“Don’t take all advice written online as absolute truth. Try out what works and then scale up.” We met Jani Sandelin, the owner of Nettikasinot.bet, to talk about how he developed his business and the affiliate website.
Hello Jani, how are you?
Hi Marius, I am very good thank you. Summer is finally here and the motivation to keep pushing is growing every day. Not much time for chilling pool side when the industry is constantly in the fast lane.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
A lot of things and pieces had to fall in their place but here we are. The industry just felt like it was full of action and fast paced enough to keep ourselves interested, and obviously there is also quite a bit of money to be made, so here we are. As eager as before just trying to keep up with change and get ahead by working hard. We set up our company because the whole project grew quite a bit and we need to look towards the future as well.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
Sure. We are now days three equal partners in our private limited company. Two of us are starting to work full time for the company soon and the third will follow when the time is right. We have aimed at manageable but steady growth since the beginning, and it seems to work.
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 by the fact that we see all these mergers and acquisitions, but rather about the explosive rise of the prices of acquisitions. Any industry will see a lot of acquisitions and mergers at this point of its lifespan, so in that way all the action on the market during the last few years have been rather expected. It´s also nice to see a lot of young entrepreneurs being able to get payed quite well for some really crazy amounts of work hours many of them have put in to their projects during the years.
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 we have not done this and I doubt we will. I am all for diversifying assets and investments, but I believe we have plenty of options and opportunities to explore in a field we are already familiar with, and it could hurt our productivity to jump in to something we basically would have to learn from the ground up.
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, that is true, and we have always tried to keep things fresh and push out the highest quality content we can. It seems to have worked so far and we will put even more effort in to quality and the amount of content we offer this year. The next 6 months the focus will be in adding verticals and other subjects we might have missed out on before. We want to be able to offer pretty much all things relevant to the gambling industry to our visitors.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
We are completely focused on the Finnish market at the moment. It kind of just happened so we just roll with it now. We had some big plans on some other similar markets as well, but very soon understood we could not spread our efforts too wide, without the overall quality suffering. We figured it was best to be as good as possible in one market, than being mediocre in a few. In the light of profits, we made the correct decision.
How do you find Finish market and competition?
The Finnish market is getting tougher every year it seems, but there is still a lot of room there for new ideas, projects and portals. We have seen sites come and go and there is always room for quality. Even some of the traditionally bigger sites on the Finnish market, seem to be losing a bit of momentum and giving space for new guys.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Not too much to be fair. We always tried to comply with what google seemed to want from sites it indexes, and it seems to have worked out quite well. Mostly we have seen slight increases in traffic after every algorithm update. We have trust in what we do and just try to play by the rules.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
We don’t really have too many exciting news for the near future. We will however as I said before, put 100% of our time in to the project and company from this moment forwards, and we hope this will lead to domination of some verticals out there.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
They are made with love and with respect to the reader/visitor. We do not send our readers to dodgy casinos or refer them anywhere just on the basis of profit. We want to give our readers our honest opinion on everything we write about.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
We adapted to mobile very early because the amounts of mobile visits vs desktop visits grew incredibly much way before we were “forced” to be mobile friendly. Still it gave us some good lessons about the fact that sometimes as a business you have no choice but to change if you want to keep up with the market. And I feel we handled that pretty well, so now we are prepared for bigger changes in the future also.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
I think the biggest challenges for 2017, is to keep up with the bigger players out there with massively bigger budgets than many others have. That being said, I think budget is not all it comes down to. Especially in smaller markets like the Finnish market, you can give the big guys quite a good fight with hard work and quality. A big budget means nothing if the money is not well spent.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Just hang in there and work, work, work. And not only work either. Work smarter and smarter. It takes time to make a decent profit in this business, but with perseverance, the results will come! Also try to be unique. Not only with content, but with your overall strategy. Don’t take all advice written online as absolute truth. Try out what works and then scale up.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I have not played slots in a long time. There just is not enough time right now. I used to test every new slot that got released, but now days it´s been hard to find time for that. I will try to introduce some weekly pooled gambling at the office though, so all of us could enjoy some new slots and maybe learn something new as well. You have to keep up with what is happening, and to be honest this is one area where we need to allocate a few more minutes a month.
Are you ready for SiGMA17?
Oh yes totally. We just talked about this at the last meeting, and decided to try and come down there with the whole team. What a perfect time to combine some very decent networking with all the top players from the industry with some well-deserved vacation time. Can´t wait to meet everybody again.
|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?|