Cosmin Mesenschi, CEO & Founder of FirstByte Media, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Cosmin Mesenschi from FirstByte Media, a crypto lead generation company which only focuses on the crypto market, speaks about their focus, what they offer, and how they help iGaming companies succeed - follow his story below.
How did you first get into the affiliate space?
I believe a great part of affiliates starts because they have a shortage in their pocket money, so did I. I wanted to find a way to be independent and so one of the first things that come up is amazon affiliate. At the time I was only 18 years old but the drive to achieve financial independence led me to learn more, eventually, graduate with a marketing degree, and continue my path to master marketing.
How did FirstByte Media take off? What is FirstByte Media and what is its aim?
I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and the dream of opening a company. So, when the opportunity knocks at your door, you let it come in. I grabbed the offer that came and I decided to go all-in. I quit my job and started the company.
FirstByte Media is a crypto lead generation company, we own websites in the crypto gambling niche such as CryptoGamble.tips, and others. Our main focus is to be a point of reference for the crypto affiliate market, offer a unique set of solutions to iGaming companies, and help them succeed in what is the future of payments and technology.
Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
Our way of doing things is simple, we bring to the table our own experience and perspective. All reviews and content produced come directly from gamblers, the core of the iGaming industry.
FirstByte Media besides being one of the first companies focused only on the crypto market employs people that want to take the chance in bringing innovation to the industry, that is bold and worth the risk... it’s like a gamble but with a positive expected value, meaning that in the long run, we can have our edge in the field against massive companies.
What sets you apart from other affiliates and what makes FirstByte Media unique?
The fact that we are only focused on the crypto market is already something different from other affiliates. They might have a couple of sites dedicated to crypto but their mentality is going to be the same as the traditional affiliate gambling market, our way and style are divergent from the rest of the industry.
What incremental value will you provide?
Transparency and fairness to the player is something that made us start, what we created until now and what’s to come shortly. The first phase of the work is to build a set of tools to help casinos to expand their businesses and the second part will be focusing on the technology to build better experiences for both casinos and users.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We are currently expanding our content team, SEO team, and tech team. The company needs young people driven by passion and hunger for learning, risk-takers, and people that look for a place where to create what they love. This is the only focus the company has, we understand that without people the company cannot grow and cannot be the enterprise we aim to be.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Our focus is the English market, where casinos with Curacao Licence can operate. As the crypto market is not that regulated we are being very careful with whom we are partnering. I see Africa and Asia as key future markets for FirstByte Media.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
At the moment, crypto gambling is performing very well. We chose this niche because of the relatively low competition when we started. Now, the crypto market has grown since and has attracted good and bad players. We expect that in the future, as there will be some stabilisation and regulation with crypto, only a few will remain.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
Most of the traffic comes from SEO, but social media is going to be very important to drive more valuable players to our sites and diversify the sources. If you are on top of the SEO game and keep yourself constantly updated, implementing and testing whenever Google releases some core updates, you will have your back covered.
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?
The company has already received a round of investment from a private VC. We will see on the way how the business will react to the evolution of the market, and if needed extra investors, why not? If any opportunity comes to knock at our door, we will surely open it!
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
You need to know how the market works, what the player loves to play, and focus on delivering the best content possible. Copywriting, SEO, and social media are a must together with sales. I always thought that these departments should work as close as possible as they all share the same goal. If you have departments that don’t communicate you can be sure that in the long term it will not be a sustainable strategy. So, communication is key in business and it shouldn’t be underrated.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Technology helps us in gathering information, insights, and data. But eventually, you need someone that knows how to analyse such intelligence.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
I believe we are still at the beginning of AI and Big data, as we are with blockchain technology. Big companies are already taking advantage of the trend and they managed to attract such talents to create incredible products and services. Affiliates will all use:
- Blockchain for transparency and because the world is just moving in that direction, and
- AI and machine learning to automate a great part of the manual work.
The previous two points are necessary to scale and be faster than the competition, this is how the companies of tomorrow will create their edge.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
I can understand that affiliates are driven by the business and that we are in the market to make money. At the same time, I feel we are forgetting about the final user and if we just focus a little bit more on the players we can have better products and services, and bigger revenues – which are just a result of how you’ve implemented the right strategies and channel resources where needed.
What does it take for an affiliate business to thrive?
The key component is flexibility. You need to be able to change when things are not working and be fast in doing so, and attract the right people for your organisation which will fuel the growth.
In your opinion, is affiliate business still expanding?
I believe that there is enough abundance in the market for anyone that approaches this market. You only need the right mindset and discipline to keep going even when things are not working out. The gaming industry is on the rise and the market itself is expanding and more and more affiliates will be attracted to the money available. A yes to the question.
How do you choose your operators and how do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
Most of the time the operators I chose to partner with are well known in the industry and have a great reputation. To have a great relationship with operators you need to deliver numbers which is why they need affiliates, they know that we can bring results. Our approach is only to focus on profitability and provide only that.
What is your approach in the initial stages of a new partnership?
Once we receive a request from an operator, we sign up to the respective casino and start analysing their offering. We act like a normal customer, so we know exactly what the final player can experience. Once we’ve checked all our marks then we start creating a review and publish the casino on the sites.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas – which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
Yes, I had the pleasure of participating in a couple of events in Malta. Always enjoyed networking and SiGMA does an excellent job with that – thank you very much! Looking forward to joining again wherever possible.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
I like to define myself as a proactive and self-sufficient person, curious about anything related to Digital Marketing and business. I have been inspired by some of the best marketers but mostly by the potential everyone has in doing what they love.
One of my favorite quotes that I internalised in the past years is “Audaces Fortuna Iuvat” which comes from Latin and means “Fortune favours the bold”.
Read more about SiGMA Affiliate Grand Slam here.
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