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Malta-based AXL Affiliates buys Astute Media for €25 Million

AXL Affiliates Ltd, a global independent iGaming Company based in Malta, announced that it has acquired ASTUTE MEDIA LTD as well as all the firm’s subsidiary companies  – twelve of them. ASTUTE MEDIA is a global advertising platform that delivers over 900M+ ad impressions per day, through its twelve subsidiaries. The purchase will help AXL Affiliates reach new markets and territories and will strengthen its leading position in the sportsbetting affiliate sector.

With this amazing acquisition, by far our biggest one so far, we are reaching new heights in our quest for becoming the leading iGaming Affiliate Company in the world. AXL Affiliates is a fast-growing company and I am confident that this acquisition will double the leads that we are delivering to our iGaming partners. says Alex Munteanu, Founder and President of AXL Affiliates.

SiGMA met with AXL Media two years ago and spoke vividly about the benefits of relocating business to Malta. The company has since established a solid presence in Malta, generating quality traffic to several opeartors, but also supporting the local sporting scene with sponsorship. The latest to benefit from this cause is Maltese boxer Billy Corito.

The acquisition of ASTUTE MEDIA LTD for the record-breaking amount of £22 million represents a climax for AXL Affiliates who now has all the resources in-house for becoming the biggest sportsbetting affiliate company worldwide. The accession of AXL Affiliates, following this acquisition, will create new opportunities for further expansion as well as for a possible IPO.

As a result of this acquisition, in the coming weeks, AXL Affiliates will send 10x more traffic to its partners. Our expectations are that by mid-2018 the AXL group will be able to organically send more than 25,000 leads per month.says Alex Munteanu, Founder and President of AXL Affiliates.

SiGMA16 BiG Charity Dinner & Gaming Awards

Fun at the Malta Gaming Awards 2016!

AXL’s aim is to strengthen their position as a leading betting affiliate in Europe as earlier this year the gaming company acquired UK based TipsBetting Media Ltd for £260,000, as well as the sports affiliate website oddstake.com and all their related assets for a record €1.15 million.

AXL Affiliates Ltd is one of the biggest iGaming affiliate companies in the world, delivering 6000 NDC’s per month from their own network of 2000+ gaming and sports related websites.

AXL Affiliates Ltd is one of the biggest iGaming affiliate companies in the world, delivering 6000 NDC’s per month from their own network of 2000+ gaming and sports related websites. Given their presence in Malta, they have been nominated as one of the three finalists for Investor of The Year Award at the Malta Gaming Awards later this month.

Making the Affiliate Industry Better

Better Collective has been innovating and evolving in the affiliate industry for more than a decade, but there’s much more to come. SiGMA spoke to Jesper Søgaard, founder and CEO of the trail-blazing affiliates to discover where the company has come from, and where it’s going.

Back in 2002, two school friends came together in Germany to launch a website designed to help punters gain an edge on casino bonuses. At the time, Jesper Søgaard and Christian Dam Rasmussen, self-proclaimed “bonus opportunists”, were unaware that their love of discovering attractive bonuses, which stole a march on the online casinos, would put them on the road to creating one of the world’s leading affiliates.

“Christian and I were brought together by a passion for hunting bonus codes and betting and gambling online,” Søgaard recalls. “We used to collect bonuses for a profit, but that had limits. We soon found that many other punters were also interested in making the most of bonuses, but just weren’t sure on how to do it. We came up with the idea of launching a website which did the hard work for you – the beginnings of Better Collective.”

The Danish businessman has always had that entrepreneurial spirit, whether it was running his own tuck shop at school, or baking pastries and selling them for profit around his neighbourhood. But it is Better Collective which has set Søgaard out as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Denmark today.

“If someone had told me 10 years ago that Better Collective would be known around the globe, collecting prestigious awards and leading the market, I wouldn’t have believed you. I remember the celebrations when we first made €10,000. Now, we’re employing more than 80 people at our superb offices in Copenhagen, and our products are performing fantastically around the world. It’s an incredible story.”

At the beginning, Søgaard and Dam Rasmussen recognised that their customers were sensible gamblers and bettors, looking to make informed bets which would all-but guarantee a return. This formed the basis of the Better Collective ethos, and Søgaard says that this hasn’t changed over the past 12 years.

“The message and core of the company have remained the same throughout our history, as it’s very important to the way we work and a large part of why we continue to be a success. The technology keeps changing, but our products still do what we set out to do at the very start: provide punters and casino players with all the information they’re looking for, enabling them to make the most informed bets.”

The company must be doing something right. Their trophy cabinet is heaving – in recent times they have received multiple eGR Affiliate of the Year Awards, five Gazelle Awards and, this September, they were crowned a National Champion in the European Business Awards.

Unsurprisingly, Søgaard is proud of the company’s achievements. “What’s great about the awards we’ve received is that they celebrate many different areas of our business. Our affiliate awards recognise our incredible employees and the understanding they have of our industry. The Gazelle Awards recognise growth, and we’ve always been growing faster than the rest of the affiliate industry.”

“It was a huge honour to be crowned National Champion in the European Business Awards. Just 2% of 32,000 entrants achieve that title and it really marks a coming of age for us as a major European company.”

Better Collective’s portfolio now includes more than 1,000 websites and products, with their flagship tipping site, bettingexpert, boasting more than 350,000 users and generating more than 125,000 new betting tips per month. So, what is it that sets them apart?

“The community around bettingexpert is so unique,” says Søgaard, “We have quality tipsters which help drive the content and, in turn, more people come to the site and then move through to bookmakers. Having community-curated content creates an ever-expanding feedback loop; the top tipsters prove they can be trusted, which increases their following, which then encourages their increased activity.”

Talking about his business, Søgaard is visibly delighted with Better Collective’s achievements. There’s a clear sense of the company he co-founded being built on strong values, with ‘respect’ being one of the cornerstones.

“From the start, we laid weight on the value of our word,” he says. “Respect works internally with our employees and externally with our partners and customers. An ethos of trust and respect has built our reputation, and people now know us and trust the quality of the tools and services we develop.”

“It was a huge honour to be crowned National Champion in the European Business Awards. Just 2% of 32,000 entrants achieve that title and it really marks a coming of age for us as a major European company.”

Better Collective’s offices, close to Copenhagen’s harbour and across the water from the opera house, are the epitome of cool. The building’s clean Scandinavian architecture perhaps echoes their own philosophy – inviting, respectful, nurturing. It permeates through to the workforce, too.

“We foster and value the want for innovation in our employees, and look to nurture, respect and reward loyalty in return. Over the years, we’ve been good at recruiting smart people, which forms the main thread through the company. Our leadership team delegates and trusts that our people can cope with big tasks, developing their skills. This freedom gives our employees an incentive to be creative, grow with the company and remain with us. It’s a great atmosphere to work in.”

As the company grows, would they ever look to base themselves outside of Denmark? Søgaard is pretty clear on that thought.

“Copenhagen is a fantastic city and I don’t see a time when we would want to relocate. There is a highly-skilled talent pool here which has already served us well, while the city itself is an attractive place to live and it’s usually pretty easy to convince people to come here.”

“Our values are also rooted in Scandinavian ideals,” he continues, “and partners tend to respect these values when they work with us. We’re very proud to be a successful Danish company. We’ve seen companies gain rapid growth and then up sticks and leave. We gain respect from Denmark for staying, and want to give back as much to her as she has given to us.”

With a clear mind and distinct vision, Søgaard appears to know exactly where the company he co-founded is going. When asked about the future, he talks of continued growth, increased financial strength and an ambition to continue to be at the cutting-edge of the affiliate and technology industries.

After 14 years of sustained growth, market-first products and industry recognition, you wouldn’t bet against him achieving it.

This article was published first on SiGMA Magazine. The magazine was launched at SiGMA show last November. For SiGMA17 sponsorship opportunities click here.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

Matching Visions sign Scottish football legend Colin Hendry

Superstar affiliate network Matching Visions has acquired former Scotland team captain and Premier League winning legend Colin Hendry as their ambassador ahead of the upcoming SiGMA gaming conference.

Matching Visions acquired Premier League legend Colin HendryOver the years, Hendry has scooped up more than 500 league appearances and found the net no less than 40 times during his 20 year playing career. During his illustrious career he has been named the Premier League Player Of The Year, as well as leading his team, Blackburn Rovers, to the Premier League title during the 94/95 season.

Not only this, but he had also represented his country on the biggest stage of them all, the World Cup, where he played against the very best of the best, including global superstar Ronaldo.

During SiGMA, Colin Hendry will represent Matching Visions, both on and off the field. The mighty and ever so exciting All-In Translations are organising an all day football tournament and their latest signing will of course be in the first name of the Matching Visions team sheet. It’s safe to say that this alone will make Matching Visions one of the favourites going in to the tournament. There is certain to be an air of excitement during the tournament, with plenty of young football fanatics out there wanting to try their luck against this legendary defender.

Off the field, Hendry will be the Matching Visions ambassador throughout the conference and join in with the long line of fun and exciting activities that the MV team has in store ahead of this fantastic event. There is no doubt that this warrior-like football hero will have plenty of stories to share and visitors will also be able to challenge Colin in various competitions at the Matching Visions stand. These competitions are still top secret but will be announced shortly, so stay tuned for more information!

New Casinobonusesnow.com Forum Goes Live

Casinobonusesnow.comCasinoBonusesNow.com has launched their new online casino forum. The new forum features software from Discourse.org and has a simple design that makes the forum easy to navigate. The community aspect is more than just an extension of the website, it makes the site more interactive with players giving them a chance to participate in the discussion whether about casinos, slots, games, promotions or online gambling news.

 

Simple design, amazing UX

The casino comes with a simple design out of the box that doesn’t really require much customization. If you want to edit the design of the forums you can configure a lot of the basics and apply any type of theme you have. Their default template is so easy on the eyes that it’s hard to consider making any changes. At CBN the site wanted to keep the user friendly interface for the best user experience possible whether on the site or using the forums.

Simple Categories

Casinobonusesnow.com

The categories setup at Casino Bonuses Now are very simple with a few basics offered to players. These categories include:

  • Casino Forum
  • Slots Forum
  • Bonuses Forum
  • Questions & Answers
Casino Forum with Discourse software

Casinobonusesnow.com

The casino forum takes a different approach and load from what most webmasters are used to in terms of choosing a forum software for your community. The forum software used is called Discourse which initially was released in 2013. This software is one of the newer ones on the market and challenges some of the established ones available including vBulletin, phpbb, mybb. Some of the newer forum softwares that were available to choose from included Muut, Nodebb, Xenforo, Flarum and Discourse.

 

Fast forums

Discourse was created with speed in mind and the forums load very fast. It is one of a few new forum softwares available and Discourse was selected for it’s stability within the limited selection of new softwares. Aside from speed, user experience was the leading drive behind choosing a forum software for players.

Be one of the first to write on the forum

Want to be one of the first new members of the site and also to be a part of the start? You can create a new thread or participate in an existing discussion and be one of the first new members to put your mark on the new forum.

To see the casino forum visit forum.casinobonusesnow.com

About CasinoBonusesNow.com

Casinobonusesnow.comCasino Bonuses Now (CBN) is a casino portal that focuses on casino bonuses for players first. The site will list any promotion a casino will have included short term promotions to act as an aggregate of upcoming bonuses. The casino website features a comprehensive list of casino reviews, slots reviews, software listings and casino news. CBN has also created a directory for virtual reality casinos which lists all the casinos offering the VR experience which is the future of gambling. The site was relaunched and rebranded this year from CasinoBonusesToday and has a whole new look with a better design focusing on user experience.

SiGMA invterviews Keith Hathaway from recently launched Geeky Gambler

SiGMA met Keith Hathaway from Geeky Gambler, a recently released affiliate website, to find out more about this new kid in town!

You have been involved in online gaming for more than 10 years on many different positions. Could you tell us a bit more about your story and why you decided to become an affiliate?

Geeky GamblerWell, some people who’ve been around long enough to remember will know that I’ve now gone full circle, I started off as an affiliate way back in 2005! This was back in the golden age for Poker, and I was a Poker affiliate for some time.

I then moved over to the operator side, as Country Manager, Affiliate Manager, Head of Affiliates and Head of Acquisition for several companies including some well-known names like Redbet, Boylesports and Tivoli as well as consulting for many more.

I’ve wanted to launch Geeky Gambler for some time; I first registered the URL, Twitter and Facebook pages for Geeky Gambler back in 2012, so you cannot say I have rushed things! But life is often all about timing and due to certain things falling into place and a great team being formed, it seemed right to push the button and go full steam ahead and here I am an affiliate again!

What is your definition of a geek and what does it mean to be a ‘geeky gambler’? Do you consider yourself a geek?

Geeky Gambler

Keith Hathaway (second from the left) with Matching Visions team

This was quite a discussion with the team as we created the brand; the cool logo you see now was about the 50th or more that we tried! Everyone has a different perception of a geek, but that is just visual. True “Geekness” is all about knowledge for me! Plus, I believe every one of us has at least a small amount of an inner geek in us!

How do the ‘geeky’ gamblers stand out from the rest of the gamblers? What’s special about them?

Hopefully in many ways, Geeky Gambler is a clean site and we have taken the unusual choice of promoting both Sports and Casino equally. The homepage has equal amounts of prominence for both. There are also daily tips, and some cool features coming soon. Very geek like and getting geekier every day! We are delighted with what we have so far but this is just touching the surface, with a whole lot more to come!

 

And how is your affiliate website different from the others? What is unique about it?

It’s very hard to be unique and I am not sure anyone can claim to be fully unique anymore, given the amount of affiliate sites out there now. But we certainly have a mix that makes us stand out from the crowd and mass of other affiliate sites popping up every day. We have a fresh design and some geek like detail, as well as being very interactive both on the site and within social media.

Geeky Gambler has been recently launched, but for sure you have a lot of plans for the future. Could you lift the veil of secrecy and tell us a bit about your next steps?

Well this really is just the start. We will have a new Casino listings page live very shortly, and we are very excited about the geeks tipping section that is on the way. Watch this space!

What are your tips for people who want to sit on the other side of the table and become affiliates like you did? Please share!

Geeky GamblerBelieve in yourself and work hard. There are so many affiliates and affiliate sites out there right now, but there are not so many great ones. The market is flooded in volume, but not quality, so there is always space to join the “dark side” if what you have is better than what is already there!

An ultimate geek question – Star Trek or Star Wars?

For me, neither! Confession time, I have never watched a single episode or movie from either franchise! The geekiest “sci fi” I ever got into was X-Files, back in my younger years. I was also disappointed at the new episodes this year!

It’s UEFA Euro time now – which team do you think is going to win the Cup? Let’s forget about the odds and focus on intuition!

Well I have a very good friend who is obsessed with Belgium and has been for some time, some great individuals but not a great team for me. England as always has the ability but flatter to deceive, unfortunately. Italy and Germany know how to win tournaments and rarely fail to deliver when it counts. So for me it’s from Italy, Germany and the hosts France. Quite boring here but if you are looking for some geek style value and a bigger price, the Czech Republic really impressed in their opener and have some great players.

Roo Wright

Roo Wright currently serves as the Founder and Managing Director of Hityah Media Limited and Click Profits International. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he has been involved with a variety of successful companies, spanning a number of positions, over the past 15 years.

While Wright wears many hats in the business world, it is his affiliate marketing, internet marketing, and online gaming knowledge that sets him apart.

Before the launch of Hityah Media Limited (2015) and Click Profits International (2014), Wright grew Digital Blue Limited into one of the largest real bingo playing services in the world.

Through a combination of affiliate marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), he was successful in starting and white labeling bingo sites including: LiveBingo.com, DivaBingo.com and NuttyBingo.com. After four years of building the company, it was acquired by Gaming Realms.

Colleagues recognize Wright as a creative, trusted, and highly motivated marketing professional. From his work in the online gaming space to affiliate and internet marketing services for charities, he is results driven and customer service oriented.

By working closely with some of the best minds in development methodologies, Wright continues to stay on top of the latest technologies and marketing trends to ensure top-notch results.

Olybet to Relaunch income Access Affiliate Programme

Continuing its recent run of partnership successes, Income Access, industry affiliate marketing and player acquisition software provider, has announced that it has agreed to service the affiliate programme of Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG), an Estonia-based gambling operator.

Income Access management detailed that, utilizing its gaming specialized marketing software, OEG will relaunch its OlyBet brand affiliate program.

OlyBet, regulated by the Estonian Tax & Custom Board since 2010, has become one of the most popular iGaming and online betting firms in Eastern Europe. OEG management stated that in order to continue its growth momentum in core regions, a new affiliate programme was necessary.

Income Access’s relaunch of the OlyBet partnership programme offers affiliates a 50% revenue share offer for their first three months promoting the brand.

Veiko Krünberg, Managing Director of OEG’s Online Operations, said: “Our aim is to attract affiliates across the board with our personalised approach and irresistible offers for players.”

“We’ve redesigned the programme to leverage our strongest side – casino operations. We are confident that this new focus will help affiliates succeed.”

Nicky Senyard, founder and CEO of Income Access, added “We are pleased to partner with one of the largest land-based casino operators in Europe.”

“Our affiliate team is looking forward to helping OlyBet grow their already successful online operations.”

If you are interested in purchasing tickets to SiGMA16, Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event this November, click here to register: https://maltaigamingsummit.com/register/
The early bird offer is available until the end of May.

Erik Bergman

Erik Bergman, CEO of Catena Media will participate in the CEO panel speech about the bright future of affiliate marketing. Catena Media has grown from 3 employees in 2012 to 22 employees in 2014 and aim to keep the same high pace.

“We are reinvesting all our profits in the business and we are constantly looking for other affiliates that might be interesting options for mergers or acquisitions”, describes Erik. In May 2013 the site JohnSlots was founded. Already within its first year it became among the biggest online casino guides in Scandinavia and since then it has kept growing. In early 2014 the twin site of JohnSlots was launched, MrBet with the aim to duplicate the same journey,

“The key to success has been great content, and a lot of it. We have reviewed over 600 games in four different languages that all can be demo played on our sites. We have great relationships with over 75 gaming operators that help us contribute great offers to our visitors. These have been two of the main factors to the rapid growth of our company”, Erik explains further.

The New Gaffg is live: faster with a better design

Gaffg is proud to announce the relaunch of the website which features a new design, better features, an improved user experience and more focus on gambling webmasters. The relaunch of the Gaffg.com website is the first of many changes and improvements being made.

John Wright“The team at Gaffg has been working hard on the new version of the website to make it better for webmasters and as a resource for the igaming industry. Under the hood there are newer technologies used to run the site which were chosen for speed. It all starts with the new design and we have a lot of plans for new feature launches this year that we look forward to sharing.“ – commented John Wright, Manager and Editor at Gaffg.

 

Focus on UX Design

Gaffg relaunched

The entire sites has been redesigned from the homepage to the affiliate program listings to the affiliate program reviews and was made by HorseshoeAgency.com. At the heart of the design was a focus on User Experience Design which starts with detailed wireframes to reconstruct the site.

Mobile with responsive design

Now you can find recommended affiliate programs on your mobile phone along with webmaster guides and read the latest in igaming news. The new design was made with mobile users in mind whether you wanted to scan through affiliate program reviews or get the latest igaming news that matters to affiliates.

Gaffg relaunchedMade with Meteor

Gaffg isn’t your ordinary website as it is made with Meteor and MongoDB, both of which are relatively newer technologies used for making websites and apps. The reason for the change was both for making the website load as fast as possible and simply to embrace newer technology as we believe this is where the future of websites are heading.

No more financial affiliate programs

Gaffg has made the decision to focus on what it does best which is the online gambling industry and has removed the forex and binary options affiliate program directories and reviews. That decision is also derived from the bad reputation of the binary options industry and Gaffg feels it’s best to not list or recommend any of these programs. Bye Felisha!

Gaffg relaunchedDetailed Affiliate Program Reviews

Gaffg has added more details in our reviews to make it easier for gambling webmasters to learn about any affiliate program. Our goal is to have every gambling affiliate program covered with the most detail possible.

 

 

About Gaffg

Gaffg.com has first launched as Gaming Affiliates Guide back in 2010 and the main features of the website are affiliate program reviews, igaming news and the standout feature of affiliate coaching. Gaffg has recently celebrated 5 years of Gaffg Awards recognizing the trusted affiliate programs and affiliate managers in the business. That also includes 5 years of the Charity Recognition Award saluting those that donate time, money or resources to a charity of their choice.

 

ThePOGG Network launches POGGWebmasters.com

ThePOGG.com Network​ has just launched its 3rd property, POGGWebmasters.com. Over the last 4 years ThePOGG.com has established a strong reputation for their thorough and professional approach to the management of player complaints, recently becoming the only affiliate model operation to receive Accreditation from the UKGC as an Alternative Dispute Resolution service​. POGGWebmasters has been set up to extend this complaint service to affiliates.

 The logo of Pogg Webmasters“ThePOGG.com has done a great job of establishing itself as a very credible mediation and review service within the remote gambling sector. So much so that we became aware via forum posts and private communications that a significant number of affiliates were checking with our operator reviews on ThePOGG before selecting which program to work with. As time has passed we started to feel that there was a distinct gap within the marketplace for a resource that allowed affiliates to see at a glance how affiliate programs treated both affiliates AND players and another big gap in terms of a service where affiliates could gain help if they’d been mistreated. POGGWebmasters is our answer to these gaps.”

Affiliate Complaint Service offered for Free

Affiliate Complaints and Dispute Mediation

POGGWebmasters is the first site to offer a dedicated affiliate complaint service​. Building on their success and experience running ThePOGG.com’s player complaints service, POGGWebmasters provides a full complaints infrastructure to allow affiliates to submit a complaint, the complaint to be managed in the private manner which ThePOGG.com has demonstrated is most conducive to a positive resolution and finally a complaint report to be published to allow other affiliates to see the nature of the complaint, how it was managed and the actions that have ultimately been taken to remedy the situation.

Detailed Affiliate Program Reviews

The graphic of Pogg Webmasters

Alongside the management of affiliate complaints full reviews have been posted of over 250 affiliate programs, with another 100 programs to be added in the coming weeks. These reviews focus on providing quality information to affiliates, presenting a breakdown of the terms and conditions offered to the affiliate ­ highlighting both positive and negative terms that affiliates should be aware of – and an assessment of the reputation of the programs with respect to their treatment of both players and affiliates.

Paid for Placement Model Rejected

The logo of POGG WebmastersPOGGWebmasters is also the first affiliate community to reject the ‘paid for placement’ model for operators. To ensure that affiliate complaints are always managed with appropriate impartiality and that POGGWebmasters is free to take whatever actions they deem appropriate without restriction the site will not tie itself into ‘sponsorship’ type agreements. As such, instead of paying to receive premium advertising positions, featured program positions will be given to those programs that maintain an active representative within ThePOGG forum, contributing and improving the community and resources available to both players and affiliates.

POGGWebmasters aims to cover all types of gambling affiliate programs and for launch the majority of reviews tend to cover casino, sportsbetting and bingo and more will be added to cover lottery and poker. Out of about 300 affiliate programs reviewed upon launch, only about 50 have made the grade for being recommended.

Affiliates will also be able to gain links by posting on ThePOGG Network’s message boards,​ which will be significantly updated in the coming weeks. Three levels of Affiliate Membership have been set up allowing those affiliates that choose to work with stronger status programs to more easily gain rewards and incentives. Only affiliates choosing to work with Blacklisted programs will be entirely restricted from receiving links (and submitting complaints).

The driving purpose of POGGWebmasters is to help affiliates make more responsible choices in whom they choose to work with, both for themselves in terms of ability to earn money and for the players they send to the various operations they work with.

The launch of POGGWebmasters completes over a year of preparation that has seen ThePOGG Network extend its coverage of the gambling markets to include casino game strategies (POGGStrategies.com) and Affiliate Program reviews. The high quality information and wide coverage of various topics within the marketplace has turned ThePOGG Network into one of the most useful industry resources on the market today.

About ThePOGG

ThePOGG.com has been online since 2011 and is an online casino portal with nearly 1000 casino reviews that holds strict criteria for recommending a casino​. Some of the standout features of the site include a UKGC Accredited Alternative Dispute Resolution service for player complaints and player terms and conditions monitoring. ThePOGG also offers a unique Deposit Guarantee service for their highest recommended casinos protecting players by giving their deposit back in the event of a unfair treatment. ThePOGG also does fairness reports and testing of various online casino games.