Name: Nina Sparv
Hometown: Vasa (Finland)
Living in: Andorra
Favorite Food: Seafood, I guess I´m not allowed to answer wine here, am I?
Profession/Job title: CMO & Co-founder at Epicorns
GAV: Hello Nina, first of all tell us and our readers as well a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Nina really is? How did your career start in the industry? Since when are you active at Nya Casinon?
NS: I`m born in Vasa, a small city in the west coast of Finland. It´s a two-language city, so I actually speak Swedish with my family instead of Finnish. An interesting fact that many people might not know about Finland. I kind of ended up in the industry pretty randomly, I was tired of Finland and I was searching for some new adventures. In the same moment, my previous boss in Finland asked me if I would be interested into moving to Cyprus. He had a friend that was working as a CEO for a gambling company that needed a copywriter for both Swedish and Finnish content so he thought I might fit, since I also happen to love playing slots. I had no experience in the industry, but I liked it a lot from the very beginning. After working as a copywriter / content manager for one year, I got promoted to Business Manager, where after I was responsible for the business development of 3 separate casino brands in several different markets. The company was fairly small, so it was great that they gave everyone so much responsibility, since I learned a lot during the 1,5 years as a Business Manager. Without that experience, I wouldn’t probably be where I am today. Many people say you shouldn´t mix work and personal life, I couldn´t quite live up to that, since that´s exactly what happened in Cyprus, I met my soul partner Jaume at work. We moved together and after a while we got tired of Cyprus and moved to Andorra to set up our own affiliate company and online marketing company. It sounds easy and fast, but there was a lot of sweat, tears and endless amount of work before the company first of all, was setup, and second of all, before the sites actually started generating money.
GAV: We know that you’re also active at an international online marketing company, tell us all about it?
NS: Epicorns (our company) was first setup as an online marketing and consultancy company to be able to generate income, that we later could use on investing in our affiliate sites. We have been doing a lot of consultancy and online marketing services during the last year to generate income, such as SEO, web development and content writing. Now that our affiliate sites have started to generate money, we don´t focus much on promoting our online marketing or consultancy services, but it´s always good to have them as a backup plan.
GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think nya-casinon.org stands now and what is that plus that the other portals don’t have?
NS: First of all, the Swedish market is very competitive, and it´s difficult to compete against all the giant affiliate companies nowadays. That´s also why we´ve decided to focus on a small niche within the market, which is new casinos, where we should be able to reach some of the top positions in Google with the great domain that we have. It´s still a very new website, and it will probably take some time for it to jump higher in the rankings, but we´re working hard with the content and the SEO constantly.
GAV: Next to the swedish market which market do you target?
NS: With nya-casinon.org we naturally only target the Swedish market, but we have in total around 150 websites targeting a lot of different markets. Currently we´re focusing mainly in the Finnish, Swedish and Spanish markets, but we also have websites in Norwegian, German, English, Portuguese, Italian and French.
GAV: How do you see the online casino market/industry at this moment?
NS: I don´t think it´s needed to say, but it´s a very competitive industry, although it´s still a fairly new industry. Every time it´s getting more difficult and it´s taking way longer time to be able to reach high rankings for the websites. There´s new affiliates sites and casinos launched every month, so you must keep up with the speed if you want to be in the game. Before you could basically rank a website with few pages and some blogposts, which nowadays is barely impossible.
GAV: Is it hard for a woman in this industry, which are the advantages and disadvantages?
NS: I don´t see it hard as a woman to be in this industry, we´re obviously not the majority, but there´s a lot of professional women within the Igaming industry. I wouldn’t say being as a woman is any different from being as a man in the industry, neither do I have any advantages or disadvantages to mention.
GAV: In your opinion what are the strong points of nya-casinon.org and what makes it stand out from the other niche websites?
NS: Since I write most of the content myself, I would say unique content and up to date blogposts for the users about the latest promotions and news.
GAV: We have browsed your website and found some great quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you?
NS: I try to write as much as I can myself, but since we have already a lot of websites in both Swedish and Finnish, it´s difficult to keep up with everything. Last year I was writing for all the websites, but now there´s too much work in other parts of the websites to be done. The blogposts and news I always write myself, but for the rest of the new content I have 3 freelance content writers helping me out, one in Sweden and two in Finland.
GAV: How about the online marketing and SEO of your website, how many team members do you have, let us in on a new trend that you guys are following?
NS: In the marketing and SEO, we´re in total 3 people, and we try to divide the workload by markets or countries, where I usually work with the Swedish and Finnish markets. I would lie If I say that we have some awesome new trend that we´re following, it would sound cool though. Our main target right now is to keep on doing what we´re doing, and keep growing the sites with great content and good links.
GAV: How do you manage to keep all the website fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
NS: Since I write most of the blogposts and news myself, it´s not that difficult. I check the news within the industry daily and scrolling through all the available promotions and offers few times a week to be able to write about interesting topics for the users.
GAV: We know for sure that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. You, of course select them by the brands they work with. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built, and how not?!
NS: Nowadays it depends a lot, since there´s these huge affiliate companies but also small startups like us, so of course the relationship with the affiliate managers is not the same for both. I prefer to work with affiliate managers that are genuinely interested in our business and in us, not just interested in how many players we can bring in one month. We have a lot of affiliate managers that have helped us, and have been interested in us, from the beginning, although we weren’t able to bring much players. These are the relationships that later have turned into friendships, which I think is a beautiful part of the business.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
NS: After visiting Las Vegas this month, I think that the gambling industry will for sure always exist. It provides a bit of excitement to the everyday life for a lot of people. Gambling is already very popular in many places all around the world, so I´m sure it will at some point become a truly global phenomenon. About the online casino business, I think it will become more and more regulated for each year in the countries, but that it will surely always exist.
GAV: How about the swedish market, and the Nordic market, it has seen a huge growth?
NS: Gambling, Poker and Betting is something that have been advertised in the Nordics already for years, so I would say that the Nordics (Finnish people specially) are gamblers by nature. You can´t even step into a food shop without seeing slots and huge lottery jackpots. The “Boom” of the Nordic markets happened already some years back, but there´s constantly entering more and more players due to new younger generations and new innovative marketing campaigns.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino industry?!
NS: Trust. In countries like Malta, UK and Sweden for example, the casino industry is a normal everyday business. But in many other countries the casino industry is even illegal, although betting and sports is very popular for instance. This is one of the reasons this business is still seen as a bit “dirty” and “not reliable”, although the people like me for example, are doing normal online marketing stuff, just like any other person working in an online focused business.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?
NS: Patience. It will take time, a lot of work and knowledge before you´re able to make a living out of this business on your own.
GAV: How about iGaming or affiliate conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience? Did you attend the Nordic Affiliate Conference?
NS: I love going to the conferences, I think it´s because I´ve never actually lived in a place where the business is based and where there is a lot of people from the business to talk with, on every day basis, like in Malta for example. The conferences are the only time I have a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues within the business. I would say my favorite conference is the iGB, Berlin Affiliate Conference that I´ve attended a couple of times. This year we haven´t had time to join any conference yet, unfortunately neither the Nordic Affiliate Conference. But we´re heading in September to the Affiliate Grand Slam in Bucharest and in November to SIGMA in Malta.
GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe to become a potential gaming hotspot in the near future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
NS: I´m pretty sure it will become a gaming hotspot, there´s a lot of potential traffic, but it´s still not very popular.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favorite country or region?
NS: Oh that´s a difficult question, there´s a lot of cool and beautiful places in Eastern Europe. I would like to travel to Romania and Czech Republic since I haven´t been there before. Now we will visit Bucharest in September since we´re attending the Affiliate Grand Slam conference. If I must pick a favorite country I would pick Poland, although I like Estonia a lot as well.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe ?
NS: Travelling and exploring new places is awesome, so it would be wrong if I said I didn´t want to travel to some specific place.
GAV: How about a favorite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?
NS: I have a lot of favorite celebrities, mostly YouTube stars, especially Pewdiepie and a famous Spanish youtuber: AuronPlay. I also like the Spanish president Rajoy, he´s just too funny with his comments that doesn’t make much sense most of the times.
I also have to mention Jaume (my better half) here, since he has been a very big influencer and mentor in my life since the first day we met.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
NS: It´s a good and important iGaming magazine, since I like to keep up to date what´s happening within the business I try to check the website few times a week. There´s a great variety of different news and updates which I usually find very interesting and worth reading.
GAV: Nina, thank you for the interview, if you have any news to share just let us know! We wish you guys all the best!
If you would like to suggest subjects for future affiliate interviews, send your suggestions to: [email protected]
The post Affiliate Interviews: Nina Sparv of Nya-casinon.org (Epicorns) appeared first on The Gambling Affiliate Voice.
Affiliate Grand Slam 3.0 Lands in Hong Kong
Find your ideal Asian partners
The Affiliate Grand Slam has established itself as a key networking event on the iGaming calendar – and the event is now heading East. Brought to you by the same team behind SiGMA, Affiliate Grand Slam 3.0 is going to Hong Kong for its first foray into the Asian market.
After the breakout success of AGS events in Tallinn and Bucharest, operators looking for Asian traffic will have the opportunity to interact with affiliates who are prolific in that market, in an event tailored to making connections happen.
Affiliate Grand Slam 3.0 will feature a carefully selected, elite group of operators and up to 200 of the best affiliates Asia has to offer. Location and timing are also ideal – AGS 3.0 will take place in Hong Kong from May 17th to 19th. That’s hot on the heels of the G2E in Macau, only a short ferry ride away.
No other event offers a more streamlined experience – we match quality presentation with a fun, relaxed environment that makes for ideal networking. Operators with an innovative streak and products ready for Asia are welcome to apply. Engage with Asia’s key actors in the most relevant networking event in the business by contacting [email protected]
For more information visit http://affiliategrandslam.com/
Affiliate Managers under interrogation by GAV: Anna-Maria Arakelian, Affiliate Manager at Portomasolive.com
In our newest Affiliate Managers under interrogation you can get to know Anna-Maria, Affiliate Manager at Portomasolive.com
Name: Anna-Maria Arakelian
Hometown: Varna, Bulgaria
Living in: Sliema, Malta
Favorite Food: Raspberries
Must Read Book: Agatha Christie – Poirot (all of them)
Affiliate Manager at: Portomasolive.com
GAV: Hello Anna, first of all, tell us and our readers a bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry? What determined you to engage in this activity and start working at Portomaso Affiliates?
Annie: Hello, I am Annie I am 27 years old and I come from the sea capital of Bulgaria – Varna. About me I can say that I am positive, ambitious and communicative. A little bit more than a year ago I didn’t know that iGaming exist, but I was in love with marketing and I knew, that this is what I want to do. Then I found a job in an affiliate company and on day one I felt that iGaming is what I want. I had a team leader who was very experienced and smart, he thought me everything about the iGaming business and helped me with understanding how the business works from the core, and I am very grateful about that. I was dreaming to become an Affiliate manager, so I started applying, for me it was really big challenge, because I’ve never thought that I will have to move from Bulgaria, I’ve been on an internship in Belgium, but it was only for three months. Portomaso Gaming came in my life, by offering me the dream job, I accepted immediately, I moved to Malta ten days after I got my acceptance letter and now here I am – in Portomaso Tower in St.Julians’s in Malta building the future of PortomasoLive.com with the incredible team, that I am part of.
GAV: Portomaso Affiliates is the affiliate program for PortomasoLive.com online casino. What do you think is the key aspect that affiliates appreciate regarding your affiliate program?
Annie: Portomasolive.com is unique, because it is owned by Portomaso Gaming which owns a product live casino, we stream directly from the two land based casinos owned by the company. Regarding affiliates, the key aspect is that we are open to offer them different promotions, marketing materials, demos, etc. We aim high, and we want to have trustworthy partners to help us walking the path from a new casino to a successful and winning brand.
GAV: Could you fill us in on your current offer for affiliates and maybe a brief description of your program?
Annie: We just launched our affiliate programme along with the online casino, and I would be happy to tell you more. Portomasolive.com is the diamond in the crown on Portomaso Gaming. The company that owns Portomasolive.com is very big, as I mentioned earlier, two land-based casinos, product Live Casino (streamed directly from the two casinos). The company was 100% focused on B2B, but now with the online casino we aim to build brighter future for Portomaso Gaming. We would like to thank to our partners from NetRefer who provided us with a great affiliate platform. We want to make the work with affiliates clear, simple and fun of course. We can offer many and different promotions to our affiliates including ones involving live casino games. Also, I am happy to announce that we can offer to our affiliates up to 45% Revenue share!
GAV: What markets does Portomaso Affiliates target, and what makes it stand out in the ever growing crowd of casino affiliate programs?
Annie: We decided to start with DACH and Swedish markets, this is because we believe, that they are successful and wining markets. As I said this is just for beginning, in future we plan to step into UK and the rest of the Nordic countries. As I mentioned before, Portomasolive.com has its own live casino product and as the interest to live casino is growing, we have the advantage to explore and expand more with promotional campaigns for the casino in general and exclusively for affiliates.
GAV: Since the London Affiliate Conference is almost here, we would like to ask your opinion on this event, are you guys attending these conferences or are you going to be in London? How about the other affiliate conferences and the Nordic Affiliate Conference?
Annie: iGB – the company that organizes those events is very professional in my opinion, I already have been in Berlin for BAC in 2017 and I was impressed with the way that event was organized. I will attend London Affiliate Conference, but from the team of Portomasolive.com it will be only me, because big part of the team is going to attend ICE- Totally Gaming. I look forward to meeting the future partners of Portomasolive.com. Our focus now is LAC, because we need to start building our relationships with Affiliates.
GAV: Where do you think the online casino industry will be in 3 years, and of course, on which scale do you see Portomaso Affiliates?
Annie: Three years is a very long time, and the iGaming industry is dynamic and changing every day, but in a good way. I believe more markets will move towards re-regulation and it is natural for a company like ours to pursue those opportunities. Even if it means that the tax costs are going to be higher for us, it also enables us to reach out to larger audience. About Portomasolive.com I see it as a popular brand, that players know and trust, expanded and respected online casino with high acquisition and great conversion.
GAV: Tell us a bit about your team?
Annie: Of course! My team is incredible it is made of people who are positive and ambitious. We are currently about 40 people working for the online casino and each of us is aiming high. I am quite new, I started working here four months ago, but I was accepted very well, I easily became part of the team, because the people working here made me feel comfortable. Also, I find something really important here – the support that we give to each other as a team, because no matter how many ideas you have or how strong and ambitious you are, if your team doesn’t support you, it will be hard to achieve your goals, I am lucky to be part of team who supports me. I was very nicely surprised when I saw the synergy in the team, everything is so well organized, and everyone is professional, so I really enjoy how the work goes smoothly, dynamic and fast.
GAV: Since Central and Eastern Europe offers a large pool of successful affiliates in the industry, do you think that this region is somehow overlooked by brands that are not applying for licenses in the demographic and are there many super-affiliates that you manage coming from this region?
Annie: I am happy to see that Central and Eastern Europe are developing business in the field of iGaming. Right now, we are focused to build strong relationships with affiliates, it doesn’t matter if they are super-affiliates or small ones. For us, every serious business partner is valuable.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
Annie: Never ever give up! If you have a dream follow it, be ambitious and always keep in mind that iGaming makes the dreams about career come true!
GAV: Who is your favorite celebrity and if you’d have to a pick a destination in Eastern Europe, where would you travel?
Annie: That’s easy – Alex Turner of course! He is part of the UK band “Arctic Monkeys”, he has amazing voice and the songs of the band are awesome. Eastern Europe, this is tricky one, because the first thing coming to my mind is to say Varna, Bulgaria as it is my home, but if I have to pick different destination in Eastern Europe I would say the Dracula’s castle in Romania, I think it would be awesome experience!
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel?
Annie: One thing that I love to do is to travel, there is no place in the world that I wouldn’t like to visit. Every place has its own history, beauty and culture that I would love to explore.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about GAV(GamblingAffiliateVoice.com)?
Annie: I follow and read the articles posted in GAV, because I really like to be informed about the things that are happening in iGaming and what people in the industry think about that and GAV provides us with that kind of information, for which I can say a big thank you, keep up doing what you are doing, you guys are great
XLMedia purchases websites from Good Game
XLMedia has brokered a deal to acquire a number of Finnish gambling related informational websites from Good Game.
The agreement is worth up to €15m ($18.4m) and is set to go through before the end of the first quarter.
The acquisition comprises a network of gambling-related websites, focused on web and mobile traffic, specialising in casino games and providing information such as reviews of online casinos, promotions and payment solutions.
XLMedia said the purchase represents a “further revenue enhancing addition to the group’s website portfolio”, adding that it expects to complete full integration within the first six months of the current year.
Ory Weihs, chief executibe of XLMedia, added: “As we develop our business, we continue to capitalise on the infrastructure we have built, and take opportunities to expand further through acquisitions.
“With our current network, technology and sector expertise, the additional assets will be integrated easily into our operation, adding to our strong base of assets and recurring revenues.
“We are seeing good opportunities to buy additional assets in our key verticals, and we plan to continue acquiring domains and websites as part of our ongoing growth strategy.”
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