XLMedia prepared to rebound following Google hit

Businessman reading newspaper
Businessman reading newspaper

Affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular, allowing companies to extend their marketing reach without having to put up a lot of cash. It has been particularly attractive to the iGaming segment, where operators find themselves in a highly competitive field, but affiliate marketing is only effective as long as the affiliates reach certain goals. One of the more established companies, XLMedia, found out last year how important it is to be in control of its network when penalties introduced by Google against it led to a major drop in revenue. However, the company is ready to bounce back and put those issues behind it. 

Last September, XLMedia announced that it was going to come up short on its revenue expectations for the first half of the year by around $2 million. Part of that was due to COVID-19, but it was also because Google slammed the company for allegedly playing tricks to achieve better positions in Google search rankings. XLMedia had reportedly come under fire for a number of transgressions and issued a “manual ranking penalty,” causing it to lose its place in Google searches. Among the activity that can lower Google’s ranking score are things like using hidden text and websites that use a lot of spam; however, the penalties attributed to XLMedia were not disclosed. 

The company is now rewriting the playbook on how it operates and is taking a “multi-track approach” to recover lost ground on Google. With its newfound dedication to structure and attention to detail, XLMedia expects to reach group revenue of around $54.5 million and, discounting certain business transaction expenses and share-based payments, believes it will achieve adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of around $11.5. That figure is in line with its current level. 

To help it rebound, XLMedia is going to reduce the number of websites it offers. At the same time, the sites that will remain in the portfolio, as well as new sites that are coming online, will see improvements and enhancements to make them align better with Google’s ranking requirements. Many of these upgrades have already begun and the company has reported shared its latest revamped data with Google to determine if it is more suitable. 

The restructuring is reportedly already paying off. According to XLMedia, three of its sites – Casino.gr, Casino.pt and CasinoKiwi.co.nz – have already had their respective ranking penalties removed by Google. An update on how all of the company’s progress is going will be made available when XLMedia releases its full-year results for 2020 this April.