GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 24 - April 2013

THOMAS JONES Cherry Affiliates You have worked in the indus- try for a few years now, includ- ing time at InterPartners and with bringit. You’ve now been the head of affiliates for Cherry Affiliates for nearly a year. Why did Cherry Affiliates appeal to you? And how did the transi- tion to the new company go? It was the project as a whole that ap- pealed to me the most. Cherry is a massive company (employing over 700 staff) and has an amazing his- tory in Scandinavia, where we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. Their pedigree speaks for itself; as one of the forebears for Betsson and NetEnt, the plans they had going forward to culti- vate the online side of the compa- ny are incredibly exciting. From a personal point of view, it gave me the chance to be an integral part of an emerging side of their business and be there from the start. As you mentioned, I’ve worked previously at both established and start-up casinos and I think that experi- ence has served me well to be part of the growth of an established business, helping to nurture part of their expanding online entity. Judging by the forum posts at the GPWA, you’ve done a pretty good job building relationships with affiliates and other affiliate managers over the years. Why do you feel it’s so important to have those relationships with affiliates, and also with the affili- ate managers who work for your competitors? We’re all in the same boat at the end of the day. Of course it is competitive, but I can happily say I’ve learned most from the people around me, both in the companies I’ve worked with and those from other iGaming provid- ers. I’ve been involved with affili- ate marketing for six years, both in iGaming and out, and it is such a close community that you don’t get anywhere without being recep- tive to others’ thoughts and ideas. There is a lot that you can learn from affiliates and you also have the chance to impart knowledge to others, so it’s really a great place to be. You were quite active on the GPWA forums when you were at InterPartners. Can we expect a return to a high frequency of posts now that you’re with Cherry Affiliates? Ha! I try to be involved as much as possible, of course, and the GPWA is a great place to keep abreast of what is go- ing on in the iGaming world. It’s so fast paced that you can’t afford to look away! If you don’t hear from me, I’m sure Elaine (our affiliate manager) will be around to be in- volved in discussions and happy to answer questions from affiliates. What role do conferences play in terms of spreading the word about a brand like Cherry Affiliates? What kind of pres- ence will Cherry Affiliates have at upcoming conferences? Like the performance marketing business in general, affiliate confer- ences have evolved (for the better) into a more professional and valu- able part of the business. They are a great opportunity to meet existing and potential partners from across the globe, showcasing your brand and hearing the exciting plans that both affiliates and operators have. Cherry was at LAC 2013 and we will be in attendance in Amsterdam, Barcelona and beyond. One of the Cherry Affiliates brands, PlayCherry, recently un- derwent a rebranding process to become EuroSlots. Why did management decide to undergo the rebranding process? And what results have you seen from your efforts to date? We had been planning to release EuroSlots for some time and the impend- ing closure of IGT’s Entraction meant that we could not continue with PlayCherry in the same way, and this realization expedited the whole process. The reaction has been very pleasing; players and affiliates have really taken to the brand, and we’re seeing the hard work come to fruition. We have not only seen a boost from older or lapsed PlayCherry players, but a great number of new players have also come to try the casino, and the retention rate has been very impressive, too. We must be doing something right. How concerned are/were you about losing players during the transition? What should brands that are rebranding do in order to ensure an easy transition for players? From a technical stand- point, it was actually very smooth. It had been planned for a while, so everything was in place and we had no issues at all and the change to the new brand actually boosted player activity. The old casino offering was out of date and in dire need of a refresh. EuroSlots has been a long time in development. It’s easier to use, with a vast array of the latest games, so it was exactly what our players needed. Did players who were transitioned to the new site retain their affiliate tags? If so, how do you ensure that affiliates get credit for the players they had sent to Play Cherry? Yes, this was something that was en- sured from the start. Our partners are very impor- tant to us, especially with the launch of any new brand, so we made sure that our affiliates were moved over with their tags in place. Although activity wasn’t high at the end of PlayCherry, we knew that the new brand would boost inter- est of lapsed players, so affiliates would also benefit from the change. Cherry Affiliates also promotes How big is the online lottery sales market? And what can affiliates earn by promoting online lottery sales? What we offer is something genuinely unique. The weekly “We’re lucky to have some of th e best people in th e industry in our offices. They’re young, hungry and successful in their respective fields, and more importantly, the y have a passion f or the business.” 71 Affiliate Manager Interview Series