Name: Tim, just Tim
Hometown: Riga, Latvia
Living in: Larnaca, Cyprus
Favorite Food: Meat
(This interview was originally published in the February 2017 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)
How did you first get into the iGaming business? What did you do before becoming an affiliate?
Like many other people, I was searching for some extra income aside from my main job in a bank. It was back in 2009 when I created my first website. It was made without any professional knowledge of the gambling industry and without any technical background. It looked quite dull, but it brought me some cash and only then did I realize how infinite the world of online gambling is. This gave me a good kick, and I started exploring the industry deeper. I started reading forums related to this, including the GPWA. In about two years, I already had a clear vision of what the site should look like and how to deliver traffic to it.
When did you launch your site? How long did it take for you to start making money?
Royalbonuses launched in 2014. It took me nearly a year to get a decent amount of traffic that converted, especially from countries required on the market. Our strategy was to cooperate with reputable casinos with high conversion ratios to ensure immediate and stable income.
Are you a full-time or part-time affiliate?
At the moment I'm working as a full-time affiliate. I started as a one-person team. As the business grew I was forced to expand. At the moment I have a team of four full-time employees Ė copy writer, IT, finance and me Ė and four freelancers.
What makes royalbonuses.com unique? How do you help it stand out from the competition?
Do you really think itís unique? Thank you. Itís very hard to stay competitive nowadays on this market, isnít it? There are tons of affiliate websites, but royalbonuses shares unique and up-to-date information that players are looking for on the web. We have created a responsive website ó in the technical meaning ó because no one likes waiting for a website to load.
Royalbonuses.com has sections for casino bonuses and for sportsbook bonuses. Which vertical brings in more traffic? Do you have any plans to expand into other verticals?
We put an emphasis on casino traffic since we are more familiar with it. Meanwhile, we are looking at possibilities to start delivering more sports traffic. Although our main income comes from casino players, I see huge potential in sports and maybe poker traffic in future. In my opinion, everything should be done step by step. We try to pay special attention to the quality of every step we make.
Your site specifically targets the U.K. and Scandinavian markets. Why did you decide to focus on those areas?
I don't think it's a secret that the majority of depositing customers are coming from U.K. and Scandinavian countries. This happens possibly due to the high standards of living in these countries. Casinos hunt such players, so the choice was pretty obvious. We also work with other markets, but they bring less conversion.
How do you decide what casinos to promote?
Any casino has potential. We are loyal. You donít get anything if you donít even bother to try. However, we give priority to casinos that have promotions motivating players to sign up and make deposits on a long-term basis. I mean itís hard to promote a 25% bonus up to Ä75 when another casino offers a 200% bonus up to Ä500. Software definitely plays a role when choosing which casinos to promote. Players are spoiled nowadays. They want quality graphics and decent RTP.
Do you gamble?
Yes, I do sometimes. I do it for fun or when I want to test a new game. Iím not a professional, but once I won Ä1,000. Iím not going to tell you what game it was, but it was from NetEnt. Sometimes I play poker, but Iím not really good at it. I donít play in brick-and-mortar casinos, but if I ever visit Vegas I will definitely try it.
How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?
I know quite a few people in this industry. We interact every day online. I have not attended any conferences yet; however, Iím planning to start doing this in the near future. I heard itís a lot of fun, and being serious I do believe it may positively affect my business, as the most active and successful people in this industry are concentrated at the conferences. I want to be one of them.
What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
The most important thing is responsiveness. It drives me mad when it takes ages for an affiliate manager to reply when the deal is closed, or provide me with necessary promotional materials. Unfortunately, there are many of them who donít bother to reply in a timely manner. I expect affiliate managers to be friendly, too. As for an affiliate program, for me the most important points are: easy navigation, an advanced reporting system and the existence of an ďimmediate withdrawalĒ button!
What's your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
Skype is the most convenient way to communicate. You can give a call if you want. You can chat or leave a message. Alternatively, I use pigeons.
What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
The GPWA is a titan that holds the planet of gambling. I guess there is a credit of trust when a player enters an affiliate website that is approved by the GPWA. The GPWA provided me with loads of useful information that I found in forum topics.
What do you like about the industry?
It's a "thrill of the race" for me when you get the results you wanted promoting a certain brand on the site. I chose gambling because I find it an unlimited source of income and it makes my brain work. I have to stay up to date, so there's no time to relax.
What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
My wife is working on my team, so we are on the same planet. Not all of my friends understand what Iím actually doing to make a living, but they are familiar with the words "casino" and "gambling."
How do you manage your to-do lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
I think Teambox software (now called Redbooth) is very useful. We stay organized, and I can always monitor what has been done.
How much time do you devote social networking for your site?
We are running Facebook and Twitter pages where all fresh news is posted as it appears on our website. Everything is linked directly to the website, and posts appear automatically so it takes no time. We don't post funny cat videos.
What's the most difficult thing about running your site?
Content. It was very hard to find professional copy writers. Another difficult thing is SEO. It is very time- and money-consuming. Since some of our traffic is not organic, it takes a lot of time to find advertising platforms that convert.
What's the best thing about running your site?
The best thing is that I can combine my hobby and my source of income. I am the boss to my wife, which is not bad at all, too.
What do you do to stay in shape Ė both physically and mentally?
I don't have time to go to the gym, but my 6-month-old daughter helps me stay fit. I read a lot technical and scientific literature that is directly related to my job.
What do you do with your spare time?
To be honest I don't have any spare time at all. When I have spare time, I sleep. But seriously, I meet my friends like all normal people do, or spend time with my family. I love traveling, so I try my best to do that at least twice a year.
If someone from out of town were visiting you, whatís the one place you'd definitely take them to see?
Iíd take them to Lido to try out traditional Latvian cuisine. And I would definitely take them to the old town. Itís beautiful and cozy, especially now when itís snowy during Christmastime.
When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
I go to the guest house away from Riga. It is located far from civilization. It's a very nice place to relax in the sauna, cook barbecue, and reload mentally and physically.
What's your all-time favorite movie?
I really like Martin Scorsese movies like Shutter Island and The Departed. His movies keep you thrilled until the credits.
If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
1. My wife Ė if I donít name her she will be grumpy.
2. Steve Jobs Ė there are a lot of things to learn from him about how to become successful.
3. Freddy Mercury Ė Iíd kindly ask him to sing "The Show Must Go On."
4. The person who is the best SEO specialist in the world.
5. Jim Carrey Ė He is funny.
Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
1. I am a fan of classic BMWs.
2. I worked as a DJ in a nightclub.
3. I have a tortoise as a pet at home.