Affiliate Spotlight shines a light on various affiliates and sites from around the world. This time we spoke with Josh Green from Fruity Slots. After working in the gaming industry for around 10 years, Josh has become an expert in streaming slot games via YouTube. We spoke with him about streaming and why it’s becoming so popular for casino players to watch.
AffiliateINSIDER: Could you tell us a bit about Fruity Slots, when did you launch and how did you come up with the idea?
Josh Green: So I’ve been working in gaming for about 10 years, first with operators, then as a poker affiliate and then as a sports affiliate site for about ten years.
However, sports just became increasingly tough, because the big brands just had so much of a stranglehold on the market it was very hard to really get much traction.
Myself and my business partner Jamie had quite a lot of expertise when it came to brand marketing, but we didn’t have the technical SEO or PPC skills. But about two years ago, I bumped into an account manager at that time, and he was asking if I was doing anything with Twitch.
At the time Twitch was dominated by poker streamers, so it was not an area we had been looking at, as we had no poker product. However my contact urged me to look again as the phenomenon of streaming slots was really beginning to take off.
So I obviously took a look at what people were doing and how they reached their audiences. This gave us a good basis to then leverage our brand marketing skills and build our own slot streaming product. Rather than just launch a regular channel, we built our own site, which helped us differentiate from what was already on the market and gave us freedom to market the site in the way that we knew would be effective.
AffiliateINSIDER: What has changed in within the Casino industry during your experience as an affiliate brand owner? Can you share your highlights or any lows that you’ve had in the journey so far?
Josh Green: One thing that has changed within UK gambling is the tightening up of the laws to ensure casinos were not appealing to minors in any way. This is more difficult than you’d expect as many slots use certain cartoon or fantasy themes which can be deemed ‘child-friendly’ even if they are actually aimed at adults.
That was one thing that had a big effect because we had to make sure our streams complied with the strict guidelines. And on top of that, the Gambling Commission changed the bonus terms quite heavily in regards to wagering and bonuses on casino.
The last two years have actually seen some operator pull out of the market as it’s just not profitable for them anymore. This has meant that all of a sudden we have been working with a few brands for a few months or longer, then bam! we lose that traffic. We’ve also had some operators that don’t really understand the streaming model, which means you’re never really comfortable whether they value the partnership the way we do.
Now we are extra sure what we do is compliant and sits alongside the expectations of the brands and their promotional standards. It has been a massive change over the past year for the industry as a whole. Both affiliates and operators have been struggling to get to grips with the new requirements, but I think we are there now.
AffiliateINSIDER: Fruity Slots has built an incredibly popular channel of followers on YouTube – what was the process you made in terms of gaining a following?
Josh Green: Thank you! The process was that there were a few already established channels out there, but it was all still relatively new and ripe with opportunities. It was easier to make something stand out compared to these days where streaming is much more saturated.
But when we came in, we were lucky that we had a bit of a budget behind us because of our current business, which meant we were able to set up a brand without putting anyone at risk from day one. Obviously, you’re gambling real money online so there’s a question of budgeting to that. You’ve got to say ‘I’m going to lose 5,000 pounds a month, how’s that going to look for me in terms of acquisition’?
I think we came with a refreshing tone and clear brand identity, and we feel we had the personalities to be able to do it. But it’s all about being consistent too when you’re streaming especially when you are interacting with the community. We are quite knowledgable on the industry and conscious of what our audience wants, which goes a long way.
AffiliateINSIDER: Traditionally affiliates have always worked with a website. Your business is different, how do you manage to your cross-sell effectively between channels to convert customers?
Josh Green: I mean, we have the website that supports what we’re doing, and we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. We have YouTube, Twitch, Ustream. This is important as we are at the mercy of YouTube and the others if they decide to shut down casino streamers. YouTube has actually done that in the past and we lost our channel for over a month.
What the streams and videos are doing though is directing traffic to our website. While that sounds simple, you do need to be careful how you do that because YouTube’s business model is to keep people on the website. This means if you are pushing traffic away from YouTube, they’re not going to like it, so you have to do it in a sensitive way. But then we are also publishing the content we have onto social media channels, so for example we might make a highlight win and push the video onto social media for others to watch. We make the most out of our assets to reach our target audience.