Paul Puolakka, Chief Marketing Officer of Viabonus, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Paul Puolakka, speaks about his new project, Viabonus. He speaks about their mission, their key factors, and others. He also speaks about his iGaming consulting company – follow his story below.
How did you first get into the affiliate space?
I’ve been working in iGaming since 2014 and most of the time I was working in affiliate management. I got to know many affiliates and became not only business partners but also friends. During my time on the operator’s side, I saw lots of different projects. I got to know and friended Teemu Salminen from Mediainvesting and in early 2021 I decided to jump to the affiliate side with a company called Mediainvesting. Viabonus is one of our joint projects where each one of us brings his own special skillsets.
What can you tell us about your iGaming consulting company?
I’ve been working as an iGaming consultant since 2019. I’ve gained a lot of experience from the iGaming sector in marketing, affiliate management, and branding, and being a native Finn, I have also a cultural and language understanding of Finland. Industry people started to ask me a lot of advice since they knew my experiences and so I decided to set up a company to help iGaming startups and also established companies in the industry.
How did Viabonus take off? What is your goal and what do you provide?
Viabonus is a fairly fresh project and we officially launched it in late 2021. The feedback so far has been really positive and it seems that people really love our fresh branding. Since we’re building a brand, we don’t want to take any shortcuts, so that means we’ve not been too aggressive yet with SEO and link building.
We’re on a mission to become the most recognisable affiliate brand within the iGaming industry.
Moreover, we have recently been nominated for the “Best rising star” and the “Best bonus comparison” categories in one of the iGaming Awards. I believe that this is a good indicator that people love our brand and it’s been noted in the industry too!
What sets Viabonus apart from other affiliates? What makes it unique?
From the start, we’ve really focused on building the brand and making the product as user-friendly as possible. Naturally, this is something that takes a lot of effort and time and you’re never really ready, so you have to constantly improve the site.
Also, while many of the other affiliate sites in iGaming are “male-first” approaches we wanted to create a brand that is equal and female-friendly also. Actually, most of the people working on the projects are females.
To summarise, Viabonus is a user-friendly, modern, transparent casino and bonus comparison brand that puts the player first. “The Player first” approach is something that we really emphasize.
Which are Viabonus’ key factors?
- Great design.
- Great content.
- Great user experience.
What importance do you give to responsible gaming?
Responsible gaming and player protection are really important to us. We provide all the information needed for the players to make responsible and educated choices on their gaming habits.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We’ve been focusing on building the Canadian site and we also have global and New Zealand versions of the site available. We’re constantly doing our own research also and there are a few other markets we consider focusing on in the future too.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google’s constant updates?
Well, social media activity is for us to build trust in the brand and showcase it. We’re currently exploring the opportunities how to utilise social media, but naturally, there are many restrictions when it comes to gambling content.
Anyone who works in the iGaming industry and in affiliation can say that the Google updates are “challenging” to put it mildly… but of course, every challenge brings new opportunities.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
In my opinion, it’s important to find people with a “can-do” attitude. This is definitely not an easy niche to be in and you have to have a positive attitude towards challenges. It’s also important to find people that have different skillsets. Patience is also important, as they say, “Rome was not built in a day”.
What does it take for an affiliate business to thrive?
Hard work, the right attitude, and the passion to create something new!
How do you choose your operators and how do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
For the time being, we actually use a lot of networks like Matching Visions, since it eases our daily workload a lot. We do have some direct deals, but we’ll probably get a dedicated Account Manager to handle our sales in the future.
I tend to choose operators that I know are trustworthy or whom we’ve done some projects already. Both personal and company reputations go far in this industry.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Which of our expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2022?
Yes, SiGMA is probably my favourite show in the business. SiGMA was the first iGaming conference I attended when I started in the industry.
I’ve not attended SiGMA before as an affiliate, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
Definitely! I’ve been working in sales/account management pretty much all my life so I 100% agree with you that business is done with people.
As a balance on sitting in front of the screen, I really enjoy downhill skiing, hiking, different types of sports such as running & working out at the gym, travelling, cooking & I’m also a big Ice Hockey fan. Other than that, I really love outdoor activities and nature. Improving myself and learning new things is also something I really enjoy. For self-improvement, I listen to different podcasts and I end my day reading. I usually books that are about history, business, or self-improvement
Read more about SiGMA Affiliate Grand Slam here.
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