Viorel Stan shares his top tips for affiliate success


5 Star catches up with Viorel Stan, founder and chief executive officer of GSH Online Media.

Hello Viorel, some time has passed since our last discussion. How are you guys doing? Still working from home?

Indeed some time passed since our last chat. Unfortunately also this time we have to settle for e-chat, at least till COVID-19 situation will get under control.

Business-wise, we are doing well. The entire team is very busy and that’s a good sign. Now we have more games than ever and more important we implemented Age Check verification for the UK market. The Romanian facing brands are getting traction while our flagship brand, will soon get a native mobile app for both Android and iOS.

We achieve all those results working exclusively from home and keeping in mind how things progress in Romania, with COVID-19, most probably we will continue working from home at least till springtime.

Keeping in mind you are an expert in your field, can you provide five tips for new affiliate businesses?

Sure, it will be my pleasure. Here are my five tips for iGaming affiliate companies, new or existing ones:

The iGaming affiliation business, like any other business, needs a focused approach to maximise the success rate. The iGaming users’ needs are so diversified, and there are tons of products trying to satisfy them.

In the past we used to keep everything igaming related under the umbrella of Sportsbook, Casino, Lottery or Poker, now this is history. Thanks to the industry development, what used to be treated as a side-product now can be a stand-alone product. Live Casino, E-Sports or Slingo are just a few examples.

Affiliates which are reaching the market in our days with a “one size fits all” product can guarantee only failure. With such a broad focus, they will never be able to differentiate from the competitors targeting one niche or to gain the users’ trust. Without those two elements, your business is doomed.

My advice is to build a product for a niche and assure that you have the needed expertise to back them up. Like this, your success chances will increase dramatically.

Know your competitors.

After choosing a niche where you have all the needed know-how, you must go to the next step. Check the competitors, they for sure are a lot, and they are fearless.  

You must always keep an eye on the competitors and assure that you learn from their success or mistakes. Running in deep competitors analysis with regularity is something that many companies ignore, not because they don’t want to but mainly because they are busy with other activities which they consider more important. This can be a capital mistake! You must know your competitors inside out, that’s the only way you can assure your product will become better.

Never consider yourself too good to be surpassed, we are living in the era of speed, companies are born, they can become successful and also die in a matter of few years.

The best example that I have in my mind is Nokia, they used to be #1 by far in the mobile devices industry, and in a few years, they completely disappeared from the top.

Keep a close eye on your competitors and assure that you are at least one step in front of them.

Acquisition is good but is not enough.

Acquiring customers is extremely important for any business and is even more important for the igaming affiliates, which are in need of high volumes to convert a visitor to a first time depositor. But we should never forget about retention. If an affiliate brand manages to retain it’s players he can increase the profits dramatically by converting the same player multiple times with different operators.

Assure that you find the perfect balance between acquisition and retention as this will allow you to maximise the ROI and increase.

Choose your partners wisely.

There are so many online operators in the market that an affiliate can promote. Usually, the startups are working with all the brands, and they promote the ones that pay them the most, or better said, those that promise to pay more. My advice is to choose your partners wisely and promote only the legit (licensed) brands. By following this advice, you will be sure that the players you refer will have a safe and pleasant experience. If things go wrong for the player, he will not forget the brand who referred him and like this, through the word of mouth you will be affected as well. Keep in mind that a dodgy brand will not have any problems in stop paying also the affiliates. Imagine how you will feel if after one month of hard work, where you

delivered 100 FTD’s to an online casino, your CPA payment of 20.000 EUR’s will never come. Even worse, imagine you acquired that traffic doing PPC. This will severely affect your cash flow and might represent the end of the road for a start up.

In conclusion, work only with legit brands and don’t get super excited by performance deals that look good at first sight but which are offered by dodgy operators.

Protect the players.

I like to see online gambling as online entertainment when done responsibly. There is no real difference between a user paying 5 pounds to see a movie online and another user paying 5 pounds to play his favourite slot. Of course, we should keep in mind one extra thing, there is a risk factor in this industry that we should not forget about. For some players, the step between gambling for fun and gambling addiction can be really small. It is also our duty, as affiliates, to do everything possible to educate and protect the players.

The players are paying our salaries, and in exchange, we must do our best to protect them. For this to happen, you should always respect the recommendations imposed by the regulators, work with legit brands and explain as clearly as possible what the risks of online gambling are and where they can find support, if needed. That’s the absolute minimum we can do for this industry.