Sebastian Högberg, CEO and co-founder at Dreamlead.me, gives an exclusive interview to SiGMA News as part of our latest series on affiliates
How did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
I’ve been working in the iGaming sector since 2007. In 2016 I was approached by an acquaintance in regards to investing in an affiliate project, which at that stage was only two domains and a man (my business partner) with a mission.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We are very focused on international expansion and delivering quality comparison products around the world. We are currently based in Malta and outsource most of the tedious work.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We focus on several markets and we investigate new possible entries every month based on volumes, value and accessibility.
What makes your traffic proposition / traffic sites unique? What can you offer that others don’t? Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
One of our biggest focuses since 2019 has been our new project called Gambla (Editor - Erik King). This project enables users to donate trees to combat world deforestation while playing casinos at the same time.
Is the grass greener on the other side - Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting a go?
We’ve been approached by White label operators, and played with the idea of running a white label. Ultimately we decided against the idea as our expertise lies in SEO, and running a casino is an entirely different venture.
Are you concerned by the impact on the affiliate sector from shifting regulatory environments?
(In particular UKGC, Sweden’s Spelinspektionen, and Germany’s 2020 State Treaty on Gaming Regulation) Regulation is inevitable. The consumer needs to be protected and I think all governments are right to do so. We are however yet to see a regulation that is effective, and incentivises players to play on regulated operators instead of unregulated.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic source?
We are an SEO business, approaching a new milestone of 3000 NDCs per month (hurray!). We also actively collect email leads from our websites and update them regularly with promotions, new casinos and free spins.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
Absolutely. We have met several interested parties and discussed both M&A and selling. Ultimately we have not yet reached any agreements but we are happy to continue growing on our own.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?
Transparency. We have many long term partners that we happily work with due to the trust built up in the relationship. Wine and dine us, meet us at affiliate conferences and be transparent in the affiliate back offices. And please, stop hiding the deposit amounts in the back office - big red flag.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Perseverance, networking and an open mind - SEO takes time and money. Don’t expect to be making profits in the first year of operations. Kiwislots for example took us about two years to get up to domination in New Zealand even though it’s a small site.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Plays a big part in our day to day operations, we are using several cloud services to have easy accessibility for everyone in the team to all our common files on the go, we also stay up to date with new tech innovations coming from the industry itself like Voonix for example that is a great platform for affiliates to use.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
We have made a very small entry in the Asian market as of now. However we are currently investigating more possibilities in the Asian markets.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Do your own research, don’t trust old timers. What worked in the past is most likely a bad bet. Take advice but stay updated on the SEO blogs and Google updates as well.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
About 2.5 years into our project we almost ran out of funds which led me to search for jobs in order to continue salaries and operations. The desperate situation resulted in a lot of hard work which rather quickly flipped our business into a respectable lead generator. Our most recent success is with this casino site in Spain where we are currently ranking well for top competitive search terms.
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
The main challenge is to have the time to maintain a relationship with all of them which is mutually healthy and beneficial, there are only 10 spots in the top 10 and we work with hundreds of operators so obviously it’s impossible to make everyone happy.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
It’s nice to get a face on new partners and operators that we are working with, also a great excuse for some fun a couple of times a year! We are happy with how casino affiliate conferences are currently operated.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
I love SiGMA, which is why I have gone 3 consecutive years! Having the busiest conference in the same place that I live really makes it a convenient place to make new business partnerships, as well as maintaining the old. I haven’t been to the Manilla conference yet, but I look forward to going there in the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all business is done between people, not just companies!
Favourite book ever read?
Sapiens - A brief history of Humankind.
Where would you relocate with family if you had to pick one city?
Somewhere on Bali
Subscribe to Pewdiepie
Favourite sport idol?
Mirko Crocop - UFC
Get to know other great affiliates, responsible for killer traffic! Click the link below to read more insights from affiliates:
About SiGMA Expo:
SiGMA 2020 Malta will take place November 17th - 19th 2020 at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. Positioned at the cutting edge of a very competitive industry, the event has evolved since 2014 into the definitive iGaming showcase, operating on both a European and world stage. In 2019, SiGMA’19 welcomed over 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 industry leading speakers and a record-breaking 15,000 attendees from over 80 countries, and in 2020 this staple in the global iGaming calendar is set to grow even bigger. To become a part of Europe's leading iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.
For those planning to attend SiGMA events in 2020, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected: