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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Andy | 4ndy

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    Age: 44
    Hometown: Carlisle, U.K.
    Living in: Carlisle
    Favorite Food: Indian
    Must Read Book: Losing My Virginity, Richard Branson's autobiography
    Sites:
    FootballScores.com
    Freebets.org
    Freebetting.co.uk
    Bookmakers.co.uk
    Grandnational.me.uk

    When did you launch your sites?
    It all started in 2004, with a steady stream since.

    Which of your sites draws the most traffic? Why is that the case, in your opinion?
    Footballscores.com draws the most traffic, and I launched that two years ago. Our best day to date was 90,000 visitors in one day; the site is very sticky with a large number of returning visitors who have adopted the site as their resource for football results and scores.

    We also have a blog with the latest news from every Premier League football club; the news section also reports any major breaking news such as transfers and match reports.

    The site has been in the number-one spot on Google for football scores and currently fluctuates among the top four positions, while we also rank very well for similar keywords. We also advertise www.footballscores.com at many U.K. football grounds up and down the country including Watford, Huddersfield, Carlisle, Tranmere, Bolton and Morecambe.

    Finally, we also do regular LED pitch advertising in the Premier League and at England Internationals. We last featured in the Poland vs. England game.

    How did you become involved in the industry?
    I always had an interest in betting and have been successful in sales and marketing from an early age. I have been a financial adviser, have run my own insurance brokerage and have worked as an estate agent and sales director.

    I set up my first site back in 2004 as a sideline using Microsoft FrontPage. As I had no computer skills, the site was a bit of a banner farm but I found it was quite easy to rank for good keywords. In addition, the cost per click on AdWords was also very cheap compared to what it is today. I took a few risks and tried different things, some of which did not work and cost me money (a bit like learning poker). I reinvested all of my profit and more as I could see there was money to be made. I then invested in domain names for future projects, some of which are in use today and some of which are great assets.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    I made money pretty much from day one, as my commissions were more than my advertising costs because I was getting paid by cost per acquisition. When I moved to revenue share, this was not the case and I traded in the red for a couple of years before the commissions started to overtake my expenditures. While it took time to make a profit, the way to build your business has to be revenue share.

    Affiliates are always on the lookout for exclusive deals with programs. How important are exclusives to you?
    Exclusives are very important as they provide a unique selling point. I also place emphasis on good landing pages which convert better as they confirm for the user any offers and bonuses and also include a call to action.

    FootballScores.com offers match fixtures and results from European soccer leagues. How much does it cost to obtain the rights to publish those fixtures on your sites? Do you ever wish that you didn't have to pay rights fees (as is the case with sports in the United States, where schedules are not seen as copyrighted material)? Or does that barrier to entry actually give you a competitive advantage?
    The scores are available through a third-party provider and the costs are fairly minimal. At the moment, it seems like a small monthly price to pay considering the site has generated a solid volume of traffic. Launching a successful scores website requires a few things to be in place including the likelihood of decent ranking.

    Freebets.org offers information on all the free bets that are available to players. Is it harder to make money on a free bets site? What are the keys to success in this niche?
    My free bets sites convert much better than footballscores.com as most visitors coming to the site are buyers whereas FootballScores is more of an information site.

    Bookmakers.co.uk is well advertised at U.K. horse racing tracks (winning line positions) including Wolverhampton, Lingfield and Southwell, which are the most televised racecourses in the U.K., while we also advertise at U.K. football matches on the LED advertising.

    Sites that we advertise convert so much better than just SEO or PPC-driven sales as users who find us via advertising already have a preconception that we are a site that can be trusted because they have seen our advert at a football ground or racetrack.

    We have caught quite a few big players via these means. I can remember we had a board once at an FA Cup televised game between Preston and Chelsea, and we had a player go through to a well-known betting exchange and lose over 50,000 in a week at the casino. He had seen our advert at the ground, visited the site and opened his account with them.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I expect an affiliate manager to be in regular contact, especially during busy times of the year e.g., the Cheltenham Festival, Aintree, U.S. Masters, Wimbledon, etc. The more communication we get from affiliate managers, the more we will promote, as we know they can be depended upon to turn things around quickly.

    When it comes to affiliate programs, the key thing is that the operator is a profitable one or it doesn't matter how many bells and whistles a program has. However, it tends to be the case that the most profitable bookies have the best reporting software and the tracking is usually spot on.

    You've said that when it comes to choosing programs you prefer dealing with "family-run" companies (you mention bet365 as an example) rather than those that are publicly traded. Why do you feel this way?
    It sometimes feels you are on safer ground with operators that are privately owned, especially as bespoke promotions can often be agreed to at the drop of a hat rather than having to go through several different channels for approval. However, I value any program that can help me deliver results.

    You posted last fall that you once had a player bet 50,000 on a soccer game. Did you know whom he'd bet on, and did you watch the game? What's it like to ride through the swings of high-rolling players when you're on a revenue share deal?
    The person who lost 50,000 on a football match I did not know about until the following morning. The bookmaker involved would not divulge any information about who it was. On the flip side, I have also had big winners win 300,000, 150,000 and more recently a punter who placed a 2 lucky 31, had 5/5 winners and won 125,000.

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

    1. Be a risk taker Being a guy who liked a gamble I took a few risks when I started. I used my credit cards to pay for my AdWords account and did not know how I was going to pay it back.
    2. Determination Don't give up. Nothing in life is easy; if you want it bad enough you will get it.
    3. Stamina Keep going.
    4. Hard work Keep adding more content to the site. Research more and more at sites like GPWA.
    5. Dare to dream Have aspirations. I remember staying in a five-star hotel for the first time in 2000 and saying to myself, "I want more of this and could get used to this." I wanted a better car and house. I told myself that from today I would change my perspective.


    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    Knowledge is everything and you never stop learning whatever job you do. The GPWA is an excellent resource; members are full of ideas and tips which I have implemented and had success with. Thank you, GPWA members!

    What do you like about the industry?
    Being involved in a business I am passionate about and in which I have a genuine interest. There is also the ability to work at the pace I want to and to build something that I can be proud of. Being able to earn enough money to provide for my family and help friends and others. Giving back to those who have helped me and my business by supporting racetracks and football grounds. Raising money for local charities.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    More transparency from some merchants.

    What surprised you most about the industry?
    The wide variety of different people in the business, young and old, from 16-year-old dropout to college graduate, anyone can be successful in this business if they have the desire and want to do well.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    Most of my friends and family have seen what success being an affiliate has brought to me both in terms of money and being a better person. When asked what I do for a living I never really know what to say!

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    Admin and time management are not my best features as I am a bit too laid back. I always try to reply in a timely fashion and always like to pay people on time.

    How do you manage your "to-do" lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    There are always things to do, but having the luxury to do them in my own time is fantastic.

    How much time does it take to keep your sites updated?
    This takes up to three hours of my own time every day, but I have others who also do this for me.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    After years of trying new strategies and agencies, I feel now that the people/agencies that work for me are onside and can be trusted to do the job. I am always on my desktop or laptop trying to think of the next best thing or deal.

    If someone were visiting you, what's the one place you'd definitely take them to see?
    It would have to be the Lake District, which is a 30-minute drive from Carlisle. The scenery takes your breath away and the local people make you feel welcome.

    What's your favorite vacation spot?
    I have an apartment in Gran Canaria which I visit two or three times a year with family and/or friends. My idea of a good holiday is relaxing by the pool and/or sea with a cold beer and letting the children play in the pool and/or sand.

    What's your all-time favorite movie?
    The Shawshank Redemption the guy never gave up and got his reward.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

    1. Margaret Thatcher She motivated and drove me to be a good person and be successful. As a young man I enrolled in the Youth Training Scheme (YTS), where I earned 27.30 per week but knew one day if I stuck in and pushed myself that I would be rewarded. I would like to say thank you to her and tell her what great things she did for our country.
    2. Tiger Woods A totally driven and focused guy who pulls off some amazing golf shots. Despite recent problems with his wife he has managed to get back on track and return to winning ways. What a star! Well done, Tiger.
    3. Simon Cowell I think I like this guy more because everyone else seems to hate him.
    4. Tony Blair So I could punch him.
    5. Denise Coates, bet365 I would personally like to thank Mrs. Coates and the rest of her family for bringing success to me and many affiliates alike. Her company has always been fair and treated me and other affiliates with respect. Affiliate managers and all members of her staff are great people and always have time for affiliates. Thank you!


    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    1. My dad played for Burnley FC.
    2. My granddad was the Flying Scotsman steam train driver.
    3. I auditioned for Young Sherlock Holmes.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Aaron For This Useful Post:

    4ndy (6 January 2014), louie.wilson (12 December 2013), TipsterWarehouse (12 December 2013)

  3. #2
    PromoteCasino is offline Private Member
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    Very interesting interview, its good to come across someone willing to take the risks and get the rewards they deserve.
    Would love to pick your brain at some stage Andy, as i am just about to get a new site up and running.
    Betting Offers in the UK - Latest offers and bonuses from reputable UK bookmakers. A New project underway but a long way to go Bookie Rewards

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  5. #3
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    louie.wilson is offline Former AM
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    Nice one Andy!
    Interesting to hear from someone who'd decided to give offline a big chunk of chance as well.
    Most businesses here rely 99% on Google, PPC or other online traffic sources, making them bit fragile when time comes to have updates.
    Would be interesting to here from other who've succeeded in taking their promo budget offline to actually earn online

    Cheers
    Last edited by louie.wilson; 12 December 2013 at 1:59 am. Reason: Did not want to let Google alone...

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  7. #4
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    IhreConsulting is offline Public Member
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    Hi Andy
    Thanks for letting us know more about you and your business. Like Louie said, its great to hear you have had a lot of offline success. There arent too many affiliates trying this route.

    I too am a product of the YTS scheme as well
    Edward Ihre / Claire Wellard / Katerina Milfaitova

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  9. #5
    josh01 is offline Private Member
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    Nice read.

    Interested to know how tracked this i.e. how you know he had seen your advert at the ground?

    "We have caught quite a few big players via these means. I can remember we had a board once at an FA Cup televised game between Preston and Chelsea, and we had a player go through to a well-known betting exchange and lose over 50,000 in a week at the casino. He had seen our advert at the ground, visited the site and opened his account with them."
    Josh

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    4ndy (6 January 2014)

  11. #6
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    BettingTools is offline Private Member
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    It was probably John Terry... or his dad maybe.

    Excellent portfolio of sites there btw Andy and a very good interview.

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    4ndy (6 January 2014)

  13. #7
    casinovegas is offline Public Member
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    Really enjoy reading these interviews. Great idea and a good way of hearing other people's stories.

    Good work Andy!

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    4ndy (6 January 2014)

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    Very informative. You have given me a few things to think about. Thanks Andy.
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