“Stay consistent and keep the user in focus. Way too many new affiliates give up after just a few months.” We met Thomas Makitalo, the Founder of Spelbloggare.se to find out what brought him to affiliate marketing.
Hello Thomas, how are you?
Hi Marius, it would be a shame to complain when the sun is shining and the summer is here.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
It all started with a love of sport and web development with no real goal of creating an affiliate business. But the sites started to grow and after getting in contact with a few affiliate managers I decided to give it a try. We could say that things have grown quite a bit since then.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
I founded Spelbloggare.se under my company LÅ Webbyrå back in 2010. The site focuses on sport betting tips and bonuses for Swedish visitors. During the summer 2016 Catena Media acquired the website as a part of their new goal to also work with sports betting. I still work on the site and close with Catena Media to make sure it continues to deliver good numbers to everybody we work with.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
Not at all. I think it’s a natural development as the industry is getting more regulated and saturated at the same time. I think a lot more is just around the corner.
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 have no interest in going down the operator route. I think it’s best to stick to what you do best and try to take it even further.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
Yes, we spend a lot of time and money on unique and fresh content. Since we work with sport betting tips we need new content every day so we work hard with that. And since our visitor’s trust is key for our success we never compromise on quality. We are right now looking at new features ahead of the next season.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets
My focus has always been Sweden and that’s my focus going forward at the moment.
How do you find UK market and competition?
We have only done some smaller tests towards UK and the competition is, of course, high since everybody is going after that market. But at the same time, the market is very big so I think there still is space for new sites if they do it right.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
No. We have never been hit but of course, you listen to what Google says and what they are looking for. But at the same time, you can’t believe them blind but you have to test everything since they a lot of times say one thing but after testing you can see that that’s not really true.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
I’m part of the team at Catena Media that will release a brand new version of Livebetting.se in August so very excited to get that site live.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
That Spelbloggare.se stands for quality. Both for our visitors but also all our partners that we always work long term and find a solution that makes sure that both partners make money.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
We have always gone with the mobile first approach and build everything for the mobile visitors first since most people are on phone. Of course, the limited space is somewhat a challenge but at the same time, the content that is on the screen for a mobile user gets more attention when compared to a desktop user.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
That we (Spelbloggare.se) or the industry as a whole need to continue to innovate. We can never stand still and be happy where we are.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
That they need to stay consistent and keep the user in focus. Way too many new affiliates give up after just a few months.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
No, I never play slots. Just invest it and make it grow even more.
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