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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Luis Sandel | Affiliates United

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    As the affiliate program for William Hill Online, Affiliates United is one of the larger affiliate programs in the online gaming space. Tell us a little bit about the office culture at Affiliates United and how the team works together to promote the brand.
    The office culture is unique. We are immersed in a truly international atmosphere, working together with people from all over the world. I have colleagues from Germany, Romania, Israel, Argentina, Chile, Sweden, United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, France – and that is just a partial listing! We work in a very dynamic and changing environment.

    As the affiliate manager for Spain and Latin America, the last few months must have been very exciting for you. How well is William Hill converting players in the newly regulated Spanish market?
    Yes, it is a very exciting period for me and the company, with lots of changes to implement. We already have experience in recent regulated markets like Italy, but for many affiliates it was totally new. Despite some uncertainty affiliates had before the regulation, we see that conversion rates are stable following the regulation and our brand is converting well.

    How important is the Latin American market to William Hill? What percentage of your bettors are visiting the Spanish-language site?
    The Latin American market is of high importance for William Hill; it is a market that needs to be developed, with a different culture and way of thinking. I believe we have the right brand and people in the company to approach this market. In fact, we have two different sites – one dedicated to Spaniards (.es) and another one not accessible from within Spain but intended for Spanish-speaking bettors (.com/es)

    Which gaming verticals are the most popular in the Spanish-speaking market? And which generate the most revenue?
    By far the most popular are sports betting and casino; sports betting is a bit ahead, generating the most revenue.

    William Hill has long been a presence in the U.K., with hundreds of betting shops before launching its online operations. That's not the case in Spain and Latin America, however. How different is marketing William Hill to these populations, which don't have experience with a William Hill betting shop?
    It is very different, which is one of the reasons why we have dedicated local teams who know and understand the particularities of each culture. These teams design local campaigns to increase William Hill’s brand recognition in each specific territory.

    What do affiliates need to know in order to build sites that cater to the Spanish-speaking market? Is it possible for an affiliate to build a site for the market without being fluent in the language?
    Well, the better you know the market the better results you will have. We see international affiliates building and positioning sites well (with the help of a good translator), even though they are not fluent in Spanish. I think – and the numbers are backing this – that having the local flavor will be to your advantage.

    What affiliates need to know is that it is not enough just to translate a good website. Even if you have decent results, if you want to be number one, you have to build something specific for the market.

    Prior to joining the Affiliates United team you worked for four years with iGlobalMedia Marketing promoting Party Gaming. What did you learn from that experience, and when did you join William Hill Online?
    I learned a lot working in iGlobalMedia. First, I discovered a fascinating industry. I started working before the U.S. shutdown, so I experienced lots of changes (both in the company and the industry). I learned about the importance of a multi-language/multi-currency way of working and how to replicate this on a bigger scale. I joined William Hill Online last November.

    Last October there were a lot of headlines about an employee walkout, as people were reportedly worried that operations might be moved to Gibraltar. Is that still a concern among the staff? What has management done to alleviate those worries?
    No, it isn’t a worry at all. As I mentioned, I started working here in November, after this event, though I heard about it and read about it in the news. What I can tell you is that this is not a concern; in fact, we have almost doubled the amount of employees in the office since then and the company is growing.

    It's one thing to bring in new players to a site. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What do Affiliates United and William Hill do to retain players sent by affiliates?
    William Hill has always seen the customer as the most important part of our business. We have dedicated conversion and CRM teams with proven professional experience to retain players.

    What do affiliates need to know about William Hill in order to effectively market the brand? What distinguishes the William Hill brand from other online sportsbooks/casinos/poker rooms, both in terms of the player's experience and what you offer affiliates?
    William Hill is obviously most famous for offering one of the best sportsbooks, taking bets on almost anything. With 80 years’ experience in the industry combined with modern and exciting technology, we offer a secure and safe place to play – and we always put the customer first.

    The revenue share model at Affiliates United is skewed toward getting new players each month, with affiliates who bring in new players each month earning higher revenue share percentages than those who don't bring in new players but still have previous active players. Some affiliates don't like these types of clauses requiring new players. Why did Affiliates United decide to use this model to determine commissions?
    What’s offered in our terms and conditions is a standard agreement. We are very flexible and happy to make tailor-made deals and contracts with affiliates. But yes, if you choose the basic standard deal, the revenue share will be based on your monthly performance. Affiliates can discuss special deals with their account manager.

    Describe what it is like to work at William Hill. If there were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation it'd hear about at the water cooler?
    It is really nice working in William Hill Online. There is a good vibe in the air and people always have high spirits. We are proud of working for the number-one online operator, and you can feel that everywhere. Topics go from industry news, to last night’s football match, to the hot weather.

    What do you know about the industry now that you wish you’d known when you first started?
    I am not sure there is something I wish I’d known when I started, but what I know now and what still surprises me is how ever changing and sophisticated it is to run an online gaming operation, on our level.

    How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? And when do your payments go out?
    We realize the importance of affiliates being paid on time and we have a big finance department dedicated to payments. Payments are processed between the 6th and the 10th every month. Should there be any issues or delays, we as the affiliate manager are always available to assist.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
    For sure there will be changes and challenges, with more regulated markets. We see the mobile products growing rapidly and I predict this platform to be of massive importance five years from now.

    You grew up in Buenos Aires, and also went to university there, graduating with a degree in psychology. Does your degree help you understand gamblers and what it takes to successfully promote the online gambling industry?
    Yes, I feel I have a better understanding of human behavior. These studies gave me a way to listen more and better understand the needs of my affiliates.

    You're now living in Tel Aviv. When did you move there? And how does it compare to Buenos Aires?
    I moved here almost 10 years ago. The two cities are so similar and so different at the same time. Buenos Aires is a huge city, with a big cultural offering, while Tel Aviv is more cosmopolitan. Both cities share a desire to be trendy and to have more new restaurants, and a very active nightlife.

    If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?
    Nobody should miss the new port of Tel Aviv, with its shops, restaurants and promenade. I would also recommend a visit to the ancient city of Jaffa and a great dinner at the Cordelia Restaurant there. I love their ambience and candelabra and chandelier.

    Do you get back to Argentina to visit often? Do you still have family there?
    Not as often as I would like. It takes about 24 to 30 hours to get there. My brother and his family live there, so I do try to visit when I can.

    What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? And did you read it on an e-reader? Or do you need to have a copy of the physical book in your hand?
    I am always reading several books at the same time. Right now I am in the middle of Toys, by James Patterson. Last week I finished Roses Are Red, also by James Patterson. As you can see I am a big fan of his books. Even though I knew a few things about this book (because I had read several that were from the same saga but were written later), I imagine I would still have been interested until the last page. Also, I am about to finish The Kingdom, by Clive Cussler. I used to like his books a lot, but the last ones have been rather predictable. I want a book that surprises me. I only read print books, not e-books.

    What is your favorite movie?
    I have several favorite movies, not just one. Amélie is one of them, and also Pulp Fiction, A Clockwork Orange and any movie from Hitchcock. From Argentina: El hijo de la novia (Son of the bride), El secreto de sus ojos (The secret in their eyes) and 9 reinas (Nine queens).

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?
    Probably one of the Spanish songs I sing to my baby daughter every day – they are really catchy.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
    I would like to go to Bora-Bora and the Seychelles, and also to travel around China.

    What's the best movie food?
    Well, if I go to the cinema, the one and only option is popcorn. If I watch a film at home, nuts and dried fruit.

    If you could have dinner with three other people, living or dead, who would they be?
    For sure they would be Jean d’Ormesson, one of my favorite writers; Frida Kahlo, one of my favorite artist/painters; and Salvador Dali. All of them didn’t just create beautiful objects, paintings or books, they influenced people for generations. It would be an interesting dinner.

    What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?
    If my uncle was wise enough to make money from it and to not have debts, I would invite my best friends to have dinner and then I would see. I love and enjoy my job and I don’t see myself working in a different industry.

    What are three things that no one knows about you?
    One, if people read this interview up to here, they already know I am a psychologist. Two, I love photography; it is one of my passions. Three, I also love to cook.

  2. #2
    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Hola Luis,

    Buena la entrevista

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