Meet Maxime Combarieu, Founder of Skores

“The shift from desktop to mobile is tricky to manage in terms of revenues, as we have less space to promote an operator on a mobile device, and tracking is less reliable on mobile. But at the same time, the number of sessions, and time spent has hugely grown with mobile, balancing this effect. The growth opportunities are more on mobile than desktop nowadays.”

We met Maxime Combarieu, Founder at Skores, to talk about the French igaming market, his experience in the industry and much more.

Hello Maxime, how are you?

Hi, I’m very well thanks for asking.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

It is mainly due to a regulatory reason in the first place: As the French market was about to open, we anticipated a need for lead generation through sports betting oriented affiliate websites:  Tips, odds comparison, livescore, reviews. We also had an international focus from day one.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

With the mobile part of our audience having grown strongly over the past 2/3 years, the weight of the technical department has increased @Skores. With desktop, tablet, mobile web and native Android and iOS apps,  in order to develop and maintain more developers are needed. But in the same time the audience has exploded, offering huge opportunities on mobile.

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 really. With this market becoming more mature, the competition is getting fiercer. All processes and costs have to be rationalized, and the multi platform development requires higher technical investments. One good way of absorbing those new costs is the consolidation, aiming to find good synergies.

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?

We have already edited white labels, but on the editor’s side, providing sports betting sections to major sports media in Europe. As for a betting white label, we did not make the step yet, as it involves a lot of new skills, resources and a very strong focus given the level of competition on the products.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

Continuing what we have always done: Providing accurate tips and analysis on a wide range of sports/event and publishing exhaustive reviews of the bookmaker’s services.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

Our core markets are mainly European regulated markets: France, Italy, UK, Spain…  On our mobile apps, we see a strong growth in emerging African, South American and Asian markets.

How do you find UK market and competition?

UK is by far the most intensive market in terms of competition on the publisher side. This is justified by the fact that the potential of this market in bigger than any other in Europe, and probably in the world if we only consider regulated markets. It’s a very challenging market, and very interesting to observe in terms of new trends, etc…

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

As we have always tried to be in line with Google guidelines, the recent updates of Google Algorithm has had really positive consequences on our global rankings by penalizing competitors which were using more questionable techniques and were sometimes positioned above us. Google cannot be tricked as it could be a few years ago, our strategy therefore is to stick to our users needs, which will improve our rankings in the long term.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

Apart from the constant expansion of our audience and improvements of all our products, we will soon release a brand new version of Sportytrader.com, which will really improve the user experience, stay tuned!

What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your site?

We have been an established lead generator in this industry for more than a decade now. We have 80 million sessions/month on our livescore apps, around 10 millions on our desktop/mobile web sites and 2,6 millions fans on Facebook.

We have been awarded several times, including best gaming community in Europe and Best affiliate of the year in Italy last year. We are known both for the volumes we are able to refer, and the quality of our traffic.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

The shift from desktop to mobile is tricky to manage in terms of revenues, as we have less space to promote an operator on a mobile device, and tracking is less reliable on mobile. But at the same time, the number of sessions, and time spent has hugely grown with mobile, balancing this effect. The growth opportunities are more on mobile than desktop nowadays.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

I identify 3 major challenges:

  • The regulatory issues which can affect a lot of markets (in a good or bad way)
  • The social channel which seems to grow in terms of lead generation
  • The way Google always deliver more content directly through semantic web

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Focus on your content, and think user’s need first!

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I don’t like slots so much, and with one million Euro I would invest in real estate in a location I love, whether on the beach or in the mountains.

Are you ready for SiGMA17?

Yes we are! It’s always good to come to Malta and meet the industry.

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?

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