Dan Dubey: ‘The last few years there has been a big shift focusing efforts on aggressive marketing, to focusing more on content development’
Dan Dubey, Chief Content Editor & SEO Specialist at Creekside Media, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam.
Dan Dubey is pushing top10casinos in an ultra-competitive space, focusing on complaints resolution, exclusive bonuses, contests and discussion forums – follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
My background has always been in web-marketing and web-dev, with almost a dozen years in the space and just around 8 years in iGaming. The business took off by applying some of my analytical keyword research knowledge, digging around for keywords which have not yet been targeted by practically anyone. This was my competitive advantage that lead me to having my first website, initial rankings, traffic and in-turn revenue. It was easy, minus the 70 hour weeks!
How did you first get into the affiliate space? And, were you always focused on the Gaming space?
Initially I was involved in various affiliate marketing niches, but focused in on iGaming after landing a job for a well-known operator at the time. This was my first exposure to the space.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Mostly the marketing. I’m not very focused on the business development side – we have a team for this.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
In this ultra-competitive space, operators usually strive to meet the demands of the affiliates. If they don’t, another affiliate program will. I’ve only had positive experiences working with a few dozen trusted affiliate programs.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Find a way to retain your visitors, and have them come back to your website for all their gaming needs. Some examples: complaints resolution, exclusive bonuses, contests and discussion forums.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
With years of reviewing our custom analytics, we understand which pages/keywords drive the best players.
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?
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Leadership qualities are the most sought-after on our teams. The more leaders we can bring in, the faster we can scale.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
First and foremost – no tolerance for sub-par operators. At Top10Casinos we work with only the best brands in the industry.
Second, tech-first approach. We have been investing in our database and 100’s of automation tools which makes our team’s lives easier. Our back-end is our driving force.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
It’s one of our primary focuses as mentioned above. We develop marketing, content and database tools that allow us to always stay-a-head of the curve.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
In my opinion, the last few years there has been a big shift from focusing efforts on aggressive marketing, to focusing more on content development. From an SEO stand-point, Google has found ways to weed out the thin affiliate sites that have plagued the search engines for almost a dozen years! This is mostly attributed to their AI, and will continue to play a big role.
Is the grass greener on the other side – have you considered going down the operator route?
No. Plus considering our own demanding-selves, I don’t want the headache 😉
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority in 2020, and why?
We’re still very much focused on the Canadian market, there has been a big influx of traffic considering all the advertising happening from the province-regulated brands as well as foreign-licensed brands on all the major TV networks, guerrilla marketing campaigns, radio advertising and billboards.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
In my opinion, social marketing methods mostly don’t work in the iGaming space, especially for an affiliate. Especially in the casino space.
At the beginning I’d focus a lot of my time on creating viral campaigns, which didn’t really go viral considering that playing online casino games vs a computer screen is not the most glamorous experience which encourages sharing with colleagues and friends. Now of course, some of that has changed with Twitch and other networks show-casing hardcore casino gamers.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
Not getting a haircut during COVID-19!
What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020?
From an affiliate perspective, paying attention to regulation. This has always been challenging. Otherwise, business as usual!
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
More mega mergers (operators). More focus by the regulators on safe-gambling products which eliminate harmful behavior. Increase in gambling taxes, Italy and Denmark have already taken the steps. More video-game and e-sports companies entering the iGaming space to find new ways to generate revenues.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
We’ve hired an experienced manager to deal with all the operators.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
For years I’d attend the events mostly as a social-event, but never sit-down and listen to the speakers. It was eye-opening to see how much knowledge can be gained through some of the presentations.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
Yes, and yes I would.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies!
Family-guy first and foremost. All my free time is spent with the kids and loving every minute of it! The craft beer revolution couldn’t have come any sooner, but Belgian beers still up there for me!
B-rated horror movie fan.
What’s on your must-read list right now?
Mostly fiction really, just picked up a short stories compilation by Stephen King, his early work.
Which quote do you live your life by?
Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
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About SiGMA Africa:
SiGMA is heading to Africa in 2022! With a record for attracting an audience from over 80 countries, SiGMA has the potential to set the stage with a global guest list of some of the best operators, suppliers, affiliates, regulators, and thought leaders in the gaming sector – bringing high-end innovation to the African gambling industry and driving sustainable growth throughout its nations.