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    GPWA Daniel is offline GPWA Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Ryan K.

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    (This interview was originally published in the July 2022 edition of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    How long have you been involved in the iGaming affiliate business? How did you get your start?

    I have been involved with the iGaming affiliate business for almost 20 years now. I first realized my love for sports betting in the early 2000s. I also had tech skills and interest in making money online — so I combined all of that together by creating websites around sports, poker and casino.

    From there, I quickly realized that there was a community of affiliates doing the same thing. I shifted my focus towards serving them by creating articles for their sites. That’s where it truly all began for me. Prior to being in iGaming, I was a web programmer, data analyst, and 6 Sigma Black belt at Caterpillar Inc.

    In the early 2000s, you started writing for other affiliates as a freelancer. Looking back, what did that teach you about the industry and how does having that past experience help you today as a sports betting affiliate and content provider?

    Jumping in as a freelance writer for other affiliates really helped me get to where I am today. I was able to make connections with successful affiliates, earn a bit of extra cash writing about gambling (poker and casino back then, sports now), plus learn a lot about how the affiliate marketing industry operates.

    Many of the people I wrote for back in the 2000s are still loyal clients of mine today. Those relationships and that experience are the backbone of everything we do now.

    Your core company is an iGaming content agency where you service other affiliates. Please tell us more about this business model and how it has worked out for your company.

    Yes, that is true. I have a slightly different path than other true affiliates.

    I realized early on that I was REALLY GOOD at the content side of affiliate marketing. But as we all know, that only makes up a part of the qualities needed to be a successful affiliate. Converting that content into signups and players was my downfall. So I took a different approach and created an agency to help service other affiliates through content. I doubled down on what I did best, and have built a team of 80+ writers that now focus on sports, sports betting and other iGaming content. It’s been amazing to serve other affiliates through content for nearly 20 years now.

    But you also operate affiliate sites as well, correct?

    Yes, we do! As mentioned above, being an affiliate is secondary to my content agency. But, I like to say I’ve spent my life auditing good writers. We are always trying out new writers and giving them a chance to join our team.

    We developed a network of sites (called the Sports 2.0 Network), with the sole purpose of using it as a “training ground” for my writers and team. Once that network started gaining traffic, I decided to also implement some of the affiliate marketing techniques I’d learned over the years to monetize a bit of the traffic on these sites. It’s still secondary, but it’s a lot of fun.

    Your affiliate sites are exclusive to the U.S. sports betting market. Please tell us how your company and business strategy has changed since PASPA was abolished in 2018.

    I made the conscious decision to focus heavily on the U.S. market. Being that I live in the United States and love everything about U.S.-facing sports, this was an easy decision for me to make.

    Back before 2018, I was very shy about talking about what I did. But since PASPA was abolished, I now scream from the rooftops about being in the sports betting industry. Our company was really well positioned to capitalize on the growth of the U.S. market, and we continue to build our footprint year after year.

    So, what do your family and friends think of your profession now?

    When I first went full time into this industry, I think my family thought I was crazy. I left a nice paying job at a Fortune 100 company to pursue my passion in this industry.

    Now, fast forward to today, I think my family understands, supports, and loves what I do. My parents still probably don’t quite GET the magnitude of what I do, but they support it. My brother works for me as my right-hand man and content manager. My wife is fully supportive as long as the money is still coming in (Laughs).My kids love that I can work anytime from anywhere, and that I’m doing things around sports! My oldest works part-time for me and seems to have interest in doing more, so that’s all very rewarding for me.

    How do you think the US sports betting market will change in the next five years?

    Obviously more and more states will become legal. I think the elephant in the room is the question of when California, Texas and Florida will become legal. These states make up a massive population of the U.S. and will clearly be huge for sports betting activity.
    We’ve also seen a ton of money come into this space, almost a Gold Rush of sorts, being poured into sports betting startups and acquisitions. I do believe this will settle down and the money will dry up a bit as the market matures.

    What advice would you have for a fellow iGaming affiliate looking to break into the U.S. market?

    Don’t try to do everything yourself. Back in the day, successful affiliates could just be an individual that built a site, slapped some content up, threw some ads on it, and boom — signups!

    Nowadays, there are major affiliate companies that are dominating this industry. If you want to get into this space, make sure you have partnered with the right team. Get the right content team to help you deliver SEO articles at scale. Get the right conversion people to help work on the site CPAs and ads. Take time, get your licenses, and create deals with the operators. My best advice would be to NOT try and tackle this alone; work with partners, teams and agencies that can help speed things up for you.

    Your company generates a large volume of content on a daily basis. How many full-time employees and freelancers do you currently employ and how have those numbers changed in the past three years?

    We do. We are writing somewhere around 2,500,000 words per month so far in 2022. That’s a lot of content, coming close to 85,000 words per day. We have a team of six full-time employees that focus on content management, editing, SEO, sales and writing. We then have another 80+ freelancers that work for us. Over the last three years, our team has doubled in growth to keep up with the demand for U.S.-facing sports content.

    Is it still true that “content is king”? What are some of the other key elements to attracting organic traffic?

    I’m a bit biased here as I own a successful content agency. But YES YES YES. Content is still king. Without it, affiliates can’t get traffic. Without traffic, no one is able to sign up for your offers. Without people signing up for offers, you aren’t an affiliate.
    So it all begins with GREAT CONTENT. From there, you have to be able to put the right SEO in place to get that content to rank well for the keywords you are targeting. Lastly, the on-page experience needs to be amazing for readers to convert into signups.

    What about SEO? How much time do you specifically spend on SEO for your sites on weekly basis?

    Our team of managers, writers and editors are all trained and educated in SEO. That’s a huge part of the equation for us to deliver great content to affiliates. That said, we don’t focus any time at all on SEO across the Sports 2.0 Network. This goes back to me treating the affiliate marketing side of my business as secondary. The network is a playground for my writers, and gets organic traffic. Maybe someday I’ll make that shift and focus on putting some true SEO effort into the network -- any volunteers to help? (Laughs).

    How do you decide which affiliate programs to work with? What have you learned over the years about picking and choosing the right affiliate programs for your sites?

    For me this is quite simple: any regulated operator in the United States that has an affiliate program -- I’ll work with. I’ve never been very picky about who I work with. I believe that more options are better.

    Now, when it comes to who I work CLOSEST with, that’s a different story. Having an engaged affiliate manager that you can trust is super important. Secondly, having a CPA or rev share deal that competes with others is huge. Some of these programs offering low CPAs are going to struggle getting affiliates to promote them. Our “real estate” is valuable, so the money needs to be there in return if we promote you.

    Tell us about your gambling domain name business. How did that idea come about and how has it been received?

    Let’s face it, “domaining,” collecting, and hoarding is a common “problem” for all of us affiliates. We see a domain name, think of a way to use it, buy it, and then let it sit. That’s how it started for me. But in 2020, I decided to start selling my gaming domains to other professionals and startups in the industry. I had been collecting a number of U.S.-facing domains, and decided it was time to get those into the hands of people that would use them.

    That’s when was born! It’s been going well and growing year after year. I don’t treat it as highest priority, but I have over 1,000 domains listed across my own storefront and other sites (afternic, Dan, GoDaddy and more). I just need to quit acquiring more domains, but as I mentioned, it’s a problem (Laughs).

    You have attended a number of iGaming events and conferences over the years. What do you like best about these events and what advice would you give to a fellow affiliate about making the most of their time at an industry event?

    My favorite thing about being involved in the iGaming industry is connecting with and helping other professionals succeed. This is why I love attending events. I make it a point to meet new people, connect with old friends, and help others connect with people at these events. It’s truly very rewarding for me!

    We all work very hard, day in and day out, so events are a way for us to get away from the daily grind and have some fun with colleagues in the industry. I love a good drink and a party so look out for me on the dance floor. (Laughs)

    My best advice would be to PLAN AHEAD. If there is someone you’d like to meet or connect with at an event, set that up ahead of time. Don’t just attend and hope it happens. Be purposeful with who you want to meet. Lastly, HAVE FUN! Events are meant to be fun so don’t forget about that part.

    How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally? Have you made any changes to your business strategy in response to the pandemic?

    COVID-19 only affected my business slightly. That period when there were no sports was quite an eye opener. Without sports, there is little need for sports content. Without sports content, I don’t have a company. But luckily that was short lived and sports continued on.

    Long term, the pandemic helped my business because we saw more companies turn to iGaming and online ways of making money. It opened up more demand for content. Personally, it made me appreciate traveling and doing things. I’m now on a mission to check off my bucket list items, visit the places we want to visit, do the things we want to do, because nothing is guaranteed in the future.

    What are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not working?

    I’m a pretty simple guy. I love to work, hang at the local pool or beach. Any chance I get to hear live music, I’m in. My wife and I do regular weekly date nights, mostly consisting of eating out at a new restaurant and enjoying live music. I also collect sports cards with my youngest son, that’s been fun! Lastly, I’ve taken a huge interest in crypto investing and learning. I’ve bought into a number of coins and NFT projects lately, which has become one of my biggest hobbies.

    If someone were visiting you in Florida for 24 hours and had never been to the area where you live, where would you bring them and why?

    There are three places we’d visit here in Orlando:

    • Icon Park at iDrive -- A big Ferris wheel looking out over Orlando, with tons of restaurants and music. Right off of the iconic International Drive.
    • Disney Springs -- This is a must visit as it combines a bit of Disney without the cost. Stores, entertainment, food and overall great vibes.
    • Boxi Park in Lake Nona -- A newer area of Orlando and not quite as well known as the first two. But this is an entertainment area with “box cars” making up the entire thing. Food stands, stage with live music, great craft beers and more. Kid friendly as well with a park and sand volleyball courts. Very cool place if you are near Lake Nona.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

    • Michael Jordan -- I’ve met MJ, but having the GOAT at my dinner is a must.
    • Garth Brooks -- We need some good music at this dinner, who else than Garth?
    • Gary Vaynerchuk -- GaryVee can bring that business angle to the table, and I think he’d be a lot of fun to hang with.
    • Tom Brady -- He’s the perfect mix of athlete, business and cool! Would love to pick his brain.
    • My wife -- Some of you may think I’m crazy for taking up a spot for my wife, but what fun is meeting these four above without being able to talk about with someone afterwards?

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.

    I’ve been blessed to have some truly amazing experiences in life:

    1. Played basketball with THE Michael Jordan and flag football with Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders
    2. I have partied at the Playboy Mansion
    3. I love country music and a good craft beer

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    The Buzz (5 August 2022)

  3. #2
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    pokeraussie is offline Public Member
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    Reading this interview makes me feel so lazy what a machine haha

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    eenzoo is offline Private Member
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    Garth Brooks!? Seriously?!

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    Topboss is offline Private Member
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    chaumi is offline Private Member
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    Great interview, Ryan. Fingers in lots of pies, great stuff!

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