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    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Marit von Stedingk | Affiliate REPUBLIK

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    Affiliate REPUBLIK launched at the Barcelona Affiliate Conference in October. What made you decide to make the leap to the new program, and what has the experience of building an affiliate program from scratch been like?

    The decision wasn’t an easy one. I loved working for iGaming Business and it was a great team. But some decisions are literally taken out of your hands when you are offered such a great opportunity, especially to build something from the ground up. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of an experience, with everything moving incredibly fast, but all the more exciting for it. It helps that our team members have known each other for a while (I’ve know Alex and Charles for almost four years and Adnan for two), so I had the confidence that together we could build something great. If you think about it, there is the perfect balance of expertise – Charles and Alex have been successful affiliates, and then operators, for years so they know the business inside out, Adnan has the marketing expertise and experience of building a successful affiliate program and I’ve got the contacts, PR and marketing know-how to market to affiliates. All in all it’s been a very smooth process, even if at times it feels like I am constantly running to catch up with the fast growth and development we have experienced in only a few months.

    You're no stranger to the online gambling world. In fact, many people in the industry know you well from the five years you spent at iGaming Business. What prompted you to make the decision to change roles and become an affiliate manager for Affiliate REPUBLIK?
    As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing quite as exciting as being part of something new right at the beginning of it all and watching and helping it grow. I suspect it’s the same feeling most affiliates get when they start their first website and watch it become successful. Nothing beats that feeling of “I did that, I was there, I helped make it happen.” It wasn’t a decision made overnight; I wanted to be sure that any program that was created and that I would help promote would meet the highest industry standards. After all, after five years, I don’t see many of these affiliates as “clients” but as my friends, and it was important for me to make sure that I would not just be happy, but proud to put my name on the program. It was a chance of a lifetime, and to be honest, the hardest decision wasn’t the job role, but moving to Barcelona! I love this city, always have from past events and holiday visits, but leaving friends and family behind was the hardest decision to make. However, living here has been incredible and I’ve got a schedule full of people coming to visit, so I haven’t had a chance to miss anyone yet!

    Was it a move you'd considered in the past? And why did you decide to take a position with a brand-new company?
    Sure, I’ve had a few offers to be an affiliate manager before, but to be honest, without proactively looking, there wasn’t anything that came my way which made me think, “Whoa, that would be awesome.” I loved my team at iGaming Business, and to jump ship required a lot more than just an offer; it required something new, different and exciting. Also, in many ways, iGaming Business is where I started in the industry and most of the time I just didn't quite feel ready to “fly the coop.” Affiliate REPUBLIK came at the right time, with the right people and with the right role.

    While you're still in the same industry, your role is a new one. How is being an affiliate manager different from being a marketing executive?
    To be honest, I think there are a lot more similarities than differences. After all, every affiliate out there, in one way or another, is a marketer. The job of an affiliate manager is making sure that affiliates have all the best tools, offers and promotions to market their casino better than anyone else’s! This means thinking about the best landing pages, e-mail, banners, offers, etc., and communicating with the affiliates often and well enough that they want to keep pushing your brand. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is being able to create and communicate marketing campaigns, one to one, with our affiliates. Sitting down, figuring out what works for them, how we can become a household brand for their players and their audience, has been a lot of fun. I guess that’s the main difference, really – instead of working on your own marketing campaigns and communicating with 40,000 people at once, you talk to one person and together you create something to reach their 4,000 players. Every affiliate is slightly different, and I love that – there is just a huge amount of variety.

    What did you learn in your time with iGaming Business that has helped you make the transition to being an affiliate manager in your first few months with Affiliate REPUBLIK?
    iGaming Business was a great place to launch into the world of online gambling. As a publishing and events company it taught me all about a new industry from the outside looking in. This meant that I had a great overview as a whole and a fantastic network of people who’ve known me for years. This, I think, was my biggest advantage – the support and positive feedback I’ve received from the industry on my move to becoming an operator. It’s been great getting so many affiliates and operators helping me out and being genuinely interested in what we are doing at Affiliate REPUBLIK.

    Affiliate REPUBLIK represents Casino Solera, which has been in business since 2004, and Tropezia Palace, which launched in 2010. Did these programs run their own affiliate program prior to the launch of Affiliate REPUBLIK?
    Yes, they did; the programs were completely separate and primarily focused on their target market. Now that the casinos have moved on to the international scene, it was the right time to get the brands together and look at the casinos as an ecosystem in which we could recycle players from one different casino to another, giving a greater choice and variety. Also bear in mind that prior to Affiliate REPUBLIK, both casinos had four software platforms between them, and we’ve signed four more in the last few months to integrate to the different websites, giving an even greater choice of games. These are exciting times.

    Slots Million, which is set for launch soon, will also be joining Affiliate REPUBLIK. What can you tell affiliates about the new casino? Who owns the casino, and what software will it be using? Will commissions be the same for Slots Million as they are at your other brands?
    First of all, Slots Million will be run by the same team as Tropezia and Solera. It will integrate easily and quickly into Affiliate REPUBLIK and have the same great commission structure and marketing materials available – including free games, mailers, banners, welcome offers, etc.

    SlotsMillion was created in order to put together all the lessons that Solera and Tropezia have learned over the years – making it a behemoth of a brand. It will have Microgaming, NetEnt, Rival, Sheriff, Leander, NextGen, BetonSoft and Betsoft games. Its primary focus will be slots and jackpots. We can’t give out too much information (our affiliates get to know first and test out the casino when it launches), but as soon as we do, you can guarantee we’ll tell the GPWA community.

    Speaking of commissions, Affiliate REPUBLIK offers a tiered commission plan based on revenues generated by affiliates, with rates starting at 30 percent and going as high as 45 percent. How important is a simple revenue share model to building relationships with affiliates? And how has this model been received by affiliates you are working with?
    Our old-fashioned commission structure has been received very well. What we try to concentrate on is the long-term partnership with our affiliates – so instead of giving them a big “welcome offer” to entice them in, and then slowly see their revenue decrease as they are put on a much lower scale after two or three months, we concentrate on working with them from the start to earn as much as possible. It means whether you are a small or big affiliate, you earn on as much as you bring in and you start on an equal footing – 30 percent. As far as we are concerned, the more affiliates earn, the more we earn and the longer and better relationship we have with our affiliates.

    Describe what it is like to work at Affiliate REPUBLIK. If there was a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation we'd hear about at the water cooler?
    In the last two months we’ve recruited 12 new people (mostly in our customer service & development department), so most of the conversations tend to be around “Who are you and what do you do here?” There are lots of new faces and a lot of learning and training. Other conversation topics will probably be around “So who should we recruit next?” and “How can we get this done yesterday?”

    What do you know about the industry now that you wish you knew when you first started?
    Never ever drink chili vodka given to you by an affiliate at a conference. On a more serious note, I wish I’d taken the time to know more about the behind-the-scenes part of being an online casino – not just the marketing side. The past few months have been a real eye opener for me, seeing all the different functions and people who work hard to make a casino operation viable. Sometimes it amazes me how all these different components come together seamlessly in order for players to come to our casino, have a great experience and keep coming back.

    How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? And when do your payments go out?
    Payments go out in the first week of every month, and as the affiliate software is our own, it’s a simple matter of checking which one of our affiliates needs to get paid. I will usually check on the first of every month, run a report and send the details to our accounting team, who will do the transfer within a couple of days.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
    To be honest, if I had a crystal ball I would certainly keep those pearls of wisdoms to myself, our industry having thrown us plenty of surprises to make most predictions yesterday’s news very quickly. But if I had to take a guess at where we will be in five years, I would say that the U.S. will be open, but local, land-based casinos will dominate that online space, with state-by-state regulation making it difficult for an outside casino to claw their way in – that, or most of the big players will be the online giants white labeling their operation to the big land-based guys in order to get a foot in the door.

    I think that software game providers will be making a bigger push to create HTML5 rather than flash games, finally allowing for massive growth in social and mobile/tablets casinos, giving real meaning to the term “gamification.” People are talking about it a lot at the moment, but I don’t think anyone is turning all that many mobile players into real casino players, rather than just “play for fun” – and I don’t think that will happen until we have some good games created specifically for the smaller (non-flash) screen. It’s a work in progress and I think we’ll see some real challenges and successes in that market in the next five years.

    If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?
    Now that I live in Barcelona? Park Güell is by far one of my favorite places to visit, beautiful in its architecture, but still left well enough alone to feel like a natural park.

    What’s the best movie food?
    Without a shadow of a doubt . . . pizza. It’s my biggest love, biggest downfall to my waist, and food I could eat every night. It goes especially well on movie nights, but also when you need a pick-me-up, have friends over or even Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and weekends!

    What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? And did you read it on an e-reader?
    The last book I read was Fragile Things, from the author Neil Gaiman. It’s a collection of short stories and poems by one of my favorite authors, whose work frequently includes gothic, horror and fantasy. I don’t usually go for short stories, preferring the long haul of a good book, but each story was so different and well written, it kept me curious to read the next one. I’m currently starting the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child – can’t go wrong with a little murder mystery, either.

    And if you’ve guessed by my answer, I read a lot of books in a very short space of time – so my partner bought me a Kindle for my birthday a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. He figured either we would have to move house to accommodate my growing stash of books or he would buy me a Kindle. He decided a Kindle would be cheaper!

    I don’t think there is any real difference between a book and an e-reader – you can just as easily get lost in a good story either way.

    What is your favorite movie?
    Too many movies to name, but I watch Casablanca religiously every year. Also Pretty Woman, but I say that less proudly . . . !

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?
    “If I Had a Million Dollars,” by the Barenaked Ladies, because I want a llama or an emu.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
    Belize – not just because it’s meant to be paradise on earth, but because I would love, love, love to dive at the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a perfectly circular limestone sinkhole more than 300 feet across and 412 feet deep. It doesn't sound very exciting until you see pictures, not just from the top, but from the dive. Google it.

    If you could have dinner with three other people, living or dead, who would they be?
    My parents, to get to know them better, and Douglas Adams – he would bring great, imaginative conversation and humor to the table.

    What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?
    Turn into the size of a house and change my nickname to “Toni.”

    What are three things that no one knows about you?
    I speak three languages, I own a leopard gecko and I make a mean chili con carne (more “chili” than”carne”!).

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  3. #2
    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Great interview Marit! I wish you the best.

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    SlotsAff is offline Public Member
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    Great interview - being 'Toni' would be cool

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    TheBoyMitchell has had more exposure from that chilli vodka than he has ever managed from any of his sites!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomgalanis View Post
    TheBoyMitchell has had more exposure from that chilli vodka than he has ever managed from any of his sites!
    Crazy right? Just goes to show - you don't need a lot of money to go viral

    Thanks for the comments people
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marit VS View Post
    Crazy right? Just goes to show - you don't need a lot of money to go viral

    Thanks for the comments people
    Are you suggesting that TheBoyMitchell doesn't just look like a tramp, but is in fact that poor?
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    Oh I just LOVE this interview, I can HEAR your little voice while reading this, Marit! OH, and btw- I was standing right next to you when you tasted that chilli vodka- hahahahhaa. xooxox

    Great stuff, GPWA!

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    I look like a tramp?



    I have a new, sealed bottle of chilli vodka ready for Amsterdam.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBoyMitchell View Post
    I look like a tramp?
    I would never ever ever say that.

    That's the job of other people...

    To be honest, I was just saying that from the thousands of £ people spend on these conferences, all Neil had to do was bring in a bottle and he's now famously the 'Chilli vodka affiliate' lol...

    Becky - yes I remember! I had like ten people 'talking me down' from the experience.
    Marit von Stedingk

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    You mean all I had to do was come up with an idea that no-one else had Thats called innovation.

    I must say that my wifi connection is very good from this park bench this morning....

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    Ooo the timing is perfecto, our "spotlight" video on Affiliate REPUBLIK, featuring Miss Marit has just gone live- check 'er out

    Spotlight: Affiliate REPUBLIK

    Becky

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    Quote Originally Posted by BodogBecky View Post
    Ooo the timing is perfecto, our "spotlight" video on Affiliate REPUBLIK, featuring Miss Marit has just gone live- check 'er out

    Spotlight: Affiliate REPUBLIK

    Becky
    Gosh, people are going to get sick and tired of my face! Lol!

    Awesome though! thanks Becky & team
    Marit von Stedingk

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    Good interview! Interesting to read your thoughts on mobile casinos. Good luck with your move to Barcelona!
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    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
    Belize – not just because it’s meant to be paradise on earth, but because I would love, love, love to dive at the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a perfectly circular limestone sinkhole more than 300 feet across and 412 feet deep. It doesn't sound very exciting until you see pictures, not just from the top, but from the dive. Google it.

    I can't believe you didn't say Australia!

    So disappointed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renee View Post
    I can't believe you didn't say Australia!

    So disappointed
    It said holiday, not 'future place to live'
    Marit von Stedingk

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    Oh! In that case, carry on
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