many as possible. It’s rare to leave without a killer insight or two, at least. Face time with partners is also invaluable We’re looking forward to Lisbon this autumn – the weather should in theory be better than Berlin, which is a plus!
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favourite country or region?
Luke: I haven’t seen much of it, so I’d have quite a long to-do list! In particular, I’ve heard great things about Slovenia.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Luke: I wouldn’t rule anywhere out!
GAV: How about a favourite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?
Luke: I’m not a big follower of celebrity. I have however been fortunate enough to have worked with a range of experienced and knowledgeable senior colleagues throughout my career, all of whom have had a great influence.
Affiliate Interviews: Nina Sparv of Nya-casinon.org (Epicorns)
Name: Nina Sparv
Hometown: Vasa (Finland)
Living in: Andorra
Favorite Food: Seafood, I guess I´m not allowed to answer wine here, am I?
Profession/Job title: CMO & Co-founder at Epicorns
GAV: Hello Nina, first of all tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Nina really is? How did your career start in the industry? Since when are you active at Nya Casinon?
NS: I`m born in Vasa, a small city in the west coast of Finland. It´s a two-language city, so I actually speak Swedish with my family instead of Finnish. An interesting fact that many people might not know about Finland. I kind of ended up in the industry pretty randomly, I was tired of Finland and I was searching for some new adventures. In the same moment, my previous boss in Finland asked me if I would be interested into moving to Cyprus. He had a friend that was working as a CEO for a gambling company that needed a copywriter for both Swedish and Finnish content so he thought I might fit, since I also happen to love playing slots. I had no experience in the industry, but I liked it a lot from the very beginning. After working as a copywriter / content manager for one year, I got promoted to Business Manager, where after I was responsible for the business development of 3 separate casino brands in several different markets. The company was fairly small, so it was great that they gave everyone so much responsibility, since I learned a lot during the 1,5 years as a Business Manager. Without that experience, I wouldn’t probably be where I am today. Many people say you shouldn´t mix work and personal life, I couldn´t quite live up to that, since that´s exactly what happened in Cyprus, I met my soul partner Jaume at work. We moved together and after a while we got tired of Cyprus and moved to Andorra to set up our own affiliate company and online marketing company. It sounds easy and fast, but there was a lot of sweat, tears and endless amount of work before the company first of all, was setup, and second of all, before the sites actually started generating money.
GAV: We know that you’re also active at an international online marketing company, tell us all about it?
NS: Epicorns (our company) was first setup as an online marketing and consultancy company to be able to generate income, that we later could use on investing in our affiliate sites. We have been doing a lot of consultancy and online marketing services during the last year to generate income, such as SEO, web development and content writing. Now that our affiliate sites have started to generate money, we don´t focus much on promoting our online marketing or consultancy services, but it´s always good to have them as a backup plan.
GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think nya-casinon.org stands now and what is that plus that the other portals don’t have?
NS: First of all, the Swedish market is very competitive, and it´s difficult to compete against all the giant affiliate companies nowadays. That´s also why we´ve decided to focus on a small niche within the market, which is new casinos, where we should be able to reach some of the top positions in Google with the great domain that we have. It´s still a very new website, and it will probably take some time for it to jump higher in the rankings, but we´re working hard with the content and the SEO constantly.
GAV: Next to the swedish market which market do you target?
NS: With nya-casinon.org we naturally only target the Swedish market, but we have in total around 150 websites targeting a lot of different markets. Currently we´re focusing mainly in the Finnish, Swedish and Spanish markets, but we also have websites in Norwegian, German, English, Portuguese, Italian and French.
GAV: How do you see the online casino market/industry at this moment?
NS: I don´t think it´s needed to say, but it´s a very competitive industry, although it´s still a fairly new industry. Every time it´s getting more difficult and it´s taking way longer time to be able to reach high rankings for the websites. There´s new affiliates sites and casinos launched every month, so you must keep up with the speed if you want to be in the game. Before you could basically rank a website with few pages and some blogposts, which nowadays is barely impossible.
GAV: Is it hard for a woman in this industry, which are the advantages and disadvantages?
NS: I don´t see it hard as a woman to be in this industry, we´re obviously not the majority, but there´s a lot of professional women within the Igaming industry. I wouldn’t say being as a woman is any different from being as a man in the industry, neither do I have any advantages or disadvantages to mention.
GAV: In your opinion what are the strong points of nya-casinon.org and what makes it stand out from the other niche websites?
NS: Since I write most of the content myself, I would say unique content and up to date blogposts for the users about the latest promotions and news.
GAV: We have browsed your website and found some great quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you?
NS: I try to write as much as I can myself, but since we have already a lot of websites in both Swedish and Finnish, it´s difficult to keep up with everything. Last year I was writing for all the websites, but now there´s too much work in other parts of the websites to be done. The blogposts and news I always write myself, but for the rest of the new content I have 3 freelance content writers helping me out, one in Sweden and two in Finland.
GAV: How about the online marketing and SEO of your website, how many team members do you have, let us in on a new trend that you guys are following?
NS: In the marketing and SEO, we´re in total 3 people, and we try to divide the workload by markets or countries, where I usually work with the Swedish and Finnish markets. I would lie If I say that we have some awesome new trend that we´re following, it would sound cool though. Our main target right now is to keep on doing what we´re doing, and keep growing the sites with great content and good links.
GAV: How do you manage to keep all the website fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
NS: Since I write most of the blogposts and news myself, it´s not that difficult. I check the news within the industry daily and scrolling through all the available promotions and offers few times a week to be able to write about interesting topics for the users.
GAV: We know for sure that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. You, of course select them by the brands they work with. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built, and how not?!
NS: Nowadays it depends a lot, since there´s these huge affiliate companies but also small startups like us, so of course the relationship with the affiliate managers is not the same for both. I prefer to work with affiliate managers that are genuinely interested in our business and in us, not just interested in how many players we can bring in one month. We have a lot of affiliate managers that have helped us, and have been interested in us, from the beginning, although we weren’t able to bring much players. These are the relationships that later have turned into friendships, which I think is a beautiful part of the business.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
NS: After visiting Las Vegas this month, I think that the gambling industry will for sure always exist. It provides a bit of excitement to the everyday life for a lot of people. Gambling is already very popular in many places all around the world, so I´m sure it will at some point become a truly global phenomenon. About the online casino business, I think it will become more and more regulated for each year in the countries, but that it will surely always exist.
GAV: How about the swedish market, and the Nordic market, it has seen a huge growth?
NS: Gambling, Poker and Betting is something that have been advertised in the Nordics already for years, so I would say that the Nordics (Finnish people specially) are gamblers by nature. You can´t even step into a food shop without seeing slots and huge lottery jackpots. The “Boom” of the Nordic markets happened already some years back, but there´s constantly entering more and more players due to new younger generations and new innovative marketing campaigns.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino industry?!
NS: Trust. In countries like Malta, UK and Sweden for example, the casino industry is a normal everyday business. But in many other countries the casino industry is even illegal, although betting and sports is very popular for instance. This is one of the reasons this business is still seen as a bit “dirty” and “not reliable”, although the people like me for example, are doing normal online marketing stuff, just like any other person working in an online focused business.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?
NS: Patience. It will take time, a lot of work and knowledge before you´re able to make a living out of this business on your own.
GAV: How about iGaming or affiliate conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience? Did you attend the Nordic Affiliate Conference?
NS: I love going to the conferences, I think it´s because I´ve never actually lived in a place where the business is based and where there is a lot of people from the business to talk with, on every day basis, like in Malta for example. The conferences are the only time I have a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues within the business. I would say my favorite conference is the iGB, Berlin Affiliate Conference that I´ve attended a couple of times. This year we haven´t had time to join any conference yet, unfortunately neither the Nordic Affiliate Conference. But we´re heading in September to the Affiliate Grand Slam in Bucharest and in November to SIGMA in Malta.
GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe to become a potential gaming hotspot in the near future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
NS: I´m pretty sure it will become a gaming hotspot, there´s a lot of potential traffic, but it´s still not very popular.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favorite country or region?
NS: Oh that´s a difficult question, there´s a lot of cool and beautiful places in Eastern Europe. I would like to travel to Romania and Czech Republic since I haven´t been there before. Now we will visit Bucharest in September since we´re attending the Affiliate Grand Slam conference. If I must pick a favorite country I would pick Poland, although I like Estonia a lot as well.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe 🙂 ?
NS: Travelling and exploring new places is awesome, so it would be wrong if I said I didn´t want to travel to some specific place.
GAV: How about a favorite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?
NS: I have a lot of favorite celebrities, mostly YouTube stars, especially Pewdiepie and a famous Spanish youtuber: AuronPlay. I also like the Spanish president Rajoy, he´s just too funny with his comments that doesn’t make much sense most of the times.
I also have to mention Jaume (my better half) here, since he has been a very big influencer and mentor in my life since the first day we met.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
NS: It´s a good and important iGaming magazine, since I like to keep up to date what´s happening within the business I try to check the website few times a week. There´s a great variety of different news and updates which I usually find very interesting and worth reading.
GAV: Nina, thank you for the interview, if you have any news to share just let us know! We wish you guys all the best!
If you would like to suggest subjects for future affiliate interviews, send your suggestions to: email@example.com
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