GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 10 - Sept 2009

74 GPWA Times :: “Convoy.” Ludicrous to look at it now… but it’s a fad for you. Twitter as a real-timeutilitywill nodoubt be incorporated into the myriad of ways we communicate, but we’re there as an avenue forourcustomersandprospects to contact us. They want to tweet us, or IM, or e-mail, or Skype, or whatever… we’re there. But it definitely doesn’t work as a newacquisition tool. This summer you ran a promotion that allowedplayers toclaimadifferentbonus each day.What was the thought process behindcreating thatpromotion? Thishas been a great promotion and reflects our corevaluesof“NeverBored.”Howcanyou be bored when there’s a new promotion every day? It really applies traditional casino thinking, theold“Give ’embonuses and theywill come,” and skewsBuzzluck- style into something new and fun and different andexciting. What’s more difficult, attracting players or retaining them? And why? Attracting players is definitely more difficult in this industry as casino players have a huge selectionof online casinos to choose from offering very aggressive bonuses. So it becomes a function of differentiation, which we have loads of, and ad spend. is proof positiveof this:millions spentmonthly on boring campaigns for a weak Web site with standard games, yet they’ve generated25million signups over thepast 11 yearsSowhydo theyonlyhave 75,000 playing per quarter? The effort to retainplayers iswaymore expensive than acquisition. An acquisition, you can blow wadsofmoneyandget thenameout there; retention, in2009,means reallygetting to know eachand everyplayer so you cando what’s right forhimorher. Tellingly,’s redeposit to ini- tial deposit ratio is over 3.5:1; thatmeans oncewe’vegot the initial trialdeposit from a player, and our “player development” process kicks in, we can expect to see an- other three from that player. And that’s based on only four months of operation. We think it’s a keymetric that not many other casinos are talkingabout. How can affiliates help in retaining players? In my opinion, affiliates that have active forums or incorporate various social media aspects that allow their visitors/users to engage and interact with each other will build a loyal following as it is just as important for them to retain existing traffic as well as always working to generate new traffic to their site. The important part of retention, above good customer service, lies in “developing” players, which ismarketing and selling to them on a one-to-one basis. Treating all players the same, more or less, is so pre- Buzzluck. Most of the affiliate managers we talk to say building trust with their affiliates is critical to success. How do you go about building trust with your affiliates? Pay them on time. It’s the leading indicator, after all. But I usually have a communication channel open all the time and I try to check my laptop every hour to see if I get an e-mail or a chat from an affiliate because I know the importance of being responsive and staying on top of them. Being straight with their players is another must — not communicating through forums or other areas should be adeath sentence (although I see plenty of guysnot out thereand still doingall right. We’ll give it some time). We look toouraffiliatepartners, aswell as players, for inputandguidance.Andwhen they see their suggestions taken andused — our first free chip promo came directly fromanaffiliate— theyknow they’rebeing listened to.Web2.0, thenewgenerationof theWeb, ismore about participation and contribution than anything. In the new Web, you’re part of something bigger. Keeping a straight player-affiliate-casino model iskeepingyourhead in the sand. Besidestrust,whatarethekeystobuilding successfulrelationshipsbetweenaffiliates and affiliate programs? I think the main keybesides trust isbeingpro-active: Working with affiliates on a daily/ weekly basis and keeping them informed, whether it is new promotions, new payment options or anything else, they need tobekept in the loop. Being proactive with new marketing tools tohelpaffiliatesdrivemore traffic to the casinoaswell askeep content on their site “fresh.” Being proactive in keeping an eye on the performance of affiliates and letting them know if conversions are dropping or increasing, and working off of that information to improve. • • • How long have you been in the online gambling industry? Why did you decide toenterthefield? I’vebeen in the industry since October 2001 when I moved to Curaçao fromSanFrancisco. By luck,Ifounda“marketingassistant” job inCuraçaoworking forVIPSports. There, using my graphic design skills combined withmy Internet knowledge, Iwas able to workmywayup through thatorganization and move on to other, more exciting opportunities. Even here at Buzzluck, where titles are few and far between, I’m considered the “acquisition director,” not just the affiliatemanager.Whatever tools I choose to use to get players falls tome. Of course, coming from theaffiliateworld, that’sbeenmyfirst, andbest, choice. If youwish you’dknownone thing about the industry before you entered it, what would it be? We (the online gambling industry) are really looked at as the scum of the online industry, nomatterwhat we do, orhowwe try to innovate. I thinkeven porn sites getmore respect as they are at the cutting edge of content delivery and payment processing. We’ve been painted with the same brush eversince1998when thespamcampaigns andendlesspop-upsunderKazaaannoyed prospects — another poor legacy of the early casinos.WithBuzzluck, we’re trying tocreateabiggerexperience, anduseWeb 2.0 tools and techniques to communicate about it. If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be? Aside from its reputation, the biggest weakness is that ithasbecomeacommod- itizedmarket inwhichmost operators, re- gardless of vertical, compete on bonuses alone to acquire new players. Nothing else differentiates the brands and sowhat all of us at eGaming 2.0want to see hap- pen in this industry is more innovation. That is all about. If youcouldhavedinnerwith threeother people, livingordead,whowould theybe andwhy? They’dbemoredinnerparties, I guess, as it’dbe 1)my family:wife, kid, in- laws,myparents, 2)Wachowski brothers: Matrix did to the film industrywhat Buz- zluck is trying to do to the online casino industry and 3) SteveWynn, as he is the man that revitalizedVegas. AffiliateManager Interview Series