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  1. #1
    GPWA Abby is offline GPWA Editorial Staff
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Paul Eddison - TheGameHunter

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    Age: 44
    Hometown: Manchester, U.K.
    Living in: Chester, U.K.
    Favorite Food: Thai chili beef
    Must-Read Book: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis

    Sites:
    www.grand-national.me.uk
    www.thegamehunter.co.uk
    www.footballacca.tips

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

    One of your sites is dedicated exclusively to the Grand National. For our readers outside of the U.K. who may not familiar with the race, can you describe the phenomenon that is the Grand National?
    It's part cavalry charge, part parkour, but mostly it's a marathon race for horses.

    It's a particularly dangerous race 11 horses have died in the running over the last 15 years. What are your thoughts on animal rights activists who say the race should be discontinued?
    Animal rights activists target the Grand National due to its popularity and status. In the last five years, organizers have gone to extraordinary lengths to improve safety. No horse has died since the introduction of safety recommendations after the 2012 race.

    The ultimate aim for the animal rights activists is a complete ban on all horse racing. If they succeed in banning the Grand National, their attention will quickly turn to Cheltenham, and eventually to flat racing too. Thankfully, the record crowds at Cheltenham Racecourse and Aintree prove the British love affair with racing is far from over.

    Grand National keywords are some of the most competitive in the iGaming industry, especially in the lead-up to the race. How does www.grand-national.me.uk perform in search results?
    www.grand-national.me.uk performs well in major search engines. We're proud to be the source for many Wikipedia articles. We've spent lots of time researching and collating historical information about the race over 800 articles at last count. However, the level of detail offered by grand-national.me.uk can be overwhelming for some visitors.

    Each year we produce a microsite that focuses only on the upcoming race. This year Grand-National2016.co.uk attracted over 2.7 million visitors, and our Facebook page reached an additional 2 million people.

    U.K. bookmakers reportedly took a beating at Cheltenham when a number of favorites ended up winning. With a field of 40 horses, do punters have a harder time picking winners for the Grand National? What does that mean from an affiliate's perspective?
    People tend to think the Grand National is a complete lottery. That's not strictly true, although the race has produced five 100/1 winners over its long history. The majority of winners fall into a narrow band, statistically. Normally you can discount half the field each year using these stats.

    Even so, that doesn't stop people picking a horse for random reasons color of silks, the horse's name, etc. Our job is to help punters make educated bets, if they choose to do so.

    I know that tipping up winners in the Grand National has reduced our revenue share. However, I'd rather a visitor comes back to us 12 months later for another tip than make a short-term gain.

    Do you bet on the Grand National yourself? If so, what's your best betting story on the race? Do you have any tips for people who might be looking to make their first wager on the race?
    Like many people in the U.K., my first bet was a small each-way wager on the Grand National. I was about 13 years old! I had 50 pence on Maori Venture in the 1987 race, and I won about 30 quid a tidy sum that purchased a year's worth of comics.

    My tip for picking a winner is to look for a horse between nine and 11 years old. Proven ability over the fences is a must. If a horse has fallen at Doncaster or Leicester, he'll struggle over the much bigger Aintree fences. A horse carrying between 10st-5lb and 11st-03lb in weight is ideal.

    In addition to your Grand National site, you also run casino sites. Tell us a little bit about The Game Hunter. What do you aim to offer visitors to that site? Can you provide a bit of history behind the site's logo?
    The Game Hunter was the first site we launched, back in 2003. The concept was to produce a casino and game guide which focused on the fun side of casino gaming. We had the idea of a virtual guide to help users navigate the jungle of casino games and offers. Cornelius "The Game Hunter" is our guide, and he's been featured on the site ever since we launched.

    The Game Hunter offers reviews of online casinos, sportsbooks, bingo rooms and poker rooms. How do you decide which sites to promote?
    We prefer to feature brands that have a big U.K. presence. The likes of Betfair, Paddy Power, Gala and Mecca are well known and trusted by our visitors.

    Your hometown is Manchester . . . so are you a backer of Manchester United, Manchester City or Liverpool?
    I'm a season ticket holder at Old Trafford 100% Manchester United.

    What game vertical makes up the greatest part of your affiliate revenues? Which do you enjoy working on the most?
    Sports betting is the largest share, but casino revenues aren't far behind. Personally, I like working on sports, because there's always something new to write about.

    As the owner of Eddison-Media, you create and manage websites for marketing purposes. Your site says that the most popular sites focus on the gaming industry. What other industries do your sites focus on?
    In the past, we've dabbled in retail and travel to varying degrees of success. It's nice to work on something that isn't sports or gambling-related occasionally. I'm about to start a new project in the finance sector, which looks like an exciting opportunity.

    You've owned your own business since 2005. What's the best thing about running your own business? Any drawbacks?
    Creative freedom is one of the best aspects of running your own business. On the downside, you can never really switch off.

    Do you think you could ever go back to work for someone else again?
    Yes! I can see myself as the next Manchester United manager. I would probably do a better job than Louis Van Gaal.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I like affiliate managers who proactively help you out. Supplying pre-tagged creatives is always useful.

    What's your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
    E-mail is good, but a phone call is often quicker. I'm surprised at how long it takes to get a reply using the messaging system included in most affiliate programs.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I first joined to find out about affiliates' experiences with various merchants. The GPWA has helped me avoid some rogue programs that I was considering promoting.

    You've been a member for 10 years, but have only just recently become more active on the forums. What prompted you to get more involved in the forum discussions at the GPWA?
    I've been more involved lately because I have more time. Reading and posting in forums doesn't feel like work, so I've often avoided it. However, that's probably the wrong way to think about it. Hanging around on the GWPA forums can really save you a lot of time and money.

    What do you like about the industry?
    The barriers to entry are small, so anyone can give it a go and if you're good you can make a decent living at it.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
    If you look at the professional SEO community, they're much better at getting together regularly and sharing ideas. I'd like to see the affiliate community become more like that.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    They think I spend 364 days of the year gambling and one day working on that Grand National site. This couldn't be further from the truth I'm already working on the 2017 Grand National.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    At one time I played poker badly, I might add. These days it's mostly football and horse betting.

    How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I've used all the major "time-saving" apps or software programs over the years. The only one I've stuck with is Wunderlist, a very simple to-do list that syncs over all devices and PC/Mac. I have designer and developer friends who rave about Slack.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and social networking to drive more traffic to your sites?
    Not that much anymore. At one time it would be 50% SEO and 50% content. Now it's more like 80% content and 20% SEO.

    What's the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    Our servers need to handle traffic spikes, which can peak at over a million visitors a day. As I come from a design background, I've found it difficult to get my head around server configuration.

    I discovered CloudFlare, a content delivery network and distributed domain name server service, three years ago. We now push 99% of our traffic load onto CloudFlare for a few dollars a month. It's a great service that does all the complicated techy stuff for you.

    What's the best thing about running your sites?
    As a designer, I really like the initial design and build stage.

    What do you do to stay in shape both physically and mentally?
    Physically, I stay in shape with my stand up paddleboard (SUP). Mentally, I self-medicate with alcohol. I try not to combine these two activities.

    What do you do with your spare time?
    Haha good one!

    What did you dream of doing, both professional and personally, when you were a kid?
    Astronaut hopefully I will live long enough to see the price of space tourism drop to a point where I can afford it.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, what's the one place you'd definitely take them to see?
    I live in Chester, so I'd probably take them for a walk around our Roman amphitheater. In the evening we could shoot Welshmen with our longbows; technically, this is still legal within the confines of the city walls after midnight.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    Iceland. When the plane touches down it feels like you've landed in Tolkien's Middle Earth; amazing food, friendly locals and beautiful scenery.

    What's your all-time favorite movie?
    Ice Cold in Alex.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Sir Alex Ferguson, Jennifer Lawrence, George Best, Mark Twain and the racehorse Arkle!

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    1. I can wiggle my ears like Stan Laurel.
    2. I crossed the Sinai Desert on a bicycle.
    3. I have a share in a horse who's going to win the 2018 Grand National.

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  3. #2
    ocreditor's Avatar
    ocreditor is offline Private Member
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    Very nice interview !

    Wow "Ice Cold in Alex" brings old memories.. I think I'm too old now

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    TheGameHunter (12 July 2016)

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    Great interview. I can also wiggle my ears
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
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