SiGMA met Jarkko Hyttinen, the manager of Pokerisivut.com, for an interview about his business and thoughts about the industry.
Hello Jarkko, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA17?
Hello Marius! I’m very well thank you for asking. It’s the busiest time of the year here, so we are heading towards summer with a full throttle. Unfortunately we have so much going on this spring, that I have to skip that Grand Slam event in Tallinn, but of course coming to Sigma once again.
Well this is a long story but I will tell you a short version of it. I think it was Christmas 2013 when I was still living and working in Finland, and got a very good friend of mine to visit me for a holiday. This friend was Ville Sissonen, who was a head of Pokerisivut back then. Then – like it usually goes in Finland – we were having a sauna and couple of beers, one thing led to another, and soon we have agreed that I will be joining the Pokerisivut team in Malta. I came to sunny Malta in march 2014 and the same trip is still going on. So couple of years I had a chance to learn from the best all about this industry and now Ville is MD in Good Game ltd, and I’m running Pokerisivut business.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
There has been quite a lot of changes during my time here in Pokerisivut. When I came here, Pokerisivut was a part of the company called Plus one Dreams. Then at some point Plus one Dreams was merged with iGame and we came a part of iGame Group. 2015 Unibet made an huge acquisition of whole iGame group and after that we have been a part of Unibet / Kindred Group.
Pokerisivut office, where the magic happens with our two main websites, pokerisivut.com and pokeritieto.com is located in St Julian’s here in Malta. We have a team of 3 people here and in addition to this we have a bunch of freelancers working for us around the world. Of course we have a huge amount of different kind of talent in the Kindred Group, and Pokerisivut is using resources from several other teams in the group.
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 really not surprised about that. In my experience it’s just the nature of the business, regardless of the industry. Big and ambitious companies obviously want to grow and take a big bite of the market. Mergers and acquisitions is just one way to get growth.
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?
Well, as we are a part of Kindred Group, there is enough operators in da house and we don’t need to put our spoon in that soup. Of course it’s very nice that I have a chance to see close how our operator side professionals are working and time to time have a chat and cup of coffee and exchange some ideas with them.
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 have been actively researching what kind of unique content we should produce to keep our content the best in the market. Lately we have produced for example “Pokeripaneeli” talk show with poker professionals and that is going to have next episode during summer. In next 6 months we are publishing very unique and rare content in the form of high quality and professional strategy videos – in Finnish language, and for free.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
We are focusing 100% for a Finnish market. For sure there is a lot of potential in the emerging markets, but for now we keep our focus in Finnish market only.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Basically it haven’t affected at all. We have very strong know-how regarding SEO in our company so there hasn’t been any surprises.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Yes we have exciting plans going on! At the moment we have site renewal project under production for both of our main websites, and what can I tell you for now – those are going to be super cool! Plenty of new functionalities and technology combined to kick ass content. Pokerisivut won the Best Poker Website trophy in LAC this year, and after this site renewal I guess that 2018 trophy is going to end to my desk as well.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
Our sites are based on high quality, unique content. We want to give our site visitors the best possible user experience and on the other hand we want to deliver best possible quality traffic for our partners.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
For innovative and creative affiliate, this just offers fantastic opportunities.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
As a poker website, main challenges has been the same many years; market is just decreasing all the time. But even it is a challenge, at the same time it is also an opportunity. Once again, smart and innovative dudes can make big changes – so let’s just make poker great again!
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Come to Sigma for socializing and networking, that’s a good start!
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
Yeah. Actually I love to play some slots once in a while. If I win a million, I would probably invest most of that, but for sure I would arrange something super fun for my family and friends!
Jarkko Hyttinen is the manager of Pokerisivut.com, which is the Best Poker Website winner at the iGB Affiliate Awards 2017.
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.