We met Jens Ribacka, co-founder of Ribacka Group AB, for an interview about his business and thoughts about the industry.
Hello Jens, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017 and SiGMA17?
Hello Marius, always a pleasure talking to you and the great people behind SIGMA. I am excited about the conference and would not miss it for the world. You guys sure know how to host amazing events and I know that the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam will be a blast!
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
Ironically enough it all started when my brother entered the words “How to make money online” in Google. Neither of us had any prior experience in online marketing but both of us instantly fell in love with the idea of making money online.
Can you tell us a little about your company and how the business is structured?
Our company is called Ribacka Group and it is a family company that me and my brother founded in 2015. We both come from a background in finance so naturally our affiliate journey started in that direction. It did not take long before we found a SEO strategy that we believed in and started exploring additional markets. After spending a lot of time analyzing we chose a few markets that we knew had great potential. We started creating affiliate websites about hosting, credit cards, teeth whitening (believe it or not), unions and of course gambling. The “easy” markets didn’t take long before they started to generate a good amount of revenue, but we knew that gambling was going to take time. In the beginning of 2016 we decided to shift our main focus to gambling and basically invest all our time and effort into casino and betting because of the enormous potential.
Today we are 12 people in the company and about 75% of our revenue comes from gambling affiliation. Our main office is in Sweden where my brother works with most of our employees. I decided to move to Malta in the middle of 2016 so that we could establish better relationships and get closer to our business partners. The gambling affiliation business builds mostly on trust and living in Malta makes it easy to meet and create a mutual trust with our beloved partners.
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?
This is something that we have thought about doing but in the end decided not to. Operating an online casino and making it into a profitable business is not easy. We want to optimize the time that we have and focus on what we are good at. Affiliate marketing is our bread and butter and we will continue to do what we love and push our company in the right direction.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
Good quality content has always been a priority for us. We intend to always keep improving and keep the focus on quality before quantity. Today we have 5 content writers that are posting content every day on our websites. Our plan for the next couple of months is to hire several in-house content writers that always strive for perfection and keep posting great content for the visitors of our websites.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
The Swedish market was an easy choice for us since that is where my brother and I are from. We still invest a lot of time and money to develop new marketing sources in Sweden but have also started to build sites that are targeting the UK and the rest of the world. The UK is the largest market today when it comes to online gambling but I believe that this will change within the next 3 years. Markets like Brazil, Spain and the US has huge potential and they will without a doubt have the biggest amount of online casino players in the future.
How do you find Scandinavian market and competition?
The Scandinavian market is great when it comes to casino and betting. The player value is very high and there is a big demand on online gambling. These aspects have obviously made the competition tough and I would say that Sweden is one of the hardest countries in the world to succeed in the google rankings within iGaming.
We also have a gambling license coming up which is expected to take place in the beginning of the year 2019. The goal of this license is to keep the serious operators that is targeting Sweden and get rid of the less serious ones. We believe that this will be a positive change for the online gaming market in Sweden since it will most likely raise the player value of the Swedish players.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Our SEO strategy has always been slow-paced with a big attention to detail. We like to take our time and analyze every step of the way. If you have been in the SEO game for a long time you know that it takes time and that it is normal to bounce up and down in the search results. The key is to learn by doing and always adapt to the new algorithm. We see a bright future for us and we look forward to new updates and challenges.
We have also started to develop traffic sources that are not dependent on SEO and google to minimize the risks. 50% of our traffic today comes from those types of sources.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
We are currently working on our biggest project yet which is an affiliate website that is going to target all the countries in the world where you can gamble online. We chose the powerful domain name GamblingAdvisor.com for this project and we are confident that it will be a huge success.
Another thing that we are doing today is a complete makeover of our two best performing sites. Spelsidor.se is our first affiliate site within casino and it is getting a new design and a new back-end which will be a lot more optimized for SEOand conversion. We are doing the same changes for Speltips.se which is our biggest affiliate site within betting.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
We always strive to deliver high-valued customers from our affiliate sites and this means focusing on the smaller but better keywords. Our sites focus on converting visitors to players and will do so by providing useful information and guide the costumer to make the best choice.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business?
The biggest challenge for us right now is hiring the right kind of people. This is probably something that most companies struggle with and our plan is to offer something more than just a job. We believe that inspiration and leadership is the key to attracting great employees that will want to join our affiliate family and grow together as a whole.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Be persistent and patient in your journey to become a successful affiliate. It is important to not just focus on the money to be made but instead to build something that has real value and that you are proud to call your own creation.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I never play slots online but if I would win 1 million Euro I would use it to do something fun with the people that I love the most in this world; my amazing family.
Jens Ribacka is 24 years old and is the co-founder of the company Ribacka Group AB. In approximately 2 years’ time he and his brother Jesper Ribacka have built their company which now has over 40 affiliate money sites within 10 different niches and many other innovative marketing sources.
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.