As part of our new series, THEN and NOW, we speak to some of the most well known, and respected women in the affiliate industry, where we delve into the early stages of careers, and see how our guests have transitioned and evolved as times have changed.
Our next guest, Becky Liggero, built strong foundations in her career as she worked as a successful affiliate at Casino City, where she then moved on to work as an on-camera interviewer for CalvinAyre.
But, as Becky is the one who is always asking the questions – we turned the table and asked her about her past history in gaming…
AI: Tell us a bit about what the industry was like back then. Having been part of the Calvin Ayre team, we know the parties were legendary!
Oh yes they were…combine that with being 10-15 years younger and things used to get pretty wild back then! While some of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life were hosted by Calvin Ayre and/or CalvinAyre.com, my “back then” experience actually pre-dates the launch of CalvinAyre.com and goes back to my time as an affiliate with Casino City.
The pre-UIGEA conference entertainment was just silly as money was flowing like water and the big, corporate, more reserved companies had yet to move into the iGaming space. Black hat SEO and banner farm affiliate sites were raking in the cash and affiliates in general were popular as ever, meaning that I, as an affiliate at the time, was treated to a number of VIP trips and parties, spectacular dinners, VIP tables at the top clubs around the world and so on.
AI: How do you see the affiliate industry has changed over the past two decades?
Increased regulation has changed everything- stricter rules in the UK, the newly regulated US market, regulation sweeping across Europe, etc- so affiliates must focus a lot more on compliance than ever before. This can be a burden on smaller affiliates (as opposed to the bigger networks) who don’t have the resources to build an in-house compliance team.
“Back then”, it was easy as pie to launch an affiliate site and make significant revenue without having to worry too much about rules and regulations and even content…today affiliates must abide by the rules and adopt a proper marketing strategy with meaningful content in order to survive.
Performance marketing giants such as Catena Media and XL Media are building huge businesses and continue to acquire smaller affiliate sites, making it more challenging for the smaller affiliates to compete. Affiliates have to be a lot more creative (and patient) in today’s market!
AI: You’ve built a great career in this channel as a journalist and reporter / content queen – what advice can you give to new young people entering this space?
Thank you! I would say the number one reason why I have been able to build a dream career in this channel is because of my vast network, but such a network would be useless without trust. Our industry is small and reputation goes a long way, so remember to treat everyone well and with honor, no matter what level they are. You never know who will be evaluating you for your next role or who you will be asking for an interview or pitching a product to in the future.
I also urge young people to attend as many iGaming events as possible and to participate in social media discussions when they can. Its easy to make friends and build your network in the iGaming industry by attending events and building a profile online, so be sure to let people know how amazing you are and what value you can add.
AI: Where are you seeing the industry diversity and change? (I know that you are knowledgeable about bitcoin, can you share how this is changing the state of the nation and what we can expect to see in future of affiliate marketing)
The technology available today is obviously much more sophisticated than the innovation we raved about in the mid 2000s, for example, when I started working in iGaming it was all about mobile offerings. Today we have operators who are “mobile first” or even “mobile only” and the innovation discussions have evolved into topics such as Big Data, personalization techniques, AI and payment speed.
When it comes to Bitcoin, my knowledge lies mostly in BitcoinSV (BSV) and I can tell you the technology is absolutely incredible. BSV can be used as a currency, a ledger for keeping track of data, a platform to build applications and honestly so much more. In terms of how the iGaming industry can benefit from BSV technology in the future, a few practical examples include:
Enabling fast and secure deposits and payouts for customers and affiliates, writing customer data into the public blockchain to eliminate any risk of being voided, altered or hacked, treating VIP customers or affiliates to awards using a brand-specific token, and, provably fair games.
The future is nothing but bright when it comes to the intersection of iGaming and Bitcoin.
AI: As you’re always the one asking the questions, what are some of the most memorable interviews you’ve had and why?
How much time do you have?? I’m joking, but for sure I’ve interviewed so many outstanding professionals in our space, its quite hard to mention only a handful. I actually scrolled through hundreds of my interviews published on CalvinAyre.com to refresh my memory before settling on these four, so here they are in no particular order.
- Sir Mix-A-Lot – For those who don’t know, this is the artist behind the “I like big butts and I cannot lie” hit tune from the ‘90s and he was at G2E last year with a slot game provider because, you guessed it, he’s got his own themed slot machine. I had the pleasure of interviewing Sir Mix-A-Lot and he is just amazing- charismatic, well-spoken, friendly and absolutely hilarious. It was such a pleasure, we had so much fun!
- Jesper Karrbrink – I’ve always admired Jesper as a person and a professional, he’s kind to and has time for everyone, makes a point to be present with his staff and urges an environment of corporate social responsibility. Its always an honor to interview someone who possesses such qualities.
- Marcus Tandler – Marcus is the most engaging SEO speaker I’ve ever met, he’s actually a TEDX speaker and one heck of an interviewee. He makes me laugh while we chat about SEO and has a way of delivering complex information in bite size chunks that anyone can understand.
- Ronnie O’Sullivan – I’ve interviewed a number of famous athletes in my time and Ronnie O’Sullivan stands out as the most “real” and “down to earth” of the bunch. Somehow, during our latest interview, we ended up talking about healthy eating and working out- the conversation just flowed and I felt like I was talking to an old friend as opposed to the greatest Snooker player the world has ever seen.