Wayne Howe is best known as one of the original staff members who worked at bingo brand WhichBingo and has been involved in iGaming for quite some time. WhichBingo was purchased by media conglomerate XLMedia and this past week Wayne announced his foray into affiliate marketing with the launch of howaboutbingo.com. We caught up with Wayne to find out what he thinks the future of bingo looks like and why he’s decided to launch an affiliate site in this space.
AI: Congratulations Wayne, on the launch of HowAbout Bingo! What made you decide to launch this new affiliate site?
WH: I was part of the original team over at WhichBingo who were bought out in July 2018 by XLMedia. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to do next but I remember having this idea to build my own affiliate site and calling it HowAbout Bingo (as a pun on my surname). I bought the domain but didn’t really do anything with it for 18 months or so, as I ultimately ended up working on WhichBingo as a consultant to new owners XLMedia. It was great at first but over time I grew more and more frustrated at working within such a large and more corporate company than what I was previously used to.
Eventually I decided to go it alone, but I didn’t immediately start working on the affiliate site. I knew that realistically I may not make any money from an affiliate site for the first year, so I needed another more reliable revenue stream to keep me going. So, I launched the BingoData Report, a B2B publication which I put out every quarter that monitors player numbers at the top UK bingo brands. Sales of the report have been modest, but enough to ensure I can continue working on the affiliate site without worrying where my next paycheck would be coming from.
AI: HowAbout Bingo is 100% bingo – why have you chosen to focus solely on bingo?
WH: There is no denying that many bingo players enjoy slot games. Every bingo player survey I ever did showed around 45% of bingo players also played slots, but that also means more than half do not. Often when you go to a bingo affiliate these days, it is sometimes hard to find the bingo sites as there are so many slot and casino brands in the same ‘bingo’ list. I think it will be refreshing for players to visit my site, knowing that all the content they find there will be bingo, bingo and nothing but bingo.
Also, focusing on bingo makes more sense from a practical point of view. As a one-man operation, it is far easier to focus on bingo sites as they don’t launch as frequently as casinos and there are less new games coming out. It seems every week there are 5 to 10 new slot games coming out, which would be impossible for one man to keep up with. As it stands, by focusing on bingo not only does it make logistical sense, it also makes sense from the branding point of view. Perhaps once I’ve finally caught up and have reviews for every single bingo site there is, I will think about adding some slots content.
AI: What makes HowAbout Bingo different from other affiliate sites?
WH: One affiliate I really admire is Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert. His website has grown into such a behemoth on the back of his personal brand, which is known for being straight-talking and honest with consumers. I took a lot of inspiration from his approach, which is to be respectful to your audience and to be honest about what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.
On his website it says that they always find the best products and services first, and then go out to find affiliate links afterwards. If they can’t get any, they still link to the product or service so that their users get the best possible deal. It is this same approach I am taking with HowAbout Bingo, even going so far as to mark each affiliate link with a star icon so visitors know if they use that link it may help me earn some revenue. I also won’t be selling positions on certain pages, such as Best Bingo Sites, like other affiliates do. This is because if I say something is the best, I want that to be my personal opinion, and not just because an operator paid me a few quid to be placed there.
AI: A lot of brands are focusing on slots and casino in 2020. Do you think bingo will remain popular in 2021?
WH: There is a strong misconception that online bingo is on the decline, mainly because the total number of brands is less than what it was a few years ago. The truth is that the majority of those closures are low value white label skins, many of whom offer little to no variation from the next site on the network. All of the best sites are still going and fighting harder than ever to retain players with more and more interesting promotions. This is why I really worked hard to develop a ‘What’s On?’ section to the website – a place where players could go and see all of the promos taking place in any given month.
I think 2021 will be a big year for online bingo. Less sites perhaps, but more value and better quality experiences for players.
AI: How do you plan to market HowAbout Bingo in order to stand out from your competitors?
WH: I don’t have any budget for marketing, but I do have one resource in abundance – patience. I am looking at this for the long term and I know if I keep doing the simple things right, I will be able to slowly build a following. I already have a YouTube channel which has allowed me to experiment with new content ideas, and now the site is live I’ll be looking to do more of that. My advantage over some of the bigger affiliates will be speed of movement. If I spot an opportunity to be the first to write about something, or feature a new brand, I am going to be straight in there. I also have one or two tricks up my sleeve and a few friends (both players and industry people) who I will be calling on to help me out as the site grows.
AI: What do you think the future looks like for HowAbout Bingo?
WH: I am honestly not looking too far ahead other than having the belief that if I stick to my principles and keep doing the simple things well, the site will eventually be a success. It would be nice for it to reach a point where my wages are paid by the affiliate site, rather than the B2B site, That would feel like a real milestone. The one goal I do have in mind however is to win either an iGB or EGR award for Best Bingo Affiliate within the next few years.
If I could do that I would be immensely proud.
This editorial has been sponsored by AffiliateINSIDER’s December 2020 – Random Acts Of Kindness campaign.