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sigma igaming http://sigma.com.mt/latest-news/compliance

Johan Syrén – a Senior Affiliate Manager at Revenue Lab, gives an exclusive interview to SiGMA News as part of our latest series on affiliates. 

From Malta to Moscow, Revenue Lab has a decade of experience in the iGaming industry. Although currently focusing on CA, NZ and the EU, Johan Syrén has his eye on the emerging potential of CIS markets – follow his story below.

How did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
It all started back in Malta around 2009-2010. I was working with my good friends Dennis Dyhr-Hansen and Mikael Strunge and we were doing marketing with most of the brands based on the island.
We started doing mostly iGaming related marketing but later on we also got into both finance, and health and beauty products.
It was very fun times and I learned a lot from these gentlemen. Even if I tried a lot of other sectors, I always fell back to iGaming, as that is where my interest and heart lay.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We have a fantastic team that works very tightly together and we have great communication between the teams, so actually what we do is we help affiliates to analyse what brands work best on their traffic. We do the market research, analyse the brands performance, player’s value and retention rate and we use our internal data to get the perfect match for our publishers.
We are also working daily on improving our platform to be able to make our business development as fast and efficient as possible and we will be improving our support for the publishers, providing useful data regarding the markets and brands.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets? 

We are focusing mainly on CA, NZ and EU right now but as we are covering all markets worldwide we are always looking for emerging markets that might benefits us now or in the future. Betting in RU/CIS has always been interesting in my opinion and it’s a very large market that will just grow bigger when the current situation with sport events is over.

I always fell back to iGaming, as that is where my interest and heart lay. – Johan Syrén.
What makes your traffic proposition / traffic sites unique? What can you offer that others don’t? Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
We work in the majority of the markets and provide our affiliates with high rates lifetime deals. Also, thanks to the software solution, our affiliates can see their statistics in different sections on one screen. We use our internal data on the brands, geos, and traffic types to get the perfect match for the publisher. Last but definitely not least – we are very flexible with payment methods and are eager to make it safer and easier for our affiliates. It’s been a winning concept for us.
We also did a project with a small team when I arrived at our HQ in Moscow some weeks ago and that went very well, so now we’re going to make a super good structure that will make both brands and our affiliates surprised at how efficient we can be and we are always working on improving our staff expertise to make them the best in the business – we build up enthusiastic, energetic professionals!
Is the grass greener on the other side – Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting a go?
Actually most of my career has been on the affiliate side of the business but I did give the other side a short go before the current job at RevenueLab, I wasn’t sold let’s say, but it was also a fun experience and it might be it was not the right match with the brand so I am not going to judge that side of the fence just yet!
Are you concerned by the impact on the affiliate sector from shifting regulatory environments? (In particular UKGC, Sweden’s Spelinspektionen, and Germany’s 2020 State Treaty on Gaming Regulation)
Yes I am very concerned that this will kill or at least make it not as profitable for the business – both for affiliates and for the brands. In my opinion I think this is more a way for the governments to get a piece of the cake but I might be wrong. Anyway, I don’t like it, I think there must be some better way to solve it, even if I am not the one to say how.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic source?
SEO has always been our main target due to the quality of traffic and long-term relationships. But with that said we don’t close any doors at all and we do work with both SMS/Email marketers, streaming channels, PPC etc.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates? 
Faster response time and providing updates timely but we are working on improving this aspects from the “software” point of view as we speak, so that will be improving it all.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
You need to be able to listen to others advice, much of the advice in my career as an affiliate has been given by guys that have been in the business way longer then me or even by affiliates that are new but bring a great new perspective. Always be positive and humble, as I can see many affiliates around me acting like divas when they start earning money – but that can change in a moment and then when you come back to a brand asking for a good deal they might not be as friendly as they first were when you had a lot of traffic. So always be friendly and humble no matter your situation or the brand you are talking to. And lastly, always make deals that benefit both parties, as this will help you win in the long term.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day? 
We do have some great features that no others have from a technical standpoint and we do have some fantastic tech people in-house – so it’s making all of our daily tasks 100 times easier even though I am an old school kind of guy that doesn’t understand half of it and would rather do it the simple and easy way. Without this team though, I wouldn’t be able to have such a convenient flow on my daily work. Big thumbs up for those guys and girls.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
The Asian market is shaping-up great, more and more brands are asking for traffic – mainly from Japan but also India is growing fast. In time I think Asia can be a huge market that will overtake most markets as the gambling culture they have has been going for thousands of years.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out? 
I wish I knew that in this business there’s a lot of people trying to live on other people’s kindness. I have seen so many scams and attempts to scam, so I have been more and more careful about making deals with people that feel a bit too friendly or too eager to make this special deal just for me. But overall, most people are here to do honest business and I can honestly say that most of my best friends are in this business and I love it.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
Business wise it has to be when some brands are shaving your profit and you end up with a very small % of what you actually should have get. But hey, you learn from your mistakes. Also, all the regulations in the different markets that are popping up all the time are a nightmare for both brands and affiliates – as we have to think of new ways all the time to be able to reach out to our clientele.
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
As we are a huge network with over 600+ brands and we have several departments doing great work to get all relationship to work between us and the many brands – both within finance, and technical and account managers.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
There are a lot of benefits to attending large iGaming events as it enables you to meet all your old partners and friends in a fun environment and freshen up your deals and relationships. And as it is totally focussed on our business only and the opportunity to meet new partners and friends is huge, I would say, iGaming events are A and O to be huge very successful in this industry – especially when getting the face of the person you are making deals with increases the risk of being scammed, as most scammers hide behind the computer. So people, get out of your offices and join the conferences and all the great events being organised.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
Yes I have indeed, I think I been to most of the SIGMA events and think you guys are doing a great job. I am super impressed with what it has become. Before it was a very good event and having the conference in smaller venues made it feel familiar and cosy. The last one I attended in 2019 totally felt like a iGaming village or can I say iGaming country even? It’s been growing so big but still keeping that genuine feeling.
In 2020 I want to attend both of them, I’ve never been to Manila, so that one is on my bucket-list to attend. Attending SiGMA Malta is 100% certain, as that is more of a tradition as big as Easter for me to attend; enjoying it to the fullest every time.
 Tell us a bit about yourself – after all business is done between people, not just companies! 
What to say about me?  I am a very positive and friendly guy from the West Coast of Sweden.
Enjoyed and loved sport and betting all my life and have always been a very social person that loves to meet new people and make new friends. Always with a smile on my face and trying to enjoy life to the fullest and never say no to a chat with interesting people – both in and outside this business. Deeply in love with boats, sea, and football, of course we are talking about IFK Göteborg here!
sigma igaming Affiliate Grand Slam: Meet Johan Syrén
I need to recommend Zlatan’s book, as I am a football lover and his story is very interesting – Johan Syrén –  Senior Affiliate Manager.
When not working hard, how do you like kick back and relax?

I just love spending time in, on or close to the sea. Boats and sea are my passion in life, preferably with friends and family and with some great fresh seafood combined. A perfect day I would say.

Also love hitting the gym to get some of that energy back that you need for long hours of work. Very big fan of football, so watching some great games, specially IFK Gothenburg or Manchester United, I would never say no to.

Which quote would you say best sums up your approach to life?

Always think positive and be the energy you want to attract.

Are you reading anything good right now? Which books are on your nightstand?

Gonna be honest and say I am not much of a reader, I usually listen to Podcast/Audiobooks. I need to recommend Zlatan’s book though, as I am a football lover and his story is very interesting.

On my nightstand I actually have a book from a Swedish author called Elaine Eksvärd, called ”Härskarteknik” (English: “Master suppression techniques”) which is very interesting I would say.

What are you top 3 tips for surviving COVID-19, both as an individual and as a business?

Individual:

  • Keep distance
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t panic and try to live your live as normally as possible.

Business:

  • Scale down on non-important expenses (Maybe close office contract and make everyone work from home until business is back on track again)
  • Try to lower salary on ALL employees instead of firing people if possible – as this will hit you back later when you actually need the help.
  • Try to find new ways you can make money with your business, be open to new opportunities even if it’s outside your comfort zone as when everything is back to normal perhaps you might became great in another area that you never thought would be ”something for your business”.

 

Get to know other great affiliates, responsible for killer traffic! Click the link below to read more insights from affiliates:

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