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  1. #1
    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Juan David Vargas Quiceno

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    (This interview was originally published in the October 2018 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine)

    How long have you been in the iGaming business? How did you first get into the industry?

    This is interesting. I have worked with Worldpokerdeals for the last two years, but the website was launched in 2012. But my first contact with the industry was a long time ago. In 2008, I was a forum moderator in a local Colombian website dedicated to poker, the only one of its kind at that time. I still have some very valuable friends from that time.

    What did you do before iGaming? What did you learn that has helped you as an affiliate?

    I’m an electrical engineer. I worked seven years at multinational companies before going full-time into the online business. Let me tell you this: My job was to manage projects on budget, quality and time, interacting with people from all over the world (specialists, designers, contractors), building, networking, training people, offering the best solution to each particular request. Sound familiar? Well for me, that’s being an affiliate, at least a good one.

    How long did it take for your site to start making money?

    The first version of Worldpokerdeals was launched in 2012 by our CEO, Rodion Longa, on the Wix platform (does anyone remember the good old days when a website could be launched in only one long night of coffee and programming over these platforms?). The current Worldpokerdeals website was launched in 2015. The growth was exponential as we got into a non-satisfied market: Russian-speaking countries and professional poker players. We are all ex-professional poker players, and we thought that we needed a site that offered what a professional player needs: software, advice, complex solutions.

    What's one thing you think an affiliate new to the online poker market should know about it?

    First of all, you must be careful. There have been so many stories out there about people being scammed by rooms, people and websites. Trust is critical in this business. Build relationships with players, affiliate managers, poker rooms; try to know the people you are working with. Don't be just another website saying you are offering the best product in the market.

    How dramatically has the online poker market changed since you started your site?

    It is another world. Not long time ago, the poker rooms were aimed at the poker pros, to build a career. Today, the sites are encouraging the recreational players and fighting regulations. It’s normal — this is a business, and businesses are meant to make money. Also, the regulations in countries like the U.S., Spain, Italy and France have changed the market.

    What's the poker scene like in Colombia these days, either online or live?

    Colombia’s poker scene is going through a bad time with local regulation. Last year, despite the recommendations of local economists and players, local authorities launched a regulation forbidding any kind of live or online gambling without a license, creating a closed market. PokerStars, bet365, PartyPoker, Bodog and all the big poker rooms left the country in response, and, of course, as a result, less money and income are flowing to the nation. There are no good perspectives to online gambling. As for live poker, we have some small tournament series with good attendance, and it’s starting to grow.

    Do you have plans for additional sites? Why or why not?

    Actually, we do! At Worldpokerdeals, we believe cryptocurrencies and blockchain are the future, and right now we are deep into the development of a new website about this digital revolution.

    What makes your site unique?

    We belong to the new era of companies selling experiences. When a player finds our website, he finds all the resources he needs to play: software, rakeback deals, recent news. And when he decides to start playing, he finds a whole dedicated team that warmly welcomes him in his language, with strong contacts and that's highly motivated to help the players make the best decision. Also, we have our style. We like to be informal, but keep our poker faces. We have a slogan: You play, and we take care of the rest.

    How do you decide what poker rooms to promote?

    We always try to build close relationships with the poker rooms we promote. We try to understand their business model and the people behind the sites. Also, our team always tests the rooms first. Make a deposit, test the software, the field, the bonus program; try to identify what inconveniences there are for the player so we can solve questions when they reach us.

    Are you a full-time or part-time affiliate?

    Right now I’m a full-time affiliate, but this is recent. Last year, I had a day job as an engineer and an extra job as an affiliate. I had to make a decision, and I chose the affiliate market. If you asked me why, I would tell you because of the freedom and new challenges every day that make me feel alive.

    Tell us more about Worldpokerdeals and your co-workers?

    Worldpokerdeals is a family. We are all friends, although most of us don't know each other face to face. We have 10 managers to work with the players, plus content writers, translators, designers. Our team is composed of more than 25 people from all over the world (Canada, Ukraine, Thailand, Russia, Colombia, China). Worldpokerdeals is a multilingual company — we have Russian, English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese versions, and each version has a team behind it.

    Do you gamble online? What about in brick-and-mortar casinos?

    To be honest, I gamble very little now. I used to gamble a lot. I remember in 2012, I used to play 16 tables. It was very crazy at that time, indeed! For some time, I worked as a croupier in a small poker room in my hometown, and after the last tournament, we spent all night playing against friends. Today, I only play for testing the poker rooms we add and, of course, some hands to chill out.

    How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?

    I have not attended conferences recently, but some Worldpokerdeals team members have. I have regular contact with other companies (software, affiliates, poker rooms). I interact with other people in this industry every day because keeping good relationships with your partners is the key to success.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?

    Transparency. Trust. If you can trust your affiliate manager, you can build a long-term relationship which for sure will be profitable for both sides, no matter if the share is low, or if the poker room closes. If there is honesty in the atmosphere, success will come.

    What's your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?

    Skype works best — you can keep the complete chat history, phone and video calls. It may be old school, but is just perfect.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?

    Again, the trust. One of our goals for 2018 was to build trust in the community, so our players will trust more in our brand. I understand the internet as the new wild west, and it is entirely reasonable for a new player to have doubts about a new website they found.
    Joining the GPWA has helped a lot, actually; we are delighted with it. When some of our players ask us “Why should I trust you?” we just say, "Take a look at our website — it says 'GPWA approved.'"

    What do you like about the industry?

    I do enjoy working with the players! After a long day, there is nothing better than reading a message saying “Thanks for your help!” or “Your recommendations were great!”

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?

    I feel this industry is over-competitive sometimes. Close to my place, there is a small street with maybe 15 small shops all selling the same thing. Everyone is friendly with everyone. Every time I travel, I see the same little shops and ask my wife, “How do these businesses work? They are side by side, selling the same thing!” With time, I learned some customers choose one site because of the salesperson, others because they heard from a friend about one, in particular. Other sites offers one extra product, and others are just lucky. That’s our business. We are competitors for sure, but healthy competition is the way.

    What do you think the industry will look like in five years?

    That’s a difficult one! If you had asked me five years ago, I would have been very wrong. I think blockchain technology will be adopted by the gambling industry, not only as a payment method, but also as the backbone of the industry. The decentralization and transparency that blockchain technology can inject to this market are beyond my knowledge for sure.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?

    Well, I think I’m the only affiliate they know, so for sure, they are very surprised! My wife and family have been very supportive, and as I always say, you reap what you sow. If you are happy in your work, your beloved ones will be happy for you.

    How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?

    I’m a to-do-list enthusiast. I need a list of everything. Ask my wife. Without a list, there would be no groceries at home. And also I love David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) method. After testing tons of software, currently, I’m using Wunderlist and Trello.

    What's your approach to SEO and drawing traffic to your site?

    For us, SEO is critical. We spend a very good portion of time working on SEO. Our approach is SEO-friendly to the user, not flooding with keywords and articles, but making the material interesting for our users.

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your site?

    I would say not too much time, but enough to keep our site updated, showing the website is alive. We try to update our social networks with news every day, two days at minimum. Also, we have Telegram channels, which are not exactly social networks, but work in that direction.

    What's the most difficult thing about running your site?

    Our website has more than 100 poker rooms in the portfolio, plus some others services we offer, and this is a constantly changing industry. One of the most challenging things is to keep all the sites running up to date, always offering right information.

    What's the best thing about running your site?

    I feel part of a family with the Worldpokerdeals team. There is friendship and small talk when it’s necessary. This is really a great place to work, and the multicultural mixture is great for your personal growth. Just imagine a Colombian guy chatting with a Ukrainian guy! For sure, neither of us are able to locate their partner country on a map!

    What do you do to stay in shape – both physically and mentally?

    Physically, I love jogging! Every morning, my wife and I start the day with a one-hour jog. OK, maybe not every day, but we do our best!
    Mentally, reading is one of my passions. I could read all day long. When I need a break, there is nothing better than finding a good book.

    What do you do with your spare time?

    I loooooove music. It’s my biggest passion. I’m starting a CD collection (it’s not very easy because record shops are disappearing). So seeing my collection, listening to some good old songs, it’s one of my favorite hobbies. I like classic rock, like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. And if there is a concert in my country, no matter where it takes place, for sure I’ll be there!

    What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?

    I always imagined myself as a science person. You know, a serious guy with a white robe mixing some weird chemicals. I studied engineering, so I changed the white coat for a helmet, but that works too. And I always pictured myself as a family guy, with my wife, kids and pets. Now, I have my wife and pets, so the dream is coming true.

    If you won $10 million playing the lottery tomorrow what would you do?

    I would book a cruise with all my family and friends, and I would throw a big party! Now, more seriously, after making some safe investments for the future, helping my family and some homeless pet foundation would be something I definitely would do.

    What were you like in high school?

    Very thin. I mean it. Today my weight is 70 kg and in high school was 50 kg. Seriously speaking, I was actually very nerdy, with big glasses and without a girlfriend.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, what’s the one place you'd definitely take them to see?

    I would definitely arrange a trip to an area called “Eje Cafetero” (Coffee Area). There are so many local and great things to see there, from nature (Nevado del Ruiz is a great place!) to traditional little towns (Salento, Filandia), and very friendly people everywhere. We have our own “sunset factory” in Manizales. Not to mention the great food and huge plates. If you come to Colombia, be sure to have your stomach ready, because we eat a lot! And of course, Cartagena, the eternal walled city with the ocean sound and the impressive sunsets where I got engaged. It is perfection!

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?

    I love the all-inclusive experience. I love going to a good hotel for a week and doing nothing — maybe just extending my hand for another mojito.

    What are your pet peeves?

    I do everything by the book! If the traffic light is red, you cannot pass by even if there are no cars. I cannot stand when people do not follow these small rules that make everyone’s life easier.

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you and why?

    Does my wife count as an item? Haha! I would take a blank notebook, a pen and an iPod. I cannot live without music or writing.

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

    Steve Jobs, Emiliano Zapata, Fernando Vallejo, Joaquín Sabina and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.

    1. Give me a charcoal grill and beer, and I will cook delicious food for 30 people and actually enjoy doing it.
    2. I’m a complete technology geek. I have no glasses now, but I really deserve them!
    3. I was a vegetarian for six years.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Daniel For This Useful Post:

    Cash Bonus (10 April 2019), drifter8 (17 April 2019), Renee (2 April 2019), Sherlock (10 April 2019), Vargoso (10 April 2019)

  3. #2
    gil.langelaan's Avatar
    gil.langelaan is offline Private Member
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    Does my wife count as an item? Laughed hard there, but it's kinda sweet as well.
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  4. #3
    Vargoso's Avatar
    Vargoso is offline Spanish Forum Moderator
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    I really appreciate the GPWA team for the opportunity of sharing my thoughts I hope it isn't too boring
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  5. #4
    casino545 is offline Public Member
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    Great Interview. Inspiring for new affiliates

  6. #5
    Cash Bonus's Avatar
    Cash Bonus is offline Private Member
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    I also have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs. The guy was a top bloke who accomplished so many things and contributed so much to Apple and to technology in general. I wish he was still here with us. A good affiliate interview Vargoso.
    Last edited by Cash Bonus; 17 April 2019 at 12:56 am.

  7. #6
    SuperiorShareConnie's Avatar
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    Hello Vargoso

    Great interview!

    Connie Burstin
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