“Test the brand by signing up as a player to see for yourself how much you enjoy gaming experience for the product you intend to promote.” We met Wayne Smith from Casino Hopper to talk about the growing competition on the market and his ways to make the best of it.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
Hi Marius, I am pretty much a one-man team running www.casino-hopper.com, as it stands. At times, I use help of a free-lance content writer I collaborate with, but that’s pretty much it at present. Once I grow the volumes I plan to outsource the content which will allow me to focus more on other vital aspects of the business to grow and scale it.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
This seems to be a trend with consolidation announcements we come across on media nearly each week, so this is no longer a surprise. Also, knowing the amounts that big affiliate companies invest in the new site acquisitions, it’s becoming apparent that it rapidly turned into a trade for some skillful webmasters who reinvest the money made from their site sale into growing new sites clearly with the same intention to sell.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
Content always was and will be king. I will shortly be adding more pages to the site and improving its structure. The new pages will be dedicated to unique reviews about online slots, sharing game play videos and some amazing big win stories. These will attract the right type of audience and good value players which will make my site a one stop shop for all types of players, from those looking for no deposit and free spins offers to the ones looking for some more detailed information on how to win on specific slots.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
My current focus is on UK market and other English speaking markets. There is definitely big potential in some emerging markets, such as Brazil or Japan, for example. These niche markets, however, require high level of expertise and knowledge of local player habits. As an affiliate, one must know how to attract the right type of audience to the site, particularly when it comes to geo specifics, starting from SEO techniques and down to the language used to produce content. Hence, this isn’t something I personally will be doing in the near future, but who knows what future reserves to us…
How do you find UK market and competition?
UK is an extremely competitive market. There is a huge competition for top keywords. Moreover, our friend Google isn’t quite helpful with ad-hoc penalties and changes in algorithm. UK is probably the most regulated and monitored market in Europe with many frequent directives coming from the UK Gambling commission which concern both affiliates and operators. Compliance requirements, new rules and policies update nearly weekly, so it’s becoming hard to keep up to date, not to mention the amount of work it requires to execute all these changes to ensure the content is fully compliant. But it is what it is, and we keep going and growing!
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
Casino-Hopper is the portal offering real casino players firsthand information about no deposit bonuses from the best online casinos with focus on exclusive offers. It also features detailed enough reviews containing just the information players need and want to know about each brand before opening an account and taking the welcome offer. Periodic casino news capture the most interesting facts and events online casino players want to hear about. I am also building audience around my social channels, such as facebook group, twitter and youtube channel.
There are more sites in the pipeline which I am planning to launch in the near future, time is our biggest enemy!
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
I guess the main challenge for me, as for many other web masters, is in making the site look and function equally good on all devices, which at times is rather challenging task to achieve. However, shift to mobile overall positively resulted on the market and I believe increased player value across all verticals.
Unlike some 5-7 years ago, when majority of players were restricted to playing mostly on their desktop computers, shift to mobile gave full flexibility to play literally anytime anywhere with 4G mobile networks across all Europe. There isn’t any longer that massive seasonal effect, particularly for casino, whereas before affiliates and operators would face a decline in casino activity over summer months, it keeps up at the same level at present.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
The biggest challenge is and always will be the competition, which, to be honest, I don’t mind, as long as it’s healthy and based on true results. Nevertheless, there are several black hat techniques some affiliates resort to increase their rankings by “killing” their direct competitor. I am sure many webmasters may have experienced this for themselves when many years of hard work to achieve that top ranking were instantly destroyed in a moment with unethical techniques someone used against your site. I wish Google could offer more protection against such illegal actions and help to rebuilt quickly from ashes and punish the culprit.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Carefully choose the brands you promote. There are a few key aspects to consider here, main being: how established is the brand, which licenses it holds (avoid promoting grey market operators), what deductions brand makes to come to the Net Revenue, you wouldn’t want to promote someone who strips off 50% off the profit! Best way is to test the brand by signing up as a player to see for yourself how much you enjoy gaming experience for the product you intend to promote. Pay attention to the selection of games, level of support and more importantly how their retention cycle works to ensure the brand is capable of keeping the players you referred for years to come. You also want to be sure your revenue share earnings are life time. Make a research on big forums and see what other affiliate fellows have to say about any specific brand and their experience.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I love playing slots, but I know my limits and never gamble more than I can afford to lose. I mainly play for fun, I love testing new slots, which inspires me for new content, yet to come. I’ve got a whole load of big wins snap shots accumulated over time, which I will soon be sharing as part of the new site project I mentioned earlier.
Are you ready for SiGMA17?
I am not yet sure I will be able to attend for personal reasons, but I am certain it will be a huge event this year, like never. The team behind SiGMA are truly inspirational and highly professional individuals with big names in the industry who know the drill and I have no doubt will smash it with this amazing event to come!
|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?|