Category: Insight

Three Minutes With – Martins Tanne, Co-founder, Serpa Media Group

In our latest Three Minutes With, Martins Tanne, Co-founder of Serpa Media Group, spoke with Jennifer Kite-Powell, Head of Content at Okens Domains, to talk about how the company helps iGaming operators break boundaries, the importance of community building between operators and regulators, iGaming threats and the value of transparency they get with Okens Domains. Serpa Media Group works with all aspects of the casino and sportsbook industries to help them push boundaries and conquer new digital mountains.

Jennifer Kite-Powell (JKP): I love how your company name is tied to how Sherpas act as guides and porters to help people climb mountains to break boundaries. How do you approach your iGaming customers to help them break boundaries?

Martins Tanne, Serpa Media Group (MT): We create innovative and fun products for iGaming customers. But most importantly, they provide engaging and accurate ways to find useful information about operators and games. For example, one of our recent projects is Bookofslots.com. It’s focused on fostering the industry in communities, which is different from the thousands of top-list sites created just to make money. We believe product quality, innovation and strong communities are the right way to have the best long-term customers around iGaming operators.

JKP: What challenges do operators face when they connect with the consumer? 

MT: The biggest challenge for operators is undoubtedly regulatory. Many countries impose various restrictions that open the gates for gray-market casinos. On the other hand, these casinos often fail to provide high-quality services, have lengthy withdrawal times, and lack strong customer support. 

It’s a never-ending cycle for this industry, creating challenges for operators, regulators, and players. I believe that responsible gambling tools and a safe online casino environment for regulated market casinos are crucial. They must be maintained at a high level to build good relationships between regulators and casinos.

JKP: That’s a good point; relationship building always seems to be the last thing people think of these days. So we know operators have their challenges, but in your view, have iGaming consumers changed how they relate to iGaming operators?

Martins Tanne, Co-founder of Serpa Media Group
Martins Tanne, Co-founder of Serpa Media Group

MT: As regulations tighten within the iGaming industry, players now expect higher levels of transparency and fairness, pushing operators to adhere to stricter standards and maintain a wider choice of gaming options.

Also, as I mentioned above, the social features and community-building efforts within gaming platforms create deeper connections and interactions among users, enhancing loyalty and engagement. 

It is also important to mention that many players increasingly demand responsible gaming tools such as deposit limits, self-exclusion options, and prioritizing operators that promote ethical practices and customer welfare. This gives consumers more trust in the operator when they do these things.

JKP: Trust and security go hand in hand. Do you have any insight into the critical importance of maintaining a strong and secure online presence? 

MT: As we all know, the internet is a world of its own, and it’s crucial to maintain a strong and secure website for your business’s benefit and the consumers using your platform.

Interestingly, we faced our first DDoS attack three weeks ago and were unprepared. However, we’ve learned our lesson and added an extra layer of protection against such issues. It’s always important to remain vigilant about cybersecurity threats.

On another note, communicating with your clients is key. Ask them what features they want to see on your platform can create trust and connection. Customer satisfaction is the most vital aspect of your business; by listening to your customers, your product will improve daily.

JKP: I think companies don’t think a DDoS attack will happen to them until it does, so looking at online threats, what are iGaming operators facing?

MT: The primary threats to iGaming operators are regulatory issues, cybersecurity and reputation.

The narrative around anti-money laundering (AML) practices and government regulations is continuously evolving in this industry. This reflects the significant economic impact these businesses have on consumers.

Many casino sites have gone offline due to cybersecurity problems, highlighting data breaches as another major threat to this business.

Lastly, reputation is crucial. The iGaming industry is vast and with numerous fraudulent casinos emerging, particularly in Latin America, concerns about the legitimacy of online casinos are increasing. Many users find these platforms untrustworthy. Therefore, it is essential to build a brand that is both reliable and meets user needs effectively. 

JKP: How can Serpa help operators sidestep those threats – or better yet, blow past them? 

MT:  We encourage players to use responsible gambling tools and to play only on licensed operators. We also inform users about safe gambling practices and what to check or verify before playing at any online casino.

JKP: What tech developments do you see coming down the road for operators today that will positively impact their online presence? 

Implementing more artificial intelligence (AI) and automation that is connected to user behaviour (responsible gambling and limits) will definitely allow the iGaming industry to be more fun and less economically devastating for consumers, and this will also satisfy regulation more.

More swift and reliable payment systems- faster and safer crypto payments – will allow players to use operator services more often. We have spoken to many iGaming customers, and one of the most important questions is about withdrawal methods and time.

I’ve mentioned this before, but building community is vital. It’s important because gamblers tend to play at three to four casinos simultaneously, and a great community vibe will help them maintain a longer player life.

JKP: You’ve been working with Okens Domains since 2023. What motivated you to choose the company for your domains? 

 MT: We are working with Okens on new domain registration and management. It’s a very handy service for foreign country TLD registration because it helps us manage hundreds of domains with a convenient and easy-to-use platform. We value their transparency and swift customer support. I believe that’s one of the most important things when it comes to domain management and the fast business phase, as iGaming itself.

 

Domain Mistakes

#2 Mistake – My Unused Domain Has No Value

Remember when you bought a set of domains to protect your brand as it grows? You were so proud of yourself – planned for your most important digital asset. Years have passed, and you haven’t used them, so you think they have no value.

Think again! Your unused domains have value.

Sometimes, our need for a domain or set of domains is no longer relevant; some customers leave them to expire, and others try to resell them via third parties. But here’s the thing: If you think that your domain or domains have no value 90% of the time, it is because there was no consideration given to the value of those domains when you acquired them.

You know what happens? It becomes a bargain for the buyer, but you just give money away. In some cases, we’ve even seen domain holders try to buy back their old domains later because they altered their business model or expanded faster than expected. We see this mistake frequently repeated despite our hand-waving.

Our best advice is to think twice about letting a good domain expire. It may be better to hang on to it, so think long-term rather than short-term. And if the financials are an issue, have a chat with us about possible domain parking solutions.

If you want to let them go after or see their value or lack of value, Okens Domains can help you assess their value. And here’s the really good part for you — it doesn’t matter which domain registration company those domains are with; we will help you sell them and reduce your time worrying about whether you did the right thing.

Stay tuned for the next story in March for our Mistake of the Month series. In the meantime visit www.okens.domains to learn how we can help.

Kirk Miller head of casino at PureROI

Three Minutes With – Kirk Miller, Head of Casino, PureROI

Kickstarting 2024, our first Three Minutes features Kirk Miller, Head of Casino at PureROI. Kirk spoke with Jennifer Kite-Powell, Head of Content at Okens Domains, about the future of performance marketing, why Okens gives PureROI peace of mind and future technologies that will change marketing. 

Jennifer Kite-Powell (JKP):  PureROI has seen incredible success over the last 18 months; what has been the company’s secret? 

Kirk Miller (KM): PureROI was born out of the success of their sister company, Purecontent, which delivers content in large volumes in multiple languages with targeted outreach. Pure ROI evolved to do the same, giving value to our core affiliate partners. We have in-country writers and editors working in more than 100 languages, which means they can effortlessly launch new websites and gives us the power to test specific topics in weeks versus months.

I think that our laser targeting of specific geographies and products is a byproduct of carving out strong relationships with industry titans that can deliver traffic that adds tangible value. 

And even with our success, we have challenges. In a nutshell, that’s competition. With everyone and their aunt bidding on the same keywords after enrolling in an online course about how to make $10K a month in affiliate marketing from a beach, cutting through the noise is harder than ever, but I believe that our focus on specialisation is the right solution to this new world order. 

For example, I always say we don’t want to be bidding for ad space on poker in the US, where there is so much competition. I’d rather be hitting a Chilean audience excited about the next time Colo-Colo plays Universidad de Chile in the Chilean Primera Divisió.

JKP: Okay, I can hear the excitement in your voice; clearly, you love your role. 

KM: Yes! I love learning about different cultures and how a piece of keyword research can open up an enormous rabbit hole on a topic you never knew existed before. Strange facts like how millions of people in India regularly bet on the price of cotton at the close of the NYSE each day. I always hope that one day, some of this will come up in a pub quiz! 

JKP: What trends do you see heading straight towards us in 2024 that will affect performance marketing? 

KM: Everyone says this, but I think eSports betting will be huge. Very few people have yet to match the messaging to this new and unique audience, but when they do, it will be its own market, not just a sideshow tacked onto traditional sports betting as it is now.

JKP: Speaking of performance marketing, what’s happening in that industry that has changed for you? 

KM: First, change happens so fast. Performance marketing operates on an entirely different level than it did just a few years ago. The global pandemic certainly impacted this paradigm shift, and all of a sudden, as people around the globe were stuck at home, bored and with fewer of the usual outlets for their disposable income, the iGaming industry was sought out by a whole new audience.

New marketing channels that previously may have delivered a poor conversion rate were bringing in noticeable revenue. Even though things have calmed down slightly since we’ve all returned to our offices, it has still been an illuminating period for marketing iGaming entertainment to hitherto ignored demographics.

JKP: What technology do you think will shape performance marketing over the next several years? Is it going to change dramatically? 

Kirk Miller
Kirk Miller, Head of Casino at PureROI, talks about how performance marketing has changed and how AI will change the game, but maybe not how people anticipate.

KM: Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is going to change things, for sure. However, I’m not so sure those changes are going to be what everyone necessarily expects. Does it mean everyone can now create award-winning ad creatives with the push of a single button? Nope. Not yet, anyway – we’re not even close, in my experience. But, what it’s going to do, undoubtedly, is increase the sheer noise the consumer is bombarded with. 

For example, now you don’t have to have a huge marketing budget to create 10,000-word articles for SEO or produce a million variations of CTA’s to split test – it’s all there for anyone with access to ChatGPT. I think the technology will enhance the people putting proper thought into their marketing rather than drowning them out. I have said this before and will say it again, but the good guys will benefit from the bad guys doing more and more bad stuff, making their good stuff seem even more impressive.

JKP: The igaming ecosystem has changed over the past decade from regulation to privacy concerns to shifts in SEO and tools for performance marketing; where do you see the industry headed in the next several years?

KM: Good question – it’s basically my job to try and predict this, so I can’t just shrug my shoulders! I think the colossal changes in how people search on the internet will change *all* digital industries, not just iGaming. 

The younger generation doesn’t simply drop keywords into a box on a search engine and then scrawl through the SERPs looking for an answer anymore. They’re asking their “digital assistants” natural, conversational questions. Millennials aren’t typing “omelet recipes” into Google, for example – they’re asking Alexa, “What should I cook for dinner tonight? There are eggs, ham and cheese in the fridge”. So, how they receive the resulting information will be wildly different from the business model we are all used to. 

So, how do we serve ads into that conversation? How does SEO change when people start demanding short, immediate answers in real-time rather than reading a whole webpage to find the info? I think we’re on the precipice now where our generation still relies on old-fashioned methods, but very soon, these will be redundant.  

JKP: How has Okens Domains helped PureROI over the past 18 months as the company has grown? 

KM: Every domain PureROI owns is managed through Okens Domains. Initially, we were drawn to Okens’ service because of the ease and transparency of setting up watertight WhoIs protection. Okay, I know that is a pretty dry, boring, technical factor, but it is definitely a significant factor. But after working with Okens for the past 12 months, I’ve found that their personal touch keeps us coming back for more.

Things like support tickets are answered within minutes and usually resolved the very same day; you wouldn’t believe how rare this is in this field. Okens has managed to make managing domains, which is usually a painful job we’d unload on a junior staff member, completely hassle-free.

Okens is the best at making WhoIs protection clear and easy to set up, and it’s usually very difficult to get a straight answer on this topic, even when working with the supposed experts.

JKP: So, more like advisors for the best domain privacy strategies, then? 

KM: Yes. For example, when we want to try out a domain in a strange TLD, Okens tells us exactly what we need to do to protect our privacy. 

Even some of the biggest operators out there have asked me to check with Okens on certain WhoIs setups. 

JKP: This is sort of beyond-the-scenes techy stuff that anyone can do, so what’s the difference? 

KM: Yes, but Okens adds a layer over the top of all that basic stuff – a genuine, family-run business feeling where you feel valued as a customer. So you get ongoing conversations with them versus the transactional, faceless queue system we’ve experienced before. 

 

Alona Borzhemska

Three Minutes With Alona Borzhemska, Domain Crawler

Welcome to Three Minutes With – from igaming to affiliate publishing, we talk to movers and shakers, breaking boundaries and blazing new trails. In this series, DomainCrawler’s Chief Commerical Officer, Alona Borzhemska, took three minutes to speak with Oken’s content director, Jennifer Kite-Powell, on why data is hard to sell, how to use data to add value to your company and the potential rise of Web3.

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Sigma Malta

SIGMA Europe 2023 Flashback

Everyone loves a trip down memory lane, and we are no different. Get ready to discover a few meaningful moments from SiGMA Europe 2023, as we take a closer look through the eyes of the one and only Greta Norkute-Simanauskiene from Okens Domains. We’ve got you covered from groundbreaking tech innovations to mind-blowing keynote speeches. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into Greta’s highlights together.

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SiGMA Europe 2023 Flashback by Greta Simanauskiene

SiGMA Europe was once again a fascinating event. The conference sessions (located just next to the Okens stand) addressed many challenges and opportunities the iGaming sector faces. One session focused on the Sigma host nation, Malta (Malta’s European Odyssey: Navigating Rough Seas). While it covered local challenges to a fair extent, it represented the challenges faced in many markets. Through this session and others, we saw the following themes appear.

  • Keeping in step with regulations and adapting to them, especially when these fluctuate heavily from one year to another or one market to another.
  • There is a need to build agility into the core of every product and operation to keep pace with market changes but also to leverage technology changes fully.That agility is key to keeping pace with regulatory changes and elements such as the advent of AI or changes in the way Google operates.
  • And the requirement to keep pace with changes in user behavior. One session looked especially at the increase in women gamers and how the industry needs to adapt- just one variable amongst many to take into account.
Greta Norkute-Simanauskiene takes a look at some of the highlights from SiGMA Europe 2023.
Greta Norkute-Simanauskiene takes a look at some of the highlights from SiGMA Europe 2023.

At Okens, we may not be able to assist you with everything, but we can certainly help you safeguard your online presence and protect your valuable brand while also ensuring your privacy.

At SiGMA Europe last week, one of the most compelling sessions was centered around the challenges Maltese operators face in Europe. The session Malta’s European Odyssey: Navigating Rough Seas talked about reporting requirements and the technology expertise needed to make that happen.

The panel featured Olga Finkel (Co-Founder & Partner, WH Partners), Carl Brincat (CEO, MGA), Joseph Attard (Director of International Compliance, Entain Group), David Yatom Hay (General Counsel, Soft2Bet) and Abby Rachel Cosgrave (Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, LeoVegas) and George Westin (founder, Hero Gaming).

The takeaway from the session is there will be challenges for B2B providers from the technical requirements necessary to comply, quick transition from one regulation to another, rapid adjustment to the regulations and maintaining competitiveness in the market.

The panel felt it would be challenging regarding regulation uncertainty and managing business. If customers can’t be in a safe and sustainable area, regulation itself will fail.

According to Abby Rachel Cosgrave, Chief Legal Compliance Officer, a solution is to ensure that B2B providers have a strong and positive dialog with regulators versus guessing what is coming down the road.

See you next year at SiGMA Europe 2024.

Domains

The Real, Real – How Domains Work

Hey there! As part of our “How to” series, we want to take a closer look at something we all use daily but might take for granted: how domains actually work.

A domain name is like the address of your website that people type into their browser’s address bar. It’s much easier to remember for us humans than a numerical IP address. When you type in a domain name, it sends a request to a global network of servers called the Domain Name System (DNS). These servers work their magic and direct you to the right place where the domain is hosted.

Domains are divided into two main categories: generic top-level domains (gTLD) and new top-level domains (new gTLD). These categories help keep domains organized and make managing and finding them easier.

Generic top-level domains

The generic top-level domains (gTLDs) or new gTLDs are generic domain extensions listed at the highest level in the domain name system. Hundreds of gTLDs are available, but the most popular ones are .com, .org, .net, .biz, and .info. Others pertain to specific sectors such as .bet or .casino.

One of the primary differences between gTLDs and other TLDs (such as ccTLDs) is that they are the easiest to register and maintain. Anyone, anywhere, can register and manage a gTLD. This makes them a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike who want to establish a strong online presence quickly and easily.

Country Code Top Level Domain

Country code top-level domains, or ccTLDs, are domain names specific to a country. They end with country code extensions such as .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, and .au for Australia. Websites use them to target audiences in a particular country. 

Most ccTLDs worldwide are governed by their respective local governments and have specific requirements for registration. For instance, TLDs like.NO, .CA, .AU requires a local presence. To register any of these TLDs, you must be Norwegian, Canadian, or Australian. 

In some cases, such as.IT, .EU, .FR, ccTLDs have EU-presence requirements. 

In extreme cases, such as.COM.BR, the registry may require a notarially certified document for registration or subsequent actions such as transfer to another registrar company.

Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD

Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are a valuable category of TLDs, with a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension. They are ideal for industries or communities that need a dedicated online presence and aim to differentiate themselves from the rest of the web. 

One of the key benefits of an sTLD is that it is regulated by the sponsor, which enables them to maintain control over the domain extension and ensure that it serves the community’s needs. For instance, .apple is governed and managed by the Apple corporation, which ensures that the domain extension aligns with the company’s values and goals. Similarly, .ORG is sponsored by the Public Interest Registry (PIR), a non-profit organization that operates in the public interest.

Domain registries manage all top-level domains (except sponsored TLDs). There are numerous registries for global domains like .com managed by organizations such as ICANN and country-specific or community/vertical-specific registries. 

These registries then enter agreements with registrars like Okens to sell domain names to users worldwide. A registrar like Okens will typically manage the domain on your behalf, dealing with records, renewals, transfers, etc., while providing guidance and expertise on confidentiality and privacy.

At Okens, we take pride in our global reach, working with registries worldwide and many community-led TLD registries. This allows us to assist you globally and provide the most vertical/community-specific TLDs. 

Our focus on B2B means that we aim to provide you with the best possible service by offering advice and help from a human representative, ensuring that your needs are met with the best care and attention.

Don’t Let Your Domains Turn Into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

👹 👻 It’s Halloween, and no one should have to face a Texas Chain Saw Massacre in their brand’s domain. Cyber or typosquatting is a real threat that every company must be prepared to face. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safe from it. Horror stories can happen to anyone, even from something that happens closer to the beast – your own backyard.

Domain mistakes can damage your reputation and revenues. There might be 13 Halloween 🎃movies in the franchise, but here are six screams to watch out for when you register your domain. Give Okens.domains a call to avoid all these and survive another night.

1. Always proofread the domain name before you register or publicize it
2. Always research who else owns matching TLDs
3. Don’t publish your URL before you have registered a domain name
4. Don’t let your critical domain names expire
5. Be careful who you share your plans with
6. Always understand TLD restrictions

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

domain

Best Practices To Manage Domains

As a part of our OI blog best practice series, we bring you the first in a series of articles about ways you can manage your domain strategically and efficiently. Establishing a few best practices is a great way to ensure your domains aren’t hijacked, expired, or cyber squatted.

Here are three domain management practices that can help minimise domain risk and ensure domain dominance.

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Three Minutes With Hendrikus van Katwijk

Welcome to our Three Minutes With. From igaming to affiliate publishing, we talk to movers and shakers, breaking boundaries and blazing new trails. Brand Legends Chief Operating Officer (COO) Hendrikus van Katwijk took three minutes to speak with Oken’s content director, Jennifer Kite-Powell, about the importance of search visibility for your brand and the most significant tech shifts that are affecting SEO today and in the future. 

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Three minutes with Okens business development manager, Alexander Kucherenko

Three Minutes With Alexander Kucherenko

Welcome to our new Three Minutes With series, where we talk with movers and shakers in our industry. From igaming to affiliate publishing, we talk to the people out there who are breaking boundaries and blazing new trails. Okens Content Director Jennifer Kite-Powell talked to Alexander Kucherenko, business development at Okens Domains on how he sees his role at Okens – hint: it’s about education and guidance.

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