GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 16 - May 2011

YUVAL HARARI Integra Partners MEET THE AFFILIATE MANAGERS We invite you to meet two very seasoned industry professionals. Yuval Harari of Integra Partnerswas anaffiliate for over 10 years before“crossingover”to theprogram side when he was approached by Integra and offered the chance to develop a business model for them from scratch – an assignment that forYuval is akin to being on a mission. Nicolas Fleiderman worked for expekt, Bodog Europe, the Fortune Lounge Group, Interwetten and several other operations before joining Casino Creed, which streams live games from the floors of multiple land-based casinos simultaneously and brings a whole new level of excitement to the online player experience – something Nicolas refers to as the “wow” factor. Yuval, when we first met you, you were an affiliate. Now you’re run- ning Integra Partners, the affiliate program for Grand Duke Online Casino.Why did you make the shift from the affiliate side of the busi- ness to the operator and affiliate programside of the business? I was an affiliate for over 10 years. Despite its being financially fulfilling, and allowing me ample time to be with my family, I felt it was time for me tomake a change. I promisedmyself that if the right opportunity came up, I would grab it. I believe the right opportunity came upwhen I was ap- proachedby IntegraPart- ners, which is why we’re speaking right now. What lessons did you learn as an affiliate that you’re applying to your work at Integra Part- ners? I have learned many lessons over so many years and I am doing my best to apply all of them today. I re- alize the importance of transparency between the operator and the af- filiate. For me, the word “affiliate” means part- nership, and that means both parties are in busi- ness together and there- fore everything should be open for both sides. Only a true partnership will deliver good results in the long run. How did you first become in- volved in the online gaming in- dustry? I was employed as an affiliate account manager at a company marketing the Casino- On-Net brand in 1999. When I left, I became their affiliate and made twice my previous salary as an employee. I have been in the industry ever since. How is the Integra Partners and Grand Duke Online Casino experi- ence different for you – both from a personal standpoint and from the viewpoint of what players and affiliates might see? I feel very fortunate that I have been given the chance to develop the affili- ation business at Integra Part- ners from scratch. It may sound funny but I really feel that I am on a mission. My mission is to try and bring some integrity into the industry. The industry has now matured and is even regulated in many places, so it’s time to do things right. What distinguishes Integra Part- ners from other affiliate pro- grams? It’s new. It has to prove itself, and that’s my responsibil- ity. The name Integra comes from the word “integrity,” something we feel has been somewhat miss- ing in the industry for a very long time. Integra Partners does not offer 60 percent or 90 percent rev share, or whatever asinine deals operators offer these days, in or- der to hook you, and then con- tinually shave your earnings. This is a business partnership between us and our affiliates; therefore we strive to reach fair deals that truly benefit both sides. We will never promise what we don’t or cannot deliver. Having said that, we have what we call Royal Affiliates, and those affiliates can be paid any- time they wish during a calendar month with a 24-hour notice, providing they meet certain con- ditions, for example 50 real play- ers and $5,000 in commissions. We also have a policy of “No Freeze Account” ever. We don’t make our partners deliver a minimum num- ber of players a month or a year. An affiliate can deliver just one player or thousands, and his account will always stay open. It’s in our T&Cs. What is the biggest “unexpected” problem you’ve faced with Integ- ra Partners? The biggest problem we have faced up to now, in terms of our relationship with affiliates, is that we do not pay per player at this point (CPA). Being a new ca- sino brand and a new affiliate pro- grammeans we take things slowly and smartly. It’s the easiest thing in the world to pay a few hundred bucks per player, but then what? I have seen numerous casinos disappear because of that. Many affiliates work on the regular rev- enue share program with us and I think it’s better for them as they seem to hit some big players once in a while and are rewarded very nicely. It’s a perfect risk-sharing model, if you ask me. What does integrity mean to you – and what does it mean to Integra Partners? It’s in our logo, “Business with Integrity.” Affiliates will al- ways be given the right answers to any issue, whether it’s good news or bad. We hide nothing; we believe in transparency and true partnership. “Integra Partners does not offer 60 percent or 90 percent rev share, or whatever asinine deals operators offer these days, in order to hook you, and then continually shave your earnings.” 56 Affiliate Manager Interview Series