“A lot of new online operators are coming in and some of them won’t make it. Affiliates must be more careful in choosing the right partners.” We met Atte Sarantila, CEO at Podium North, to talk about his affiliate activity and how he sees the future of the industry.
Hello Atte, how are you?
Hey Marius, excellent. Summer has just arrived in Tallinn.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
All started, when I found sportsbetting as a high schooler. Online gambling was then taking first steps and profitable sportsbetting was easy even for beginners.
Many years later in 2012 I started to work full time in the gaming industry. I founded affiliate business 2015 with my good friend Tommi Lindeman
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
At the moment our company has over 50 employees. Our business is divided between media, sportsbetting affiliate and casino affiliate business.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
It’s not surprising at all, but expected.
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?
We haven’t yet taken that path. It’s possible in the future, but if we do this it’ll be totally divided from our core business.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
We’re already huge in Finnish sports media. Primary focus is the grow in entertainment in Finland and find grow globally market by market.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
Finland and a couple of other lucrative markets. We’ll expand to other markets in near future.
How do you find Finish market and competition?
In media side we don’t really have big competitors. Affiliate competition is good. Couldn’t find better guys to compete with.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Our main objective is to produce relevant, valid and interesting content to our readers. We like it and Google likes it. Updates have only strengthened our position.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Many exciting projects are starting, but unfortunately we can’t reveal them.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
We’ve become one of the biggest players in Finnish markets in one and a half years. We build our sites and business on an honest and open approach. Sometimes we fail, mostly we overperform, but we’re always honest to a performance.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
We have put a remarkably big focus not only in the quality of our content but also into visuality and aesthetics. As the mobile usage has been constantly increasing, we aim to put the main focus on user experience on mobile.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
Growing in a focused way will be our biggest challenge in 2017. We want to grow and develop strongly and steadily, which means that it requires a lot of experimentations.
A lot of new online operators are coming in and some of them won’t make it. Affiliates must be more careful in choosing the right partners.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Stay hungry. Stay focused.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
Yes, I do. I’d probably buy some apartments in Tallinn for Airbnb business.
Are you ready for SiGMA17 Affiliate Conference?
|Relive the highlights from our last show 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?