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  1. #1
    GPWA Abby is offline GPWA Editorial Staff
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Gary Gillies - gillies8888

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    Age:
    35
    Hometown: Livingston, Scotland, U.K.
    Living in: Andover, Hampshire, U.K.
    Favorite Food: Indian
    Must-Read Book: Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography

    Site:
    www.sbat.com

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

    Your site, www.sbat.com, launched about four years ago. Before that, you worked in IT. What made you want to work in iGaming?
    Before the iGaming sector, I owned an IT solutions business. One of my customers asked me to create a gambling website. When doing market research, I stumbled across two Facebook pages using affiliate links and started to investigate. At the time, social media was a new opportunity, and I decided I should have a go.

    How many employees do you have now?
    We have 14 at our offices in Andover, with an additional 18 contractors and writers. Crazy really; never ever thought the business would grow this quickly.

    What was the transition from working for somebody to working for yourself like? Could you imagine ever going back to working for someone else again?
    Working for someone else would kill me now! I'm so used to my schedule. I've been working for myself for a long time now. It's always easier to make ideas happen when you are the driving force.

    Has running an iGaming affiliate portal been as rewarding (both in a financial and personal sense) as you hoped it would be?
    I'm never one for talking about money, but the industry has allowed me to grow as a person and business very quickly. I love SBAT as a business, though growing so quickly can have its stresses.

    What were the greatest challenges you faced entering what was already a pretty crowded sports betting market for affiliates?
    When I first started, it seemed very cutthroat. This scared me, since I believe in most industries businesses can grow together. Facebook and Twitter were still very new in the iGaming world, so being aggressive with marketing allowed us to progress at a good rate. Each day I contacted other pages and websites, hoping to work together.

    You've posted a fair amount on the GPWA Forums that you're looking to purchase sites to diversify your portfolio. Have you had any success in that regard?
    Yes, in and out of iGaming, we are looking to expand our portfolio. I'm hoping to have sites for more countries and regions. Though buying sites can be a minefield — I think you always value your own creations more.

    Your SEO is all handled in-house, correct? How would you recommend new affiliates handle SEO on a tight budget?
    This is one of my biggest hurdles in iGaming. Ninety-eight percent of those offering SEO services don't understand the industry, the 1% that do are snapped up, and the 1% that are available are available for a reason. That may seem harsh, but it's just my experience.

    So for me, the best way to attack SEO is to learn, learn and learn some more! Take on opinions and research them. Rather than try to hire the 1% that are amazing, we've tried to get them to train us.

    We are taking things slowly with www.sbat.com, though, and checking what works with our other sites first.

    Sports betting can be a tough business, especially when your players are doing well. How volatile are your revenues from month to month?
    As a company we learned our lesson on Boxing Day in 2014. I looked at the coupon that day and called it perfect — my nan could have picked the winners that day. Our issue? We had all our eggs in one basket. We'd made huge investments and hadn't had a negative month, but that day made me look at our business plan again.

    After the initial shock, we moved on and now joke about that day. Month to month we seem to be OK now; we target a range of sports, which helps spread the risk.

    Do you bet on sports yourself? What's your favorite football team?
    I love betting on T20 cricket, and the Indian Premier League is about to start. I bet on horse racing for big events and most weekends on football. Favorite team? Well, this one hurts — Glasgow Rangers. Probably the hardest 6-7 seasons as a fan. Though I am a season ticket holder for the Saints, so it's not all bad.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    With an affiliate manager, one who realizes they aren't the only bookmaker we deal with. Sometimes it's hard to convert enhanced offers when another bookie has trumped them. With the program, easy-to-read stats and payments on time.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
    Skype — it's easy to get questions answered quickly.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA?
    Trying to learn more about the industry and keep on top of my game.

    What do you like about the industry?
    The constant changes and ability to constantly target new areas. The conferences are good fun, though.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    When I first started, everyone was confused! My family understands now, though. My friends call me Chandler Bing; they're still unsure what I do.

    How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I like good old-fashioned pen and paper! Each day I use a diary to plan. As a company we use Agile Project Management; this allows us to track projects closely.

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your sites?
    We started this business with just social media, and still work hard in this area. Several members of our staff work only on social media. We have millions of likes and followers spread out over our pages. We have several gambling pages with over 100k likes and followers and some non-gambling-related pages with over 500k likes and followers.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    Expanding. Growing has presented some huge issues, mainly server changes and growth.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    Seeing my ideas start to work. Being a little geeky, I always wanted the best stats for football games. Seeing it work brings a smile to my face — then, it's on to the next idea.

    What do you do with your spare time?
    I still try to play football, though my legs are starting to feel it. Running the kids around out of work takes a huge chunk of my time, and I want to make sure they have the opportunity to try new things. If I have any spare time after that, my other half tends to demand it.

    What did you dream of doing, both professional and personally, when you were a kid?
    I wanted to be a footballer! But I've always seen myself as a businessman. From a very young age I was trying new ideas and no matter the results, I was never scared off.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    Andover is the worst place ever to visit. I would probably take them for food in Winchester, or to see Southampton FC if they had a game.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    Walking the dogs for miles normally works, anywhere without a signal. Though my chill-out room with the Rat Pack and a book can chill me out.

    It's been about a year and a half since Scotland voted "no" on independence. As someone who was born in Scotland and now lives in England, what were your thoughts on that referendum? Do you think the voters made the right decision?
    This is a subject I've avoided. I looked into oil, military and currency issues and still have a vested interest in Scotland. After a lot of people got irate over my opinions, I kept them closely guarded.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    Happy Gilmore; amazing film. I'm more of a boxset man, though, so Suits is the ultimate winner.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Paul Gascoigne, Ally McCoist, my grandad, Richard Branson and Cameron Diaz.

    Gazza and McCoist are my heroes from the Rangers; the fall of Paul Gascoigne saddens me.

    My grandad has passed, but his business ideas and thoughts on life always intrigued me. For me, the man is a legend.

    Richard Branson — reading his books, he intrigues me more and more. His adaption to the modern world, especially in large companies, is amazing.

    Cameron Diaz — Anita, my wife, would hate this one. But I love her.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    1. I was once selected to play chess for England, but sadly at the time I turned it down, because my football mates ribbed me.
    2. My obsession with fast cars has not disappeared with age.
    3. One day I would like to own a dog home and be a crazy old man with 200 dogs.

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    Football-Writer (28 July 2016)

  3. #2
    ElaineGardiner's Avatar
    ElaineGardiner is offline Non-sponsor Affiliate Program
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    Great interview!

    I love finding fellow Scots in the industry!

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    sweetbet's Avatar
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    For a site that was launched just 4 years ago, it is really quite impressive.
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
    USA Online Casinos | Canadian Online Casinos | Bitcoin Casinos | Live Dealer Casinos | Free Spin Casinos | US Online Casino Guide

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    Miles_FTA is offline Former AM
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    Nice Interview Gary and nice meeting you i see your love for Indian Food goes hand in hand for your ,l ove of IPl etc have you been to India ?

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    Deano99 is offline Public Member
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    That's some speedy growth, well done Gary


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    gary.cbt is offline Public Member
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    Hats Off To You!

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    irisui is offline Public Member
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    Great interview. Thank you!

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    Football-Writer is offline Public Member
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    Very good interview Gary. I guess your dream date would be taking Cameron Diaz for an Indian and to a Rangers game!

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    Great Interview and you are right about the SEO aspect, anyone worth their salt already has their own project

  12. #11
    gillies8888 is offline Private Member
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    Thanks Everyone, one of my first interviews
    New Projects. Lets see how the 3rd Journey goes.
    https://esportsjunkie.com/ https://www.bigfreebet.com/

  13. #12
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    Great interview and I completely agree about SEO If you love fast cars, what's your favourite?
    My website: http://mrbinary.co.uk/

    Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrBinaryAff
    Like my pictures on Instagram: https://instagram.com/mrbinary

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    irisui is offline Public Member
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    Great job! Congratulations!

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