GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 14 - October 2010

MICHAEL GOLD 7Red MEET THE AFFILIATE MANAGER In this issue, Michael Gold of 7Red has the spotlight all to himself. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to build a completely new online gaming site from scratch, you’ll gain valuable information on the process as Michael shares his experiences and insights with us. First of all, he says, you want to make sure the games you’re going to offer are of the highest quality and that your ethical standards are just as high. Then, be patient, remain calm, delegate responsibilities and reconcile yourself to spending most of your waking hours in front of your computer. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?! What experience do you have in the industry? Andwhy did you de- cide to join up with a brand-new online offering at 7Red? My expe- rience with the industry is mainly as an affiliate from 2008 to 2009. Since I’d been developing and marketing affiliate programs for businesses for the previous four years I decided to combine my knowledge in that area with the gaming market. I joined 7Red after meeting with their warm, professional staff and discovering that their moral standards are as high as the quali- ty of their games – both criteria which are most important to me and I think that this industry is lacking. What has it been like to build the brand from the ground up? What have you learned in the early going and what are your plans moving forward? Building a brand from ground up is a true challenge. It means endless hours in front of the computer, many staff meetings and manda- tory attendance at all of the indus- try’s shows. I learned to be more patient and calm when there is a lot of work pressure and to del- egate responsibilities. 7Red is a no-download, Flash- based casino. What are the ad- vantages and disadvantages of running a Flash casino from an operator’s point of view? What are the advantages and disadvan- tages froma player’s perspective? The only disadvantages a no- download casino might encoun- ter are that you have to adjust it to all kinds of browsers perfectly and that if you don’t keep a pow- erful server the players might ex- perience long loading times. The advantages, however, are numer- ous as players can start playing instantly from anywhere, includ- ing cellular phones. There is also no need to constantly download updates, and the graphics are just awesome. You offer a free version of your games without requiring play- ers to sign up for an account. Can you explain the thinking behind that decision? How has it affected your deposit rates for people who go through the sign-up process? Allowing players to play for free without needing to open an ac- count just makes it easier and faster for them to experience our top-notch games. On 7Red there is no need to lure players into open- ing an account as all we desire is for them to experience the quality of our games. If players like them, and they usually do, they will cre- ate an account out of their own free will. The fact that we don’t re- quire players to open an account before playing has a positive ef- fect on sign-ups as players are smart and can spot when some- one is trying to force them into something. I believe that players appreciate the fact that we give them the freedom of choice. You have a wide range of offer- ings, from traditional 3-reel slots like Lucky 7, to 3D bonus slots like Enchanted, to table games like blackjack and roulette, to video poker, and even virtual horse rac- ing. What are your most popular games? Do your players tend to stick with one genre of games? Or do your players tend to cross genres and enjoy a variety of the games? Each player has his own taste and chooses the genre he likes most. I don’t see players moving across genres much. Most players like the 3D slots, which are actually the crème de la crème of 7Red. Players tend to choose the slot they like best and stick to it…well, at least until we release a new, more exciting one. Whatdoyou think the threegreat- est challenges facing the industry are right now? And what would you do to solve them? I think there are only two main challeng- es facing the industry. The first one is regulation, which I can’t actually do much about, but if I were one of the big casino owners I guess I’d try to join forces with other owners and try doing some lobbying. The second challenge is market saturation, but luck- ily 7Red is an innovative casino which only integrates top-notch games as they are released so I’m not really worried about that. “The fact that we don’t require players to open an account before playing has a positive effect on sign- ups . . . players appreciate the fact that we give them the freedom of choice.” 34 Affiliate Manager Interview Series