Dave, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017 and SiGMA17 Affiliate Conference?
Hi Marius, everybody from Malta iGaming Summit and of course all readers of this interview. Are we ready for Tallinn? Hell we are, we are looking forward to this amazing event. A new city we never visited and meeting new people from the business again. We even miss our famous Dutch “Kingsday” to visit this event. If you know what KingsDay is about in the Netherlands you probably understand how happy we are to visit The Affiliate GrandSlam.
SiGMA? Seriously, we love visiting this event. Great organization, good venues and Malta is one of the best places to have fun with people from the industry.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
I worked for Scoot Media in 2009, a very long time ago. In those years we did loads of sign ups and CPA’s for brands like Karamba, Mega Casino and ScratchMania. I loved the business and especially the commission structures. Lifetime revenue on the players you bring in…. That is unique and only in Gaming and Dating industry. So after I left Scoot Media I started a few affiliate sites, sold them again and then started working on freelance base for FruityCasa. After a few months the casino was transferred to another owner and my work stopped. But of course I wanted to stay in the business and started my new affiliate project with my business Partner Koen Verkerk. In February 2015 we started BestBettingCasinos.com. And 2 years later we have an amazing business model and company with this project.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
BestBettingCasinos.com is a 2 person company (Koen and me) and we have our office in the city of Alkmaar (Netherlands). Every day we work on optimizing our website and the existing casino content. At this moment we have over 1.500 unique SEO pages in 5 different languages. With 4 freelance translators, 2 freelance content writers we add new content and translations every day.
Our key quality to the brands we work with is our structured way of working and communicating with them. Every time we add new content or we change positions we update the affiliate managers.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
I am not surprised because it is a business that has huge money potentials. And where there is money there are changes. I am surprised about the fact that there are popping up new online casinos every month. I am always a bit skeptic about this because it is a hard world to earn a living when you are on the operator side. I have seen this during my work at FruityCasa. With so many new brands the piece of the pie gets smaller for each brand.
According to acquisitions of affiliate sites. I think this is a normal thing. That happens when you are growing and competitors see you around in the industry. Of course it is an honor when a big company is interested in your website or wants to buy your company. It tells you that you are doing something right
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 have not tried this but as mentioned before, I worked on a freelance base as affiliate manage at FruityCasa and started that casino from Scratch. So I have been looking in the kitchen of an operator. In my opinion it is hard to get a good margin while being an operator, you really need a huge amount of players to get a good living. And to start things you need deep pockets to get good deals with affiliates in.
So no, we haven’t done this ourselves and at the moment I am not insisting to do so in the future. Being an affiliate is super lucrative and doesn’t need a huge investment in money.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
At the moment our primary focus is translating the whole website and all existing content to 5 different languages. Next to the translations we keep on adding new unique content each day and we add over 15 unique pages for each casino we start working with.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
At the moment we have content in English, German, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. We also have a huge amount of posts already translated in to Dutch. But these posts keep offline till the market in the Netherlands gets regulated.
In the future we are gonna translate the full website in to Japanese, Russian and Spanish. So we cover almost the whole market after we achieved this.
How do you find Scandinavian market and competition?
We have a few brands on our website that score pretty good in the Scandinavia. In my opinion the player value is super good for these countries. That is also why we translate our content in to the 3 Scandinavian languages.
The competition in the Scandinavia is pretty tough but we keep on working hard to get better positions In these countries. Every month our traffic from Sweden, Norway and Finland is increasing so I guess we are heading the good way.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Google is the affiliates best friend. And what do you do with your best friends? Thread them good, have fun with them and keep informing them about everything you do and know. That is exactly what we do. We see google as our best friend or wives and we share everything with him or her. If you treat your friends good, they will treat you good. A little bit like “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. Treat her good and she treats you good.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
New languages in 2017 and 2018. And we are setting an up new forum for our visitors at the website. In this forum people can leave comments about casinos, news and bonuses. We communicate important comments and complaints with our affiliate mangers at the brands when needed. With this forum we try to offer a better player experience for our visitors at online casinos.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
Hummmm this is a pretty tough question. I think the most important thing to know is that all casino reviews, bonus posts and news items are written by the 2 owners. Our freelance text writers only write posts that in our opinion are less important.
Only we know exactly what our target group (our visitors) want. And how we can get high player value from our posts.
And that at the moment (you never know who is copying anything) we are the only Casino site with this casino theme.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
We have a 100% mobile optimized website and all our posts are AMP ready. And if I look at google search results the majority of casino affiliate sites still not have arranged AMP on their website. So this is for us a great opportunity when google is giving higher priority to this in the near future. I think it only takes a few months before google is gonna give high priority to AMP.
We already see that mobile is 55% of our traffic right now and I think with our implementations this will rise up to 60%+ within the next few months.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
There are a few challenges.
1. Competition: More and more people are looking for gold in this industry. And they start an affiliate website or other ways of traffic to casino brands.
2. Regulations: Every year there are new countries that get other regulations. Some of them close, some of them open. It is a challenge to get the best out of these changes all the time
3. Keeping Google as a good friend: Google is changing her algorithms more and more and every time they change something you need to keep up and keep on pleasing google.
4. Choosing the right brands: Every month new casinos open up. But also every month casinos shut down. It is a challenge to only add proper casinos to your website. Casinos that pay you on time and don’t close down when you brought In a ton of players.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
I always use two words for this: Dedication and Long-term
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
Yes, I play slots pretty often. I play slots so I know how a game works when I am writing about this game. When you play you get a better idea of all features and bonus games.
If I win a million? I will share it with my family and I am gonna do more traveling.
But, in my opinion it is easier to earn a Million then winning a million. So don’t put your money on winning a million. Use your money to earn your first million Euros.
Dave Bruijn is the owner of BestBettingCasinos.com. He is an affiliate veteran and been in the affiliate marketing business since 2008. He started up a few lucrative affiliate concepts and helped setup some new affiliate networks as a freelancer.
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