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(This interview was originally published in the July 2017 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

Name: Roman Doroshenko
Age: 27
Hometown: Ivano - Frankivsk, Ukraine
Living in: Kiev, Ukraine
Favorite Food: Ukrainian, Italian, and Asian cuisines
Must-Read Books: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout

Sites:
www.slotsup.com
de.slotsup.com
casinoenlignehex.com
www.slotspill.com
and many more

How did you first get into the iGaming business? What did you do before becoming an affiliate?
Ive been doing SEO for around eight years now. For the first three years, I was working in the diamonds and jewelry niche, promoting one of the U.S.-based big brands. During those three years I went from "what's an SEO?" to "Hi, I can make your online business rock!" I liked the niche, but I felt like I wanted to try something different.

For almost a year I was working as a freelancer, doing a whole bunch of stuff like designing business cards and restaurant menus, building and designing small websites using WordPress, doing SEO for different sites and lot more. I liked that because it helped me gain experience in so many fields, and it really helped in my future career.

But four years ago I decided to get a more stable job, and I was hired as an SEO specialist to launch the experimental gambling project. It was experimental, as the company that hired me was working in the Russian gambling market, but other countries were something new for them. So, thats how I began my first steps in the iGaming niche.

Tell us about your sites.
The first affiliate site I launched in the gambling niche was Slotozilla.com, four years ago. As I learned a lot about slot machines, their history and the features they have today, I've tried to build something really big in terms of this iGaming microniche. Once it became very successful I got into the top three on most of the keywords and raised the traffic to 8,000 people per day my boss told me to create a few more projects but for non-English markets. So I launched a few more projects in German, French, Spanish and Italian. And after some time, they got pretty good traffic as well. But the first money I saw only in a year I did the job, because my responsibility as SEO specialist was to get higher positions and more traffic, but in terms of converting this traffic I really struggled. That is why I decided to leave the company and change the place of work to one, where people were mainly generating money in all niches, and gambling was one of them.

In that same time, I have launched my own website about slots, SlotsUp.com, to see if I can beat my previous success with Slotozilla.com. The first money from it I saw in only 3-4 months.

Are you a full-time or part-time affiliate?
I have full-time job where I'm the SEO team lead, with SEO specialists I raised from newbies to full-time project leaders, so each specialist has their own big project dedicated to a particular market. But, also Im the affiliate myself, running my own home project, SlotsUp.com, trying to make the biggest multi-market brand dedicated to online slots. So, yeah, I'd even call it 24/7 affiliate.

Do you have employees, or do you run your sites by yourself?
At work, I have a team. At home, my girlfriend Marina is helping me a lot with the project, taking care of SMM and content management. Also, it is worth mentioning my developer, Max he is like a real genie who transforms all my ideas into code.

Do you have plans for additional sites, or for adding additional verticals to your sites?
I do plan to expand my current website to more markets. Work in each market helps me learn more about the market, its specs and the world of gambling as a whole. Also, as the iGaming niche is really big, I want to create something big in different microniches.

You have sites that target a number of different countries. What do you do to localize your sites? How do the markets differ between countries?
A few years ago, if somebody told me I would run projects in 12 languages, I guess I would not believe it. But today, I see no reason why not to have it in any language in the world. Though there are languages that take more time and money resources than others, it's still possible to find right people to do the job. Sometimes we translate content, and sometimes we create it from scratch.

When you work in so many markets, you begin to see all the differences and the things in common. In most markets, players are looking for almost the same things with slight differences in specifications like payment methods, game providers, games, brands, etc. The main difference is in how people search. Also, there is some historical background in each country in terms of the evolution of gambling and its laws, people's attitudes toward gambling, etc.

What makes your sites unique?
I really like to design, so the first thing people notice about my sites is the way they look. I get a lot of good feedback about it. The second thing is the user experience I read a lot about all kinds of A/B testings, I test a lot of things myself, so I try to create really fast-loading websites with good architecture and easy navigation between thousands of pages. As for the content, we always try to share the knowledge we get about gambling, the games, restrictions, etc.

How do you decide what casinos to promote?
Usually I'm contacted by dozens of affiliate managers, so in the beginning I give them all an equal chance to be placed on my site, so I can get all the info on their brand and store it in my database. When the time comes, I can easily add them to any site I have with one click.

Some casinos are so fresh or good-looking that I want to give them more exposure, and some brands are just too trustworthy and reliable to ignore them. Some are new and I know nothing about them, but when they offer a good deal, I can give them a try. But if I see people don't like it, I won't promote it, not even with the greatest deal. It's all about giving people a really good experience in the first place.

Do you gamble?
Brick-and-mortar casinos are restricted in Ukraine (so far), but I've played a few times in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany. A few times per month I like to give new slots a spin and share this experience with my audience. I do not gamble much, as I don't have much time.

How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?
After my first LAC in 2015, I've tried to attend all the affiliate conferences, as it's a good chance to see new places, meet new awesome people and get filled up by the iGaming energy spirit to reach new heights. Also, those conferences gave me the opportunity to not only to meet great business partners, but really good friends.

What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
An affiliate manager should care not only about deals but also about his affiliates, share industry information and be in search of improvements to his own knowledge. This is what creates a win-win partnership.

As for the affiliate programs, there are few things I would like to see more often:
  • Insights on what performs better in terms of type of games, game titles, landings, etc.
  • Media kit with big logos/banners/screenshots, and full and clear info on their casino brands.
  • Opportunities to create more targeted promos (ref. links to internal pages, customizable landing builder, etc.).

What's your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
E-mails. I rarely give out my Skype.

What prompted you to join the GPWA?
When I just started studying everything about casinos and gambling, I found GPWA in Google and it answered my questions, so I signed up immediately. I find it very helpful for anyone in the industry I don't comment much, but I'm reading it constantly.

What do you like about the industry?
It's never boring, it's really challenging, and it's worth your time and power input.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
I like to optimize everything, especially working processes, so I think I would optimize some of the processes on the industry level to save precious time for everyone.

What do you think the industry will look like in five years?
I'm really geeky sometimes, so almost all of my ideas are about technologies.

It's not a secret that everything goes mobile, but I think in five years, we will see an even bigger percentage of mobile users over the ones from desktops.

VR is one more thing that can really change the industry. But with VR, everything depends on technological progress, because to deliver maximum experience, the VR has to offer some astonishing graphics and be affordable and more mobile.

The last but not the least thing is AR (augmented reality), using something like Holo Lens or maybe a next generation iPhone this is something that can really change the game. Just imagine this: Multiplier game in roulette, when a few friends can turn the kitchen table into a roulette table, with a new look and the feel of live roulette, the same with all table games. Any full-size slot machine in your living room, just put your glasses on. There are millions of ideas on how to use it, but to see if we can expect that in five years, we should keep an eye on tech progress.

What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
They know I really love what I'm doing and it gives me decent money, so they are happy for me.

How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
For long-term plans, I always try to have a to-do list in Wunderlist. Each day I take a sheet of paper and write all the things I want to do today, so I always have it in front of me.

As for the software, I would recommend Wunderlist or just simple Notes (on iPhone/Macbook).

How much time do you devote social networking for your site?
As I mentioned, my girlfriend/business partner is taking care of it. She is doing it on a daily basis.

What's the most difficult thing about running your site?
I can do almost anything to run the site, but I would really struggle without my developer. Also, it's sometimes very hard to manage content in more than 10 languages.

What's the best thing about running your site?
Ability to create this is something I like the most. I know I can create something, from the smallest icon to the huge project with difficult algorithms.

What do you do to stay in shape both physically and mentally?
Travel a lot at minimum, once a month I try going somewhere. Also, I do read a lot, mostly professional articles and books.

What do you do with your spare time?
Spend time with my friends.

What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?
Huh, I think I won't be original if I say I wanted to have some superpowers, to be a superhero. But when I got older, I had my first computer and I was so into it, so I decided I want to be a developer. When I was kicked off from my first university, I still knew I would be using it professionally, but definitely not as developer.

When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
My work is my hobby, so there is no need to get far away from it. But if I want to forget about it for some time, I can just close my laptop and go to some good bar with my friends.

If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Steve Jobs, Elon Mask, Bruce Lee, Matt Diggity and Matt Cutts.

Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
1. I love martial arts.
2. Im a foodie, Id love to try as many cuisines as possible.
3. Sometimes I wish I had an ability to clone myself to have time to do more.