Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Milica Kasapovic & Dijana Radunovic, Senior Account Managers at AskGamblers, Catena Media, join the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Milica Kasapovic, Dijana Radunovic, and their team at AskGamblers, whilst trying to stay unique, are always transparent and oriented towards their players. They are very proud of their Casino Complaint Service and the prestigious AskGamblers Awards - follow their story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
Dijana: Everything started as a start-up, built in Serbia, more than 10 years ago. After some time the company outgrew itself and there was demand for some new content. Not long after, AskGamblers became the middle man between players and casinos and a leader in the iGaming industry.
Today, AskGamblers is part of Catena Media. Although AskGamblers itself does not have any other verticals, there are other verticals in Catena Media’s vast portfolio.
How did you first get into the affiliate space? And, were you always focused on the Gaming space?
Milica: Before entering the iGaming world, I’d worked in a creative agency, a digital field, and I’d heard about a start-up whose product was AskGamblers back in the day. It was the first time I’d even heard about the industry. It sounded to me like show business, so I applied for a position of an Account Manager, and I haven’t regretted it.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Dijana: As already mentioned, AskGamblers is a product nested under Catena Media, a listed Swedish company. Catena Media has many brands in its portfolio, but AskGamblers is definitely one of its brightest stars. AskGamblers is located in Belgrade, Serbia, although under strong positive effect of our mother company, we are striving to keep our course and stay loyal to our players and their interest. We are growing, learning, adapting, but keeping the quality level at the same time.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
Dijana: Transparent communication and openness to new trends. It is important to trust each other as after all, we are all partners in this business. As long as both sides are growing, both sides will have interest.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Milica: Affiliates need to find a way to build unique content or come up with an exclusive feature offered only by them. We, as an affiliate, are very proud of our AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service (through which we’ve returned over 35 million USD to players so far) and the prestigious AskGamblers Awards, which we’ve organized for 3 years in a row now.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Dijana: We are honest and objective with our content, transparent, and oriented towards players. We are also trying to stay unique, and always searching for new features that will be interesting to players, which keeps us in top positions in Google search.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
Dijana: A strong foundation, I would say. AskGamblers is built on the foundation of perfection, innovation, and professionalism. If you are surrounded by strong industry professionals, focused on the same goal, your job is not that hard. I, personally, as one of the Culture Ambassadors in Catena Media, can confirm that we are working hard on building the company with happy people. To build great things, people need to be inspired and motivated to bring extra value to the product.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Milica: It is impossible to make a profitable business these days without following the latest technology trends. Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, as we have all worked from home. It is important we stay connected and motivated in our everyday business.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
Dijana: AI will definitely have an impact on the industry in the future, though we cannot exactly be sure in what ways. If the pandemic crisis has taught us anything, it is that AI and digital trends are of huge importance and we’ll only continue to see their expansion and rise.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority in 2020, and why?
Milica: A few months ago we rolled out the Swedish version of our site. What we want is to target not only the English speaking players, but also to create content which will be interesting to players coming from different backgrounds and countries. There are more versions of the site to be released, so stay tuned. In the end, the fun part of globalisation is being open to all, while respecting differences.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
Dijana: For AskGamblers, it is extremely important to be compliant and follow all changes made on regulated markets. Stricter regulations are affecting the market and traffic, but since it is for a good cause and the protection of players, we will never be against it.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
Milica: For us and other European affiliates, it is a huge learning and advancing opportunity. We already have the Japanese version of AskGamblers, and we are exploring options for entering other Asian markets, too.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Milica: If I’d known back then that it would be so much fun being part of the industry, I would’ve joined its ranks even earlier!
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
Dijana: Someone flicking a switch and turning off the global internet.
What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020?
Dijana: The newly regulated German market, for one. Also, for us personally, organizing our AskGamblers Awards in 2021. With all the restrictions in place, it won’t be easy to gather all the partners under one roof. But, we will think of a way!
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
Milica: I think the iGaming industry will only continue to grow, and become more and more regulated. In the end we’ll have every market regulated in a different way which will help brands to focus better, and to approach each player with particular attention.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
Milica: This is a million dollar question. What I can say is our team is masterful in this area as we have a lot of connections, not only with casino managers, but also white label managers, game providers, other affiliates and so on. Still, there is only one way to do it: with a smile, and with the ability of multitasking, which is absolutely necessary in our job. It’s important to build a strong team, so that everyone shares the same idea, but still features different strong points. We are very proud of our team, as we are all very different but have the same goal, and we are easy to organize and share jobs among us - even the less exciting ones.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Milica: It is important to be present, especially for us, as we are based in Serbia and cannot have daily meetings with partners. Our presence at conferences has been established since the very beginning. This means we aren’t simply walking around, but we’re affiliates with our own booth. Also, we always have unique presents prepared for our partners, which are both attractive and handy. One thing that could be better at iGaming conferences is being mindful of ecology. There is a lot of unnecessary waste all over and around the halls where conferences are taking place. Perhaps we can all together have a joint initiative in terms of building the awareness of attendees and the whole industry regarding this issue.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
Dijana: I’ve attended both SIGMA Manila and SIGMA Malta. It was a great opportunity to meet partners, hear about new trends, and exchange knowledge and ideas. Can’t wait for the new chances for meet ups! Milca has also participated in AGS HongKong.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies!
Dijana: I’ve worked at AskGamblers for over two and a half years now. Not only has this been a professional challenge, but also a personal life-altering period of life. I like to travel and meeting new people excites me. Being in a challenging environment and in an industry like ours brings me pure joy. In my free time I like to ride my bicycle or my Vespa, hang out with family or read fascinating literature. I don’t like to cook, but I do enjoy eating delicious food and drinking wine with my friends.
Milica: I’ve been with AskGamblers for five years now, and during this long journey, I’ve grown in directions I’d never imagined I could possibly go. Apart from managing partner accounts, I am also responsible for the brand awareness of AskGamblers, which is extremely important to me, as I’m a very creative person. I am a huge dog lover, and if you ever spot a blonde girl in the street talking to dogs during a conference, that’s me. People say I have a lot of style, and, indeed, one of my favourite things in life are fashion and shopping.