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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series | Pedro & Team - academia

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    Age range: 27-35

    Hometowns: Porto, Portugal

    Living in: Porto

    Favorite Foods: “Francesinha” (typical sandwich from Porto), “Posta à Mirandesa” (grilled thick steak from Northern Portugal original cows).

    Must Read Books: Manual of Sports Betting, by Paulo Rebelo

    Sites:
    academiadasapostas.com
    academiadasapostasbrasil.com
    onlinebettingacademy.com
    academiadeapuestas.es

    When did you launch your sites?

    We organized as a team in 2010, but the Portuguese betting academy websites were launched in April 2012. The Brazilian version launched after August 2014, and later, in February 2015, we added the Spanish- and English-language versions to the portfolio.

    How did you and the people on your team become involved in the industry?

    We all lived in the same city (Porto, in northern Portugal). While we were not all friends before we teamed up, all the initial team members had friends in common.

    We came from different areas, and each one of the initial five brought unique abilities to the team: we have a professional sports betting trader well known in Portugal, an experienced webmaster in particular in the gaming area, an expert and a junior programmer and a project manager with planning skills. That was our initial team—very heterogeneous and also highly motivated!

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?

    In the beginning we didn’t invest too much on the website, and it took us four or five months to earn our first €50. During that period we felt like we were working in the dark, without any certainty, and making some mistakes in the way.

    When we started this Academy project, we had already some months of hard work and a lot of know-how. But since the beginning of the initial project in 2010, it took us almost four years to reach the break-even point and start earning some money for real.

    Are you a stand-alone shop or are you part of a larger organization?

    This is a tricky question. We are still a small organization with only a few websites, but we intend to become a larger organization and have a lot more websites! We already consider ourselves big in our market, because we grew very fast in comparison to older and established websites in Portugal.

    One of the unique selling points of your site is your tipsters competition, where you have more than 11,000 members competing for prizes. How long have you been running the contest? And did you ever expect that it would be this successful?

    The current tipster competition we have in place resulted from several months of planning and programming. We launched this tipster competition scheme together with the new Academy platform in 2012, as this was one of the key functions we wanted to have ready for the new website.

    When we launched the Academy website, we already had a forum community from the previous website, and almost everybody started using the tipsters competition from day one.

    This tipster competition has a double function:
    • Users can test their betting skills without risking money—it is an amusing game that simulates reality.
    • The best tipsters can win prizes without risking any money.

    We wanted to build something very easy to use, and we are happy with the result, therefore we were expecting every member to use it.

    During the entire project’s life we've always had more qualitative objectives than quantitative ones. We want to build everything perfectly, but we don’t aim to achieve a certain number of users on that new function. We plan new functions for our website based on the global user needs, so we know that the new function will be used by a good number of members.

    It's one thing to run a contest; it's another thing to monetize it. The prizes in your tipsters contests are given as cash to players' sportsbook accounts. In some cases, you require players to have a player's account tagged to your site in order to claim the prize. In others, players are not required to have an account tagged to your site. Can you explain the reasoning for the different requirements?

    We award almost €4,000 in prizes each month, and the differences between the contests are related to each bookmaker requirement, as they have different approaches and different prize payment methods. In some cases they allow the contest to be run for everybody with a betting account, but in most cases they like to separate the affiliates and only allow the contest between each affiliate’s clients. There is no specific reason for that, it has only to do with the negotiation made with the bookmaker.

    All four of your sites are sportsbook sites. Any plans to branch out?

    Right now we have no plans to diversify out of the sportsbook affiliate market, as we still have so many ideas yet to be developed here. It makes sense for us right now to focus 100 percent of our attention on this market. But that doesn’t mean that we will not move into other markets in the future.

    How difficult is it to run sites in several languages? Do you and your team all speak the languages utilized by your sites? Or do you have to hire translators to do some of that work for you?

    We have translators working for us, and yes we speak all four languages. After launching our Portuguese site, we decided to first move to the Brazilian website, as that is twin language. After that first experience in mid-2014, we learned a lot on how to handle different languages. That know-how helped us early this year to open the Spanish and English websites in a smooth way.

    Since we can understand those languages, it was natural to start there. But even with the translators working for us, it is not easy and it demands a very big team to deal with a market that we don’t know because we are not living there.

    Describe your work environment. Do you work from home or in an office? How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?

    We work in an office with a young team in a relaxed environment—it is a typical technological startup company. Our contact with people from the industry is on a daily basis via Skype chat, but in person only two times a year at the Barcelona and London affiliate conferences.

    Other than that, we also stay in contact with webmasters from other Portuguese gaming websites as we think it is very positive to have good relationships with the competition.

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

    The key characteristic for affiliate manager is quick answers to our requests. Even when the answer is that he or she has to ask a superior and it will take some time, we want that answer as soon as possible, because our daily decisions may depend on that. This is a fast market with new promos every day.

    Both the affiliate manager and the affiliate program must always be fair. We should always be able to consult our affiliate performance and reports easily. The program must allow us to win what’s fair from our client acquisition, and daily client follow up and support are important, as well.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or via Skype?

    We prefer to communicate via Skype chat as it is almost as fast as calling and has the advantage of being written and can be consulted in the future. Also, whenever it’s not possible to answer right away, it’s registered and can be answered as soon as possible. But of course we use all those communication channels: some things have to be done by e-mail and some others by phone. The most important thing is to have an answer in the same or the next day.

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

    We registered on GPWA just before the first affiliate conference we could attend in Barcelona in 2013. That was when the work pace slowed down a bit and things were finally on track.

    We searched for a different approach and a global view from the industry; of course we ran into the GPWA website, which is has the best information on this industry. With the GPWA we can always follow the news and gather information on new affiliate programs and new bookmakers. We think GPWA is the right place to search for that information.

    What do you like about the industry?

    The ability to create our own project, with our own plan, and watch it grow. We provide the tools to help our members and visitors find the most efficient way possible to bet. In a way we help people, and through the forum and the community we are responsible for great friendships!

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

    This one is hard to answer; in an ideal world, there would be unique regulations in several countries and the companies working there would be more transparent and the owners of those companies would be known.

    Sometimes we advertise a new bookmaker to our community, and after some months they decide to pull back, or even shut down the company. We like to build trust and we want partners for a long relationship.

    The ideal would be to have a wide legal framework and recognition of the betting activity, and everything in the industry could be more transparent.

    What do your families and friends think of your work as affiliates?

    To outside people, our affiliate work is a regular Internet-based occupation. We create and develop websites, and that’s common and accepted here in Portugal. In Portugal there is a certain fascination with people who do different things and who are entrepreneurs.

    For our families, the fact that we have always been motivated may have helped. There was never a moment of stagnation since we started this project, and if they see us working hard they believe good things will happen and the results will come.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?

    Rui: I like to bet football whenever I can watch the match, as I like the extra spice it brings to the evening!

    Pedro: I don’t make sports bets; I think it’s mainly because I spend the entire day talking about sports bets that I get tired of it and when I come home I have no joy in betting… When I can I like to play online poker.

    How long do you give yourself to answer e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?

    Rui: I answer my e-mail in the morning, once a day, but I keep an eye on Outlook and some important e-mail has to be answered right away.

    Pedro: There's more than one of us answering e-mail, so it’s easy to keep answering throughout the day and have them answered within minutes.

    Advice: Everybody should adapt to what’s best for him/her, and try at least to answer e-mail once a day. Avoid accumulating e-mail over several days because it’s going to be hard to answer all of them, and some will get lost in the process.

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

    Rui: I use Windows “sticky notes.”

    Pedro: I’m old school and write the immediate tasks on a piece of paper where I can scratch each when done.

    For medium- or long-term tasks we have other methods that include a white board in the office.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?

    We invest a lot of time on these two items. For social networking we have a full-time worker on that, but in terms of team hours it’s actually a small percentage of the time we invest here. If we could, we would spend more time on that, as we have seen social networks become a good source of traffic. Every day we move our social pages, at least on the main websites.

    As for SEO, we focus on creating new content either by new messages in the forum or by new articles in the website.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites? What’s the best thing about running your sites?

    The answer is the same for us. The most difficult thing to manage is the forum and the community. It is a big community, and sometimes interactions can create conflicts that are can be hard to manage. Often those conflicts happen in during difficult hours, holidays, etc. But is has to be done in that moment; it can’t wait. That’s the most difficult part of this job.

    But on the other hand, the best and most rewarding things also come from the forum and our forum members. It’s a dynamic community, with real people that many times can get to know each other in person, and we have made some good friends this way!

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

    To break the routine, we have hobbies! Every once in a while we have go karting championships with the entire team. That’s awesome to unite the team and relax at the same time.

    But of course the gym two or three times a week is good to clear the mind. Some of us prefer to go in the morning before work, and others go after work.

    If someone were visiting you, what are some places you’d definitely take them to see? Why?

    We love our city. Maybe we would start by climbing the Clérigos Tower in the city center, followed by a one-hour trip in the river for the “6 bridges cruise.” Then we would have a drink in a terrace bar on the riverside near Dom Luís I Bridge. Serra do Pilar is a great sightseeing spot nearby, in Vila Nova de Gaia (south side). From there you’ll have a breathtaking view of Porto.

    For those who like to go out at night and have a drink, we recommend the area nearby Rua da Galeria de Paris, which has very good night life. For those who prefer nature, we recommend a visit in the city park, with 83 hectares and 10 kilometers of pedestrian walkways, it’s the only city park in Europe connected to the beach!

    We truly recommend whoever comes to visit Portugal to spend some time here and visit other cities and areas like the Douro wine region, the capital city (Lisbon), the beaches in Algarve, and even some Portuguese islands like Madeira and Açores!

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

    On vacation!

    Pedro: I prefer to go to the countryside for a few days, where there is no Internet or cell phone network.

    Rui: I prefer to go to Madeira on holidays and hike on the beautiful trails in deep nature.
    We both agree that when we need to get away from the work, we like precisely that: to be as far away as possible from work.

    What are some of your favorite vacation spots? Why?

    Pedro: I love the Douro wine region, the Douro river valley.

    Rui: It’s also in Portugal, but requires a flight; the Madeira Islands that have it all: nature, beach, breathtaking landscapes, and very good food.

    What are some of your team’s all-time favorite movies? Why?

    Rui: I prefer movies to relax and just enjoy the action, the so called popcorn movies. The Matrix is my favorite right now.

    Pedro: I prefer historical movies; here is a small list of my favorites: Schindler's List, Ben-Hur, Casablanca and Black Cat White Cat.

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

    This is the toughest question so far, so we decided to call the help of our team to answer. We took a vote and the final five we chose were:

    - Albert Einstein for everything he could teach us;
    - Eusébio, great Portuguese football player, to hear all his stories;
    - Confucius, Chinese philosopher, to find out if it was really him who wrote or said everything we find on the Internet quoting him;
    - Gordon Ramsay to cook the best meal ever;
    - And last but not least, we would take the inventor of “Francesinha” sauce (Francesinha is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto), so that he could teach Ramsay the secret of the original sauce!

    What are some things that nobody knows about you?

    Well, meet us at the next affiliate conferences and ask us yourselves.
    Last edited by GPWA Dan; 4 November 2015 at 1:59 pm.

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  3. #2
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    i really enjoyed this interview with you guys, its the first one i have made comment on in the years Ive been a member here, but just wanted to say that.

  4. #3
    Fruity_MariaFlorides is offline No longer with Fruity Casa
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    Thank you for the very candid interview!

    All the best Guys.

  5. #4
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    Great interview. Gordon Ramsay is a brilliant chef alright
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    I love reading these things the way people express themselves in this industry you got to love it .. Nice one

  7. #6
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    Really interesting and insightful interview. As a newbie it's great to see how it is for those who have been doing it a long time!

  8. #7
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    Thanks for your comment on the interview.

    Hope our experience can help you to have even more success.

    Its all about hard work

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    Fruity_MariaFlorides (23 November 2015), GPWA Aaron (24 November 2015)

  10. #8
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    Foi um prazer encontrar vcs em Londres! estarei em contacto em breve... Abraço

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    OMG, Porto is on my wishlist!!

    Thumbs up for the interview!

  12. #10
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    Thanks for sharing all this info with us.
    I would find it very relevant if you would also include what are the best betting affiliate programs that you are working with. I have sometimes difficulties in finding the proper ones.
    Owner of IQ-Bet, BetSeek, Tips4Betting, and more...

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    gamblenet is offline Private Member
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    Thanks for sharing!
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    Pedro and Rui are very experienced in sports betting affiliation and have a great team that will surely lead them to success in the upcoming years. As they mentioned during their interview, there's still plenty to come! Well done to them and to Academia's project.

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