“Players are getting smarter and building a better bullsh*t filter. Being prepared to do more for the player will be actual for months to come, at a minimum.” We met Nikita Plohhotnitšenko, Founder of Mvideoslots.com, for an interview about his journey building his own affiliate website.
Hello Nikita, how are you?
Hey, Marius, I’m doing great, thanks.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
Like I’m sure most people in this business, I bumped into the iGaming accidentally. It was during university years when my new friend Adrian and I were creating casino video reviews for Josh at the LCB. Fast forward to 2015, many more clients, thousands of written and video reviews, I saw a missed opportunity and decided to challenge myself with a gaming blog/affiliate site of my own. I was also very fortune to have great people around me who have both inspired and taught me a lot about how the industry works. Big thanks go to the mastermind Ian and Neil, who’s also an expert in live casino gaming (www.livecasinocomparer.com).
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
It’s more or less my hobby, but one that I care a great deal. So it’s mostly only me who’s behind it at the moment.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
The economies of scale are in every industry, so it’s only natural that this happens within this affiliate business. While such conglomerates do have more power, there’s plenty of opportunity for new affiliates too.
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?
I’m fairly busy with what the affiliate side of the business has to offer and yet to realise its full potential. So I’d keep to my objectives for now and who knows what the future might bring.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
It’s always been about adding more real value for the end user, focusing on the essential and cutting the noise that’s predominant on most affiliate sites. So the plan is to keep optimising the site and populating it with more great content and features. And there are a lot of things and operators that I won’t be adding, which is equally important.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
I focus on the English-speaking markets for now, although I do see some real potential in emerging Eastern European markets that I’m more familiar with like Estonia. I’ve also heard South America is doing well, so there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone.
How do you find UK market and competition?
The UK market seems to be quite saturated, but I’m confident it’ll respond well to innovative approaches at least on the niche level.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
What I’ve learned from experience and SEO schools is that Google rewards sites that care about its users. This is why from day one I aim to create content/reviews that are so thorough that readers don’t need to go anywhere else for more. Mixing it up with Google’s best practices/tactics certainly helps to maximise the exposure as well, especially for starting affiliates. Keeping your finger on the pulse is essential as the only thing that’s certain within the iGaming and Google is change.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
I’m continuously improving the user experience, getting inspired and learning a lot on this journey, so there are fun times ahead. Just keep an eye on the site, and you’ll be the first to know.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your site?
There are a tonne of casino bonus sites with star ratings and other “bells and whistles”. Mvideoslots.com is different for its genuinely player-friendly approach and in-depth reviews of carefully chosen casinos and games. Like I mentioned before, I’m equally proud of what I don’t add to the site as I am of what finally reaches the readers.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
I launched the site in the mid of the mobile revolution, so the mobile-first approach is sort of built into the brand already. Even its name was inspired by this. And while “mobile” is not the same as it meant a decade ago, it’s still important to provide a quality experience on the smaller devices as the lines between desktop are blurred. Surprisingly, many operators and developers are still not competent enough to do that. In short, the move was an excellent opportunity to launch a site that would take mobile gaming seriously, which is right in the heart of Mvideoslots.com.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
Great question. Average doesn’t do anymore as players are getting smarter and building a better bullsh*t filter. So being prepared to do more for the player will be actual for months to come, at a minimum.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Everyone’s saying focus on a niche and long-term, so I won’t elaborate on that. Being passionate about what you do and finding personal meaning in work is a formula for success. If you’re just after the money, then you’ll burn out quickly.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
While I do play them practically every day for reviews, playing for real money is not my hobby. The other question’s a great one. Simply put, I’d probably do a bit of everything – share, spend and invest.
Are you ready for SiGMA17?
Thanks for inviting me to SiGMA17 and I can’t wait to meet all the great people and see the Silicon Valley of iGaming as it’ll be my first time in Malta.
|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.
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