Hello Sebastian, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017?
Hey Marius, I’m fine thanks. Busy as always…which is good. I think I’m ready, but the heavy drinking taking place at such events always make me rethink that. Under any circumstances it’s a good place to socialize with other affiliates and in general meet great people in the industry.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
It’s quiet a long story. I started studying law and at the same time I worked for an affiliate agency where I met my beloved business partner, Tuomas Jauhiainen, who in the meantime was working as an affiliate (only 16 years old). He actually started out when he was 14 years old because he was tired of picking strawberries on a cold field in Finland, whereafter he went home and wrote “how to make money on the Internet”, but that’s a whole other story. He was selling magazines, loans etc. as an affiliate, but primary only in Finland. When we met we thought why not do it in many other countries, which we did and soon after we began doing casino as well. At that time we had separate companies and some years later we merged into what is now Traffic Lab. We also dropped everything else besides casino and focused solely on that, since we noticed many of our old accounts from the beginning were still generating very good revenues and we had to sell shitloads of magazines in order to make the same money, hence it was natural to focus on casino which we don’t regret for one moment.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
There isn’t that much to tell. Tuomas and I founded the company and nowadays we have an office in Finland and Denmark full of great people having different roles. The bar and Xbox is in the lounge area 🙂
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
No. As the business grows there will be ever more acquisitions and mergers.
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…We had our own lottery brand, but we sold it off quiet fast after we realized this is not what we are good at. Otherwise we have not been operators.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
I don’t know if it’s a key pillar of our strategy, but we definitely think about it. We have made some quiet fucked up sites (sorry for swearing), such as: www.gratischancer.dk in Denmark, but I personally think its quiet funny and original. Our primary focus is of course to differentiate from other sites.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
We focus on Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, but we also get players from United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. When it comes to emerging markets Brazil, Japan and South Africa are interesting.
How do you find Scandinavian markets and competition?
As for SEO, yes there is more competition. It’s natural that more competition follows along, as long as there is money to be made, but for other marketing channels not really. UK and US are much harder I think, but of course in these countries you have some advantages such as more search volume on long tail keywords which are easy to rank on, but try to go for “online casino” its harder definitely than in Scandinavia.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Not much, but of course we keep an eye out for what the Big G wants and we adjust accordingly.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
I wish I could.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
Nothing special to be honest. There are many other affiliates that have better SEO sites than us, since we are more focused on media buying and other channels.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
Well… there is always challenges ahead which can be frustrating but also part of the fun. In general I think the challenge is to find new ways of obtaining players and also really think about whom you are working with. There is constantly coming new operators on the market and when multiple countries begin to implement their license systems will all operators get the license? Maybe they are not going to apply if it is not their main market, maybe they can’t get it, maybe the tax will cut profits etc. It’s something to think about, although I don’t think a national license system is necessarily a bad thing.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Like many of the other affiliates have said, it requires patience, focus and shitloads of hard work. Although I also think you have to work smart and find your own ways of doing things. Also it’s a huge advantage if you have a background in qualities you need in this industry like programming, SEO etc.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I don’t gamble at all since I want the odds on my side, but of course I have done some “product testing”. NetEnt games are clearly my favorites, but if I had to choose one it would be Gonzo’s Quest. If you had asked me years ago what I would do if I won 1 million it would be a different answer, but now, I would give it to charity. It’s much more fun and enjoyable to make it yourself.
Sebastian Agerskov runs the affiliate company Traffic Lab ApS, which started in 2014 with sites like www.kasinohai.com, www.gratischancer.dk and www.gratispengespil.com but which main focus is Media Buying.