GPWA Times Magaine - Issue 23 - February 2013

GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES How did you become involved in the in- dustry, and what did you do prior to be- coming involved in online gaming? Af- ter I graduated fromcollege, I immediately looked for IT-related jobs and was hired as an SEO specialist with a start-up web de- velopment company in my country. I be- came interested in the Internet marketing industry and managed to discover more about different kinds of businesses avail- able online including Internet gaming. One of our clients had an online gaming portal and they assigned our team to work on its SEO. As we worked on the website, I learned little by little how to achieve the best Internet marketing strategy for the niche, including but not limited to the traditional SEO/SEM. I then bought some online gaming related domains for my own use and paid some basic hosting plans to develop their content and mar- keting potential. Some of the domains were intended for buying and selling, but I tried using to make money out of affiliate accounts. When did you launch your site? I launched the website portal in August 2009. It was a dry run, just using my own SEO skills and SEM ideas. How has your work as an SEO spe- cialist and your expertise in social media marketing helped you develop and grow your site? Knowing how SEO works for a website, I easily managed to effectively optimize the pages and content of the gaming portal. Though I don’t have enough time to completely optimize the site because of my other job, the resulting product was deemed feasible to promote with an Internet marketing campaign. I used social media and online communities to attract reviews and returning visitors. How long did it take for you to start earning money? It took me four months before the site actually gave me addi- tional revenue, mostly from affiliates but also from advertisers and link buyers. A couple of years ago you were consid- ering selling your site. What changed your mind? The reason I wanted to sell the website was that I practically had no time to maintain the contents and mar- keting campaign of the website then. I was having a hard time finding new, stable work after I resigned at my first company. How has your site changed, and how have your players changed, over the past few years? Knowing more of the industry and the known affiliate leaders, I discovered which of them I could work with to drive mutual revenue growth. I conducted research with the players using my portal and learned from them which casinos/gaming sites they preferred play- ing with as repeat customers. Some of the playerswere basically influenced by attrac- tive ads and also by their experience with the gaming sites. Over time, they shared more information, telling me that they also chose gaming sites based on trends they read about in online communities or heard about from their online peers. What do you think about creating Facebook pages for a casino or poker room you represent? Is this a good idea? Facebook pages promote either an exclusive social environment or a public awareness community which followers can rely on for information that is rel- evant to the enhancement of their own gaming experience. It would be a good idea to have a casino page the users could interact with for questions, offer feeds and provide customer feedback. What traits do you look for in an af- filiate manager? How about in an affili- ate program? Affiliate managers should know how to cope with the trends and changes in the online affiliate market- ing industry. They should be flexible and easily able to adjust to how the market evolves online. A good affiliate program should always be aligned with the limits and potential of their target market. How do you choose which sites to work with and promote? I usually work with sites that already have a positive reputation or have very positive user feedback trends, especially for newly de- veloped sites. Mobile gaming and social gaming are attracting legions of new players to on- line gaming. What if anything are you doing to bring these people to your site? Sites that can expand to mobile gaming and social gaming are also very at- tractive to work with; they know how the growth of technology directly affects mar- ket behavior and preferences. Direct SMS affiliate marketing in mobile gaming has an attractive success rate, based on my ex- perience and statistical research. How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site? About 70 percent of my time is devoted to SEO or organic marketing, with 30 percent for social media and other possible referrals. Which skills did you need as an af- filiate that were the most difficult to acquire? Which skills did you already have when you entered the business? I’m weak when it comes to personally persuading people one on one, which is a great trait I’m still trying to develop. I’m good at writing and formulating market- ing ideas to drive players to my website. If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be? Af- filiates should (1) know about their mar- ket, (2) know how the industry works worst and best, (3) know all the types of people they will encounter in the indus- try, (4) be able to formulate innovative, unique marketing ideas and effectively implement them and (5) know both their limits and their potential to grow. You’ve been a GPWA member for al- most four years. How has it helped you? The GPWA is beneficial for those who are new to the industry because of their very accommodating environment and members. In fact, the GPWA often gives new affiliates the motivation they’ll need to grow and thrive in the industry. What surprised you most about the in- dustry? I’msurprisedat theway the indus- try can be up one day and down the next. What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate? My fam- JAY raphnix If you really want to succeed, listen carefully to your players GPWA Affiliate Interview Series