Pablo Fernandez, CEO & Co-Founder of Surfer Penguin, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Pablo Fernandez and the rest of the team at Surfer Penguin are a young team. They focus on the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries; the languages that they speak. Performance is their day-to-day task, and they pay special attention to web performance, usability, and accessibility - follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
We are a young team that have been working on the best betting and affiliates companies in the world, such as Betsson Group, Catena Media, or Game Innovation Group.
We always had in mind to found our own company and then we met in Malta, the ideal place where talent, knowledge, and expertise gathered together. Then, the rest happened.
iGaming is our only vertical and it is the environment where we move more comfortably.
What helps make your performance successful?
Performance is a day-to-day task, with constant improvements and new trends. Surfer Penguin takes special attention to web performance, usability, and accessibility. Our performance is good because we try to make websites fast with no errors and using light plugins and good servers with updated products and latest technologies.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
We try to be unique with our content, we have good content editors, and we offer good Spanish reviews, articles, and news.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
We are a young and fresh team. We speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and we have links with the markets where we operate.
All of us have experience in the best betting companies in the world, in different departments, which gives us a deep vision of the affiliate industry.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
We are passionate about what we are doing. As a result, our stats are constantly improving, and that is the main reason to keep growing.
Reaching a kind of level is hard. Keeping it is a demand, but improving constantly is our target. We make good quality products, and the good results are the best motivation to keep working.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
Yes, our efforts are in many directions. From the beginning we had a whole vision of the system, and we count with valuable human resources starting with marketing, graphic, and especially content writers. Our content is unique, fresh, and written by experts in the area with a deep experience in the area.
Surfer Penguin's products and articles cannot be found in any other website and we are providing them in English, Spanish, and in the future, we will also translate them into Portuguese. In our team we speak those languages.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
Social Media nowadays is fundamental to increase leads and sales. Every day, we have new platforms such as TikTok or Twitch, and it's very important to be present in those places at the right moment. Surfer Penguin is focused on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube , but for sure we will bet for new platforms.
Regarding Google's constant updates, we are a generation that started saving our code in 5 ¼ floppy disks and are now managing cloud servers. Updates is a constant in our workflow.
We pay special attention to tech updates, not only in web standard regulators, such as W3C or WACC, but in main market technologies and trends used by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and upcoming technologies as blockchain or AI.
Difficult becomes a challenge, and that is the game we have chosen.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Our priority markets are based in the LatAm countries and in the Spanish speaking countries. It is a good opportunity; the competence is not very good and we are proficient with Spanish language.
We are sure that Surfer Penguin products will be very well accepted in the LatAm markets.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
I believe that sports trading is our best niche; however, in the future we will try Trading with forex cryptocurrencies that is a profitable new niche.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
There were two technical engineers in my house when I was a child. I fixed broken televisions when I was seven years old, so technology is something natural for me.
We don’t abuse technology. We know how to use different technologies and scale them or adapt them depending on the project.
Sometimes you need a simple solution for a complex problem, and sometimes you have to use the latest technologies in a simple element.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
Data treatment and Blockchain will become the most impact technologies in 2021.
Virtual and Augmented Reality will give a plus to the industry as a step on in the entertainment industry. On a minor impact, the Internet of Things will take its part in the cake.
But Blockchain technology and payment methods related with cryptocurrencies will be the most visible and incoming change in the industry.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
Not so much, since our target markets are the Spanish speaking markets based in LatAm and Spain. However, regulations in Spain are a challenge for us, because there are continuous changes without much sense and without much information in terms of bonuses restrictions and advertising.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
The future of the sector will be hard. Affiliate companies have to be smart, adapting to the different regulators and restrictions, and those are constantly changing.
We have to be very updated, and only the smartest affiliates will survive.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
Relationships with operators are very important. It is a challenge to maintain and take care of relationships with operators and multiple platforms, such as NetRefer. Ideally, we could have one platform for everything.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
It could be to specialise in certain markets or in certain operators that do not have much competition, such as new casinos or new markets in LatAm and start using new technologies such as blockchain.
In the VR field, technology has to be better settled for the common user in order to be more profitable, and it does not depend on the iGaming industry.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Attending iGaming events is necessary for the industry’s health. It is very important to keep in contact with other industries, exchange views, attending boards, and be updated with new trends in the industry.
In 2021, with the COVID vaccine, I hope we can celebrate SiGMA and other events in the world with safety.
Doing better, as the time demands, is to provide that safety.
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 have been to SiGMA Europe in Malta and I really enjoyed it every time.
In 2021, I hope to be able to attend SiGMA Europe, and I also have a special interest in SiGMA Americas, where Surfer Penguin have target markets.
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 am a very curious and creative person. I have lived in four countries and speak three languages. When the work is done, I like to entertain my mind with any creative activity, such as drawing, taking photos, or any handicraft flying on my mind.
My favourite book is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. One of my favourite quotes is from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
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