GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 8 - April 2009

62 GPWA Times | SAMI MALKA | BestPay Affiliates Affiliate Manager Interview Series “Building trust is a mutual and ongoing process, especially in our global industry where you need to bridge language barriers.” You represent the Gold Rock Ca- sino brand. What distinguishes Gold Rock Casino from other on- line casinos? Gold Rock is a very warm place where the players can really make themselves at home. It starts with the personal contact with customer support but is also felt in the ongoing bonuses and overall atmosphere. We are here to provide entertainment, fun, and make our visitors feel com- fortable and appreciated. Gold Rock Casino is powered by Rival software. What separates Rival from the rest of the soft- ware competition? I think nowa- days everybody in the industry knows the answer to this by heart – innovation, innovation, inno- vation. Rival software is simply brilliant, both in design and game architecture. It’s the most enter- taining and com- pelling casino software ever de- veloped. What distinguish- es your statistical reports from oth- ers on the mar- ket? The stats are really the last place where you should try to re- invent the wheel. When it comes to a partner who wants to know his or her bottom line, we need to provide the information in the most convenient and intuitive way. Here we take the conserva- tive approach along with the best in the business. What other features will affiliates find at BestPay that they won’t find anywhere else? We main- tain the highest standards, but if there’s anything a partner needs on top of that, we are always will- ing to accommodate. How does BestPay help affiliates localize their marketing efforts? The site is available in German, and a new version in Swedish as well as other languages will be added in the future. The software itself will be translated into more languages in the coming months, and of course we accept four dif- ferent currencies. Marketing re- sources for different currencies and languages are also expected to come up shortly. What is themost rewardingaspect to being an affiliate manager? The industry itself is exciting and so are the people you meet. Other industries have kind of a square feel to them, but here there’s a higher energy level and people are more open and informal. Most of the affiliate managers we talk to say building trust with their affiliates is critical to suc- cess. How do you go about build- ing trust with your affiliates? Of course, I agree with this. Build- ing trust is a mutual and ongoing process, especially in our global industry where you need to bridge language barriers and different cultural mentalities. The rule of thumb here is never promise what you can’t deliver; always do everything you can to keep your promise. Besides trust,what are the keys to building successful relationships between affiliates and affiliate programs? I would say respect. In some cases the only connection you have with your affiliate part- ner is by email, and it’s very im- portant to remember the person behind the words. What are three critical challenges facing affiliate programs right now? And how about three criti- cal challenges that are facing af- filiates? I think these challenges are the same for both affiliate programs and affiliates. The first is to hit new territories, both in terms of reaching new traffic and audiences as well as technologi- cally. The market is crowded on both ends, and this is why I am so happy to work with a company like Rival that stands out and has something to offer to the non-tra- ditional player, too. This is where the affiliates that work on SEO shine. The second challenge is to break the familiar cycle of creative mar- keting in our industry, as the customers become more jaded, sophisticated, and harder to im- press. When it comes to affiliates this is where the personality of the individual who runs the forum, for example, kicks in and makes all the difference. The third and most crucial chal- lenge is walking the fine line be- tween good service and feasibility. Today’s players are tougher and more demanding, and while both casino managers and affiliates really want to pamper the cus- tomer, we have to function within the limits of feasibility. This deli- cate balance between keeping the player happy while looking out for the best interest and bottom line of the affiliate is our top priority. Time (and email) management is one of the most important skills needed by both affiliate program managers and affiliates.What are your three top time management tips? What about e-mail manage- ment? I got good advice long ago: start the day with emails and stick with them until you take care of everything you can clear off on the spot. Then move to the emails that need more time, and only then move on to phone calls and other tasks. How did you get into the affiliate marketing business? What did you do beforehand? I have been in this business for two years now, after working in online mar- keting in the electronics field. The more I heard about affiliate work the more I liked it, and when I fi- nally moved to gaming affiliation