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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Jason | loquax

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    Age: 42
    Hometown: Portsmouth
    Living in: Llanelli, Wales
    Favorite Food: Chili con carne with half & half (half chips and half rice – I think it’s a Welsh thing!)
    Must Read Book: Taking Le Tiss – The Autobiography of Matt Le Tissier
    Sites:
    loquax.co.uk
    bingoblog.co.uk
    ukcasinosonline.co.uk
    play-bingo.co.uk
    pennybingo.co.uk

    When did you launch your sites?
    Loquax was launched in 1998, originally as a competition/prize draw/sweepstakes community site. We got into bingo around 2004 when we launched our first white label, Prize Bingo, and that was followed by partnerships with Jackpotjoy and the launch of Loquax Bingo. Other sites popped up – at varying levels of quality – but it was only at the start of 2013 that we finally started to concentrate our efforts on gaming.

    Prior to 2013 our focus was always 90 percent “competition community” and 10 percent “the rest” – and yet it was the 10 percent that earned us revenue. The competition community was a huge success in terms of interest and traffic, but it took a lot of our time and resources with very little reward. We reached a point where it became unsustainable and took the big decision to focus our energies.

    In hindsight the direction we were going was pretty insane.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    The first 18 months of Loquax’s life we didn’t really earn anything, but it was a part-time fun thing to do and we were winning prize draws (which is how the site originated). So a couple of holidays to Barbados for free, for example, more than made up for our outgoings. Our first real affiliate earnings came from a site called Uproar, which did quiz games. From that platform we started earning with banners and eventually more mainstream affiliate marketing as networks started to evolve.

    Four of your five sites cover all things bingo, but the fifth, UK Casinos Online, covers just about everything except bingo. Explain the genesis of this site and tell us where it ranks (in traffic and revenue) among the other Loquax Games sites.
    Sadly it’s way down the list – but it’s something we’re working on (actually we’ve been saying that for some time now). It evolved simply out of finding an available domain name and thinking we maybe should do something with casinos. Ideally it’d be nice to do more with it as it picks up little bits of traffic.

    How did you go from being a Geochemistry PhD to becoming involved in the gaming industry?
    I started my working life as a laboratory technician, did a degree in Chemistry and then my goal was to do Environmental Chemistry. I completed my PhD in 1997 and stayed on at Newcastle University as a researcher. However, that eventually moved me out of the laboratory – where I really loved to be – and onto computers. The Internet was new at the time and it became a more interesting distraction than science. Career wise I wasn’t going anywhere so I looked to learn “websites” as a way out – Loquax was born and the rest as they say is history.

    Are you a one-person shop or are you part of a larger organization?
    We’re a small company – just four of us – plus we do some outsourcing. In some respects we probably could have expanded but then we’re happy with where we’re at – and for us that’s important. The aim with Loquax was never to be a business; it kind of just evolved and the ride has gone on longer than we ever expected.

    Describe your work environment. Do you work from home or in an office? If you work from home, how often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?
    My work environment is a very messy desk, lots of scribbled-on pieces of paper, occasionally two cats and an iMac. That’s about it. I’ve always worked from home since becoming full time in 2000 and have never been tempted by the lure of an office. My wife works with me so we have freedom to do as we please.

    I used to have more interaction with other industry people – e.g., via U.K. affiliate forums, blogs and associated events – but things have evolved to be more “professional.” And despite a more social world, I find that the non-gaming side of the industry is less friendly and interactive than it once was.

    Fortunately there are a few affiliate/online folks in the local area who have become good friends and so there’s interaction online and in real life. I’m also in touch with some of the guys I first met through affiliate marketing and it’d be nice to meet up more often.

    However, no matter what happens it beats working for someone else.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I like an affiliate manager to be friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. If all they’re interested in is “doing a deal” then that’s not for me. I’d rather AMs provided me with tools and information so that I can promote their brands more, hopefully earn more and be rewarded on performance, rather than weekly/monthly e-mail exchanges about deals.

    With affiliate programs I like to stick with brands I’m comfortable with. Good tracking, useful tools, good information about promotions, prompt payments and rewards for performance all help.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or via Skype?
    I prefer e-mail every time as it gives me a lot more freedom in terms of replying. I don’t like the phone (I know it’s weird) and even my mobile is mainly used for Internet stuff. I tell my wife I think I’m actually a hermit at heart, until she points out that would mean having to live on my own and having no interaction with anyone ever.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I joined the GPWA a few years back, but as our business focus wasn’t gaming I never got involved as much as I should have. However, it’s definitely a vital useful resource for finding out about affiliate programs and keeping in touch with the good and bad in the industry.

    What do you like about the industry?
    For an industry where we’re all competing it’s great that most people are pretty friendly and willing to help. I’ve been given some great advice by competing bingo affiliates and hopefully I’ve been able to help them in return.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    Probably the “let’s do a deal” approach. I know some people like that kind of negotiation but it’s not for me – it’s often too in your face. It does seem that some AMs have no tools in their arsenal other than “do a deal” and that’s not good. I guess I should embrace it more as it does seem to be part and parcel of affiliate life but we’re in a paid-for-performance industry, so pay me on performance – and reward me accordingly.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    Even after all these years I’m not entirely sure some understand what my work is about. That’s fine though – as long as they don’t ask me to mend their computers! Fortunately I’ve got some good mates who are working online, whether in domaining or as an affiliate, so that’s good for discussing problems or getting advice.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    I gamble a little bit, but not a lot. I have the odd flutter on the football, test out slots when writing reviews and even give bingo a go every now and then. I’ve fancied learning poker but just never got round to it.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    I used to try and answer e-mail as soon as possible, but now I tend not to rush to reply and in some cases don’t reply at all – which can upset people. I know it’s polite to reply, but I find replying sometimes initiates an engagement that I don’t want – especially if I’m doing a quick, dismissive response.

    My top tip is simply leave your e-mail for a period in the day when you can deal with it. Where you need to say “no thanks” make it clear that you’re not interested at the moment. I’ve wasted hours in e-mail discussions with brands who earned us nothing – don’t do the same.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    My to-do lists are mostly written down on scraps of paper on the desk. I don’t use software or get too concerned if things aren’t done. I have a rough idea of the important things that need to be done and they usually get done. Everything else can always be done tomorrow.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    I’m aware of SEO but it’s actually not something time is devoted to – it’s just part and parcel of putting the content on site and development. Time was always too short to worry about stats, keywords and positions – so it’s not something that gets on the agenda. Yes, it’s in the subconscious and that’s the best place for it. I may be in a majority of one on that score, but it’s a huge distraction for folks trying to build sites.

    We do use social networking – Facebook and Twitter, mainly, and both pick up visitors. One of the Loquax team does look after the social side of things – although that’s more for promoting our own white-label brands such as Loquax Bingo and the recently launched Clucky Bingo.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    Time – there’s never enough of it and plenty of things to fill it. Mind you I’m a lot happier with my workload of this month than the one I had in the same month a year ago. Perhaps the most difficult thing I’ve ever done though was deciding to change the focus of Loquax from online competitions to gaming. That change didn’t just affect the company or have the potential to end the business, but we had to break the news to several thousand users who had been loyal to us for years.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    I love the fact that we can earn a living without necessarily working on the sites seven days a week. With the competition community we needed to be updating six/seven days a week. Now we’re free of that “burden” and can run business things more efficiently. This year was the first time I’ve been on a totally work-free holiday – it was fantastic!!

    If you knew you were going to have visitors, would you bake a cake?
    Yes – apparently I’m not a bad baker, either. Every couple of weeks I bake a couple of cakes for a local Alzheimer’s Society group. Nothing spectacular but always tasty and the folks who attend the meetings love them.

    You’ve posted that when you’re not online you’re into photography, ducks and Southampton F.C. What kind of photography do you do, what is it about ducks that you like (besides their “quax”) – and why the Saints?
    Following the Saints is something inherited from my granddad and mum – just one of those things, I guess, but it gets in your blood, so they’re your team. I’ve followed them through good times and bad – thankfully at the moment it’s an amazing time.

    Ducks have been a lucky charm, but they also fit in with photography. I originally got into it taking wildlife shots – mainly of ducks. I do a mix of everything these days, but I like landscapes and sports photography. Some of my shots appear on my photography blog, tog.co.uk, and I also have a Flickr page. I’d love to do photography professionally, but have a very long way to go to get on that path.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    I usually just head out with the camera. This part of Wales is blessed with fantastic scenery and places to walk (e.g., Gower) and it’s lovely to just get out and away from it all. The sea is a couple of minutes’ walk away and that’s always a good spot to take time out.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
    Las Vegas – it’s where I got married. It’s such an amazing place – the history, the hotels, the casinos, the Grand Canyon . . . and Elvis. What more could any one place need! I think it’s probably time to head back out there soon.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    Star Wars. It was the first film I saw in the cinema and the one that probably had the biggest impact on me. It’s incredible to think it’s over 35 years old. I do wish George Lucas had just left it at three, though – it’s amazing to think that despite his genius he inflicted Jar Jar Binks on the world.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be? Why?
    George Lucas – to find out what possessed him when it came to Episodes I to III!
    Elvis Presley – he’s The King!
    Matt Le Tissier – Southampton FC legend.
    Bill Hicks – went before his time; top comedian.
    Oliver Reed – the drinks would flow, but he apparently had some top stories.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    I’ve seen Sir Tom Jones in concert six times (husbandly duties – honest).

    The only guests at my wedding were a French family – they wanted to see inside the chapel but the only way they could was as guests – so Jude and I invited them to watch. It added to the surreality of it all.

    I spent six weeks in St. Louis learning how to estimate thermodynamic properties of chemicals at high temperatures and pressures. So far I’ve not been able to use this within online gaming.

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  3. #2
    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    good interview

  4. #3
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    sweetbet is online now Private Member
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    Great interview. Thank you.
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
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  5. #4
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    Renee is offline Sponsor Affiliate Program
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    Great interview.

    I love reading the 3 things noone knows about the interviewee. These ones were particularly cool
    __________________
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  6. #5
    TheGooner's Avatar
    TheGooner is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Aaron View Post
    Prior to 2013 our focus was always 90 percent “competition community” and 10 percent “the rest” – and yet it was the 10 percent that earned us revenue. The competition community was a huge success in terms of interest and traffic, but it took a lot of our time and resources with very little reward.
    Probably the most useful piece of advice ... there's freebie traffic ... and then there is valuable traffic ...

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  8. #6
    baldidiot is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Aaron View Post
    Must Read Book: Taking Le Tiss – The Autobiography of Matt Le Tissier
    Fun fact - I once saw Matt Le Tissier taking a wee up against a cash point outside a strip club.

    /derail
    onlinegamblingwebsites.com - Formally known as goodbonusguide.
    baldidiot.net - Baldys affiliate blog. Will get updated one day. Maybe.

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  10. #7
    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Great interview!

    I totally agree about Elvis

  11. #8
    Planet Mark is offline Private Member
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    A Southampton fan from Pompey... does... not... compute...!?

    Nice interview, def agree on the e-mail, all this new-fangled instant chat stuff nowadays is just not the same.

    Mark

  12. #9
    loquax is offline Private Member
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    Thanks for the kind comments

    A Southampton fan from Pompey... does... not... compute...!?
    Family thing... Grandad/Mum supported Saints and I followed suit

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