Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA

Volodymyr Harkusha and Mikayel Shahinyan, co-CEOs at one.fun, join the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam

Volodymyr Harkusha and Mikayel Shahinyan have created an app one.fun which combines traditional offline casinos and new channels of online communications, a bridge between land-based games and online - follow their story below.

Combining the revolutionary traditional affiliation and affiliate marketing, how did you come to this product?

The main idea is to combine traditional offline casinos and new channels of online communications. We're working to make traditional casinos closer to the players and provide a smart and comfortable service helping people find fascinating events in the gaming industry.

How much were you willing to commit to it?

Our company is in a true startup state, where we both had to commit maximal efforts to take our product from pure idea to MVP state just within three months. We need to keep this pace the same since we aim to include absolutely all land based operations worldwide into our platform. This is about business development, product development, and operations working integrally.

How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?

As a startup, we are a fairly decentralised company. It helps us remain fast, agile, and adaptable, with almost every employee receiving a high level of personal agency.

To make our product as useful as possible for our customers, we've focused on connecting new offline casinos to our platform and adding a mass of gaming events and venues.

What are the key challenges you are facing now?

There are few challenges we are facing now:

- We are starting initial tests with friendly casinos. That will prioritize new features set to make our product maximally useful for them. Thus, we are asking all the interested parties to join our beta testing and help us to make our product even better.
- Finding a proper marketing strategy to target offline casino players is going to be also an interesting challenge.
- We also would expect technical and operational challenges, especially considering complications of the integral flows between online and offline.

Who is your general audience and what are the benefits for using one.fun application?

There are two segments we are thinking to please

- General casino players.
- General audience who would like to know about events inside gaming venues to participate.
- Online players who are interested to play offline, but do not know where to start.

How did you scale up your affiliate marketing business?

Scaling a business is about service and values you are providing to clients.

What are the crucial differences in promoting online and land-based gambling?

By the way, we're planning to promote cruise ships based casinos as well. But seriously speaking, the main difference lies in the way services are provided. After all, players want to be personally present at the casino and plunge into the world of shine and entertainment. In this case, it is worth promoting the impression more than just betting.

Which of the following is more attractive, online or land-based affiliation?

Both affiliations are attractive. No doubt, traditional casinos have their own charm. And the online ones are more accessible. After all, nothing prevents us from doing promotions of proven online brands in our application.

What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020, particularly during this pandemic?

Pandemic was a huge hit for the industry, especially for the land based operations, although we mentioned during consulting sessions or talking to friends in industry that it boosted creativity and helped shaping more “antifragile” operations. Remember the quote from Alice in Wonderland: “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?

Nothing can motivate more than seeing your product evolving. Thanks to our development partner WinSoft.io, we are able to see features being released almost on a weekly basis, helping us to adjust our requirements and strategy immediately, and show results to our partners on a constant pace.

Which markets are you targeting and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

We focus on developed markets in Asia, EU, and America, where players are used to visiting offline casinos. But, of course, over time, we will add gaming venues from all countries of the world.

What makes your one.fun application unique?

Integral approach to entertainment. It's thought to be a crossroad between travel, gambling, and general entertainment. Our aim is to become a commodity tool for entertainment seekers worldwide.

Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?

Networking skills are definitely important for affiliate business. In addition, experience in product development and promotion is crucial for our project.

Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?

We do both: we come up with an idea, brainstorm it, then share it with our counterparts to develop it or we execute it ourselves.

How important is social media activity for your affiliate marketing? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?

It's too early to talk about the impact of Google updates on our marketing. But we are definitely going to promote our product on social media. First of all, we will advertise the travel and entertainment package.

How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?

Nowadays that technology is everywhere and is playing an essential role in our lives, we are valuing mindfulness in our everyday life and making it evident in our application for our users.

How is the Asian market shaping-up for your revolutionary app?

There are a lot of casinos and other gaming venues in Asia. Our task is to provide the player with a smart and convenient guide, which is always at hand.

What are the benefits of attending large gambling events, and what can they do better?

Attending a major gambling event is a great experience. It is always a high level of preparation and a lot of impressions. Unfortunately, players, especially from other countries, do not always know about such events. Our application helps customers keep informed of happenings and take part in exciting events.

Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas - which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?

Sure, several times. We find them very helpful and targeted. Hope 2021 will be COVID-free and we will be able to travel and participate in SiGMA Europe, Asia, and Americas.

Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into iGaming yourself, etc.

Volodymyr: My hobby is ice hockey. One of my favorite books is "The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life" by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff. Sometimes, I like to fit theory into everyday life. I have been in the gambling industry for 16 years and I don't mind making a few spins or placing a couple of bets.

Mikayel: With time passing by, I am rediscovering my old passion with physics of Mikayel Shahinyan SiGMA-1complex systems and finding its applications in managing teams and projects. The books I would highly recommend are “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” by Geoffrey B. West, and all the books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Ben Horowitz. I enjoy building and testing iGaming products myself, so yes, a bet or two will never hurt.

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