GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 18 - October 2011

Your sites are exclusively about mo- bile gaming for smartphones including BlackBerry, iPhone and Android. When did you launch the first of these niche- market sites, and how has your traffic and revenue been tracking, from day one to right now? To prevent any possible con- fusion, let me first explain that I promote mobile gambling programs mainly on mo- bile websites. So it’s in fact double mobile. Although I run some regular websites on mobile gambling as well, the majority of traffic (and revenue) is generated by mo- bile users. Back in 2008 I started my first mobile website, with little to no knowledge about the mobile market. I had questions about which mobile ad network to use and how to get good rankings in the mobile search engines (I still have these same questions sometimes). There is a lot of information on the Net about how to build and main- tain an online affiliate site, including the dos and don’ts. For mobile affiliate sites, however, there is far less information available and some- times it felt like searching for a needle in the haystack. So I had to learn by trial and error, which turned out to be quite costly. Investing in ad campaigns with a horrible ROI, not reaching the right audience and buying bad traffic were some of the prob- lems I encountered. From the start revenue varied a lot from month to month and from casino to casi- no. Actually this still is the case, but I think this happens in every emerging market. Despite all the positive forecasts, this isn’t an easy money market. It takes hard work and a lot of time to get good results. In that perspective, it doesn’t differ from the online business, I guess. The good news is that there still is little competition and advertising is cheap com- pared to online, making it a very profitable market. With AdWords you can have your ad on the first mobile page for less than a dollar – even for major keywords like ca- sino and blackjack. Although I can’t quit my regular job just yet, it generates a nice extra income and I’ve noticed a steady increase. Were you already working in online gam- bling when you decided to go 100 per- cent mobile? No. In 2007 I built my first website as a hobby, hoping to make some money with ringtones and mobile games. Soon I discovered how difficult it was to make it profitable, so I started to look for alternatives. That is when I stumbled upon the mobile market and realized its immense potential. I searched for pro- grams to join and noticed the gambling industry was one of the few that were active in this field and also offered good mobile affiliate programs. In fact they still are and I don’t understand why oth- er industries, such as travel companies, aren’t more active. I don’t expect people will ever plan their summer holiday on their phone, but booking a hotel room works perfectly on mobile. In what ways, if any, is operating a mobile gaming portal different from operating a conventional online gaming portal? Since I never operated an online gaming portal, I can’t really compare these two. As in online gaming, webmasters have to find good affiliate programs to join and set up an online or mobile portal where visitors find the information they’re interested in. The main difference between developing a mobile and a regular website, however, is that you have to think mobile. Less is more. Always keep in mind that people are looking at a small screen. Limit page weight to avoid long loading times, op- timize and simplify navigation, prevent horizontal scrolling and don’t bombard them with long, extensive articles. Although mobile phones get more sophis- ticated by the day, they will always have limitations compared to desktop and lap- top computers. What do you find to be the major differ- ences between online and mobile gam- blers? Which group has the highest roll- ers? Research on mobile users shows that there are some basic differences between the online and the mobile gambler. The mobile gambler is less willing to spend money, plays less frequently with shorter sessions and is less loyal to a specific ca- sino or gambling program. I have several players who made their first deposit more than a year after they initially registered. Although I have some high rollers, the ma- jority play with small amounts. It’s a bit like looking in the crystal ball, but person- ally I don’t expect this to change radically in the coming years. Most revenue will be generated by many small depositors rath- er than by high rollers. Fortunately there are far more mobile users than online us- ers, and forecasts still predict massive on- going growth. Are you a full-time gambling affiliate, or do you hold down another job as well? I’m a full-time senior auditor in real life. Although I like this job very much, I hope one day to be able to become a full- time affiliate. What do you like about the industry? It’s a very dynamic industry and mobile gam- bling is a developing market with great opportunities. Since I like to do research and figure out how things work, this is a perfect environment for me. What don’t you like about the industry? The crooks and scams, although these are not things that only occur in this industry. What surprised you themost about the in- dustry? Many affiliates still don’t recognize the massive potential of mobile. Although an increasing number of webmasters have added a mobile gambling section to their websites, only few have developed a mo- bile version to target mobile users. GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES JJ HOFKAMP casinoplanet Mobile gaming’s poised for massive growth driven by small depositors GPWA Affiliate Interview Series