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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Mike | mike65

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    Age: 27
    Hometown: Tarnovo, Bulgaria
    Living in: Brussels, Belgium
    Favorite Food: Asian
    Must Read Book: Today and Tomorrow, by Henry Ford
    Site: casinotopsonline.com

    When did you launch your site?
    August 2011.

    You started in online gambling about six years ago. How did you become involved in the industry?[/B][/COLOR]
    My father used to play at online casinos and he introduced me to the online gambling world for the first time. In 2006 I moved to live and study in the U.K. and then I met some friends who were already quite experienced in the industry. Basically they showed me how they make extra money by promoting online gambling sites.

    I was studying Construction Management and looking for jobs related to that. Later when I graduated I decided to spend one more year studying in the U.K. for a master’s degree with IT subjects. At this time my girlfriend and I were playing at online casinos regularly. After I graduated I moved to live with my girlfriend in Brussels and that is how it all started. I decided to make a casino-related website and possibly earn extra money from that and have fun in my spare time.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    It took me about seven months to start seeing some profits, but it could have been earlier if I’d had better knowledge of SEO.

    Your site is committed to providing players with safe, secure brands. What steps do you take to deliver on this commitment?[/B][/COLOR]
    Our site is committed to providing honest information about reputable, safe and secure online gambling brands. I can say that there is no way to be 100 percent accurate if you don’t test the casinos yourself. There are so many trusted and safe online gambling sites and at the same time there are so many blacklisted for various reasons.

    The first step I take in valuation is the gambling site’s reputation, license jurisdiction and year of establishment. Other important factors are the customer service, software provider, type of games, payout reports and withdrawal time. If a gambling site measures up in all these categories, then players can feel safe playing for real money, depositing and withdrawing their winnings.

    In your GPWA profile, you state that you "know how frustrating it is for players to be ripped off by online gaming operators." Can you share any of your experiences?
    Some online casinos and gambling sites misrepresent their terms and conditions intentionally to attract more players. Unfortunately, players can fall into this trap and get frustrated with online gambling. As a player I’ve had several issues with online casinos and most often the problems are delayed withdrawals, unclear terms and conditions and very poor customer service. Also, I’ve seen many forum posts online where players regularly complain about online casinos and gambling sites. I’ve heard horrible stories involving players and online gambling sites.

    Last year you mentioned that you were working on a free games section (with social media buttons) for your site. How has that been working out?
    Yes, it was a lot of work but it was worth it. Free casino games, particularly free slot machines, are a great way to get extra traffic to your website. We’ve included more than 100 free slots and made a special section for slots players. This is a great way to get more "Likes" on our Facebook page. I definitely recommend free casino games to all webmasters who are targeting the online casino niche. The free casino games are easy to embed on your website and many affiliate programs are now offering them. The combination of free casino games and social media can quickly bring positive results in a short time.

    Your site has pages devoted to providing information about mobile casinos and live dealer casinos. What percentage of your referrals go to mobile casinos? What about live dealer casinos?
    We are now working on and testing a new made-for-mobile section on our website. Even though we have limited content for mobile casinos for now, I’ve noticed that about 15 percent of our referred players go to mobile casinos. With the availability of so many mobile devices today I believe that the mobile casino industry will continue to grow and attract more players. There are so many great casino games available for mobile devices and the fact that most mobile casino players rarely cash out makes mobile an attractive niche. We’ve not been able to achieve much success with live dealer casinos, but we have plans to further develop this section on our website.

    You also have a high roller section on your site. Have you had any success referring high rollers to the site?
    We decided to have a high roller section in order to present our website visitors with what we believe are the best VIP online casino programs on the Internet. High rollers are not always regular players. They may deposit only once and disappear. It is very difficult to keep a high roller playing for a long time. So far we have referred only two high rollers, and they’re not as regular as our other referred players. My favorite high roller online casinos are GoWild and InterCasino.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    Most important are the support and advice given to affiliates by affiliate managers. If you see that a particular program is not doing well the problem might be the working relationship with the affiliate manager. When you work closely together, not only good commission deals can be negotiated, but also very good player conversion results.

    We pick affiliate programs based on many factors such as reputation, brands, player retention values, commission structure and the availability of marketing materials.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?
    1. Get to know the industry you’re targeting. If you have no experience in online gambling it is almost impossible to succeed.

    2. Get to know the affiliate programs you’re working with. In order to be a successful affiliate you need not only to have awareness of the programs’ brands, but also to understand how their commission structures work.

    3. Choose the best website layout and design. While this can take a good portion of your time, it is a good rule of thumb to make your website user friendly and decide on the internal structure.

    4. Include unique and quality content. It is a well-known fact that quality content is King. You should give honest information to your website visitors if you want them to come back again.

    5. Keep your website updated and devote time to SEO. Keeping your website updated is a must for successful online gambling affiliates. In addition, be prepared to devote time to SEO if you really want to have the best organic traffic to your website.

    You’ve been a GPWA member for about a year now. What prompted you to join? How has being a member helped you?
    I was searching online for a gambling affiliates' forum and I found a few, but the GPWA caught my attention. For me the GPWA is the most professional affiliate organization and I’ve found many good affiliate programs and people in the forum. Our website carries the GPWA seal and I believe this gives our visitors confidence. I’ve met a lot of friends and affiliate managers in the forum and I regularly read new posts and news in order to keep myself updated on what’s happening in the industry.

    What do you like about the industry?
    The new challenges and the entertainment factor. Also the fact that you work with many people around the world and that you can attend regular affiliate conferences held worldwide.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    Maybe the regulated markets of the industry. For example, USA residents were suddenly restricted from online gambling and that has had a big impact on the industry. Other countries such as Italy and Spain were contributing to online gambling profits before they were enforced to limit online gambling operations. I know how loyal USA online casino players are and they didn’t deserve this ban.

    What surprised you most about the industry?
    The thing that surprised me was the number of people interested in online gambling. Initially, I was thinking that not many people would decide to play for real money at an online casino or a gambling site. Well, I was wrong.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    Most of them are not exactly sure what I do. I explain to them that it is an online marketing business and the profit potential is indeterminate.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    It depends on the e-mail priority. I am trying to answer all e-mail within 24 hours. When I see a long list of e-mail I just copy everything into a folder so I won’t miss answering anyone.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    Sometimes I do need a software reminder for my daily tasks. We use a checklist for our website updates so that we don’t miss something. Because I am working two different jobs I use simple calendar synchronization software with my mobile phone and computer.

    How much time does it take to keep your site updated?
    We refresh our website every two days. Also at the end of each month we run a complete update of the whole site. I think it takes a lot of time to keep your website updated, but this what our visitors, Google and most search engines like.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site?
    SEO is a nonstop process, but we devote at least a couple of days each month to building our unique SEO strategies. Social media is a big factor in our SEO strategy and for this reason we devote more time to social networking.

    With Google page ranking updates becoming increasingly frequent and sometimes downright mystifying (e.g., the recent Penguin update), how do you deal with Google-generated ranking issues and content-scraping problems? Google’s Penguin update was a serious issue for our website. Some pages were outranked overnight for their keywords, but others went higher in search rankings. We took action to recover from the Penguin update and we were successful. After rebuilding the affected pages it took about two months to start getting our ranking back again. We use unique content and I haven’t had any issues yet with content scraping.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    It would be Tsarevets in my home country, Bulgaria. It is a medieval stronghold located in the town of Veliko Tarnovo. This place is unique and it used to be the old capital of Bulgaria.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
    Definitely Las Vegas. It’s the only place on Earth where you can have enough of everything.

    [B][COLOR="SEAGREEN"]If you could have one “superpower,” what would it be? I would like to be able to travel in the past. I want to learn more about the world’s life in the Jurassic period.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    I have many favorite movies, all of which were released before 2000. I find all new movies to be the same and boring. One of my top movies is Beetlejuice. I like it because it’s a mix of horror and comedy.

    If you were casting a movie with yourself in the leading role, who would play your romantic interest?
    Penelope Cruz – I think there is no need to explain why.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Richard Branson – I’m always interested in learning more about the success of this man. He has an empire of so many different businesses and I find myself wondering how it is possible to keep up with all of them at the same time. Also I find him to be a very bright, intelligent and down-to-earth man.

    Barack Obama – I think he is one of the most influential presidents of all time. Also, like Richard Branson, he seems to be very friendly and down to earth.

    Matt Cutts – I want to talk to this man and find out why he penalized our site with the Penguin update.

    Denise Coates – bet365 is the top online gambling brand featured on our website. As the founder of bet365, Denise Coates can give me some insights about the success of her brand.

    Paris Hilton – I want to suggest that she sign up for a poker site from our website. I know she likes to gamble.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    I have a fear of flying.

    I am crazy about quality food and I love cooking.

    I have a phobia of bees, wasps and hornets.

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    davemerry (31 January 2013), Diana-GoWild Gaming (28 January 2013), Marit VS (29 January 2013), Moonlight Cat (12 March 2017), skladfin (12 March 2017)

  3. #2
    cass's Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading your interview especially the "Matt Cutts" part I think most webmasters would like to "grill" him for penalising our sites.

  4. #3
    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Great interview!

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    Really nice interview, I was a pleasure reading it. Also I`d like to thank you for your confidence and your professionalism regarding our successful partnership.

  6. #5
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    So just to clarify, if you met Paris Hilton, your ideal outcome of that interaction would be that she signs up to play online poker through your site?

    Got to love that dedication.

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis - Income Access View Post
    So just to clarify, if you met Paris Hilton, your ideal outcome of that interaction would be that she signs up to play online poker through your site?

    Got to love that dedication.
    The guys ideal woman is Penelope Cruz - Paris Hilton doesn't compare

    Great interview Mike - I particularly agree and glad you are seeing success with the free games! Great way to keep players on your site (good for SEO) and converting them to players in the long run.
    Marit von Stedingk

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams

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  9. #7
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    Nice interview. Good luck !

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marit VS View Post
    The guys ideal woman is Penelope Cruz - Paris Hilton doesn't compare
    Agreed... but I'd still let her buy me dinner.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis - Income Access View Post
    Agreed... but I'd still let her buy me dinner.
    Well if we are going to Fantasy Land, I would still let her buy me a hotel or two and hand over the deeds.

    Just saying. Aim big.
    Marit von Stedingk

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams

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  13. #10
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    MichaelCorfman is offline GPWA Executive Director
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    In breaking news, Mike sold the site covered in the interview for 11.5 million Euros according to news articles published in the following thread:

    11.5 Million.

    Michael
    GPWA Executive Director, Casino City CEO, Friend to the Village Idiot

    Resources for Affiliates: iGamingDirectory.com, iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com, GamingMeets.com

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  15. #11
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    Great interview, this is one I have been waiting for, glad you guys got it in

  16. #12
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    Truly inspiring

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  18. #13
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    Very good site as well - well done !

  19. #14
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    Has to be one of the nicest men in the industry i am so glad i played a small part in helping him grow pure gent and deserves everything and every bit of his success.

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