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    CityGuard is offline Former GPWA Program Manager
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Andrew Mason | masontech

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    Search engines love blogs, and so does masontech.

    Real name: Andrew Mason
    City currently residing in: Leeds, UK
    Age: 35
    Favorite food: Thai/Indian/Chinese
    One book everyone must read: Getting Things Done, by David Allen
    Site: www.findabet.co.uk

    You've been building Web sites, including ones that have dealt with e-commerce, since 1995. How do gambling affiliate sites differ from the sites you were working on?
    I started out my working life as a developer and then moved over to desktop and servers before making the move to networking and security. I launched my first e-commerce site in 1995 and I have had websites of sorts ever since. I am really into all things Web 2.0 and social networking with sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

    I therefore find the technical aspects of running a site very easy. The differences with a gambling site over other sites are the competition and the difficulty in attracting traffic. Your SEO skills have to be very sharp in our industry to succeed as there are a lot of very established sites already out on the Internet. I have built other sites recently in markets where the competition are not very SEO aware and thus have been able to dominate the organic results very quickly. If only I could do this in the gambling industry!

    What prompted you to join the online gambling industry? Do you gamble online? If so, what games do you play? And why?
    I have a good friend who is a telecoms super-affiliate in the U.K. It was he who introduced me to affiliate marketing and as I had always been intrigued by online gambling, I sought out and bought the domain findabet.co.uk, which had already been registered for a few years and had inbound links, etc. I then attended a few A4U events and met other gambling affiliates and I liked the challenge of making it in one of the hardest sectors. I do dabble with online poker and casinos but I would not really class myself as a gambler. The occasional bet on large sporting events is about my limit.

    You're a network security engineer in your "day job." What skills from that job have really helped you as an affiliate? How do you find time to work on your affiliate business?
    Being a network security engineer does not directly contribute to affiliate marketing although I do know how to ensure my sites are secure.
    Time management is a pretty hot topic for me. One of my other blogs is a productivity and motivational blog at http://www.didigetthingsdone.com. It follows the Getting Things Done methodology from David Allen. I am married with four young children and I work a lot of hours keeping my main business up and running. I am also the published author of seven books on Internet Security, and in addition I keep three blogs up to date. Being productive and organized is essential for me to operate.

    It is so important to have a system that you can trust, and for myself, I find that leveraging technology really helps me with staying organized and productive. I have a system that utilizes a GTD application called OmniFocus both on my Mac and my iPhone. Everything gets recorded into there and then processed. I also carry around a Moleskine notebook so that I can always collect my tasks as they come to mind to reduce what we call “Open Loops.” I have found GTD to be a great methodology for productivity that works with whatever system you like to implement.

    I also rely quite heavily on Mind Maps. All my promotions, providers, and links are mapped out in this way so that I can keep abreast of the information I need to run the site. It is all quite a neat little system that keeps me focused on the task at hand rather than wasting needless time fathoming out where things are or what to do next.

    It is not normally a lack of time that is the problem but a lack of preparation.

    You promote poker, casinos, sportsbooks and bingo sites. Why did you choose to promote a broad range rather than focus on a specific niche?
    I guess I like a challenge. It is kind of a scattergun approach to see what works and what doesn’t. I agree that it does dilute focus and I am working out ways to automate as much of the updating of the site as possible. It is a smart move to get technology to do the hard work, leaving you free for the tasks that cannot be automated. I am looking at adding skill games to the site at present, once I have finished updating it. I always have a massive task list for changing the way the site looks and works.

    You're blogging on your site now. Why did you start the blog? Have your expectations been met? What's surprised you about the blog experience?
    The software that I am using for managing my site has blog functionality built in, and due to the fact that I run other successful blogs I pretty much started blogging from day one with Findabet. Search engines love blogs and I find them a great way to get topical stories out very fast that are linked to pages on my site and to current promotions. Not all the of the traffic converts as well as people hitting your main pages, but for the increase in visibility from search engines, blogging is an area which will only grow on Findabet.

    I try to update the blog with at least five posts a week and I always utilize the latest social networking tools to bookmark and promote the posts.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    Findabet.co.uk started earning me money after around six months. I have a nice little network of sites so I was able to get it ranking pretty well very quickly. Some of the providers I promote earn real well and others do nothing at all. I have had the luxury of a few high rollers on revenue share casinos that have lasted a good few months. I just need to court a few more of those and get them to stick.

    I have a long-term plan for Findabet, which I think is the only way to look at running a site in this marketplace. Competition is fierce, and steady pressure on the site over time will hopefully pay dividends in the years to come. Sure, it can be disheartening when you bust a gut and not get many returns but the main point is that I enjoy the challenge and tinkering with the site. This is the attitude that is needed as too many people expect quick returns and get dismayed and give in.

    What do you wish you knew when you got started in the industry that you know now?
    Well, finding the GPWA was a great move as some of the advice I have picked up from it has been superb. I found a lot of the affiliate and gambling terminology a bit hard at first until I learned the differences between CPA and Rev Share, etc. I attended a few A4U events in the UK and also the Amsterdam Casino Affiliate Convention courtesy of Pierrick from Virgin. It really helped to meet fellow affiliates and also get my face and name out in the industry. I really believe in the power of meeting people face to face; it also shows that you are committed to what you are doing.

    What advice would you offer someone who has just started in the industry?
    Well, reading the GPWA forums is a good start. Anybody new faces a real uphill battle. Getting good converting traffic is very hard and the rewards take a long time to come. The key is to create good content, build constant good quality links to the content, and then do it all again. Google and other search engines do eventually reward good quality sites, so keep wearing the white hat when it comes to SEO and stick with it. It takes a lot of time and hard work. There are a lot of gambling affiliates who start but never finish. However, it appears to be the same names that you see on most forums and these are the people who stick at it, and no doubt will rise to the top in this very hard industry.

    If you had to pick 5 keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be and why?
    1 - Build good content
    2 - Build good links to the content
    3 - Build more good content
    4 - Build more good links to the content
    5 - Repeat

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I like affiliate managers who make contact and try to build a relationship. There are a few who do this but they are not that common. Getting good creatives from affiliate managers plus getting them onboard with content delivery mechanisms such as AffCAFF makes the life of an affiliate easier.

    In an ideal world, how would you divide the efforts you put into your site? What percentage would go to marketing, updating content, managing your books, and other tasks)?
    I probably spend 50% of my time marketing and the other 50% updating the site and content. I outsource everything else. Ideally I would like to totally outsource the content and then spend my time marketing the site. Eventually, I would like to outsource the whole lot and count the coppers while enjoying life.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA?
    I do a lot of competitor research. I found the GPWA through a competitor website and then started to read the forums. Pretty soon after I applied for the seal and have not looked back since.

    If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be, and why?
    There seems to be an issue with black hat SEOs stealing content and shall we say affiliate networks turning a blind eye as long as the revenue is coming in. It would be nice to see a better way of controlling this so the content that we work long and hard to create is protected.

    In your GPWA profile, you list Wing Chun as one of your interests. What exactly is Wing Chun?
    Wing Chun is a form of Kung Fu. It is the style which Bruce Lee studied in his early years before he turned his Kung Fu to the cameras.

    I have done many Martial Arts since the age of around 10. I settled on Wing Chun around 15 years ago and have been involved in it ever since. It is a brutally effective no-nonsense style that is great to train as it takes your mind off the daily stresses and helps you focus.

    What's your favorite vacation spot? And why?
    In England I love the Lake District. Great scenery, clean air, and nice mountains. I also like Las Vegas, having visited quite a few times on conferences, etc. It is a city where you can get anything, with great outdoor activities only a few miles away.

    If you could have one "super power," what would it be?
    Right now, I guess the power not to sleep and to have limitless energy. There is so much to do and enjoy and so little time to do it in.

    Do you follow the Leeds United? Do you have a prediction for the season?
    Yes, I am a Leeds United supporter and they have had a torrid few years. I think it is make or break for the club this year and hopefully they will be out of League One and into the Championship en-route to where they belong in the Premiership.

    And finally, what are three things that nobody knows about you?
    Well, I have four children, I am a director of three companies, and I have written seven books – two for McGraw Hill and five for Cisco Press.
    I have left the industry and earned a law degree at Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law. Here are ways to stay in touch with me:
    > Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StevenCorfman
    > LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevencorfman
    > Skype: StevenCorfman
    > Phone: +1 617 785 9324

    Inquiries intended for an administrator or staff member can be directed to Anthony Telesca through the forum (username Anthony) or to the general contact address manager AT gpwa DOT org.

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    AK (17 December 2008)

  3. #2
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    AK
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    Congratulations on your success.

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    Simmo! is offline Public Member
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    Very interesting read. Amazing really when you consider that we socialise with people online every day and often we never really "know" them. I always wanted to write a book but boy that must take some patience - and 7 of them to boot!!


    Cheers,

    Simmo!


    PS. Oh and thanks for the affCAFF plug Andrew. Wasn't expecting that

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    masontech (23 December 2008)

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    Awesome interview Andrew. It sounds like you have a great plan. I guess with 4 kids and 3 business you would have too right!. lol..

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to LiveCasinoPartners For This Useful Post:

    masontech (23 December 2008)

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    royal boy is offline New Member
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    First day on gpwa and I am getting reward by these superb and awesome interviews.

    He is only 35 and have kid of 9 years that means he got married at very young age ... just try to figure out.

    Now I am also subscriber of your blog

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    masontech (23 December 2008)

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    masontech is offline Private Member
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    @Simmo - AffCAFF is great, cannot see why more people do not use it!

    @WagerX, they certainly keep me busy!

    @royal boy, I was 23 when I got married. Mind you, it was to an Underwear Model I guess it is young. As a father, it is too young for my kids :P

  12. #8
    game1 is offline New Member
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    I tried to see this book Getting Things Done, by David Allen on our local library but that was not available. Seems to me that I will have to invest money to read this book. May be I will be able to get few ideas and force as well

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    It will be money well spent as the GTD book is fantastic.

    Thanks.

    Andrew..

  14. #10
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    Great read!, Going to have to get that GTD book!...I start one thing and then seem go off on a tangent when I think of something else i need to do!! Your organisation seems to be awesome ! and you fit in training too!

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    maria00 is offline New Member
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    So you have also finished Getting things Done. What so special about that book ... tell me three things which you like most and you think that these three things will change your world if you will be able to try them.

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    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Awesome interview Andrew.

    Such a nice interview to read. I was so interested in it, and really felt good after reading it.

    Good luck and future success to you.

    Steve

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