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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Alexey – ALEX777

    Name:  Alexey-ALEX777-Banner.jpg
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    Age: 27
    Hometown: Riga
    Currently residing in: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (moving back soon to United Kingdom)
    Favorite food: Shashlik
    One book everyone must read: The Star Rover, by Jack London
    Sites:
    http://www.gamblingin.co.uk
    http://www.playtechcasinos.co.uk
    http://www.microgamingcasinos.org.uk
    http://www.casinogamblingonline.org
    http://www.rukazino.ru
    http://www.newcasinobonus.org
    http://www.onlinegamblingnews.org.uk


    Before we talk business, we need to hear all about your harrowing experience in Kyrgyzstan this past April when you and your wife (and your cat) were caught in the middle of a fast, furious and bloody uprising – the so-called Second Tulip Revolution. What were you doing there? Did you get out? Where are you living now? Please tell us the whole story.

    I was born and grew up in Latvia. In 1999 my family moved to England, but I could never imagine that I would end up living in Kyrgyzstan.

    In April 2009, I came to Kyrgyzstan for the first time to visit my girlfriend. There I proposed and we got married in February 2010. The process turned out to be a little tricky because there was a lot of bureaucracy and red tape.

    Our plan was to move to England shortly after getting married, but the April revolution laid all our plans to ruin.

    People were spreading news of the coup even before it was broadcast on television. We found out because my mother-in-law called to tell us. The only sensible thing in this situation was to stock up on food and provisions and stay home.

    Both my wife and I have gone through similar experiences in the past. My wife was in Kyrgyzstan during the first revolution in 2005. I was in Estonia during the uprising in 2005 and in Latvia during the coup in the early 90s. Both of us had a pretty good idea of what to expect: after the unrest during the day, at night the city would be swept by a wave of looting and crime. All the refugees flocked to the capital, some in search of justice and some with more nefarious intentions.

    We didn’t sleep for the next three days and spent all our time monitoring the situation in the city through the news on the Internet and local forums.

    We were very afraid that once the mob was done looting the stores and shopping centers, they would start robbing apartments and houses.

    In a few days things settled down, but we lost our peace of mind. The city was full of rumors that a new wave of unrest was coming. We seldom left our home, only to pick up supplies and groceries. The stores in the city were back in business since it was their only source of income so we had the ability to purchase food and other goods without problems.

    Because of the situation in the city, we had to forget about taking walks, going to the doctor, hanging out with friends or going to the movies.

    Those memories are very unpleasant; I only made it through without losing my mind because I had my wife there to support me.

    On June 11th a series of events in the south of Kyrgyzstan, in Osh and Jalalabad, shook us up so much that we considered leaving the country. We were able to get in touch with the Latvian consulate, and leaving the country immediately became a real option. However, we couldn’t simply leave because our small family had another member — our cat, Ichabod. We were so used to him and loved him so much that to leave him seemed impossible. It would have taken us two months to prepare his documents if he were to go with us.

    So we stayed in Kyrgyzstan. Right now my wife and I live in Bishkek. Life has returned to normal; everything has calmed down and people can go about their business. We are preparing our documents for a trip to England and hope that nothing will prevent us from going.

    Comparing your April ordeal to your firsthand experiences during the 2005 uprisings in Kyrgyzstan and Estonia, and the coup in Latvia in the 1990s, did having access to the Internet this time make it any easier for you and your wife to cope with the situation?

    It’s debatable. On one hand, the information helped us keep abreast of what’s happening nationally and locally. On the other, too much information can be harmful; there is an old Russian proverb that goes, “The less you know, the better you sleep.”
    .
    How did you become interested in the online gambling industry and why did you decide to get involved in affiliate marketing?

    I have been interested in games of chance ever since I was a kid. I remember when I was 11, I had this idea to install an arcade machine in my house, so that all my friends could play it. When I found out I could work as an intermediary between the players and the casino, make money and work in the gaming industry, I began learning HTML and reading books about marketing and SEO.

    How long did it take before you started earning money?

    I got my first check in about six months. It was only for $70, but I was very proud.

    You operate seven sites, and they’re all devoted to general gambling. Why so many? Is each site targeting a distinct audience?

    I build and optimize sites to various key words and for various audiences. Since 2005, I have been primarily focused on targeting the British market.

    What do you wish you knew when you started in the industry that you know now?

    Free hosting is like cheese in a mousetrap.

    What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

    Don’t start with black hat SEO practices; read forums such as the GPWA; don’t promote rogue casinos or casinos that don’t make information about themselves easily available.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be, and why?

    1) Information. The more you know, the fewer mistakes you will make.
    2) Patience. This is something every webmaster needs regardless of the industry.
    3) Hard work, hard work and more hard work.
    4) “Trust but verify,” and sometimes verify again.
    5) Honesty. The more honest you are the more people will trust you, and the more opportunities will present themselves in the long run.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager and what features do you look for in an affiliate program?

    I prefer to market brands that treat the player and the webmaster with consideration. I also pay attention to the reputation of the casino and affiliate program, the percentage and conditions. I don’t like affiliate managers who only want high positions, high traffic, but offer nothing but empty promises and don’t put forth any effort. Some won’t even a send you a casino screen shot. I like programs that offer a decent percentage, good marketing materials and a casino where the players play for a long time.

    You posted earlier this year that you’ve had trouble finding USA affiliate programs that you can trust. What problems were you having? Any luck since then?

    No, I found nothing. Only clickthroughs and downloads, no income. I think I will take the advice I got from several webmasters and register in programs that they recommended. I will completely change those things that aren’t generating any revenue. I’ve been planning to do that for a long time, but I don’t have the time because my priority has been the European market.

    How long do you give yourself for responding to e-mail? And what e-mail management tips can you offer?

    I learned to recognize spam. I only reply to what interests me. Sometimes I reply with a no. Generally, I’m pretty hard to get a hold of. I spend about 15 minutes to an hour and a half per day on e-mail.

    How do you manage your “to do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?

    I always know what I need to do. I don’t use any software; all my priorities are sorted in my brain. I guess you could say I work on “autopilot.”

    How much time does it take to keep your sites updated? Do you use a content management system to manage your site?

    Sometimes I have to work from when I wake up in the morning until my brain just shuts down. Recently I began using ModX CMS – it was recommended by a webmaster on GPWA. I also use WordPress and Joomla!

    What does your family think about your chosen profession?


    In the beginning my family had great distrust of this new endeavor, but I proved to them that you can earn money on the Internet. My wife has no problems with my profession. She actually does some of the graphics for my sites. She’s a designer by profession, but she’s a talented graphic artist also.

    How long have you been a GPWA member? Has membership helped you in any way? Explain.

    I registered on GPWA in 2003. With the help of forums such as GPWA, I got to know the industry. This kind of networking greatly expands opportunities.

    What one thing would you change about the online gambling industry, and why?

    I think there is a need for strict controls being imposed on affiliate programs and casinos to eliminate all types of fraudulent practices. But, it’s probably just a pipe dream.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot, and why?

    I don’t know, I always like discovering new places.

    What’s your favorite movie, and why?

    I like science fiction, but I don’t think my favorite movie has been made yet.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you would definitely take them to see, and why?

    It would depend on who was coming to visit. Here, I would probably show them the mountains. It’s very beautiful – the river, fresh air and shish kebabs. If friends came to visit in England, I would take them to the sea.

    If you could visit any five places in the world, what would they be, and why?

    1) Goa, India – I hear it’s very beautiful there.
    2) I’d like to go to Canada for a few weeks. Go fishing and hunting, make some shish kebabs.
    3) Amsterdam – I’d like to go to the “Sensation Party.”
    4) China – I’d like to see the Great Wall.
    5) Abkhazia – very beautiful – they have fruit, sea and sun.

    Last but not least, what are three things that nobody knows about you?

    There are no such things; I’m a very open person.

    (Translated from Russian by Paul Mogilevsky)

  2. #2
    DeannaD_IA is offline Former AM
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    Great to see a fellow Latvian in the forums (although I live in Montreal, Canada). I'm relatively new to the industry working as an Affiliate Manager, and have noticed several really successful Latvian affiliates. Thanks - your interview was vastly informative!

  3. #3
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    It's nice to know some more about you Alex. I do remember a thread at one time regarding the cat. That is one lucky cat - I would have done the same thing

    Your list of 5 places to visit was interesting - did you know that in Australia we also have the "sensation party" for new year in Melbourne. Everyone wears white. I've never been but I've heard it's massive.. thousands of people attend..

    Anyway, thanks for the interview.
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  4. #4
    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    One of the best most interesting interviews I have read in a long time!

    Very nice interview!! and lucky cat yes!!

    Much respect for having such love for your cat - I like that!

  5. #5
    mgcasinos is offline Public Member
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    Pm me if you want to see the Great Wall

  6. #6
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    Great interview!!!
    Isabella

  7. #7
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    Very nice interview.

    Good way to know more about those gravitating around the forum.
    Amy
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  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for all your comments!

    mgcasinos: Thanks! I think the next time when I plan my trip to Kyrgyzstan, I'll include the visit to China to my plans But now, I just want to come back home ASAP.

  10. #10
    Lee-Ann is offline Former AM
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    What a great interview - so nice to hear about the person behind the websites, often in this industry we are so busy doing "business" it's nice to take time out and hear about the "person"

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

  11. #11
    ecobika's Avatar
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    what an excellent interview! The only thing I dont understand Daragij Taváris Alex: how can you run English sites without speaking English?
    I read at the end of the interview: (Translated from Russian by Paul Mogilevsky)

  12. #12
    ALEX777's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by ecobika View Post
    I read at the end of the interview: (Translated from Russian by Paul Mogilevsky)
    Hi. That makes you think I don't understand and don't speak English?

    I don't speak "perfect English", but if I run the sites and business, do you really think I don't understand it?

  13. #13
    ecobika's Avatar
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    I dont know. It seems interesting idea.

  14. #14
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    Very nice and interesting interview, Alex.

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