In today’s article, Konstantin Rabin, the founder of Finance Makers and investfox.com will reveal the current state of affiliate websites within the financial trading niche, its main opportunities, challenges and the way it differs from iGaming affiliation. Finally, Konstantin will describe his newly launched project called investfox and the way he thinks this project could dominate the online trading niche. Previously, Konstantin has been the man behind a few successful affiliate websites within both gambling and financial trading niches, and next to this, Konstantin is running an SEO agency (read more here) for difficult niches. Without further ado, let’s get to know what Konstantin thinks about the subject.
While there are a ton and a half of affiliate sites popping up each day to funnel fresh clients to the financial markets, none have really managed to find the ideal balance between offering quality services to both brokers and traders alike.
The pandemic played its part in fueling this growth. If you’d asked me about this pre-2020 I’d probably have said, “meh, things are good in the affiliate world”, but thanks to lockdowns, this industry saw loads of growth and things are looking great. Bored people pouring their savings and stimulus cheques into crypto and wild stocks like GME put a lot of wind in the sails of the financial affiliate industry. The more people hit the search engines, the more they found sites ready to pass them along.
IAB UK Affiliates & Partnerships Group released the results of their buy-side survey which showed that the lockdowns had a massive effect on affiliate advertisers and agencies who saw a 56% increase in their affiliate channel revenues starting in late March 2020.
But, there is somewhat of a difference between just straight out doing affiliate marketing and actually giving people something of value. A good comparison would be looking at financial affiliation with brokers and the like compared to online gambling. In essence, it comes down to what motivates the people doing the marketing. On the gambling side, many affiliates just want to grab some cash and be done with it. With online casinos, we generally see booms and busts. People come, try their luck, start losing, get bored, and move on. This makes for a considerably lower client lifetime value than with brokers.
On the trading and investing side of things, we see a methodical, calculated approach that results in smaller short-term revenues, but a client lifetime value that far outlives that of the gamblers. Generally, brokers don’t reward clients or affiliates when money is lost. This opens up the possibility of profiting together with the client, which is much better for everyone in the long run. In this scenario, it is much more beneficial for affiliates to help those they pass on to the brokers and encourage education and safe trading.
How it all got started and what it looks like today?
In the beginning, the advertising market was vast and void, with display ads hovering over the depths of the internet. Most of the investment websites, especially big ones like investing.com (formerly forexpros.com), just charged flat fees for having broker profiles. Well, that and the annoying display advertising. This was where the bulk of their revenues came from.
In time, iGaming employees started getting lured in by FX brokerages, especially from marketing departments, and with them came the idea of affiliation. It wasn’t long before the first financial affiliation sites popped up, but they were crude to start with. Most of these sites only had one thing in mind, herding traffic. They were basically just a buffer between Google and the brokerage, providing no real value whatsoever.
These days, things are looking a lot better. Most SERPs these days are dominated by sites with expert authors, transparent rating methodologies, high-quality reviews, and a whole host of other useful things to try and give more substance to the process.
There are still a few things lacking
Let’s say we ask 10 people about the best iGaming website, assuming they are into that sort of thing, nearly everyone is going to respond, “AskGamblers”. These days they are kind of seen as the gold standard in that industry. This is evidenced by the fact that when Catena Media acquired the company back in 2016 they paid just €15 million, for a company that they are now poised to flip for around 3 times that amount.
Over the years I’ve seen countless of these AskGamblers knockoff sites appear that claim to do the same thing, just with some or other added features. There are also plenty of sites that have been launched for the “ABC” or “XYZ” niche, using the exact same recipe, but with none coming close to hitting the mark.
So, what makes AskGamblers such a “go-to” site? Well, it’s a trusted site where people get true feedback on iGaming operators and are able to resolve their complaints. Simple as that. This high-quality no-nonsense approach has made AskGamblers stand out in a way that no one has been able to replicate.
The financial trading world has an answer to this, a site called forexpeacearmy aka FPA. Sadly it is super dated, looks silly on mobile, and doesn’t really offer anything other than user feedback and complaint resolution. Basically, it falls short of the mark when looking at what is expected from a website in this day and age.
The only really viable alternative is TrustPilot. The problem here is that they don’t specialize in brokerages. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but because they provide user reviews for nearly any domain, they simply don’t have the resources to moderate things properly. This means that any site with a few dollars to burn can get its rating artificially improved for next to nothing, defying the whole point. Let’s take a look at the example below:
How realistic is it that some 90% of 1,451 reviewers (hence around 1,306 clients) actually bothered to visit TrustPilot to rate the company 5 out of 5? Quite improbable, if you ask me.
What is investfox and where do we fit into all this?
Essentially, we want to be the IMDB of the financial service industry. With investfox, you can look up the rating of a broker, get all the facts, see what we think of them, read the user reviews to see what the market thinks, then decide for yourself. With this, we hope to bring some transparency to the investment industry and help keep them brokers honest.
That’s our goal. So, keeping an eye on the “competition”, we decided to start by developing a good-looking well functioning site that looks, feels, and functions just as well on mobile as on a desktop or tablet. That being done, our focus shifted to another important aspect that we felt is not well covered in this space, and that is making things accessible to all.
To answer this, we created the core site in English, with the goal of building things out and eventually offering all the content in as many languages as possible. Traders come from all over the world and many don’t speak English that well. So, offering a multilingual site is essential. Along with English, investfox already has an Indonesian version out and many more are on the way.
So, we have the looks and languages thing covered and the broker reviews down pat, but what about broker filtration and sorting?
I feel that online shopping for an investment service provider is as dull a process as looking for a new insurance package for your car. This is bad, and a little sad, as these days we are used to services like Amazon or Skyscanner which offer top-notch filters for such mundanities as buying a pair of headphones or a $50 plane ticket, but when it comes to finding the right place to invest your money, the prospects look bleak. At best, you are bound to encounter lots of fraud or misleading affiliate links.
This is why we want to bring a Booking.com-like experience to the financial trading world. When I search for a hotel in a city I’ve never been to, I simply visit booking.com, enter the city where I am going, and hit the search button. While you won’t find the perfect place immediately, it usually only takes a few minutes of playing around with the filters (e.g. 4* and 5*, only hotels, area of my choice) to find the results that match my needs.
Following this example, we have created our own powerful filter and sorting tools. This gives the user full control and allows them to quickly and easily weed out the brokers they don’t need while focusing on the ones they do. Let’s say you are looking for a Forex broker that offers MetaTrader 4 and holds some Australian licenses. Well, even as you are selecting these parameters, investfox instantly updates the results to give you a list of brokers with those exact attributes. This saves you from a lot of headaches, and once you have found a couple of potentials, then head to our comparison section and put those brokers side by side to make an even better decision.
Last, but certainly not least, is our fountain of knowledge. We hope to assist those who are new to the trading world by offering a huge selection of helpful guides and articles to anyone who needs a helping hand. From our Education section, you can choose between Beginner Trading Guides, Advanced Trading Guides, Cryptocurrency Guides, Platforms and Software, and many more, to make sure you stay in the know.