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Affiliate Success: Interview with Matt Stephens, founder at Slots-Guide.eu

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You know what the best part of conducting these interview is? Hearing all these inspirational stories of online gambling affiliates that lead the way of entrepreneurship worldwide and the next generation of the industry which makes it a better place and environment for us all. One of them built a humour website back in the 90’s which was on a free host and had 2 million unique visitors before the free host closed it down. Matt has certainly got talent for entrepreneurship and now runs a family business with his brother Dom. These guys have put together Slots-Guide.eu and work hard to become the next super-affiliate. If this interview doesn’t inspire you to venture into this great industry, nothing else will 🙂

  • Name: Matt Stephens
  • Age: 41
  • Hometown: Bradford, England
  • Living in: The Netherlands
  • Favorite Food: Pizza & Indian Curry
  • Must Read Book: Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

EEG: Tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Matt really is, the main person behind Slots-Guide.eu. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing this great review website for top online casino games and reviews?

Matt: Hi there, thanks for the interview and thanks for recognizing Slots Guide and all the hard work we have put in to it!
I was born in England but have spent most of my life in the Netherlands aside from a few years at university studying economics back in England. I am an ICT professional by trade, though at some point in the distant future it would be nice to quit the day job and work on the website full time.
So how did Slots Guide come about? Well I have built a few websites in the past: a fantasy football website which was really successful with the couple of hundred players that joined. I also built a humour website back in the 90’s which was on a free host and had 2 million unique visitors before the free host closed it down as it was taxing their servers too much! I have also done a bit of journalism as a hobby and been published in a few magazines, websites and newspapers.
So with all my experience and with gaming and slot machines being a long time hobby of both myself and my brother, it seemed a natural move to start an online gaming website together. We were pretty disgusted at the amount of poor quality and often downright dangerous review and so called advice sites out there that we knew there was – and still is – room for more honest sites.

EEG: As we understand it is a family business, where your brother Dom is in charge of Social Media, research and development. How are you guys getting along? Must be great to have your main partner your brother.

Matt: It is very good working together for the most part. Obviously there’s brotherly rivalry and annoyances from time to time but that often works in our favour that we can have a good argument and then come up with great ideas and solutions. If you are working by yourself or with a business partner you might not always push yourselves and each other as hard as we do!
We also have a big advantage in that we both have very good full time jobs. We are both international civil servants and so we don’t need Slots Guide to earn any income at all. This means we can be ruthless with gaming sites and providers we disapprove of whilst giving our readers the absolute best advice possible. I think readers really appreciate honesty.

EEG: Since there are thousands of casino game review websites out there, where do you think Slots-Guide.eu stands now?

Matt: Slots Guide is going to grow slower than we would ideally like because of our full time jobs and our other life commitments. And we want to provide quality information rather than writing trash or copying text from other websites. So we can’t churn out a dozen pages per day. But again the feedback we have gotten has shown that the visitors like the way we are working. They can tell the site has been written with love and care. And I think this is the reason we have come so far in such a short time.
We are not one of the big couple of dozen websites yet, but we already have a loyal following and we are growing every single week!

EEG: What are the strong points of Slots-Guide.eu and what makes it stand out from the niche websites?

Matt: It’s definitely our honesty, our research and in particular our stance on problem gambling. We really feel that EVERY affiliate portal should have problem gambling information readily available. We know a lot of gambling addicts and have seen at close quarters the destruction it causes. It is very close to our heart and we don’t feel the industry or even the governments as a whole is doing nearly enough to combat it.
We are working on a major project to help with problem gambling and while it is going to easily take a year or so to complete and require a lot of cooperation from the casinos, it is very important and is going to help a lot of people if we can pull it off.

EEG: What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?

Matt: There are small bumps every week. Learning about SEO, redesigning and reorganizing the website, learning about wordpress, you name it! The site will never be complete and I’ll never be 100% happy with it. But that’s what it is all about if you want to be a success.
The biggest single bump though is what I like to call “Forumgate” which was where the forum we tried to start got spammed by a couple of thousand bot accounts in a single weekend. Somebody found a flaw in the forum software and used our site as part of a link network. After trying to fix it we decided to remove the entire forum and have been playing clean up ever since!

EEG: You have an interesting Casino Awards and Casino ratings page which is quite spread across the industry, however, yours seems to be on the right track. How does your extreme focus on knowledge sharing on casino come about? Was it something on your mind when you started or was it something you acquired on the go?

Matt: A bit of both. The focus before starting the website was to give the best advice possible and to point readers away from all the dangers. Quite honestly I would be happy if all forms of gambling were completely banned everywhere in the world. But of course things don’t work like that so if people want to play then we have to help them play where they will be safe. So we knew a lot and did a lot of research before starting the website and will continue to seek out all the information we can. This week for instance we have published a lot of return to player statistics for slots. We aim to soon have the biggest RTP database out there so people can give themselves the best possible chance against the casino! If any slot providers are reading this and we haven’t gotten round to you yet, please get in touch!

EEG: We have browsed your website and found some high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing the reviews? How many reviews are there on your website?

Matt: 99% of it is my writing. Dom has written a few things and we have a friend who is a gambling addict who has kindly helped us a bit as well. Having said that we are very open to bringing new writers on board. We are actively seeking partners, writers who share the same philosophy as us and who have the talents to write good, solid and honest content and who want to really be a part of making Slots Guide something truly special.
At the moment there must be well over two hundred reviews on the site and well over a hundred articles.

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EEG: How do you keep the content fresh and devoid of clutter when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?

Matt: I don’t really know any other way to write. I only write stuff that I would want to read myself. The slot reviews for instance, I’ve seen thousands of generic reviews either copy and pasted from the provider or just describing the slot based on half a dozen spins or from the pay table. That doesn’t help anyone. If I write a slot review I will try to actually tell people how the slots play, if it is a slot for the casual player or for the more dedicated player with a larger bankroll.

EEG: We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?

Matt: Yes this is a very difficult part of the job. We get loads of Affiliate requests, at the moment we have about 20 in the queue waiting to be added. We don’t just add them on the fly, we have to thoroughly check the brands out before they can be accepted.
As for the relationships, well it isn’t that difficult really or at least it shouldn’t be. Be nice, be honest, be friendly. Don’t be pushy or impatient. Skype is a brilliant tool for building up a good relationship.

EEG: How do you see the future of the gaming industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?

Matt: I think it may well explode in the next few years. There is so much money involved and eventually even the strictest governments will cave in to the pressure and the dollar signs. If one ruling party is blocking legislation then a change in government a few years later gives the industry a fresh chance.
Take a look at the USA, there was a major shift from 2006 onwards with the UIGEA but now you have “politicians” like Donald Trump who will turn things on their head in the unlikely event he gets elected as president. At some point the laws will change and in fact things are already changing in a number of states.
But that’s not why it will explode. Technology is the game changer, the slot machines are getting better and better, there are virtual casinos, virtual poker tournaments (using Oculous Rift and the like) and there are gambling and poker programs on television all the time. It is becoming mass entertainment and while it is very exciting it is also quite scary. The times are changing, the video game industry is bigger than Hollywood now, mobile gaming isn’t far behind and on demand television is gunning for network and cable television. Technology is running rampant and online gambling is going to play a big part in the future.

EEG: Can you name one change that you want to see in the casino affiliate ecosystem?

Matt: I would like to see more honesty across the board, both from the operators and from the affiliates themselves. Greater player protection and greater affiliate protection as well. But we do all need to work together for that to happen and there is no one major central regulatory body governing all of it. How do you regulate something as massive and diverse as the global internet gaming industry? I wish I had the answer to that.

EEG: What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?

Matt: I think the best single piece of advice I can give is to assume you are not going to earn a penny for the first two years of running your website. If you forget about income and simply aim to provide unique, interesting and useful information then you stand a chance of survival and success. If you are only out to earn a quick few bucks then think twice as that will show. The days when spam sites could attract lots of clicks without offering anything tangible and without much hard work are a thing of the distant past.

EEG: Now, who is your favourite celebrity?

Matt: Now there’s a question. Phil Parkinson is probably too low profile to be considered a celebrity… Right now I’d probably have to say Jamie Vardy as he is flavor of the month in the media. Down to earth lad who worked his way from part time football to top of the Premier league through grit, determination and hard work.
If Vardy isn’t really classed as a celebrity then I’d have to go with Stephen Hawking. Legend!

EEG: If you would just open your Youtube search bar, what would you search for?

Matt: Dragons Den UK or Mock The Week. I get to catch up on these when the Mrs is out!

EEG: Back to work. Do you attend any igaming conferences? If so, which one is your favourite and what is your most fun experience?

Matt: I’ve not attended one yet as Slots Guide is only just about to approach its first birthday. Maybe Amsterdam in 2016 will be my first as its close by.

EEG: How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotpot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?

Matt: I am going to pass this section over to Dom to answer.

Dom: Given the number of very good affiliate managers we are seeing from Eastern European countries, and the number of eastern Europeans already employed in the Live Casino platforms of many online casinos, I think the start has already been made. I can see major operators shifting their base from countries like Israel to Eastern Europe in the short to mid-term as the environment is certainly there, good infrastructure, well trained ICT staff, good English speakers, and a great work ethic are a just a few of the many factors the “big boys” will also already be noticing. Add to this the great work companies like eegaming.org are doing to further develop the industry in the region, and the hotspot will certainly be here sooner rather than later.

In terms of improvement, the region as a whole needs to promote itself more, both as a place of well trained individuals and as an area with a very solid Internet platform and infrastructure. India became very well known for its IT professionals, and many companies moved their business there in the 90’s, taking advantage of the infrastructure to set up their call centers and other key assets. Taking a lesson from how India did things would be a good start in getting a chunk of the boom. Also, eegaming.org needs to stick around for a long time as the promotional work you are doing for the region is a great step in the right direction.

EEG: Alright, here comes the fun part….favourite food, where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favourite destination around the world.

Dom: As Matt has mentioned I too am an international civil servant, and I do travel a lot (120+ days per year) for my day job, and have visited a number of countries in Eastern Europe over the last 10-12 years. I have spent many months in Russia, and in Serbia, and a good number of weeks in Czech and Slovakia, with my favourite being Serbia. Belgrade is a great city, but by far the most time I have spent there has been in Krusevac, and this is one of my favourite places in Eastern Europe.
Across Eastern Europe the food is fantastic, with meat and vegetables tasting like they should do, not the mass produced and force bred food stuffs that we are forced to buy in Western Europe. A particular favourite food of mine has to be Kaymak (the Serbian type), which is magnificent but bad for the waist line.
Favourite destination in the world has to be San Diego, a great city with a great year round warm (16-25c) climate, but Reims in France comes a very close second together with Krusevac. Of course I have to mention Las Vegas as well, a stunning place, and one that I would have to say everyone should visit once in their life, gamblers and non-gamblers alike!

EEG: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?

Dom: There are very few places I wouldn’t want to visit at least once, but some parts of Moscow and Bratislava are a little bit tricky if you don’t speak the language, but the same has to be said for just about anywhere in the world. I still like the idea of spending a Russian winter in a rural village in a traditional wooden house.

EEG: What is your opinion about EEG (Eastern European Gaming – eegaming.org)?

Matt: I think you are doing a great job. Your website and magazine certainly stands out against the crowd. You are offering unique and interesting insights into the affiliate world and the interviews are inspirational. I would much rather see good researched articles like you are providing rather than just trying the hard sell for whoever offers the best deal. Keep up the good work and I hope that as you grow, you become stronger and maybe as a collective the EEG can do some good!

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Affilka by SOFTSWISS Launches an Affiliate Program With The Clubhouse Casino

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Affilka by SOFTSWISS expands its partner list by signing a partnership agreement with a new casino, The Clubhouse Casino. The affiliate program launched as a result of the collaboration is The Clubhouse Affiliates. This will allow The Clubhouse Casino to strengthen their position on the gambling market and bring target players to the casino.

The Clubhouse Casino operates on the SOFTSWISS Online Casino Platform. The connection to Affilka was therefore a logical step in the casino’s development. The brand operates under a Curacao licence and offers a huge selection of games from well-known iGaming providers. 

With the launch of its own affiliate program, The Clubhouse Casino will be able to effectively promote its brand, attracting gaming traffic and increasing profits with affiliates’ help. Among the Affilka benefits that influenced The Clubhouse Casino to sign the agreement are built-in payment processing, detailed reports on affiliate and campaign performance, a flexible commission constructor, S2S postbacks, and media management tools. 

The Affilka affiliate marketing platform spun off into a standalone product in the SOFTSWISS solution portfolio in 2018. Prior to that, it was part of the SOFTSWISS Online Casino Platform. Affilka currently powers more than 120 affiliate programs. 

“I am delighted to welcome The Clubhouse Casino to our large client family. I am sure that the partnership with Affilka will bring many benefits to the company and open up prospects for growth and development. For our part, our team will do everything possible to make this partnership as successful and fruitful as possible!” commented Anastasia Borovaya, Product Owner of Affilka. 

“As a new casino on the market with a premium offering, we believe this partnership with Affilka will help The Clubhouse Casino continue to disrupt the igaming industry and show not just our members, but our affiliate partners, that there is a better way to approach an online casino business. As a young, innovative company, it is great to work with a team who also want to adapt and push the boundaries of service and offering,” said a Clubhouse Casino representative.

 

About SOFTSWISS

Affilka by SOFTSWISS is an affiliate management platform for iGaming operators. The platform enables operators to manage affiliate partners across multiple brands, optimise marketing spend, and analyse player ROI from partners.

SOFTSWISS is a widely-acclaimed iGaming expert, supplying certified software solutions for managing online gambling operations. The company has an international team, which counts 1,000+ employees and has an official presence in Malta, Belarus, Poland and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences, including Curacao, Malta, Estonia, Belarus, Belgium, Sweden, Nigeria, Ghana, Serbia and Greece. The company has a vast product portfolio, which includes an Online Casino Platform, Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013 SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.

 

About The Clubhouse Casino

The Clubhouse Casino is the most premium brand on the market, and likes to do things a little differently. We don’t have users, we have members, and they will be treated as such. Rewarding Loyalty is our mantra, but we also know that we have to earn members’ loyalty, putting excellent service at the heart of everything. Our team’s vast experience has taught us what players want, and we are dedicated to delivering that. Fast withdrawals, great game selection, and an elegant, easy to navigate website. We have built a casino that matches our ambition, to be the best. 

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From Lara Croft to Thor, personal trainer re-creates the fitness regimes of iconic gaming characters

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  • Ebuyer have teamed up with expert PT Mike Harle to create week-long diet and workout plans tailored to popular gaming characters.
  • If you’re wondering what it would take to get lean Lara Croft style or attain the body of a literal god (Thor), here is what it could take to maintain their physiques.

New year is here, and therefore it’s time to sign up for that annual gym membership you are probably, rarely, going to use. But have you ever sat at your console and wondered “how would they keep in shape” when it comes to gaming characters?

Well, Ebuyer have taken matters into their own hands to discover just that – not without a little help of course. Teaming up with expert PT and owner of the Frontrow gym in Yarm, Mike Harle, Ebuyer have created a week-long diet and workout plan specifically tailored to your favourite gaming characters.

So, if you’re wondering what it would take for Lara Croft to stay lean, or to maintain the body of a literal god (Thor), look no further.

Mario (Super Mario)

Although the live-action Super Mario movie is set to arrive in December 2022, the potbellied plumber’s short stature doesn’t exactly scream the Hollywood image of fitness. He’s not ripped, he’s not chiselled, but he’s stocky and my God can that plumber jump. And as it turns out, you don’t have to look far to find capable athletes of a similar build.

The workout and diet of a rugby prop fit Mario’s mould nicely. Bulky but physically fit, and fully capable of sudden spurts of speed, the use of weights and cardio workouts will help Mario build the muscle his body needs to jump into every pipe.

Of course, Mario will need to cut back on the heavy breakfast foods in favour of something healthier. However, given his proclivity for mushrooms, this means he can eat a huge variety of meal options by substituting meat for a tasty mushroom-based meat alternative.

Lara Croft (Tomb Radar)

Dodging the lethal traps of tombs and scaling ancient ziggurats is no simple feat. Lara Croft needs to be strong yet flexible, with plenty of athletic and gymnastic prowess to overcome her foes. That means developing a healthy level of muscle without bulking up.

Lara’s workout is all about Calisthenics, bodyweight training that works large groups of muscles simultaneously without the use of additional weights and exercise machines. This allows her to strengthen all the muscles in her body but leave herself slim enough to easily swing between ledges and squeeze through crevices.

As for diet, Lara is spoilt for choice. With her vast pockets of wealth, she can afford the best food from around the world, meaning she’ll have no trouble eating well while tailoring her diet to perfectly compliment her workout.

Thor (Thor: God Of Thunder)

With the Thor: Love and Thunder movie dropping on the 8th of July, Thor’s going to have to do quite a bit of work to shift his beer belly and regain his thunder post-Endgame. And in order to attain the body of a literal god, you need to do some pretty intense workouts and diet adjustments. So, what better place to turn to for inspiration than the fittest man on Earth, CrossFit champion Matt Fraser.

CrossFit is all about constantly varied, high-intensity weight and cardio movements that work the entirety of the body. Combine this with a diet designed to shed as much fat as possible and Thor will be well on his way to rebuilding his eight-pack in no time.

Of course, there are a few things even the God of Thunder can’t live without. There’s no keeping Thor off the beer, which is why his diet accommodates for a litre of the frothy beverage each day.

“New Year is here, and so are our annual resolutions to get fitter. So, it got us thinking over at Ebuyer – just what would it take for our favourite gaming characters to keep their shape and save the world” says Andy Roberts, E-Commerce Director of Ebuyer.

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SuperGaming, one of India’s leading game development companies announced its mobile multiplayer shooter MaskGun has crossed 60 million players. January also marks the game’s third anniversary.

To celebrate this, MaskGun gets a new update known as the 3rd Anniversary Update. It brings a revamped user interface, fresh skins, and hotly-requested 1v1 mode. It’s out now via the App and Play Store.

“The MaskGun anniversary update is our biggest one yet,” says Roby John, CEO and co-founder. “1v1 in particular has been the most requested feature from the community. It aims to be a test of true skill to show off the best talent from MaskGun’s 60 million plus players as there won’t be a team to make up for your lapses or carry you in a match.”

As the name suggests, 1v1 pits one player against another in a no-holds barred contest to see who is the best. Select from three weapon types — assault rifle, shotgun, and sniper rifle and square off against your friend (or enemy) and settle rivalries once and for all. You can check out what to expect from 1v1 in this handy trailer:

Beat your rivals consistently and you could find yourself a spot on MaskGun’s leaderboard and win unique in-game rewards too. You can access the mode from the Rumble section of the game’s menu. Other additions include new female agents and dragonborne weapon skins. You can download MaskGun for free right now on the App Store and Google Play.

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