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  1. #1
    GPWA Abby is offline GPWA Editorial Staff
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Radu Pasan - Rostick

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    Age:
    28
    Hometown: Bucharest, Romania
    Living in: Bucharest, Romania
    Favorite Food: Chinese, Grandma's dumplings, tripe sour soup
    Must-Read Book: White Nights, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Site: www.betdistrict.com

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

    Your site, betdistrict.com, is dedicated to sports betting, and you call yourself a "semi-professional" sports bettor. How much time do you put into making picks? What is your average rate of return?
    I consider my previews to be my most important activity on Betdistrict, and I spend at least 30 minutes analyzing each event I cover, usually more. I have a +1.5% return on investment on over 1,600 predictions on the website, which is not that great, but it's a profit. In my defense, I had to overcome a horrible first year in which I was more concerned with making the website work. Over the last year or so, my ROI is about 8%, and that's close to my standard.

    You first entered the iGaming affiliate industry in 2007 with betforcash.ro, which targeted the Romanian market, but you said it didn't fare too well. Can you explain why you think the site did not succeed?
    I was very young and inexperienced. I went with the "content is king" idea, which didn't work against competitors with lower-quality content but more focus on SEO and optimization – things I had little to no idea about. The site did make me some money during college; it just didn't become the industry leader I was dreaming it to be. Simply put, it was hands-on learning.

    What lessons did you learn? How did that experience help you build betdistrict.com? When was betdistrict.com launched?
    Betdistrict was launched in May 2013. At that time, I had just quit work and was thinking about starting an affiliate site on the English-language market, as my Romanian website was pretty much dead. I'd had knee surgery earlier that year, and I decided to put my energy into starting work on Betdistrict while I was stuck in bed. I used that time to learn PHP and SQL and to write static content, and the website was already taking form when I got back on my feet.

    It's difficult to pinpoint specific lessons I learned from my first website, because it simply taught me everything about the industry. However, getting into programming and understanding what and where to look were the main things.

    You run a tipsters competition for your users, offering €220 in prizes each month. How much of your traffic do you attribute to that contest? How many tipsters compete for those prizes in an average month?
    Our main source of traffic is our editors' picks, so honestly, not a lot is coming in via the tipster competition. However, it does help a lot with customer retention (bounce rate, views, direct visitors, returning visitors), something I value immensely. If Google dies tomorrow, we still have a business running, and that would have been next to impossible without the tipster competition. We have well over 100 tipsters, but a fair estimate would be 20-40 tipsters per month competing for the prizes.

    To compete in your tipsters competition, users must have a registered account with Ohmbet. Why did you decide to use this sportsbook to run your tipsters competition? How successful would you say this competition has been?
    We had a partnership with Affiliate Lounge (Betsson & Betsafe) which lasted for over a year, until we agreed to end it a couple of months ago. I was contacted by Ohmbet for an affiliate deal and was impressed with their level of customer care. We had quite a few calls, and they were really professional and invested in our potential business together. I decided to offer them the possibility of sponsoring the tipster competition, and I can say that I'm really pleased with these guys. They really want to grow and treat me like an integral part in their game plan. I'm in the second month of working with Ohmbet, and early results are satisfactory.

    Do you run any sites other than betdistrict.com? Do you work in game verticals other than sports betting? If not, is that something you're considering doing?
    Betdistrict is my main website, and I also run an e-commerce website on the Romanian market, www.happybags.ro, focused on women's handbags. No other gaming verticals, as I'm not an expert on poker, slots or casinos, but I do plan to cross-sell in the near future.

    Are you the sole proprietor of betdistrict.com? Or do you have employees who work for you?
    I am a one-man shop. I don't have employees, but I do have partners who get paid to write via the tipster competition or via editorial deals.

    Is the iGaming industry your lone source of income, or do you consider your iGaming affiliate business to be a "side job"?
    I am a full-time affiliate. My e-commerce website and a few other projects provide the rest of my income. I also have a small interest in www.ceasuri-pro.ro, a website I helped found.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I work well with affiliate managers who are invested, but not too pushy, and who are willing to find reasonable solutions that work well for all parties. As for an affiliate program, definitely no negative carryover. I also like to mix well-known brands with emerging ones.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
    I do everything via e-mail. However, after the recent experience with Ohmbet, I'm starting to be more open to doing Skype calls.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I recall spotting the GPWA Seal of Approval on a website back in the day and I was obviously interested right away. It's definitely the most helpful community I have ever encountered online. It's crazy how open everybody is to provide advice. I can always rely on the forums if I encounter problems, and I hope I came up with some useful opinions over time as well.

    What do you like about the industry?
    I absolutely love the dynamism and the fast pace, the strategy involved. But overall, I guess the main thing is that it simply suits my skills and my passions — sports, betting, programming and online marketing.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
    I believe that the market needs to be regulated. However, the current [country-by-country approach to regulation] makes the market more volatile than it was when it wasn't regulated. It's eating away at the industry. Gambling laws in some countries are insane, and I strongly believe there should be some serious guidelines by governing bodies like the EU.

    I'd also love for the mobile frenzy to stop, because I lack skill in properly optimizing my websites and I feel it's hurting most affiliates anyway, due to conversions being lower on mobile. I just hate seeing people with their noses in their phones all the time. But that's wishful thinking; I know that it will keep going and I know I have to adapt — or should have already adapted.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    A few close friends understand what I'm doing, and my parents have a pretty decent idea. The rest of my friends and relatives basically think that I'm hitting the casinos, or that I'm running one.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    Sports betting is my game. I do it less often than in the past, mainly trading on Betfair when I have the time.

    How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    Pen and paper all the way. Saying that I'm not the most organized person is an understatement, but the mess in my head and on my desk makes sense to me.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and social networking to drive traffic to your sites?
    SEO is my main concern aside from writing and doing the hourly updates on the website, but I'm not overdoing it, just making sure I don't fall behind. I spend at least a whole day every month trying to make sure everything is fine SEO-wise, as well as SEO-proofing my own previews every day. Optimizing code for SEO purposes is my main concern right now.

    I'm not a big fan of social media, but I enjoy Twitter and we have over 7,000 followers. We were banned by Facebook for gambling-related content so it's pretty much just Twitter, a few minutes per day I guess. For some reason, I also can't knock the habit of posting all my previews on Google+.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    I hate encountering time-consuming problems that are not my fault. For example, having to disavow rubbish links, changing servers for some reason, or dealing with the mobile frenzy. Down months are also demoralizing.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    Obviously, being your own boss and doing something you love is a fantastic mix. I wouldn't trade it for triple the money — though I have to admit that a future family to support might change that view. Seeing people winning on my picks is a great bonus.

    What do you do to stay in shape — both physically and mentally?
    I love going to the gym, skiing, playing tennis and swimming, but I'm not doing it as often as I should — I'm a bit bipolar in this regard. Mentally, I enjoy blocking everything out and just thinking, a form of meditation, I guess.

    What do you do with your spare time?
    Having a beer with my mates is definitely a favorite pastime.

    What did you dream of doing, both professional and personally, when you were a kid?
    I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, and in my teenage years I wanted to play sports professionally. I was pretty good at water polo, but eventually chose school instead. I always wanted to be successful on my own.

    You've lived your whole life in Romania, correct? What should people who have never been to Romania know about your country?
    We're actually not bad at all. The land is beautiful and we are very hospitable people. Cheap beer and beautiful women are a highlight among tourists.

    What are the defining characteristics of Bucharest? If you could live anywhere in the world, would you stay where you are now?
    Great nightlife and horrible traffic. I would like to live somewhere with a colder climate; the heat in Bucharest is killing me and I hope to move at some point because of it. But, otherwise, I love it here.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    Dinamo Bucharest match, followed by a trip downtown.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    I can't get too far away from work, as my website needs hourly maintenance. Working out and playing sports is my best chance to forget about work completely.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    Man, this is a difficult question, but I will say The Sting with Paul Newman, just to keep it gambling-related. Definitely one of my all-time favorites!

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    I should really take my parents out into town, and I would bring my grandparents as well. But, more to your point, the names Mark Cuban, Leonardo da Vinci, Axl Rose, Angelina Jolie and Christina Symanski come to mind.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    I have a poetry volume I hope to publish one day; I love rock 'n' roll music; and I secretly hate football (aside from my Dinamo Bucharest), even though I'm writing about it every day.

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  3. #2
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    Nice interview, good luck with the site!

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanHorvat View Post
    Nice interview, good luck with the site!
    Thanks Dan!
    Betdistrict.com - free betting tips & previews
    Happybags.ro - romanian e-commerce website

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  7. #4
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    Your site is very impressive.
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
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  9. #5
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    Axl Rose would be a great dinner guest \m/
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  11. #6
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    Hi radu.. Nice to meet you .. I really liked this comment very Fair and Very reasonable nice one

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I work well with affiliate managers who are invested, but not too pushy, and who are willing to find reasonable solutions that work well for all parties. As for an affiliate program, definitely no negative carryover. I also like to mix well-known brands with emerging ones.

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  13. #7
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    Great story and nice interview, Radu.

    Always enjoy reading these...
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  15. #8
    Syndicate is offline Public Member
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    Told like it is - good luck with the site and your future!

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  17. #9
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    Thanks for the nice words guys and for making gpwa an excellent community.
    Betdistrict.com - free betting tips & previews
    Happybags.ro - romanian e-commerce website

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  19. #10
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    Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing Rostick

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  21. #11
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    Very nice interview Radu. Concerning mobile versions and mobile conversion, that where industry and world is moving, so you either adapt and earn with others, or you lose
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  22. #12
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    Very nice and helpful interview, Radu.

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