SiGMA met Callie Dove, co-founder and director at AGS Media Group Ltd, for an interview about her business and thoughts about the industry.
Hello Callie, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017 or SiGMA17?
Hey Marius, I’m great, thanks for asking. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the Affiliate Gram Slam this year, but it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to SIGMA 2017 of course. It’s really great to see new events growing in popularity which offer something different in the iGaming world.
I’ve been working in iGaming for over 10 years now, as many know I come from an affiliate management background. I did originally start out as a poker affiliate manager back in 2007. Along the way, I’d always wanted to “cross to the other side” and was very curious about it. It wasn’t until a random chat a few years back with Robert, my AGS Media Group co-founder that we decided to work together, bringing our own skill sets to the table; and AGS Media Group was created.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
We like to keep things as simple as possible. There are 2 of us working full time. I’m running the day to day business and taking care of content, strategy, accounts and so on. Anything on the technical side is handled by Robert -that’s out of my area!
We also have a freelance content writer who has been working with us for some time too. Although we’re based in 2 separate countries, we talk a lot, plan a lot and make sure we’re meeting up face to face at least every 5 weeks.
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’m not surprised really, it makes sense that huge companies buy up the competition and monopolize on traffic with big budgets and resources. Although some acquisitions have surprised me, I think it will be a trend that continues and we’ll be seeing some interesting acquisitions this year as well.
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 don’t think it’s on the cards for us. We’re happy to continue to grow our business as it is and stick to something we enjoy.
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’ll continue this strategy and provide unique content across our sites; add new sites, review new slots and casinos as they launch. I think players like to try out new casinos and it makes sense to review them and keep with the times.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ? How do you find UK market and competition?
For www.allgamblingsites.com, the UK is our primary focus, and although we have sites focusing on Australia, we’re holding off working on them until the legislation situation becomes clearer. The UK market is becoming more and more competitive, especially with recent acquisitions and additional affiliates who are now targeting the UK market, who were not before.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
There’s some kind of update almost on a monthly basis now, and I think these days it’s important to play it safe and stick to guidelines. The bottom line is that Search Engines appreciate helpful and engaging content that helps the user. If we need to adapt anything, we do and if needed, make changes and make some tests. We think it’s important to try new ideas and not get stuck in your comfort zones.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Just to keep on growing sites and the business in general.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
All of our sites are mobile and AMPresponsive. We’re enjoying the shift to more and more mobile users; I definitely think conversion is higher.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
The biggest challenges are probably what any SEO affiliate faces – staying visible in SERPS and facing stiffer competition, especially with the stronger affiliate companies who have more resources and budget.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
I would say don’t give up; you have the chance to make a success, but give yourself time to succeed. It’s cliched, but building up traffic and sites takes time, hard work and patience. Don’t cut corners with SEO and don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to fellow affiliates for tips.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I play some progressive slots like Mega Fortune when the jackpot is huge but generally speaking when I’m not working, I’m not thinking about slots or playing at online casinos!
As for winning £1 Million jackpot; I’d invest in a small side business, something totally brand new, exciting and outside of iGaming. I’d also like to take some of that money and buy a (small!) apartment in the Alps somewhere.
Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.