GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 14 - October 2010

Arthur BillyBoy AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES SAluting Our Global Community SEO: essential. Vodka: quintessential. “In reality, quality content doesn’t always translate intohigh player conversion rates. Tooffset this, I plan tobuilda fewsites withextremely simple content andveryaggressiveadvertising.” Howdid you become interested in the on- line gambling industry and why did you decide to get involved in affiliate market- ing? I have been interested in gambling theory and the gambling business for a long time. It had been a hobby of mine but I never worked in the gambling industry until two years ago. My other passion is Web design and in 2008 they converged. When did you launch your site, and how long did it take you to get your first de- positing player? I started my first site on November 28, 2008. I got my first payment in March of 2009. How is the effort to attract English-language players to your site progressing? Cur- rently, I only have sites in Russian, but I plan on creat- ing English-language sites in the future. What are the key differences between the Russian-lan- guage markets and the Eng- lish-language markets in the online gambling industry? Even though all my players are from Russian-speaking countries, many of my fellow webmasters are from the EU and the U.S. They have been kind enough to provide me with statisti- cal data on players from those countries, which I have been researching. They key difference between Russian- and English- speaking players is the average deposit size. Deposits from U.S. players are many times larger than deposits from Russian- speaking players. It makes sense because the former Eastern Bloc countries still have a much lower standard of living than the U.S. An average salary here is about $400 to $500 a month; some people only make $200 to $300 a month. The credit- card network is in the early stages of de- velopment here and only 25 percent of the people have access to broadband In- ternet. All these factors work against the Russian gambling market. Essentially the only reason I create Web sites in Russian is because it’s my native tongue and it’s easier to create content. I’m trying to save up enough funds so I can start an English- language site. Also, in my experience it’s futile to send Russian-speaking players to an English-language site. It would be a different situation if I were dealing with players from Sweden or Finland because 80 percent of the population speaks English. What do you wish you knew when you started in the industry that you know now? I learned a lot about SEO and PPC advertising. When I first started, I had some idea about Web design, but was to- tally clueless about SEO issues. Only now am I starting to get a handle on this dif- ficult art. What traits do you look for in an affili- ate manager and what features do you look for in an affiliate program? Cur- rently I’m only working with Mark Bed- ock from Euro Partners. He has made a great impression on me because he deals with any issues that come up in a quick and professional manner. In my opinion he is a shining example of what an affiliate manager should be. As far as future affiliate programs go, I’d like things to stay the way they are for a while. Expansion doesn’t always mean greater profit. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry? I’m still very green and I doubt I’m qualified to give advice to anyone. Having said that, this business is an art; you can’t treat it as strictly a commercial venture. Then there are the technical issues; you need to know HTML and be relatively proficient in PHP and MYSQL, and it helps to know some- thing about SEO. And of course you have to have intimate knowledge of the various gambling games. Recently you have had some issues with Euro Partners – old stats vs. new stats, availability of Russian-lan- guage Flash games, wire- transfer payment problems, etc. Any progress yet? As far as new stats, I brought it up because the stats didn’t work well. That issue has been more or less resolved at this point. The Flash games prob- lem was quickly resolved by my manager, Mark Bedock. I got codes for all the games in Russian including the new Marvel Super Hero series. And yes, the wire-transfer issue was resolved to my full satisfaction. What e-mail management tips can you of- fer? I use ICQ instead of e-mail to solve that problem. How do you budget the time you put into your site? What percentage goes to marketing, updating content, checking your stats and other tasks? That’s a bit of a sore subject for me. I feel like because of my own laziness I’m not using my time effectively. If I worked harder, I would probably get more done. How much time does it take to keep your site updated? Do you use a content man- agement system to manage your site? I write most of the articles myself. A lot depends on my mood. Sometimes, I can write a long article in a few hours, some- 56 GPWA Affiliate Interview Series