Mastering Operator-Affiliate Disputes: Insights from Traffic Lab’s Peter Gunni

Mastering Operator-Affiliate Disputes: Insights from Traffic Lab’s Peter Gunni

Navigating a start-up through its expansion, Peter Gunni’s path has been marked by transformation and evolution, driven by the process of trial and error.

Stepping onto the spotlight of the eagerly awaited 2023 edition of SBC Summit Barcelona, Traffic Lab’s Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Gunni, sat down for an exclusive tête-à-tête with SBC Media.

In this enlightening dialogue, he delved into the intricate landscape of affiliate marketing, revealing the nuances of relationships, negotiations, and resolving disputes with operator partners. Gunni sheds light on challenges, contrasts between established and emerging operators, and explores the art of strategically selecting revenue models, among other topics.

You joined Traffic Lab nearly seven years ago when it was still in its start-up phase. Can you elaborate on the major challenges you and the company faced during those early days as a newcomer to this industry?

Peter Gunni: The initial challenge of being a start-up, aside from surviving the first couple of years, was preserving the agility, speed, and communication we had when we were just 10 people, compared to the 100+ we are today. 

Maintaining the same dynamic start-up vibe in a larger organisation was crucial. Traffic Lab also had to find its identity and establish its place within the industry. 

Personally, it required me to develop leadership skills beyond my military background and adopt a leadership style that aligned with my values. The rapid pace of the affiliate business demanded continuous personal growth and adaptation. 

Through trial and error, we learned and grew along the way. Today, we have a solid foundation to sustain a larger organisation and focus on our mission—to empower every individual to make informed digital purchase decisions through our comparison services.

The significance of selecting a niche for your business, particularly in the highly competitive realm of affiliate marketing, is frequently emphasised. Considering this, do you feel that you have discovered your niche at Traffic Lab?

PG: Absolutely. Discovering our niche has been integral to our growth and success at Traffic Lab. We’ve established ourselves as experts in data-driven agility, focusing on excellence in the iGaming industry. Our continuous efforts to keep our sites up to date, refine strategies, and leverage advanced technologies like R-codes for machine learning list exposure have allowed us to align our brands with customers’ needs and search intent. 

Much like how platforms create consumer behaviour content, we ensure our sites resonate with the user intent, fostering a personalised and effective user experience.

How does the experience of working with up-and-coming brands differ from that of established operators?

PG: Working with up-and-coming brands presents unique opportunities and challenges compared to established operators. While established operators often have well-defined marketing strategies and brand recognition, up-and-coming brands require tailored approaches to gain traction, especially if they don’t have a distinct market approach. 

For up-and-coming brands, we focus on data-driven guidance and personalised support to help them grow and compete effectively. Established operators benefit from our expertise in optimising their performance, enhancing market presence, and maintaining top-of-mind awareness for customers

At SBC Summit Barcelona, you are part of a panel providing a platform for affiliates to discuss player value—a cause of frequent misunderstandings between operators and affiliates. How can you collaboratively work to proactively prevent the emergence of such disputes?

PG: I believe it comes down to expectations in terms of the number of new players versus the revenue models that are popular in this industry. 

The revenue models are working against the operators’ contractual goals. From an affiliate point of view, we are rewarded based on new players. If we consider a Hybrid deal set-up, the problem is that operators also want to increase the value, which is far less valuable than chasing new players for affiliates. 

If we were to start targeting those who already made a first-time deposit (FTD) to increase the value per FTD, we would, in most cases, not substantially gain more from it compared to acquiring new customers.

The harsh truth is that the revenue share model should incentivise value generation over time. Yet, ultimately, it is “punished” by the acquisition of new players, as their cost is deducted from the total account revenue and not per individual customer.

The flip side of this coin is, of course, that the tracking we have in place for this industry is from the 2000s. Helping a player to return back to a casino is only rewarded if this player was initially signed by you, which means the database is king in revenue terms.

You often come across discussions about hidden fees or low retention rates in operator affiliate programs. How prevalent is this issue?

PG: It is a very prevalent issue.

Transparency and a strong relationship based on trust are vital for a proper revenue-driven outcome to take place for both parties. Operator CRMs vastly differ, which means affiliates need to be on their toes about their commission plans. 

If you do believe and trust in a partner to bring value to your players, then revenue share is something to consider. Unfortunately, casinos are popping up from left and right with, most of the time, empty databases.

To be frank, if you do not believe in a casino’s longevity, it is important for affiliates to bring cost-per-acquisition (CPA) models into the picture. I see weekly messages about operators not paying or shutting down accounts with a supposed “Lifetime revenue share.” 

Admin fees are always deducted from Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), which in some cases is up to 35%, leaving what was a 50% Revenue Share (RS) deal, in reality, becoming far less.

It is time to readjust commission plans and tracking to foster a collective-driven goal for operators and affiliates. I look forward to a resolution-driven discussion on stage.

Which markets are you presently prioritising, and in which emerging markets do you think have the most potential for growth?

PG: We are continually evaluating market dynamics and seeking opportunities for growth and leverage. While we maintain a strong presence in established markets like Europe and North America, we also recognise the immense potential in emerging markets. As digitalisation and internet penetration increase in countries across the region, we see a significant opportunity to tap into new audiences and deliver outstanding results for our partners. We are strategically exploring these markets to expand our footprint and capitalise on the exciting growth potential they offer.

Amidst this year’s news landscape, regulatory fines, accountability discussions, and advertising restrictions have garnered significant attention. Are there any particular stories within these areas that stood out to you?

PG: I am keeping an eye on the Netherlands, but only from a personal perspective. 

The strict age gating and methods for enforcement and verification prove it is an interesting market to follow. As in most cases, there is never a straightforward guide set, so monitoring how both operators and affiliates will figure out how to navigate within the rules.

Summarising a difficult subject matter, what would you like Barcelona delegates to take away from your experience on player value?

PG: At the SBC Summit Barcelona, I hope delegates take away the importance of collaboration and open dialogue between operators and affiliates in understanding the issues we have on player value.

 By working together proactively, we can overcome misunderstandings and drive optimal results for our partners. Our experience at Traffic Lab has shown that data-driven strategies, transparency, and a commitment to excellence are crucial factors in delivering standout results for iGaming companies. 

As an industry, we must embrace innovation, responsible gaming practices, and continuous improvement to thrive and succeed in this dynamic landscape.

Peter Gunni will be speaking on the ‘Affiliate Voice – the Value of the Player’ panel, which is part of the ‘Affiliate Focus’ conference track at SBC Summit Barcelona. The panel is scheduled for 20 September, from 12:20-13:00. Gunni will be joined by Sirp De Wit (CEO, Inovatiq Ltd), Sebastian Erfurth (COO, and Havard Lehn (Co-founder, Nordic Affiliates).

Traffic Lab operates the following sites:,,,,, and


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