Tune in as we chat with John Wright of StatsDrone to talk affiliate marketing, affiliate stats, domains and much more!

RYAN KNUPPEL

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, episode 177 of the Knup Sports Show. THank you so much for tuning in, I’m excited for this show. We have another very special guest and we’re gonna talk a lot today. We have kind of a mixed bag of today. We’re gonna talk to my friend John Wright here in just a minute, but first of all, I wanted to thank you for giving us a little bit of your time and attention. Giving your attention anywhere in the world, and this internet’s full of things you could be looking at and you’re watching this show right now, and so I really appreciate the time you’re giving us here. Um, football season is about here. We’re recording this on a Tuesday, football season’s Thursday and into this weekend, so super excited for NFL coming and we’ll talk a little bit about that, I’m sure, as we get into a little more here with John. So, without further ado, I’m gonna bring John Wright, the cofounder of StatsDrone on. John, how are you, my friend?

JOHN WRIGHT

Pretty good, you?

RYAN KNUPPEL

I’m doing well, man. I’m really excited to talk to you. I know we’ve chatted at events and things in the past, and I’m super excited for you to share your story and what you’ve got going on with the crew. So thanks for being here.

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, thanks for having me.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Awesome, awesome. Cool. So how is your day going, John? First of all, where are you living these days? I know, I’ve watched some of your social media, and it seems like you’re always on the move. So where are we at today in the world?

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah. Today we’re at home in Montreal, so uh, this is base. And yeah, it’s been a lot of conferences this year, so it’s been a lot of opportunity to travel, and I think for the rest of the year, closing it off, there’s no shortage of events.

RYAN KNUPPEL

No, there really isn’t. I just got back from Namescon, which I know you’re a domainer as well, you and I kind of share that in common. We’re both in the gambling domain space, and, you know, it’s one of those things that I usually don’t go to those types of industry events, but it was neat to kind of venture out, get into another little industry, and learn what some of those monsters in that space are just doing. There’s some people doing some really big things in the domaining space. Uh, before we dive into you, anything on the domain space on the mind?

JOHN WRIGHT

Um, not really other than, I mean, anyone that I’ve looked and that’s been in the gambling domain space has done pretty well. Um, like, you know, when you look what domains can sell for, it’s uh, for stuff that’s been around for like the last 5, 10, or 20 years, some of these domains are worth quite a bit of money. And I think for a lot of people out there that actually have valuable domains, they don’t know what they’re worth. So it’s up to them to decide, well how do they sell them and what marketplace, and what price? And I think that’s the mystery that everyone doesn’t really have.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, absolutely. And it was fine to kind of hear other people’s take on that. And I think you’re right, you know, knowing what a domain is worth is very tough. But anyway, this isn’t just about domains. We’re gonna dive in here to you, and I wanna hear more about you, what you have been up to in your life, and kind of what got you into StatsDrone, but first just tell us about your path to get there.

JOHN WRIGHT

Sure. It’s a long, weird path, and I think anyone in gambling has some sort of weird story. Uh, for me, uh, when I graduated university, I got a degree in engineering focusing on robotics, so I had a nice career path lined up in front of me, but I got sidetracked with an opportunity to do professional gambling, and the reason why I decided to take it was, I’m like “Okay, I can make some pretty good money and it will be fun, and if doesn’t work, I mean I’ve got a degree to fall back on”. So in my case, I had a lot going for me. So, that led to, uh, a career in professional gambling playing casinos, online casinos, a bit of poker and some sports betting, and I started to see the ecosystem that online gambling was company. It’s like, if they could afford to pay all the people taking money from the ecosystem, the ecosystem obviously has a lot more coming into it. And you just get exposed to the market inside of things. SO that led me down the path of launching online casinos and affiliate programs, running affiliate programs, and then that gave me, like, a deeper knowledge of the affiliate marketing space, where I felt, back then and I still feel the same today, that affiliates can actually earn a bigger slice of the pie. And what’s interesting about affiliates is that, you know, you look at the bankroll that’s required to launch an affiliates site, I mean, you could do it today with just a YouTube channel. You’re not even spending, like, a single dollar. Um, and back then, I mean, you might not have used YouTube, but you can still say, “Well, what does a website cost”. Well, it costs you $10 to register a domain, and what’s hosting? $50 a year? Alright, so for $60 it’s like you got a website that could actually bring in lots of money, and the best part of it is, once it grows, you can actually sell it. So, in my winding path of getting to where I’ve done, where I’ve gone, and creating affiliate sites, I started to see a lot of things and issues in affiliate marketing that weren’t being solved. And, kind of, having this engineering and stats background I think has actually helped me quite a bit, where I’m looking at these problems that people are talking about but they’re not actually saying it’s explicitly a problem. And if they did say explicitly it was a problem, then I think you would have a lot more companies going “Let’s tackle that and solve that as a solution”. So, I’m enjoying this journey where, you know, StatsDrone was almost a mistake, but it’s really from that whole collective experience on both sides of the fence, and you know, I’m just kind of passionate about taking what I’ve got for the skillset, the marketing skillset, and then taking this data science behind it and putting it to another level.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, for anyone that’s been in the affiliate marketing, the affiliate space, you know there’s a number of just common issues, and things, annoyances, more than anything, maybe not issues, but more annoyances and improvements that could be had. And I know we’ve talked and you kinda showed me, you know, what StatsDrone’s out to help and what it’s out to solve. So let’s dive into StatsDrone a little bit and talk a little bit more specific about the issue you’re really trying to solve there.

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, I think the issues are on both sides of the fence from the affiliates and the affiliate program operators, but they actually connect somehow. Uh, so I’ll start with the affiliate side. So if you’re on an affiliate site and you’re promoting anything, it doesn’t matter, it could be sportsbooks, casinos, or bingo, we all have a similar job to do. Now, which is, if a new brand opens up and you want to promote it, we all have to create that. And if you look at the state of affiliate marketing today, I mean, the days of putting up a banner are almost gone. So it’s kind of, like, what do you need to do. I need that nice logo, I need that bonus, which is basically putting data into a database, and you gotta create the system. So we’re all collectively doing this in the background. Now, when that bonus changes from, let’s say, 50% offer to 100% offer, well okay, you might not think it’s that big of a deal to update it, but if you’re not aware of this, you’re missing out on an opportunity of increasing your conversion, which affects the operator. So that’s one side of the game. The other side of the game, as an affiliate manager, when you do have that new offer, let’s pretend you have a database of 5,000 affiliates that are working with you. You’re now going to email them saying, “Hey, we’ve got a new offer. Please update it across your site”. So, maybe you’re lucky if 20% of those emails get read in action. And then you’ve got an 80% of that database that hasn’t read that email because it’s gone into spam, or it’s in 100s of emails that they haven’t paid attention to, and you’re tracking them down 1 by 1, you’re like “Okay, this affiliate here responds best when I hit them on Skype, this one is on Facebook, and this one is Whatsapp”, and you’re doing a lot of work, so there’s not really a system in place where you can just update something in a database and have it propagate across thousands of affiliates reaching millions of pages. So, stuff like that, I think will eventually exist, but it’s a matter of what does this look like and do affiliates trust this type of ecosystem.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, I mean, from an affiliate side, you know, working on the actual affiliate side myself, it’s such an issue, it really is, and like you said, it may not sound like it, but some of these programs do update their bonus several times a year, their bonus offer, and then okay, if I have one site and one page that I have to update, fine. But as affiliates and affiliate companies grow, we end up having hundreds of sites with hundreds of pages, and the offer plastered all over the place. That becomes a full week job to just update one offer if you don’t have it done in some sort of a smart way, and I think that’s what you’re saying here, is why don’t we have a place we can update the offer and “boom” it’s updating your whole affiliate profile, your whole network of sites, and I think that’s genius, it’s needed, it’s for sure needed. So I’m confirming that from an affiliate point of view.

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, at the end of the day it’s all data, so I mean, when that data point updates, why can’t we all just say, “You know what? We trust this data source, so lets have it feed into our systems and automate it”. You know, it’s uh, I think this is gonna be definitely the future of affiliate marketing and without a doubt, when you think about the compliance component of it, it’s actually forcing more of the stuff onto us, so as an operator, well I need my affiliates to be compliant, and as the affiliate, you know, if you’re working in a market and it’s like “This bonus cannot be free spins in the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, so how are we going to jailblock that, or what can we do to change the bonus?”. And that’s a lot of work, and that’s programming work, and there’s more data, and if you pretend that there’s 10,000 affiliates in the whole world that could actually be promoting this bonus, that’s 10,000 jobs that have to be done doing the exact same thing.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. That’s awesome, I mean, that’s a really cool function and it’s something that you’re working at StatsDrone, but I also know that you’re attacking, as the name suggests, the stats side of things, you know? Which I can also attest is something that’s super important to understand, the numbers from an affiliate side and I’m assuming from an affiliate manager’s side as well. So tell us a little bit about that piece of StatsDrone.

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah. I won’t share everything, but I’ll share a lot in the sense that what I’ve discovered over the years, especially in other stats apps that have existed and ones that I’ve used personally, not all affiliates pay attention to the things they need to. And sometimes it’s a matter of having that data in front of your eyes. So, um, just for example. It’s like basic KPIs of like, how much, the more common ones in affiliate marketing, is EPC, like “earnings per click”. And there’s a lot of affiliates that don’t always chase it. Like, sometimes they’re chasing the wrong thing, like I will give you 50% rev share, and then I want to be top spot on your page, so you do that, but if that program doesn’t convert well, I mean what good is 50% when that could be 50% of 0, versus a program that’s only offering you 25%, but that 25% could be Bet365, which is on TV all the time and they’re one of the most recognized brands in the world. So yeah, from a stats perspective, a lot of affiliates aren’t paying attention to this stuff, and even in trying to get that data, once you hand that data over to an affiliate, usually it’s coming in a CSD file, or it’s like a giant table, and even if you put a graph on it, people aren’t able to take out what they really need from it. Just to give you a basic example, so you’ll have an affiliate program that has multiple brands, and you’re like, “Okay, this is how much money we make, and this is all of our clicks, so that’s my EPC, right?”. Well maybe that’s wrong, because what happens if you have 3 brands, and one brand is outperforming the other two by a long shot, so you should actually send more traffic to that brand. Now let’s break down that single brand and what happens if there’s four campaigns that you can choose to send traffic? And if one of those campaigns is outperforming by a long shot, you should send more of your traffic to there. So there is so much lost money in the whole ecosystem and the whole global world of affiliate marketing, and I think, you know, of course I’m gonna say you need a stats app to have this come to life, but it’s not easy for affiliates to know where to get the data, and the first time they see it, that’s when they get these aha moments, and going, “Okay, I’m actually making a smart business decision based on what I know, even though the data as always there, it’s just a matter of can I repurpose this data so they can visually see and know instantly what they’re looking at.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, you brought up some really good points there, and on top of this making you really think from a business side and really analyse the numbers deeper, it’s a convenience thing, and all of us know, any affiliate out there knows, we get obsessed with our numbers, we get obsessed with stats. We want to check every day if there was sign-ups, we want to check all the time how things are going, and when you have, you know, 10, 20, 30 affiliate relationships and different programs you’re working with, you gotta go, you gotta log on, you gotta get to the right report, you gotta see the stat, so it takes a full day to go and check the stats, where I think StatsDrone has interfaces that’s gonna say, “Hey, here it is across the board”. Oh, and there it is. Log into StatsDrone and you see it. Am I correct in saying that, so convenience wise, it also saves time from that side?

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, I mean that was the core element of starting to say, like, well why create an app when there are already others in existence? So, that’s a basic premise, to save time, but I felt like the business aspect of it was more important, like what you said about checking our stats. Well if a program was starting to take off and increase, like, you know, the performance, you want to know that so you can send more track. Likewise, imagine if you had a campaign that’s consistently delivering a profit or a revenue everyday, and if that drops to zero, you kind of need to be flagged. You need to be alerted, and the only way you’re gonna alert this is by looking at the data, so if you’re not looking at it everyday, it’s not different than Google analytics. I mean, you should be checking your data, or at least have an alarm bell that goes off that says “Hey, we used to have like 1000 daily visitors, and now it’s gone down to 0”. Well, of course your stats are gon a reflect that same painful realization, but you need these alert systems in place that protect you and warn you, saying “Hey, you’re leaking money, and there’s a problem. The sinks gonna ship if you don’t plug this hole, so pay attention to it”.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Let’s shift gears for just a second, I know, you know, I could talk about this tuff all day long, John, I really could. So I think we could have multiple sessions to talk about this, but I want to shift gears and talk about the affiliate marketing space in general, and really, you know, I know you’re not living in the US right now, but really more focused on the US side of it, because I know a lot of listeners of this show and watchers of this show could potentially be, you know, current affiliates or people trying to get into the affiliate space. What is your, I guess, view right now of how the affiliate space looks, specifically to sports betting in the United States? Do you have any just high-level thoughts on where that industry is at currently?

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, I think everyone, especially going to the conferences that we’ve been at, is they’re almost saying the same thing. Like, there’s way too much opportunity here, and it’s early days. Not only is it early days and people are making pretty good revenue and being in the space, they’re just looking at how this is going, it looks like it’s infinite opportunities. So they numbers we’re seeing of what revenue is being generated in like the state of New York, as just one small example, this is just scratching the surface, like this is people just getting exposed to the marketing of it. And we probably know that the marketing is probably going to be, maybe, toned down when it comes to, like, the whole responsible gaming, but we’re not even at the early days of this being normalized. Where, you know, yeah sure, people are getting the apps to bet on sports, whether it’s like, FanDuel, or DraftKings, or BetMGM, but I think there’s so much more oppportunity for like, we haven’t seen how many players is gonna become the new norm, and we’re probably like a good 5 years away from that becoming normal. Like, just imagine the next Super Bowl, like, what commercials are we going to see? Well, we don’t know, but even if the commercials weren’t there, you know that companies like the BetMGms and the FanDuels, they are going to up their marketing budgets year after year. Affiliates are definitely going to jump in board, and when they see an opportunity, like, the whole aspect of affiliate marketing in sports betting in America is not really on their radar, it’s more on the radar of people that are already in the space. So, I think what’s gonna happen is that more of these peoples that are either affiliate marketers or SEOs or wanna get into the space, once they see all these interesting sites kinda come up, and they’re like “Wait a minute, I’m now noticing this site that I’d never seen before, but I can kind of figure out their marketers. How much money are they making?”. This stat is going to be available to them at some point, and you can find it indirectly. Like, when you see when DraftKings and FanDuel publish their reports, and NY State publishes how much money in revenue is being generated, the answer is all in front of us, and it’s, we all know it’s early days.

RYAN KNUPPEL

But do you think, you know, this is a question I get a lot, do you think the little guy, the small affiliate, the one person show that, you know, wants to put out some sites and some ads and get their licenses and start to become an affiliate, do you think they even have a shot these days? Because they’re going up against massive companies, you know, as Catena Media, Better Collective, American Affiliate, Raketech, all these just massive affiliate companies, plus you’ve got the big media companies themselves that are now really ranking and really getting their to rank for betting terms. So, does the little guy, and, you know, I say the little guy, just the one man show, the two mean team that has a side or has a network, do they even have a shot?

JOHN WRIGHT

I think they do, and I look at that from two different angles. So the first angle is let’s approach it from an SEO perspective. Like we want to rank and try to challenge this. I see people that are already experienced in affiliate marketing that aren’t in gambling yet that will cross over, and they’re gonna take with them their skills and their work ethic. So when they’ve dominated or made a lot of money in other industries that are probably, maybe just very competitive and it took them a lot of time or hard work to get to that level, that’s the next wave that I feel like is coming in. And I think also with the age that we’re in today, which, for some reason, I feel like a lot of people aren’t paying attention to it, is the world of video. I mean like, here we are, right? So, it’s, look how easy it is for someone to just be like, “Okay, I’m gonna start on YouTube and I’m just gonna do slot reviews and then turn into something”. I mean, even though a guy like Brian Christopher has been part of it for I don’t know how many years, everyone’s kind of shocked at how fast he went from, “Wait a minute, not only did he go into the streaming space, he leaped frog everyone and basically became number one”, which looked like overnight. So these overnight success stories are possible, but it’s all tackling the media and going, well do you need to ve that professional streaming studio that’s powered by Raketech hypothetically, or can you just be like “I’m John, and I’m passionate about sports, and I’m just gonna start chatting and talking about my favorite team and that’s all I do”. I think once you do that, there’s always a market for niche opportunities. And niche as a buzzword in the affiliate marketing world is maybe beaten to death, but this is the perfect example of how you don’t need to beat that Raketech or how it’s impossible to…not only Raketeech taking all the money, your local news station has affiliate sites, uh, like affiliate links on there, so all those players disappearing, it’s, you can create your own network, and I still see this as a lot of people, they’re gonna struggle to be like, “You know what? I’m gonna try a video”. We know what the world of videos is like. It’s difficult to get started because people are perfectionists. They’re like, oh I don’t sound good. But go back to Brian Christopher’s first video. What’s it gonna be like? It’s gonna be amateur, but people are gonna love it.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I appreciate that insight there. Again, this kind of stuff I could talk about forever, and maybe we can do a focus show that we talk, maybe we can do a regular show where we’re talking affiliate marketing, and I think there’s such an interest in this area. I have lots of conversations, and I’m sure you do as well, just about where it’s headed and where it’s going, so, I’d love to dive into that more in the future, but for sake of time today, we’ll move on and kinda go from here. Um, so let’s get kinda back into StatsDrone real quick. What’s the future look like, where are you headed, are there any big things that you’re looking for in the future, or where is the software headed?

JOHN WRIGHT

Yeah, uh, good question. We have a roadmap and a big challenge in front of us, and my short answer to that is, kind of going fully into the business intelligence space where it’s what’s behind that. There’s AI behind it, and that’s not an easy thing to say “I’m gonna give you a one-word answer and that’s AI” and that’s gonna take time in developing those teams. The thing that I’m focusing a lot more on right now is data science and data visualization, so I’m doubling down on that and the more I dig into it, the more I realize there’s a whole industry in affiliate marketing that isn’t exposed to data analytics, data science, data visualization, and business intelligence, like. We take it for granted and we think we know what we’re doing, but until you run into someone that does this for a living and they go really deep into it. Uh, that’s what we’re getting into right now, so we didn’t realize we were gonna end up in this aspect of our company being, ironically enough, StatsDrone, but it’s exactly what we wanna become, so personally I’m excited for it. You know, I think this is gonna start changing over the next couple years, so it won’t be just us that’s part of it, it’s gonna be a lot of companies, and it’s gonna be existing companies that say, that will say, “You know what? We actually need to double down on this and we can’t not have this department”.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Awesome. Well, very cool. Well, John, for the sake of time I’m gonna get off here, but any last words, anything you want to say to the audience, you know, there may be people who are looking to use StatsDrone, how would they get to it, how would they contact you? I know you’re all over the place, I actually, one of the things I respect about you most is your hustle, and that I see you everywhere, which I think is an amazing quality. But if someone wanted to get a hold of you and StatsDrone, how would they do it?

JOHN WRIGHT

Um, well look for my name, but use the keyword StatsDrone because there’s way too many John Wrights in the world, you’re gonna find thousands of me on Facebook, and LinkedIn. Uh, ironically enough, I’ve found one or two other John Wrights in the gambling industry. I’m John@StatsDrone.com if you want to email me. Um, you know, just type in those keywords: “John Wright StatsDrone”. Don’t forget the StatsDrone part, so uh, yeah. I’m everywhere. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, you name it.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Cool John. Well awesome, well I appreciate your time here today, we’ll put all those links out in the show notes that way people can get to it. I look forward to having you on and maybe doing another second editions of this talk.

JOHN WRIGHT

Count me in.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, sounds good my friend. Take care, and hey, hopefully we’ll see you at one of the next events. I know we kind of go on a similar tour, so hopefully we’ll see you in person again soon.

JOHN WRIGHT

Probably Florida.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright. Take care John, thank you.

JOHN WRIGHT

Alright, thanks for having me.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, bye-bye.

Alright, that was John Wright of StatsDrone, super good guy in the industry. Been around, has a lot of experience, especially in the affiliate world, so if you’re looking for any advice, John’s one of those guys also that will, will just give advice for free anytime, right? I mean, I hate to say that about John, but he just, he loves to help people and usually doesn’t even have an agenda in mind when he’s doing that, which I really love and respect about John. So I urge you to reach out to him, talk to him, and pick his brain a little bit, and I think he can help you a lot with StatsDrone if you’re actually in the affiliate space. So, that was episode 177. We’re creeping up on 200 here, people, I hope we can get to it maybe by the end of the year, but probably looking like 2023. So thank you all for your attention, really appreciate you tuning in here today. If you have any comments, I’m Ryan Knuppel, @Knup, out on any of the social media channels. Uh, shoot me a message on LinkedIn or wherever you can find me. Until next time, stay safe and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

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