Gennadiy Galperin is CEO at Playcasino.com, one of the best domains in the online gambling sphere – he shares his vast experience in the industry with SiGMA News
How did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
I started doing internet marketing back in 2000. My first education as a programmer allowed me to look for a job in the high-tech industry and I immediately got into a company that was one of the first operators in the online dating industry. I quickly realised that the most interesting thing was in the marketing department, I was lucky that a person had come to the company who had been earning money on Internet traffic for a couple of years.
The first 2 years can be considered as a school that allowed me to learn what they will never give at the academy – how to make money on the Internet. Having gained experience in all aspects of Internet marketing at that time, I became an affiliate. I have been quite busy with SEO, email, all kinds of ‘guerrilla marketing’, bringing traffic from wherever possible. I was quite good at SEO skills, it was possible to promote fairly simple sites to high positions on competitive requests, and I actively used it.
In 2005, my friend and partner in other projects built a poker site, which in a short period became the largest in Russia and it quickly became clear that until that time I was wasting time in less profitable industries. We quickly built an affiliate site for backgammon, which immediately became one of the largest in the industry. Understanding how the online business works, it was easy enough to join the gambling industry, I bought a lot of traffic and sent it to various online casinos. Also, there were a lot of successful consulting projects, one of them is the development of the Russian poker market for 888.
In 2019, we began our, at the moment, central project – Playcasino.com. Having bought, perhaps, one of the best domains in the online gambling market, we immediately decided to do everything correctly. We have invested a large enough amount in the project to build and develop a really serious portal for players.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We run the site in English, German, Spanish and Arabic. We focus on markets that speak these languages and which are legally operated. Now the countries of South America are considered potential markets, we are trying to work for them too. In fact, it is difficult to predict what will be a successful market tomorrow, because the regulations and requirements for operators in different markets are constantly changing.
What makes your traffic proposition / traffic sites unique? What can you offer that others don’t? Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
We are just trying to do our job at a high level. It is important to invest in really useful content and design, to give players reliable information about the industry. We are not interested in building something short-term, to just bring a certain number of players, earn some money and keep everything on a “low fire”. We can quickly produce quality content.
Are you concerned about the impact of regulatory authorities in regions such as Germany / Sweden on the partnership program sector?
You just need to be able to live with this. History teaches us that despite the constant complications of regulations, the industry lives and the strongest survive. It is more difficult for operators, but the quality of operations is also increasing as a result.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic source?
We can say that now we are engaged in SEO, although, after 20 years in online marketing, I do not like this concept, as such. We are just building a quality website with useful information.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
We invest quite actively in our projects; historically, the investor team has not changed. We are a group of like-minded people who have achieved some success in business, trust each other and know how to work together, which is very important. In the gambling industry, such projects are in demand; at a certain stage, the possibility of selling is, of course, being considered.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?
You need to competently do your job, be able to work with players, monitor your popularity, invest in a product. The CRM department is very important in such a business, it is very important to learn how to ensure player retention.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Required skills change over the years, becoming more and more difficult. But people who succeed in working persistently without losing their hands always succeed. In 2020, to succeed, you need to have money for investment.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
You have to walk fast, together with time changes.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
I have never dealt with Asian markets, maybe in the future.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
I would have liked to know how profitable the online gambling industry is right from the start!
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
I’ve always been afraid of snakes!
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
It often happens that we come across non-professional affiliate managers who do not understand anything not in the product, not in the traffic. In such cases, our dialogue ends quickly.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Since 2006, I’ve attended almost all the main events. More, of course, to relax a bit and meet with friends, less for business. But in such events there is a very important aspect – in conversations over beer, many ideas and new acquaintances pop up.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
I haven’t attended yet, but it seems that the time has come! In Manila it’s interesting, not quite sure that enough people will fly there. It’s time to get to Malta, now it is the centre of the industry.
I love big cities. In NY, London, Amsterdam, I feel at home and never get tired of those places. The beach and the sea I have at home – in Tel Aviv.
Favourite book ever read? Favourite book you look forward to read some day?
Master and Margarita by “Bulgakov”. It’s my favourite book since I was 17 years old. Now I practically do not read fiction, more books about psychology and the meanings of life. Recently, a book about sleeping has made an impression – Why we sleep (Matthew Walker) and Lost Connections (Johann Hari) about the causes of depression
Where would you relocate with family if you had to pick one city?
I feel great in Berlin, London, NY. I can move anytime to these cities without any problems.
Favourite sport and childhood idol?
I’ve been boxing since childhood. I loved football very much and supported FC Milan. Andrey Shevchenko personally gave me a T-shirt of FC Milan with his autograph on it and in response I gave him the Andriyshevchenko.com domain.
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