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Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at Blexr

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Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at BlexrReading Time: 5 minutes

 

First up, tell us about yourself. It’s always great to hear successful entrepreneurs speak about themselves.

Mine is the classic affiliate story: in my final year of college in 2004, I started getting seriously into poker after winning €450 in a home game. Having been broke my entire student life, winning that amount of money in a night piqued my interest. I started to read a lot about poker, immersing myself in books, forums, and any other poker-related content I could find.

Soon after, I graduated from university and started my first job with a telecoms company, working in their web content department. At this point, I was playing online poker almost every day. After some initial struggles, I was earning more playing poker in the evenings than I was in my day job.

I was keen to travel while I was still young. Having saved up some money, I decided to quit my job to seek adventures overseas. At this point, I had enough of a bankroll to play poker full-time and sufficient money left in the bank for a return ticket, in case poker didn’t work out. I headed off to Asia with some friends and started my professional poker-playing journey.

The next three years went brilliantly. By 2008, I had travelled across Asia and moved from low-stakes to high-stakes games.

I was also getting an amazing rakeback deal from the poker site I played on. The manager signed me up to their affiliate programme and told me to offer the same deal to my poker network. Not long after, I had 20-30 of my poker friends on the same deal and got a 5% cut of their action.

Most of my poker network were professional players, so 5% of their rake added up to a pretty significant amount. That then got me interested in the business side of poker, and it was from there that I found affiliation and immersed myself in online marketing in the same way I had previously done with poker.

I had very strong links with several members of the close-knit Irish poker community and regularly chatted with a gentleman who went by the name of “roadsweeper”. After we got talking about building a website together, we decided to try our hands at the online marketing game.

When roadsweeper (or Paudie, as he’s better known these days) and I started working together, affiliation went from a part-time hobby to a full-time job. Our first site was dedicated to our shared passion – poker – and we had immediate success, reaching four-figure earnings in our first few months. Soon after, we made our first foray into casino, and sports betting followed not long after that.

While I’m wearing the hat of CEO, Blexr is very much a partnership. Our success to date would not have been possible without Paudie’s positive energy, work ethic, and sense of humour, as well as his superhuman ability to put up with my pig-headedness. He was also the driving force behind the eventual creation of Blexr in 2015.

It has been four years since Blexr started. What were the ideas and circumstances behind founding it?

At the start of 2015, I was in China and Paudie was in Ireland. We were running 10-20 websites, and had freelancers spread across the world managing everything from design to dev to content.

Back then, we assumed every affiliate was running a similar operation to our own, and that everybody was running a “two guys in a garage” type of setup. On receiving an invite to a private affiliate event in Punta Cana, our eyes were opened when we learned that several of the super affiliates in attendance ran “real” companies with offices, staff, and the rest of the things you’d expect in a normal business.

That led to discussions on centralising operations. We went on to do some research on the various gaming hubs around the world and finally settled on Malta as the home for Blexr.

The company is going great, judging from the awards you get. What is the secret of maintaining freshness and motivation even after four years?

That’s a great question. While Blexr opened its doors four years ago, we’ve actually been working together since 2008.

Our motivations have changed a lot over the years. Initially, the main motivation was money. When you have bills to pay, you need to have a viable business that can cover your living costs. Luckily, things went well from the very beginning, so we never had financial worries.

Once you reach a certain level of financial success, money becomes much less of a motivating factor. Nowadays, there are other aspects of running a company that are far more important to us.

The first is our focus on building great products, something that is part of Blexr’s mission. Being part of a team that works on products users love is highly motivating.

Secondly, developing and growing a company culture is both fun and challenging. It can be an emotional rollercoaster at times, but ultimately it’s very rewarding.

Blexr has reputably earned a standing in the lead generation, especially in the gaming and casino verticals. Tell us about some of your innovations in the digital marketing arena.

All of Blexr’s success is a result of the hard work and dedication of the 100 or so individuals that make up our team of teams. Our growth and constant evolution and innovation is a result of their creativity, dedication, and commitment. Malta often gets a bad reputation when it comes to the quality of talent on the island; we’re fortunate to be blessed with some of the smartest and hardest-working people in the industry.

When it comes to innovation, at the moment we’re putting a lot of focus on big data. We’re working on a number of different projects that aim to provide a personalised gaming experience for our users. We’re also exploring different ways to discover what users want to then tailor our products to their needs.

Since you are into the business of bringing customers to the gaming and gambling websites, you must be in a great position to judge what customers really need. Could you specify a couple of things that customers really need or want, but not available at present in the gambling industry?

I think the big thing that customers in gaming want is trust and transparency, which is often lacking in the industry. Transparency is something we really care about at Blexr. It’s one of the core values of the company, and it’s also part of our mission statement when it comes to how we approach our products and our users.

The digital marketing space keeps on evolving. There was once Google’s near monopoly. Then Facebook arrived. Now, a host of new social media upstarts threaten to disrupt the digital marketing space every other day. How do you keep calm and generate leads amidst such fast-paced evolution?

The affiliate industry and SEO have changed a lot over the past ten years. The methods we used to rank websites a decade ago would have your website penalised for life if you tried them today.
It’s always important to look towards the future. What way is SEO going? What sites are ranking well these days and why? What other channels can be used to generate leads apart from SEO? We try to keep one eye on the future at all times, to ensure that we’re building sites and products that will stand the test of time.

You bring leads from all over the world. What are the steps that you take to ensure legal compliance, as the rules on gambling practically change from country to country – even from state to state in many countries?

We have fantastic commercial and content teams with dedicated people managing compliance across our network of sites. We are in regular contact with all our partners to ensure our sites are always up to date and aligned with current regulations.

Now you have an office in Barcelona as well, apart from the headquarters in Malta. Any plans to expand further, especially to the USA and Asia?

Right now, we’re focused on our two offices in Malta and Barcelona. As the regulatory landscape changes in the US, Asia, and other markets, we may look to strategically set up offices in those locations. However, for now, our priorities are Malta and Barcelona.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at Blexr

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Win Systems Appoints Chad Dickie as EVP & GM USA

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Win Systems has appointed Chad Dickie as Executive Vice President and General Manager, USA. He will be responsible for boosting and accelerating the company’s strength and growth in the US market. Chad has more than 25 years of experience in the gaming and entertainment sector.

Win Systems has had presence in the US for years. However, this year, there has been significant growth in the market with the installation of its renowned CMS Wigos and its premium Gold Club electronic roulettes in prominent casino groups.

“It is a great pleasure for me to join the Win Systems Group. The strong growth that the company has had worldwide and particularly in the USA is a challenge for me and encourages me to contribute to achieving the ambitious goals that the company has in the region,” Chad Dickie said.

“Being able to have top-notch professionals with extensive experience in the sector, as is undoubtedly the case of Chad, will help us achieve our development and growth plans in the country as well as allowing us to maintain the highest demand in terms of standards of the services offered to our customers. The passion and ability to recruit people like Chad bring great value to the company,” Eric Benchimol, CEO of Win Systems said.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Win Systems Appoints Chad Dickie as EVP & GM USA

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The world of gambling – as seen by millennials and Generation Z

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The generation gap is a subject of discussion that continues to be relevant year on year. Why is it that those born since 1981 are so important to the gambling industry and its future? According to Betinvest COO Max Dubossarsky, every new generation contributes to the development of the entertainment industry, raising the standards for how gambling products and services are created.

Millennials caught the peak of digital technology at a young age, at a time when some of the Generation Z babies were being born already with a smartphone in hand.

The issue of continuity of the generations carries from one age to the next and takes on new dimensions. The gambling industry has its finger on the pulse, aware that the characteristics and preferences of each generation provide detailed information about current and potential players.

During recent years, society has had its eyes fixed on the so-called “millennials” – Generation Y – born between 1981 and 1996, and Generation Z – the “New Silent Generation” – born after 1995—1996. Why are their views and way of thinking important to the gambling industry? Mainly because millennials and Gen Z are products of the digital age.

Modern-day innovations, which previous generations could only have dreamed about, are now the norm for Gen Y and Gen Z. So if it is hard to amaze millennials with high-tech “perks”, it is nigh on impossible to surprise Gen Z – who have fully adapted into the world of 3D technology, VR and AR.

To attract and retain the attention of young players and avoid their games becoming a boring alternative to others on the market, operators created products that borrow features from videogames.

The millennial generation is the first to have grown up with videogames, so their way of life has become one of the reasons for developing online gambling.

This first “internet generation” divides their lives between an online and an offline reality. Many things have become possible to do with the use of gadgets, without the need for physical input. In contrast to well-off baby boomers who were big fans of visiting casinos and the luxury entertainment of gambling, millennials lived in unstable economic conditions and are therefore notable for their rationalism. As a result, they prefer more affordable entertainment, including activities which do not involve leaving the house. The gambling industry grasped the attitude of the new generation and changed its approach accordingly: the first gambling websites started to emerge, and the big casinos began organising events with new kinds of entertainment, such as concerts by famous musicians and DJs, opening exclusive malls, and the like.

Another important move in the battle to earn the attention of younger players is product customisation, responsive design, and additional gamification during the gaming process.

Gen Z, who more or less stormed into the digital age fresh from the cradle, have tough demands. In the modern-day world of gambling, it is no longer enough for games to have just high resolution, gripping storylines and 3D effects. Players want light, fun and quality solutions with compatibility across different devices, secure data and convenient payment methods. Products which cannot easily be adapted to the specific characteristics of regional markets lose their standing and risk being unable to keep up with the competition.

Millennials and Gen Z tend to be cautious in what they do online.

Almost every user leaves behind a digital footprint, which is analysed by marketing experts. It “shows” the user’s interests and gives clues as to what the potential customer might like, helping operators to cater to each player better. But at the same time, data confidentiality and secure payment have become two key issues that users consider when completing any online activities.

It is safe to say that each new generation has contributed – and continues to contribute – towards the change in attitudes towards gambling. Each generation develops the industry by demanding more, thereby raising the standards for how gambling products and services are created.

Because of the rapid development in digital technology, today’s players live in two worlds – an online and an offline world. With the huge amount of offers available, they select the products that are easily understandable. Time has become too expensive to waste on figuring out how things work, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. Their leisure time is therefore crucial for operators to consider.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: The world of gambling – as seen by millennials and Generation Z

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Intralot Appoints New Chief Financial Officer At Its USA Subsidiary

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The INTRALOT Group announces the appointment of Mr. Lampros Klironomos (to date Chief Internal Audit Officer) as Chief Financial Officer of its 100% subsidiary INTRALOT Inc. in the USA. The Board of Directors of INTRALOT during its meeting that held on December 3rd, 2019, following a recommendation by the Audit and Compliance Committee, elected Mrs. Alexandra Moulavasilis for the position of Director (Head) of Internal Audit.

The appointment of Mr. Klironomos at INTRALOT Inc. is part of the overall policy and actions to enhance the subsidiary’s Management Team that plays a pivotal role in achieving our strategic objectives and improving the Group’s financial performance. Mr. Klironomos will undertake his responsibilities in the USA upon the completion of the procedures required by law.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Intralot Appoints New Chief Financial Officer At Its USA Subsidiary

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