GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 26 - October 2013

GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES Thanks to his site, “bookie” is no longer a dirty word in Russia When did you launch your site? I start- ed to work on it in summer 2011. The launch was in late October. Tell us about your site. How do you keep it “objective and unbiased”? As simple as not taking money for rankings. We lis- ten to our readers. While it is a fact that getting positive feedback is sometimes very hard in the gaming industry, at least it is possible to achieve not getting nega- tive feedback. I always advise my partners to pay if there’s any uncertainty in a dis- pute. People more and more are counting on reviews by other players, especially in Russia, where the word “bookie” for 90 percent of the population is similar to the words “cheat” or “crook.” How often do you and your team up- date/refresh content? Hourly. We act as a newspaper or a magazine dedicated to sports betting. We have two editors and nine journalists on our team who regu- larly produce quality content. Where does most of your traffic come from? Russia. Anyplans to launchadditional sites? If so, what will be the primary focus? Yes, I do plan to launch sites in English and Chinese. What are the top sports Russians like to bet on? Football, tennis and ice hockey are the most popular sports. What’s the latest news in the Russian Internet gambling market? Unfortunate- ly there’s no stability in the market. For- mally Internet gambling is illegal in Rus- sia, but authorities are tolerant to sports betting and mainly block casino websites. From time to time, though, you can hear stories about some local court ruling where a sports betting operator has been blocked locally. It looks like everyone is happy with the current situation, but it is still unpleasant to not know what will hap- pen tomorrow. Sometimes I think that it would be better if authorities banned ev- eryone. That would result in a consolida- tion and consequently a lobby for regula- tion laws. How did you assemble your team of forecasters? How successful have they been in picking winners? All of our fore- casters are well-known TV commen- tators. And in August we signed up a football legend, six-time champion Egor Titov. In terms of picking winners, our forecasters are in a positive zone all to- gether – I’d say around +11 percent. If the forecasters’ picks are good, your players win and you lose out on rev- enue share. If the picks don’t perform well over time, you’ll lose credibility with your visitors. How do you balance those two competing forces? Although all of them are pretty good at predicting the results, I wish they performed much better than they do already. And I’m not worried about winning players. In February two of our forecasters (at that time we had three) showed +53 percent and +41 percent. After we published the results traffic quadrupled and revenues grew, too. I assume that no one has the patience to wait for a forecast. If there’s money in the balance players place their own bets. You rate just five bookmakers with a 5/5 rating. What does it take to earn a top rating from We take into consideration many factors, but most important are: stability, repu- tation, great customer service and user experience. Also it is mandatory for the company to accept us as an intermediate between players and itself in case of dis- putes. By the way, one of them is about to be dropped down for not listening to us. How did you become involved in the in- dustry? I started as a player in the early 2000s, then got into arbitrage betting. When arbs started to bring less revenue (around 2006) I started to work as an agent for Betfair in Armenia. At the same time I opened a betting shop, and then grew it into a small network. The one I am proud of is How long did it take for you to start earning money? Approximately a year. What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate pro- gram? I like when people react fast and are not afraid to take risks for the sake of a good idea. Only constant progress and innovations can bring you success, and if your partner is not ready to support that, that’s a shame. What advice can you offer people who are just starting up in the industry? Do not look for secret buttons, just do your job. What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you? I met Steven Cor- fman at the LAC and he told me about the GPWA. Of course it helps; people do recog- nize the authority of the GPWA. It helps us to build trust with our new visitors. PARUYR paruyr123 Age: 34 Hometown: Yerevan Living in: Moscow Favorite Food: Dolma Must Read Book: The Devil’s Elixirs , by E. T. A. Hoffmann Site: GPWA Affiliate Interview Series