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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Otto Bergstrom - Cass

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    Age:
    39
    Hometown: Kimberley
    Living in: South Africa
    Favorite food: Steak, chips and Greek salad
    Must-read book: The Assyrian, by Nicholas Guild
    Web site: www.cassaon-casino.com

    When you launched Cassaon-Casino a few years back, you said you were catering primarily to the Asian market. Is that still your focus today?

    To be honest, no. When we started out in 2006 we saw huge potential in the Chinese market since most portal casinos at the time were predominantly concentrating on the U.S. and Europe. We felt that these markets were too competitive, hence the reason the Chinese market was a more viable option to us, and by nature the Chinese love gambling as well. Having done research we soon realized that Chinese legislation prohibits all formats of online gambling in China, so we decided to concentrate on the U.S. and European markets instead. This was before the imposition of the UIGEA by the U.S. government.

    Are the people with whom you originally launched your site still involved in its operation?

    No. Initially we started out as a two-man band. The site was only a sideline for us and we hoped that it was something we could fall back on in the distant future. My business associate is a saturation diver. Neither he nor I had the time to really build the Web site into a reasonable portal. He notified me back then that he wasn’t interested anymore and he moved on. Presently I have a new business partner (Max) and he’s a real geek when it comes to search engine optimization, search engine marketing and the general layout of our Web site.

    What did you do before you became an online gambling affiliate?

    I worked in Sierra Leone for many years as the operations manager for a Canadian-listed company mining alluvial diamonds and gold. I’m still actively involved in the country and presently I’m the operations manager for a U.S. company mining alluvial diamonds there.

    Why did you become an online gaming affiliate? How did you get your start in the business?

    A friend of mine and his partners a couple of years ago were doing exceptionally well for themselves as affiliates and he basically introduced me to the “wonderful” world of online gambling. I had my reservations about becoming an affiliate at first; I felt that affiliates had to try to “induce” people to gamble and this was a moral issue to me. Ultimately I realized that it’s an individual’s choice to gamble, and we decided to design a Web site that is not only informative to players but warns them against the ramifications of excessive gambling.

    What's different about the industry now compared to when you started?

    Since the inception of the UIGEA in 2006 the landscape in the online casino industry has changed a heck of a lot. Five years ago the industry wasn’t as competitive as it is today and if affiliates were prepared to add glue to their seats and really work hard they soon started reaping the fruits of their labor.

    I still consider myself a novice when it comes to online gambling and every day I learn a bit more. A couple of years ago the global economy wasn’t as volatile as it is today and there still remains a fair amount of uncertainty as to where it’s heading. In essence this has had a severe impact on the gaming industry in general.

    How long was it before you started making money?

    It took Cassaon nearly two years before it started making money, and the site’s first commission was a “hefty” $270 in January 2008, earned at Wagershare’s Spin Palace casino.

    Would you characterize your site as a mega, moderate or modest gambling portal? Explain.

    I’d say that Cassaon at this point in time is a modest portal in comparison with the giants out there. Presently we are revamping our entire Web site by rewriting and replacing the site’s current pages with new, more informative content and incorporating our targeted keywords into them. At this stage we want to get our site sorted in its entirety first, and once done we’ll take it from there, although we have seen some very encouraging results the last couple of months.

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

    My wife has an idea but she is not interested in the gambling industry at all. My friends and relatives have no cooking clue as to what an affiliate actually does, and to spend the majority of your time in front of a PC is beyond them.

    What’s the most difficult thing about operating your site?

    Searching for unique content. Rewriting/refreshing your site’s content is arguably one of the most difficult things to do nowadays, and it must be done in such a way that you are not guilty of plagiarism. We make use of gambling books to aid us in writing unique content for our site. This is time-consuming but we’re getting there slowly but surely. The Internet today is like a major dumping site; the majority of the gambling content in it has been recycled a thousand times.

    What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

    It depends on how serious this person is about succeeding; if serious, my advice to someone starting out fresh is actually to work as part of a team. I suppose a couple of years ago a one-man band still could have pulled it off; however, given the competitiveness of the market today I think it’s best to start out with a minimum of four individuals, tasking each one to work within his/her respective field of expertise and then building the site accordingly. I feel that the more dedicated individuals a site has, the more the workload is alleviated and the quicker the site’s overall visibility will be enhanced in the various search engines.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? Has being a member helped you in your work? How?

    No disrespect toward the other gambling forums out there, but I believe that the GPWA is hands down one of the best gambling forums on the net today and that’s one of the main reasons why I’ve joined. I like the level of professionals involved who cover all spheres of the gaming industry at the GPWA.

    There are a couple of GPWA members who really set the standard, and reading their threads has helped me a great deal. Guys like Terry (thepokerkeep), who champions the cause of affiliates at a time when more online casinos are trying to dupe affiliates out of their hard-earned commissions. Now I always make sure I read an affiliate program’s T&Cs in detail before signing up.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?

    1. Be prepared to work hard and burn the “midnight oil.” I believe in the laws of “reciprocation”; the harder and smarter one works the better the chances are of attaining one’s goals and being successful.
    2. Visit forums like GPWA and Affiliate Guard Dog to interact with fellow affiliates. You could gain a lot of insight pertaining to the gambling industry as a whole.
    3. Add unique and quality content to one’s site on a daily basis. Affiliate managers and media advertisers see this and they might approach you either to join their program or for a potential advertising campaign.
    4. Establish a sound working relationship with your affiliate managers; they’re the ones supplying you with the latest details/releases of casino games, logos and much more.
    5. Always ensure that your players come first, because they are the lifeblood of any successful site.

    What qualities would the ideal program and/or program manager have?

    The ideal program manager must be a people person and must be prepared to speedily assist their affiliates with the latest affiliate program’s news, queries and any problems that may arise, such as why affiliate commissions earned for a particular month have not been paid. I’m impressed with the program managers we’re currently working with, including Lee-Ann from Roxy Affiliates and Renée from Rewards Affiliates. They personify what I’ve just mentioned.

    How do you feel about working with program managers who also operate their own gambling portals?

    Hehe, I remember posting a thread where I said that affiliate managers should not operate and run their own portals because potentially it creates a conflict of interest. I still believe this; however, I would work with an affiliate manager who has his/her own portal on the condition that this person does not see me as competition and has my business’s best interest at heart.

    Looking ahead, which worldwide markets do you think will emerge and/or show the most growth in 2011 and 2012?

    I’m an optimist by nature. I sincerely hope that the current global recession will soon blow over (if only it were that simple). It’s difficult to make a proper forecast since the U.S. and European economies are still in recession. Presently all eyes are on the U.S. to see whether it will legalize online gambling or not. In the event online gambling is permitted in the U.S. soon, and properly regulated and taxed, this may bode well for the gaming industry. So I have to go with the U.S. on this one for 2011 and 2012. The world needs a strong U.S. economy again. As I said, I’m an optimist....

    How important is SEO to the continuing success of your sites? And regarding keyword density, how much is OK, and how much is too much?

    SEO has always and will always comprise a key component to any Web site’s success. My associate Max is responsible for our Web site’s keyword research, which he passes on to me and in turn I slot the keywords into our Web site’s blog. I speak subject to correction here, but to have specific keywords that are too dense (more than seven percent) might be considered spamming and could be penalized by Google or any other search engine for that matter.

    Do you use Facebook, Twitter or other social networks to promote your sites? If so, which ones and how?

    We make use of Twitter to promote our Web site, and all our blog postings are automatically updated on our Twitter account. Facebook will come at a later stage once our Web site has been completely sorted.

    Time management is one of the biggest issues facing affiliates. What time management tips can you offer your fellow webmasters?

    It’s difficult to specify an exact time management schedule. It boils down to how many people are working on a specific Web site, and the extent to which each person’s work falls within his or her areas of expertise..

    In my own experience Max and I will decide when we want a certain amount of work done (casino/game reviews, table games, etc.) and set a deadline accordingly. This works best for us, even though we sometimes work 12 to 14 hours a day just to meet the deadline. I spend approximately two hours every day doing blog posts.

    What’s your favorite vacation or getaway destination?

    I like touring the West Coast of South Africa since I grew up along the coast. It has the friendliest people and you can indulge in the local cuisine (crayfish, fish, etc.) and stories on offer. I also enjoy the climate: it’s cool and not as hot and dry as where I presently live.

    If you could have one “superpower,” what would it be?

    To influence Google in such a way that it would rank our keywords and Web site on the first page!

    What’s your all-time favorite TV show, and why?

    I don’t have a specific all-time favorite TV show since I really don’t watch TV that much apart from sports and National Geographic. I really enjoyed Frasier – it’s arguably one of the funniest sitcoms ever made. I enjoy the quirky and snobbish remarks made by Frasier and Niles, not to mention their day-to-day interaction with normal folk and co-workers alike.

    If you were starring in a movie, who would be your co-star, and why?

    It would be an epic similar to Gladiator. My co-star would be Russell Crowe – I’d like to kick his ass in the movie.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    • I played semiprofessional tennis tournaments in France in 1993. Got thumped by a 14-year-old kid and decided it was time to pursue other ventures.
    • I’m co-owner of a portal casino.
    • I’m a chocoholic.

    If you could have dinner with any five people, alive or dead, who would they be? And what would be on the menu?

    • Nelson Mandela
    • Alexander the Great
    • George Bush (I’d give him a piece of my mind for imposing the UIGEA)
    • Marcus Aurelius
    • Our current president, Jacob Zuma (I’d ask him why crime/corruption levels are so high in South Africa at the moment)

    Menu: Steak, chips and a Greek salad, naturally!

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    dfiocch (24 November 2014), Roulette Zeitung (24 November 2014)

  3. #2
    eaton2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digo View Post
    If you could have one “superpower,” what would it be?

    To influence Google in such a way that it would rank our keywords and Web site on the first page!
    Don't we all wish we had that power.
    Simon Eaton - Online marketing consultancy with 20 years experience

  4. #3
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is offline Affiliate Services/Moderator
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    That is the best answer yet to the super power question!

    Great interview!
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
    Become involved in GPWA to truly make the association your own:
    Apply for Private Membership | Apply for the GPWA Seal | Partner with a GPWA Sponsor | Volunteer as a Moderator


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    Many thanks Anthony and a special thanks to GPWA for interviewing me.

    Otto

    Internet casinos

  6. #5
    FictionNet is offline Private Member
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    Nice interview. Enjoyed it.

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    cass (16 April 2011)

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    Today is Otto's (Cass) birthday!



    And If you are asking "Who is the jubilarian?" then the starting post of this thread -Otto's interview- will give you some answers.

    Otto, wherever you are in this moment, so far away from me, you know: There are no borders for best wishes.

    And don't forget to enjoy the ...



    Leopold

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    Dear Leopold,

    Thank you for the b-day wishes and I will enjoy the cake!

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to cass For This Useful Post:

    Roulette Zeitung (24 November 2014)

  12. #8
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    Hello Otto,

    credit regarding the fraudulent actions from Scout.GE belongs to you, because without your increased attention this case never came to light of day.Today the Scout.GE case is closed, and fraud is gone. Contrary to some skeaquing blabbermouths your work was a real help for this industry.

    Without your briefing of an uncensored email version in the LeoJackpot case only half the truth will be public now, and the story is not at an end yet.

    If you are writing, then you know, why. You don't need hash cookies in the stomach, electric shocks or a naked women beside your desk to ensure brain activity.

    Personally, I need at least the shocks.

    Leopold

  13. #9
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    "If you are writing, then you know, why. You don't need hash cookies in the stomach, electric shocks or a naked women beside your desk to ensure brain activity."
    Leopold amusing me, as usually.
    Welcome Otto!
    Last interview question should sounds like:
    "Are you innocent angel Otto?"

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