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    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series | Dave - dapbet

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    Age: 51
    Hometown: Durham, U.K.
    Living in: Durham
    Favorite Food: Oysters
    Must Read Book: Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh
    Sites:
    freebets.com
    cheltenhamfestivalnews.com
    horseracingresults.co.uk

    You've worked in the gambling industry for the last 25 years. Nearly 20 of those years were spent as an owner and manager of a "medium-sized betting business in the U.K." Can you tell us a little bit about that business, and why you decided to sell your shops to Gala Coral in 2007?
    We started the betting shop business way back in 1989 and progress was very slow for many years. We kept reinvesting, however, and the switch in the U.K. to gross profits tax (GPT) in 2001 made a big difference, particularly as it meant that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals were viable in shops under the new tax regime. We received a good offer for the business in 2007 from Coral for 40 shops and that meant that we could dispose of those mature shops and continue with the remaining 15 shops, the successful telebetting business we had and also a planned sportsbook.

    Did that experience with betting shops lead you into the online industry? When did you launch your sites? And did your experience as a brick-and-mortar business owner help you as you developed your online business?
    In addition to the great retail experience, I also had hands-on experience of owning and running a telebetting and online sportsbook business. The sportsbook business was developing very quickly when our 50 percent private equity owners and one other shareholder decided in 2009 that the future was in retail and not online!

    Needless to say I left shortly after that and set up the affiliate business in 2010. The previous experience was obviously enormously helpful.

    How does running a betting shop compare to running an affiliate site? What are the similarities and what are the major differences?
    I part owned and managed a chain of 55 betting shops with over 300 staff (twice) so the challenges are very different. Now we employ 10 staff, which allows me to have a much closer link to all day-to-day activities and work from home. The sports betting theme is what runs through the two businesses, and our deep understanding of the betting market has allowed the affiliate business to prosper in a relatively short time frame.

    All of your sites are primarily sportsbook sites, with two – Freebets and Best Free Bets – also offering bingo and/or casino games. Any plans to change the mix on any of your sites?
    Freebets.com is our main site and we are actively pushing bingo and casino now with good progress being made. Following the World Cup I am hoping to launch additional sites in other verticals.

    Free bet sites can be tricky. Players who take advantage of free bet offers aren't always looking to make a deposit. What's the typical conversion rate for you on players who sign up through your free bet offers in a given month?
    Conversion rates are good and probably higher than the industry average. No-deposit free bets are not a large part of our site offerings.

    How are your horse racing sites doing lately? Do you think the online betting public is currently taking a renewed interest in the sport after so many years of spending their gambling money elsewhere?
    We had a record Cheltenham this year but overall I think there is a slow decline still taking place in the general public’s interest in horse racing in the U.K.

    How long did it take for your online sites to start earning money?
    Once through the first 12 months, most of the sites have started to generate decent revenue.

    Are you a one-person shop or are you part of a larger organization?
    Biggerbet is the holding company for the websites and now employs 10 full-time staff, all of whom work from home.

    How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?
    I work from a separate office within my house and generally hold meetings with staff every two weeks.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    The vast majority of the affiliate managers are good professional people. The affiliate programs do vary considerably but we work mostly with the top bookmakers in the U.K. and the programs are generally fair and transparent.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or via Skype?
    All of the above.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I think the GPWA Seal of Approval is important and the association offers great support to affiliates, particularly those just starting up.

    What do you like about the industry?
    Betting has always been my passion, so this is the only industry I ever wanted to work in.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    In some areas there is still a perception that the gambling industry is a bit seedy! It would be great if those people could see the light.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    They love it but I am not convinced they really understand it!

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    I enjoy Betfair, backer and layer, and in-play golf betting.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail?
    No set targets but all e-mail gets answered.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    My wife does the to-do lists; I just get on with it.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    We are spending more time on social networks but it is very hard to measure any specific ROI at this stage. This year we have sponsored a race at the Cheltenham Festival Trials Day and will be doing more of this in the future.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    We cover almost all bookmaker money back offers every day and provide a detailed monthly analysis of these offers. Some days there are 15-20 offers, so this is a labor-intensive activity.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    Keeping in touch with all sports news in real time.

    What do you do to stay in shape – both physically and mentally?
    Golf, mountain biking, gym and plenty of holidays.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    Sunderland playing at the Stadium of Light is the place to be; there is always plenty of drama – win, lose or draw.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    Doesn’t happen when you own your own business.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
    I have only been to Melbourne once but it is a fabulous city. Great climate, friendly people and great sporting facilities.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    8 Mile, with Eminem. Great soundtrack and rap battles.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Irvine Welsh, Eminem, Kate Moss, Roy Keane and Rihanna – for great debates and gorgeous women.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    Secret Craig David fan.
    Favorite drink – Abbot Ale.
    I have read all of Ben Elton’s books.

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

    Doolally (9 October 2014), muffincrumbs (9 October 2014), Renee (8 October 2014)

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