“Choose a niche to work in and become a subject matter expert.” We met Neil Walker, an affiliate and consultancy services provider, who concentrates solely on the Live Dealer Casino vertical in iGaming.
Hello Neil, hope you are well in this festive season?
Hi Marius, I’m very well thanks.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
About 4,5 years ago, after working in the IT industry for 30 years I got made redundant (it wasn’t the first time that happened), and I was looking for a complete change. A friend of mine was a successful affiliate and he encouraged me to consider becoming an affiliate in the iGaming space. After a lot of research and with his help I started my site livecasinocomparer.com.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
Quite simply, it’s just me. I do everything, I’m a Webmaster, I write code & all my own content and I’m an SEO wannabee. My USP is the knowledge. I’ve built up in the niche of Live Casino gaming. I concentrate solely on Live Dealer / Live casino games and software. I’ve amassed loads of knowledge and contacts over the past 4 years.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
Over the past few years we’ve become accustomed to the announcements, so it’s not a surprise anymore. It makes a lot of sense if you have a successful business to reinvest your profits. It’s a way to spread your risk and gain access to new markets. However size creates a level of complexity and slows down innovation, so I think it’s also creating opportunities for smaller affiliates. We can now think about exit strategies or exploit a subject or market that bigger affiliates just don’t have the time or nimbleness to deal with.
A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?
No, I’m too small and quite honestly I wouldn’t want the headache of having to provide a service, having staff and the overheads of running a business with targets to meet etc. I’ll stay an affiliate thanks. I bear none of the risk and can work when and where I like. Not many people are able to say that.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
My focus for the next 6 months is getting the content I produce in front of as many people I can. I do a lot of research and have been travelling the world visiting Live Casino suppliers and the studios from where they stream the games. I learn loads by doing this and get to meet some cool people. I’ll be continuing down this path as there are still a few I need to see. I can generate loads of unique content from just doing this.
How do you find UK market and competition?
The UK market is tough and the player value is good. I find it frustrating that a lot of good suppliers don’t have UK licenses so I can’t promote them to UK players.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
I’ve not been affected by any updates as I am as White Hat as you can get. Traffic generation is my biggest challenge. I don’t have the budget for PPC so have to rely on my natural rankings in SERPS and a bit from social. I’m just waiting for google to recognise that and give me the rankings I think I deserve. Aren’t we all!
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
I’ve been approached by a few people to work with them. I’m hopeful that these will turn into some interesting joint ventures in the future.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
I’ve gone for a very personal approach with my site. I want my visitors to know who I am, that I’m a player first and I take my job seriously. They’ll get some useful and unique information if they read my content and I know what I’m talking about. At the end of the day I’m trying to make a living by writing about something I love, playing at Live Casinos. If you’re an Operator reading this and you have a live casino on your site, you really have to offer those players something that will make it easy for me to promote you. Just having the games is not good enough to attract the best players.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
For my website, not much as when I created it I used a responsive theme. The biggest challenge is the Software suppliers getting their games mobile ready. There are still a few that haven’t created a mobile version or are being a bit slow in rolling them out. Over 50% of my traffic is now mobile.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
My biggest challenge is traffic and also finding Operators that know how to convert the traffic I send them. You’d be surprised at how bad some of them are.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Choose a niche to work in and become a subject matter expert.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I do play a bit of slots. At first I had no idea what the attraction was as I’m a table games player and like the social interaction you get from that. If I won a Million, I’d buy or build my own house.
Are you ready for Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?
I’m just making my plans now. I’ll only be going to SiGMA17. I’m interested in meeting some of the Live Casino software providers based in Malta and catching up with a few operators and affiliates I know.
|Relive the highlights and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.
||Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?