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  1. #1
    GPWA Abby is offline GPWA Editorial Staff
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - casinozru

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    Age:
    35
    Hometown: The USSR
    Living in: Russia
    Favorite Food: Uzbek plov and shish kebab, Indian cheese naan, chicken tikka masala and Hingalsh (Chechen cake with pumpkin).
    Must-Read Book: The True Story of the Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin; Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

    Sites:
    casinozru.com
    casinoz.me
    casinoz.ru
    blogs.casinoz.me
    www.casinoz.su
    games.casinoz.me

    (This interview was originally published in the June 2016 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    When did you launch casinozru.com? When did it start producing revenue?
    The first version was launched in September 2009. After a couple of years, the investment started to pay off.

    How did you get started in the iGaming industry? How did you progress to the point you are at now?
    I worked in IT equipment corporate sales until 2006. In that business, you communicate directly with customers and get immediate feedback from them. They either work with you or they don't. If they don't, you try to analyze your mistakes, find the correct approach and work more.

    At that time, my brother was building sites for a client who sold paintings on the Western market. I was curious how to sell on the Internet when there is no feedback except for the number of orders per month. Also, you don't know where your customers come from and why they have chosen your store. So I started making online stores. I had a couple of friends who were selling sex toys, and I decided to help them. At the same time I was trying to master SEO and copy writing. I was only spending 2-3 hours a day building sites for fun, but I wanted it to be a full-time job. I had a lot of plans and ideas, but there was no time to implement them. A year later, when I began to earn the same amount on the Internet as in the office, I quit my job. Then I made a site of 45 pages about gambling with a bunch of banners, and quickly promoted it in SERP by popular queries. It was easy to do, but there was very little traffic, so I decided to stop working on the site. A year later I saw the first payment, roughly $300 from Goldfishka. I realized by 2008 that I had to do something more substantial — high-quality and full of content.

    All your domains have some version of "casinoz" in them. Why did you decide to use this term in all of your URLs? Do you think it has helped in terms of SEO?
    I can't even recall this. It was probably inspired by Mafia stories. It was necessary to create a short name with the word "casino," and all the interesting domain names had been already occupied. Casinoz is the brand right now!

    Most of your sites are Russian-language sites. Can you provide us with an insider's view on the latest developments in Russia regarding online gambling law? What are players saying? Are you worried about the government cracking down on the industry?
    The English-language site (http://en.casinoz.me) has been available for over a year, and soon it will be translated into other languages.

    Tightening the screws in Russia is believed to be the correct thing to do, because our country has a certain standard of spiritual life. The West provides the standards of consumerism without restrictions — man is a wolf to another man. So restrictions are a good thing. I support gambling zones. They are growing now, and I hope that the tourists will play there, instead of citizens of the Russian Federation.

    As for domain filtering, it is not as strong as in China and is easy to get through. However, if the law concerning the ban of Tor and VPN is adopted, it will cause difficulties. Domain filtering has a negative influence on our project, but this is normal, logical and understandable.

    In general, Western intervention in the internal politics of Russia through nonprofit organizations leads to the government having to learn from the United States how to defend its interests on the Internet. It is a very superficial opinion that there is no censorship in the West. It is present there! However, it operates beautifully so that no one can say that it's censorship! The Soviet Union censorship power is nothing compared to U.S. censorship.

    Your site is mainly focused on casino games, but you also have information on poker. What are the most popular games, in your experience, among Russian players?
    I guess those are video slots and roulette.

    What do you think is a better strategy for affiliates? To launch numerous sites, or to be laser-focused on creating great content for a small number of sites?
    I believe that it is very difficult to launch a new big project. The only way now is to borrow the customer base from another successful project. However, large projects are negatively influenced by domain filtering, so it is preferable in the current situation to launch many small sites.

    What are some of your sites' unique selling points? How do you stand out from the crowd?
    The main features of Casinoz.me are our honest attitude toward readers and professional approach to business. Materials for the site are prepared by ex-casino employees and experienced players who have experienced what they are writing about in the articles. They talk openly about all the pros and cons of the gambling industry, share their secrets and help avoid mistakes.

    We try to convey to the readers that gambling should be treated as entertainment, instead of a way of enrichment. If you have this approach, you will be able to enjoy it. We often discuss fraudsters who sell "winning" betting systems and organize fraudulent schemes. In short, we try to educate visitors, to persuade them that they should not believe unfair advertising and fairy tales but rather think with their own mind. We are not afraid to expose fraudulent casinos and help our visitors to solve the problems that may arise with gambling establishments.

    Finally, it is important to note that on the website there are a lot of different types of articles that deal with all aspects of gambling. You will find reviews, tutorials, thematic publications, news, rules, strategies and information about current bonuses, tournaments and draws.

    We were among the first organizations to test new products for top brands. We usually describe them the day of their official release.

    We have come to the conclusion that transient gains are insignificant and unworthy. Therefore, the strategy for Casinoz.me development is based primarily on fair and systematic operation.

    What types of content do you find draw the most traffic?
    It is impossible to carry out such an analysis, since partners don't provide information that could shed light on these issues. This is a general problem in the gambling affiliate business. Partners are reluctant to share information. For example, we can rarely find out:
    From which pages of our project a player has entered the partner site.
    What games he usually plays (some partners give information in the verbal form, but it is an exception).
    When a player registered.
    When he made his first deposit and what he was playing at that time.
    Where he was when he decided to make a deposit.
    What the total amount of his deposits is.
    How old he is.
    What he likes.

    In general, the partners could provide us with much more information, preserving players' anonymity, but they don't want to share. Perhaps they shave, or are simply afraid that we will steal the players, due to their stupidity and short-sightedness.

    What advice would you give to someone looking to branch out into the Russian market?
    I would probably not start anything from scratch, because the risk that everything will soon be blocked are very high. Now, I would choose a different niche. Now almost any niche in online business is profitable. You just need the desire, activity, and hard work.

    Do you have any plans to branch out to new jurisdictions or to launch your site(s) in other languages?
    Yes, soon we will support new languages. Probably Spanish, Italian, German and French.

    Are you a one-person operation? If not, how many employees does your company have? What's your role within that organization?
    Our team consists of 11 people. I’m tasked with presenting new ideas (what should be done to improve the project, what new features should become available), and involved in common management, if necessary.

    Outside of people who you work for your company, how often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?
    It happens rarely; people don't want to advertise themselves. There was a closed forum where old webmasters communicated. However, after the West’s interference in Ukraine, when a new government of thieves seized power using neo-Nazi parties, I began to defend the actions of our government as a patriot of my country and a person who was well-informed on geopolitics. However, the webmasters did not have their own opinions and kept quiet, being afraid to say the wrong thing about politics, or they were just corrupt pro-Western guys for whom money and comfort are the most important things. They had property in Spain and were afraid to lose it, since a lot of money was taken away from accounts in Cyprus. Therefore, they only criticized our government, because it gradually tightens legislation. I immediately stood up for our country and expressed my position. After that I was banned and lost contact with forum members.

    Apart from them, I still keep in contact with some managers and webmasters I met at the AAC conference in Amsterdam.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    Unobtrusiveness is very important! It's terrible to have an obtrusive manager! Among partners that have gained reputations over the last 2-3 years, I can mention poshfriends.com and azartcash.com. They have a good and quick support, and they provide a lot of information about the players.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
    Mainly Skype. We very rarely handle anything by phone.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I do not remember where I saw your logo and decided to enter. Wow, what a great forum! We need to be here, too.

    You've been a member for more than five years, but are one of our many "lurkers" as you only have 10 posts in that time. What might prompt you to join in a conversation at the GPWA?
    The language barrier prevents me from this, so I just watch and very rarely write.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
    I would change the approach of partners to their affiliates. I would provide much more information on the basis of which it would be possible to quickly make conclusions about appropriate and inappropriate approaches.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    I try not to discuss what I'm doing. My friends who know about my job have a positive attitude towards it.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    No, I played roulette in brick-and-mortar casinos in Macau and Singapore a few times just to see how it feels in real life.

    How do you manage your "to-do" lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    No, I don’t use special tools. Nowadays there are so many of them on the market that you can hardly choose something. It would be interesting to hear from experts in this area and to look at how they use them.

    How much time do you devote to SEO?
    We have ceased to deal with SEO in its conventional sense. Now, almost everything is more or less established, and our project has internal rules that strictly prohibit the use of any means of promotion that even remotely resemble spam. We are just taking care of our site, making it useful to our visitors.

    You are quite active on Facebook and Twitter. How important have these social networks been to your success?
    The activity is present, but we don’t see that players are coming from social networks. At least that's what the situation looks like on the Russian-speaking Internet.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    It is difficult to expand the team of programmers. The project requires new individuals, but because the site was written from scratch, it's difficult to find someone who would be able to get quickly into the swing of work without spoiling everything, so it wouldn’t be necessary to correct their mistakes. We have a lot of negative experience associated with this problem.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    To be sure, it's cool to have a lot of free time. When you need to go somewhere, you can do it. A job can be delegated or you can do it remotely. It's difficult to overstate this advantage.

    What do you do to stay in shape – both physically and mentally?
    The gym saves me physically. Mentally, everything is more complex. The world is changing! The world is as it was before the First or Second World Wars. Read Melchizedek. He greatly changes the state of your consciousness and perception of the world. When you start to understand geopolitics and global governance, it changes your attitude to life and your priorities. The values imposed by the business literature become more important and universal.

    What do you do with your spare time?
    I spend a lot of time on reading world political news and analysis of the global economy. I’m also trying to bring everything I have learned to the attention of my friends. I’m trying to discuss and ask questions when people do not have the answers, to make them think and not blindly trust the information that is obtained from the TV. I’m also trying to travel.

    What did you dream of doing, both professional and personally, when you were a kid?
    Almost everyone in the Soviet Union dreamed of becoming an astronaut or Uncle Petya (a cartoon character who was a very positive policeman, always coming to the rescue). When I was 13 years old, I got a ZX Spectrum computer and I was sure that when I grew up I would run my own software company.

    You've said that you "often change your location." What are some of the places you enjoy spending time?
    Mentally I really enjoyed staying in Goa in India, and in Ubud in Bali. I spent most of the time there. However, having visited the Sochi Winter Olympics, I began to appreciate Sochi. I advise you to visit it too. You can, for example, visit the Formula 1 race that takes place there. In general, I have a dream to reach Vladivostok by car. In Russia, there are a lot of incredibly beautiful places. Many Russians fly off to some unknown countries without seeing their own country.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    Such things don't happen to me, but I like just to sit in my car at night and drive in Saint Petersburg.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    Over the last five years, Inception and Interstellar made a strong impression.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    If I could get the answers to any of my questions, I would be glad to meet: Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin to remove gaps in my knowledge of history. In addition, I'd like to persuade Nikola Tesla to talk about the thing that he took with him. I have a lot of questions for them.

    Name a few things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    The more I learn about the world, the more I begin to defend socialism. I try to look at life positively, even though the current situation doesn't seem to be beneficial for mankind. Money is not everything in this life. No one thinks of their soul. People usually start thinking and talking about it when they reach a certain age and realize that life is spent on clothes, cars, women and other stuff. The most important thing is to arrange your priorities. Now I’m thinking about family, children and how to build a house.

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  3. #2
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    Very interesting and informative. Your site design is brilliant. I love it.
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Abby View Post
    Name a few things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    The more I learn about the world, the more I begin to defend socialism. I try to look at life positively, even though the current situation doesn't seem to be beneficial for mankind. Money is not everything in this life. No one thinks of their soul. People usually start thinking and talking about it when they reach a certain age and realize that life is spent on clothes, cars, women and other stuff. The most important thing is to arrange your priorities. Now I’m thinking about family, children and how to build a house.
    This!

    The last few years have shown me that you can't put a price on mental health or family and that you should look after your soul before anything else. I agree, people spend their money on material things. It's all bullshit. When you die you don't lay on your death bed wishing you spent more money on Gucci or wishing you worked more. Everyone's grave is the same size.
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    Great Interview your a Bit of a Space and Sci Fi Fundi i see

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    Over the last five years, Inception and Interstellar made a strong impression

  6. #5
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    It was so unexpected and nice that you mentioned our cooperation! We're happy to work with you. Thank you for interview!
    Last edited by Katja_PoshFriends; 15 July 2016 at 11:38 am.

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    Interview in Russian.

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    Reading this again i picked up on what Renee had to say about Dying with Money so True Renee people are so materialistic these days you lose focus on what's important like family
    Miles ( Myron ) Saacks - Senior Affiliate Manager VS

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    "Now I’m thinking about family, children and how to build a house."
    Don't build a house, just buy one ) Will save you a lot of time and hestic moments....

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    I like read this interviews and this is a great interview!

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    Interesting interview, nice read. Keep up the good work.

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