GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 10 - Sept 2009

75 :: GPWA Times Youhavebeenchieflyresponsible for the bet365 affiliate program since 2004. What changes have you seen in the industry in the past five years? It’s hard to accu- rately recall everything that has happened in the last five years! Ever since I joined bet365, the company has put a tremendous amount of emphasis on growing the affiliate side of the business, to the extent where we’ve built a new system up from scratch and are always adding new function- ality to ensure we deliver a first- class service to our many part- ners. Speaking more generally, Google’s decision to lift gambling ad restrictions in theU.K. lastOc- tober has seen an enormous swell of traffic coming through fromaf- filiates. You have also worked at Betfair andSporting Index.Whatdidyou learn from those two companies thatyouhavebrought tobet365? A strong work ethic always helps, and itwas great towork alongside and learn from some talented in- dividuals at both companies. By a quirk of fate, working for a bet- tingexchangeandaspreadbetting firmprovidedanexcellentground- ing formy career in thebetting in- dustry. Iactuallybeganmy time in the industrybyhelping togrow the Sporting Odds affiliate program, before that particular company was sold to SportingBet. Several of the affiliates I recruited back in 2001 are now on board at bet365, so it’snice tobemaintaining long- standing relationships with those guys. Wheredoyou see the industry in five years? An impossible ques- tion; forecasting where we’ll be in five months’ time is difficult enough! Iwouldexpect the indus- try to become more globalized, especially in regions suchasEast- ern Europe and Southeast Asia. Our affiliate program is available in 14 different languages at the moment, with more and more people signingup fromoutside of theUnitedKingdom. The concept of affiliate marketing is still in a relatively fledgling state in many parts of the world, although we might expect that to change as betting, gaming and search en- ginesbecomemorepopular. Mostof theaffiliatemanagerswe talktosaybuildingtrustwiththeir affiliates iscritical tosuccess.How do you go about building trust with your affiliates? It certainly helps when you have strong core products for your affiliates topro- mote. The sportsbookat bet365 is acknowledged as being one of the best out there, while our gaming offering is also pretty special. As our many affiliates will already know, the one-wallet solution we provide for customers enables them to transfer money between different product balances with a minimumof fuss. Naturally, we like to communi- cate with our affiliate partners on a regular basis, whether it’s through amonthlyproduct news- letter,a telephoneconversationor aone-to-onemeeting. Thebet365 brand is widely respected in the industry and the feedback we have from our affiliate partners is positive to the extent wherewe feel we’re doing a good job. We have dedicated affiliate manag- ers for each of the bet365 prod- ucts, which means that someone keen to push sportsbook, casino, poker, gamesandbingocanspeak withsomeonewhohasspecialized knowledge. Besidestrust,whatarethekeysto building successful relationships between affiliates and affiliate programs? Itcanbroadlybedivid- ed into two categories. You need to have a strong product offer- ing and a solid affiliate program. Without these, it simplywouldn’t work. For both, you also need a fast,user-friendlyWebsite, sound customer service and speedy pay- outs. Our affiliates also recognize that bet365 customer lifetime values are particularly high, something which enables us to have long-standing relationships, which in turn strengthens trust. Ultimately, affiliates are happy when they feel that a program is rewarding them for their efforts and is likely to continue doing so in the long run. What separates bet365 Affiliates from other affiliate programs? Existing affiliates of ours will gladly explain why they put bet365 as number one on their Web sites, while any- one who hasn’t yet signed up should go right aheadandexpe- rience the many plus points of affiliating themselves with the brand. Results say more to these guys than I could possibly put intowords. bet365 offers a num- ber of different verti- cals, including bingo, poker, sports, games and a casino. Which is the most popular? Whichverticaldoyou seewith themostpo- tential? How do your typicaldemographics differ between verti- cals? Our sportsbook has the biggest number of active customers, although that’shardly surprisingwhen you consider it’s the longest established product and what most people associate bet365with rightnow.We’re see- ingdecentgrowthacrossallprod- ucts, with bingo being the latest to be added to the bet365 portfo- lio.Relativelyspeaking, this is the one that is likely to growquickest of all in the short-term, while it’s obvious that this is the product where our typical demographic is markedlydifferent. “Theconceptof affiliatemarketing isstill ina relativelyfledgling state inmany partsof theworld, althoughwemight expect that to changeasbetting, gamingandsearch enginesbecome morepopular.” MATTHEWGLAZIER | bet365 AffiliateManager Interview Series