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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Ryan | lowrisk

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    Age: 25
    Hometown: Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England
    Living in: Scarborough
    Favorite food: Pizza
    Must Read Book: Losing My Virginity, by Richard Branson
    Sites:
    www.lowriskwinner.com
    www.betting-bonuses.co.uk
    www.bingobonusesonline.com
    www.bestblackjackcasinos.co.uk

    When did you launch your sites?
    I launched lowriskwinner.com in July 2010 and then launched betting-bonuses.co.uk and bingobonusesonline.com in March 2012, and began working on bestblackjackcasinos.co.uk in April 2012. I also had a sports tipping site as well which I created in March 2012, but I sold it in July due to time constraints.

    Most of your sites are focused on sports betting, with other sites devoted to bingo and blackjack. Which of these sites is the most profitable for you? And why did you choose these gaming verticals instead of slots or poker?
    Low Risk Winner is the better earner, really, which is focused on everything, really. However, the sportsbook section of it gets the most traffic and conversions. The others aren’t as well established yet, but I’m building them up gradually.

    I have some future poker and casino and slots projects in the pipeline – but can’t say much on that yet. However, I knew blackjack and bingo are both popular and managed to acquire some good domains, so I thought why not give them a go and see what comes of it?

    You used to own a site that offered tips on which games to bet on. This seems a bit counterintuitive – if your picks are correct, you stand to lose (because your players will win), but if you're wrong your players will lose confidence in you. What's the thinking behind having a site that gives out free picks?
    I spotted a bit of an opportunity, or so I thought. I knew that Betfred Goals Galore bets were very popular, and I did a check via Google as to how often people searched for tips. I managed to register a top-level domain that contained an exact-match keyword. So I created a site, and began offering the goals galore tips. The idea was, I would get Betfred customers to the site, and they would then hopefully sign up with other bookmakers on the site, who offered a similar style of bet.

    I do agree it seemed counterintuitive, because if I was accurate, I’d be shooting myself in the foot, but fortunately I wasn’t that accurate most of the time. Also, people used to sometimes only take two of my selections in a treble, and add one of their own. So that sometimes swung it in my favor. Also, from tipping site registrations, I often got a lot of cross-product players, which paid off quite well sometimes, or leveled things out a bit.

    You've since sold the site. Do you plan on opening up another betting tips site in the future?
    I don’t think so, no. To be honest, it took up too much time for too little a return. The traffic was very high, but the conversions were hard to obtain, and a lot of my time was spent researching fixtures, etc., and my time was needed for other things, really. I launched the site in March 2012, and by the end of April 2012 I had lost interest, so I decided to let it go. I was very happy though, as I made a very good cash return for my short time setting it up, and the cost of registering the domains. This cash could then be invested into my other sites and upcoming projects.

    What seems to be the most important factor for blackjack players when choosing a site? Is it live dealer software? Bonus offers?
    I think if they’re playing a live dealer game, and choosing between one site and another, it’s usually dependent on the quality of the software and the video and audio streaming. Some providers are better than others; also some dealers are far friendlier than others. I would rather have a good gaming experience and a lower bonus, but that’s just my personal opinion, really.

    You recently designed a .co.uk gaming domain, which initially had U.S. hosting and was ranking very, very well. Then you moved it to a U.K. host, which you thought would be better for SEO purposes, but instead saw your ranks almost completely disappear, with one SERP going from 11 down to 657. What do you think caused this to happen?
    I created my betting-bonuses.co.uk site and had it hosted in the U.S. for the first two months. I managed to organically build it up to a very good level in the ranks, and thought I could boost it further by moving the hosting to the U.K.

    I created a new MySQL database on the U.K. host, and put all the sites files onto the U.K. host. I then imported the old MySQL database tables into the new database. However, I forgot to edit the sites configuration file and replace the old database name and username/password, etc., with the details of the new one. So once the domain had propagated, and the site was live from the U.K. host, I had a database error for a full day without realizing. I suspect that Google had re-crawled my site during this time, and indexed me accordingly. I lost all my ranks for about three or four weeks, so it was a costly error. There I was thinking U.K. hosting would help, and it ruined my positions. Safe to say, they returned better than they were after a few weeks. They say you learn by your mistakes, and I definitely made sure I knew how to avoid this happening in the future.

    How did you become involved in the industry?
    I was playing poker a lot online and betting on sports quite regularly, and just happened to see the affiliates link at the bottom of a site, and looked into what they offer and what you can earn, and thought, "Well, let’s give it a go." I contacted a friend of mine and asked if he wanted to partner with me in this idea I had, which was to create a site and try to target online gamers, etc. We had already done general affiliation via a Yahoo product at the age of 15 while still at school, and did very well, so we had an idea of what it involved. Anyway, a couple of months later lowriskwinner.com was born.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    It took about three months or so. I think with lowriskwinner.com it started out with drip feeders, but we still got really excited by it. Then after a while the numbers grew and we just went from there, really.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager?
    The best managers are the ones who can empathize with your position in the industry, ones who treat the smaller affiliate and big affiliate as equals. Also, I prefer managers who will take the time to help you out, answer queries in a reasonable time, and provide you with full answers to your queries. Aaron Yarm from William Hill, he’s by far the best I deal with. If there were a blueprint of the perfect manager, he’d be it.

    How about in an affiliate program?
    In an affiliate program, I usually go with names with good brand recognition, with names that can be trusted. I will always research them, though, from an affiliate point of view and a player point of view. If they have a history of not paying affiliates, or shortchanging players, then obviously I don’t want to be part of that. I also look for straightforward terms as well, and make sure they aren’t going to close my account if I don’t bring in x amount a month, or something like that.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?
    Patience – It’s easy in the beginning to think solely about the money or wanting to be number one in Google for all your terms. I think it’s better to take your time and do things right, than to go in blazing and fall at the first hurdle.

    Persistence – If things don’t seem to be happening right away, keep with it and persist with what you’re doing; eventually it will pay off.

    Determination – I think you have to have a good deal of determination, and a drive to want to succeed. Without that there’s nothing really spurring you on or keeping you going.

    Good time management – One of my biggest downfalls was wasting time, or not managing it appropriately. I view it as any other profession, and try to manage my time in a similar fashion to ensure I’m as productive as possible.

    Don’t be afraid to take risks – Sometimes, a good opportunity may arise which requires time or money to be invested. I have heard of affiliates who are too cautious. I will take a risk if I think there’s a reward of some kind, and I think if we are too scared to risk something, we’re less likely to reap the rewards.

    You’ve had at least one bad experience as a result of offering free games. Please tell us about what happened and how you resolved the issue.
    It wasn’t so much a case of offering free games as such; it was a games provider that offered a free amount of cash to try the games. We basically began promoting 888 games, and at the time they were offering new players a free £5. We got our 888 games page up to number one in Google for “888 games free £5” and “888 games £5 free.” I believe this was around November 2011.

    Within a month we had around 216 signups and thought we had definitely hit the big time. I had various discussions with the manager over how we could monetize every account, and he drew my attention to the fact that a lot of the signups were from Belgium, and asked if I was aware of this. I made him aware that I found it suspect, as analytics didn’t reflect that volume of traffic from that country. It came as no surprise that not long after that our 888 affiliates account was put into a six-month fraud review due to “bonus abuse.” The six-month period ended on 27 June 2012, and we were told that 888 didn’t wish to continue working with us, with no explanation as to why it had come to this. However, they have said they would pay all monies outstanding.

    I did draw my own conclusions that the Belgian traffic was the reason, and I made the decision to block all traffic from there in future. I also now know that anything free tends to attract abuse, and isn’t the best thing to focus on.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    If I remember correctly, I received an invitation e-mail in June 2011 from Nancy, and I immediately applied as a private member.

    I like to have a read of the news sections every now and then, although occasionally they do seem very focused on the U.S., which is the only downfall.

    I love the forum, though; it’s the best part, really. I have used it to find help when I have had technical problems, to find link opportunities, to raise awareness of rogue programs and managers if necessary. It’s just excellent all round.

    You're a fairly active GPWA member, posting on an almost daily basis. What would you say to lurkers to encourage them to participate on the forums more frequently?
    All I can say is, if you bothered to join, then get yourself active and get involved. There are always various discussions to take part in, and news and updates on key changes in the industry. It’s also a fantastic resource to get help. It’s helped me substantially on my journey as an affiliate, and it would help most others, too.

    What do you like about the industry?
    I love how things are always changing, and how we have to adapt to the changes. Also, I like the fact that most days are different, and things are varied.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    I’d like to see some sort of regulation in place for the affiliate side of gaming operators. There’s just too many who think it’s OK to not pay, pay late or spam affiliates with junk.

    What surprised you most about the industry?
    How helpful everyone is, and how people are so willing to help their fellow affiliates. I imagine it’s possibly one of the only industries where competitors willingly help each other out. It’s nowhere near as ruthless as I’d expected it to be.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    I don’t think my mother fully understands it, but she’s supportive in general. My father understands what I do, and he thinks it’s great; he is always very enthusiastic about what I do. My partner is usually happy as long as I have made enough money from it to spoil her here and there.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    If it’s something I can answer right away, then I usually do; if not, I will find the answer and reply within the day. I don’t like keeping people waiting, or having to wait myself.

    I would suggest trying to utilize the e-mail function on smartphones, but make sure it’s set to IMAP so you still get the e-mail on your computer as well. If I am away somewhere, I will always have a quick sit-down with my phone and a coffee and address any important e-mail right away.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I tend to use a good old-fashioned note pad and a pen, or sometimes I may use the yellow Post-it Notes feature in Windows.

    How much time does it take to keep your sites updated?
    I usually spend about two or three hours a day, although this increases during the peak of the football season.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site?
    The social media I try to do as often as I can, or whenever there is a topic or event worth writing about. It’s nearly always once or twice a day at least.

    With SEO I prefer to take my time. I like to do it slowly and get it right, rather than rushing in and being penalized. I also like trying new things to see if they make any difference and if they do, I try to implement them elsewhere.

    Are you still looking for a good link-building SEO company?
    Not at the moment, no; I’m just too wary of them. I found a lot of them wanted to charge stupidly high amounts for things I can do myself. I’m wary of SEO advice in general at the moment; I seem to find that one says one thing is the golden key to success, while another says it’s the worst thing ever.

    How are your Facebook pages performing for you currently?
    Facebook hasn’t been that great, really; the stats tell you how many people your posts have reached, which is usually a good indicator, but the actual traffic from it has been poor. There is definitely room for improvement.

    You said recently that Chrome was on top for you in the stats, with Internet Explorer and Firefox a distant second and third. Is Chrome also your personal favorite?
    Yeah, it is my favorite with a doubt. I like the various free plugins you can easily install and use. Also, I find Internet Explorer quite buggy at times, and Firefox uses so many resources it’s unreal. Literally every time we make a change to the sites, we check cross browser compatibility, and the problems have always been in Internet Explorer. My opinion is if Microsoft stopped putting Internet Explorer on their systems as a default program hardly anybody would bother using it.

    It is a known fact that you have four dogs and a goldfish. Why so many dogs, and why only one fish? Please tell us all about your pets!
    I bought a lovely little female Shetland sheepdog puppy just less than eight years ago, called Ellie, and when she reached maturity, we decided to breed her. The idea was we would sell the puppies and keep one. However, when she whelped she only gave birth to two puppies, and one of them wouldn’t feed from her mother, and had to be bottle fed. We came very close to losing her as she was so weak, and then suddenly after a long, grueling and very upsetting week or so, she begun suckling her mother.

    The two puppies became known as Max and Mollie (Mollie was the one who wouldn’t feed) and they were virtually inseparable. It was hard to decide which to sell and which to keep, especially given Mollie’s traumatic first week in the world. So I decided to keep them both and ended up with three dogs. Then at the beginning of 2011 an old lady near me got a Shihtzu puppy that she looked after very well, and he was really well trained. However the lady became quite ill, so I started “looking after” him for a week or so. He’s lived with me permanently ever since but she still visits him regularly.

    As for the fish, he is another animal I decided to “look after” for a few weeks. My fiancée’s brother has learning difficulties, and he won a goldfish on a fairground. He didn’t understand how to look after it, or that it needed to be fed. So I offered to look after him for a bit. Over two and a half years later he’s still happily swimming around in his bowl on my kitchen windowsill.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    It would probably be Olivers Mount. It’s the highest point in my hometown and you can see all of Scarborough from up there. It’s a beautiful view.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot
    Hmm, tough one. Out of the places I’ve visited so far, I’d say the Greek island of Crete. I find the Greek people are some of the friendliest around. Also there are so many amazing sites to see and it is generally just lovely. And I absolutely love their food!

    If you could have one “superpower,” what would it be?
    I’d love to be able to fly – to just be able to go wherever I wanted, and be “free as a bird.”

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry – it is by far one of the best Adam Sandler movies ever, and so hilarious, but also has a great story of two best friends who do ANYTHING they can to help the other one out.

    If you were casting a movie with yourself in the leading role, who would play your romantic interest?
    Mila Kunis – she’s absolutely stunning. I’d probably cast a full movie just to get away with giving her a quick kiss. If you’re reading this, Mila, call me

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Peter Kay – He’s my favorite comedian and would liven the table up with some laughs.

    Sir Richard Branson – I have a great deal of respect for him for all he does. He’s a very successful businessman, but has motives beyond earning money. He works hard on humanitarian causes, and investing in clean energy, and also most importantly, job creation for the future.

    Brian May – One of the best musicians in the world. I’d love for him to teach me the guitar solo from “Don’t Stop Me Now” after we’d finished eating.

    Yoshihiko Noda (Japanese Prime minister) – I’d love to chat with him to try to ascertain why Japan still continues to slaughter whales and dolphins on such a large scale every year. Also, to maybe try to educate him on the importance of these animals in our ecosystem.

    Adam Sandler – My favorite comedy actor – in fact, probably my favorite actor full stop. He’s also quite a womanizer in films, so he may help me with tips when I’m casting my film with me and Mila.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    I can run 100 meters in 12.9 seconds.

    I was once a standard-bearer in the 60th Dutch Liberation Day parade representing the entire British Sea Cadet Corps.

    I once went solo parascending in Cyprus at the age of 12; best part was it was free, as I won the ticket in a karaoke competition.

  2. #2
    Renee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Aaron View Post
    What’s your favorite vacation spot
    Hmm, tough one. Out of the places I’ve visited so far, I’d say the Greek island of Crete. I find the Greek people are some of the friendliest around. Also there are so many amazing sites to see and it is generally just lovely. And I absolutely love their food!
    I LOVED Crete. My most favourite beach on the planet is at Falasarna. Driving through the mountains in a convertible, seeing the windmills and the goats just hanging out in the middle of nowhere wondering how they got there and laying on that beach was one of the best things I've ever done. I hope to go back there one day.


    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    I once went solo parascending in Cyprus at the age of 12; best part was it was free, as I won the ticket in a karaoke competition.
    So you sing too?

    We have one extra for conference karaoke!
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    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    I often see parascending people dropping off the Curium beach cliffs. I think you were a very brave little boy, because I wouldn’t do that in a million years. It looks like an amazing experience!

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    lowrisk is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renee View Post
    I LOVED Crete. My most favourite beach on the planet is at Falasarna. Driving through the mountains in a convertible, seeing the windmills and the goats just hanging out in the middle of nowhere wondering how they got there and laying on that beach was one of the best things I've ever done. I hope to go back there one day.




    So you sing too?

    We have one extra for conference karaoke!
    Hell yeah, Crete was amazing, I went up in the moutains too, and saw goats in trees - Seriously!

    Yeah, I sing haha

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    lowrisk is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazyrewards-Maria View Post
    I often see parascending people dropping off the Curium beach cliffs. I think you were a very brave little boy, because I wouldn’t do that in a million years. It looks like an amazing experience!
    The one I did was where you're attached to a parachute, which is then attached to a speed boat. The speed boat drives along, and the rope is let out, and you go up in the air (HIGH) whilst being moved about. It's awesome, and a great way to see the island or place from the air. Plus, it is quite surreal, as you can see the boat moving around at speed however you don't feel that you're being pulled etc, it's just like your floating, and there is hardly any wind. It's crazy really.

    However, whilst I am saying that, I should say that when I was on holiday a year ago, I was too scared to do it again haha

  6. #6
    Anthony's Avatar
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    Great interview Ryan, thanks for taking time and sharing with us all.

    Now I will have to watch the Chuck and Larry movie.
    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:
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    lowrisk is offline Private Member
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    Thanks, it was actually Aaron who shared it, but it's cool that it's on here as well as the mag.

    And mate, Get the movie, it's awesome!

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    Renee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowrisk View Post
    Hell yeah, Crete was amazing, I went up in the moutains too, and saw goats in trees - Seriously!

    Yeah, I sing haha
    It's amazing where they can get to eh?
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    lowrisk is offline Private Member
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    Hell yeah, apparently it's because there isn't as much moisture up there in the mountains. And, all the moisture which IS absorbed by the trees ends up at the top, and the goats climb to the top and graze the top of the trees. hence why loads of them are flat.

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    Anthony-Coral is offline Former Employee of Coral
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    The funny thing is that is exactly what it looks like.
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    lowrisk is offline Private Member
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    Oh yeah, it's a real picture, it hasn't been done on Goatoshop

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    Anthony-Coral is offline Former Employee of Coral
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    Goat-o-shop? I would have been proud of that one!

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    p.arena is offline Former AM
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    Cool interview Ryan

    I thought the goats in the trees pic was goatoshopped when I saw it just now too hahah

    Amazing that they can balance on those small branches

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