William Westerlund, CEO and co-founder at Top Gamers Guide, 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 had a friend that wanted to start a blog and I always wanted to be in eSports, so we combined those ideas and got started. We didn’t have iGaming as a focus, we (I) had a passion for eSports and both my co-founder and I were very interested in the affiliate business.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
It’s structured in a way where giving honest non-biased information is a priority, as I do believe that giving value always comes first. One example is that for every post with affiliate links I do up to 5 informational posts and some that might refer to a post where I have affiliate links.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
I focus on markets that I personally find interesting but also see a big YoY growth in. I totally see the market for organic products growing exponentially in the coming years. Something else to keep an eye on that is starting to become more and more usual is gamification, so tech companies have great solutions online to increase sales.
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?
It’s very niched, so companies that work with me reach a very targeted audience. We’ve recently launched a daughter site to our main affiliate site to not only expand our business but also to become more authoritative in our niche.
Is the grass greener on the other side - Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting a go?
For now, I’m happy where I’m at and to be honest, casino and regular sports betting doesn’t interest me and is also a bit too established for my taste.
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)
There is always a chance I might get impacted in a negative way due to regulations but it’s nothing I worry about. I won’t be able to affect it and I’m sure I’ll be able to make up the loses suffered from such a regulation somewhere else.
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?
My only focus has always been SEO.
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?
I’ve thought about bringing in investors but at the same time I’d rather not have anyone to answer to and be able to have full creative freedom. I wouldn’t sell my site at this point but in 5 years or so if I managed to get it to where I see it’s potential to be, perhaps the right offer would make me sell.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?
Suggest to your affiliate managers to use Skype or the preferred platform to communicate more efficiently.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Teamwork for sure, there will always be different opinions and you’ll most likely think that yours is the best one, make sure to compromise and see other peoples view. Be patience, if you’re investing most of your time and money into SEO, remember you’re doing it for the long run and it might even take 6-10 months before seeing any real results from your work.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Other than basic analytics programs and platforms like Hotjar I can’t say it plays a huge role.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
I’ve never been into the Asian market and it’s hard since they don’t make search terms in English and some use other search engines.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Pay more attention to the quality than the quantity. In the beginning I just pumped out a lot of articles which I’ve now had to optimise and made nice, which has taken a lot of time.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
That I one-day login and all the work I’ve put in will have been lost for some reason, Google updates, and hackers.
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
There are no real challenges for us in this area, we have closer relationships with those that we work more with.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Connecting with like-minded people, building your network, and finding new opportunities for partnerships. It’s also a lot of fun.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
No, but SiGMA Malta is for sure something I’d enjoy and benefit from visiting.
I must say that skiing in the alps or enjoying New York during Christmas time is magical.
Favourite book ever read? Favourite book you look forward to reading someday?
How to Win Friends & Influence people is a must-read for everyone - a second book about Elon Musk and his journey, but written after he’s accomplished what he set out to do.
Where would you relocate with family if you had to pick one city?
LA and live by the beach.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West
Favourite sport and childhood idol?
I really do enjoy Padel, it’s the new trend right now, and our affiliates always seems to trend surf. Mac Miller was a big part of my childhood. In fact, as a kid, when we didn’t have Spotify, I only had Mac Miller in my phone for over 5 years.
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.
Our ground breaking Asian iGaming expo will be held in Manila, on the 27th & 28th of May 2021. SiGMA's largest venue to date will bring together high quality conferences and content, premium networking opportunities, and luxury networking event. 10,000 delegates from across Europe, the US, and Asia are expected to attend, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region. To become a part of the fastest paced Asian 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: