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    GPWA Abby is offline GPWA Editorial Staff
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series - Sara Klimper - Lapalingo Partners

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

    You joined Lapalingo as head of affiliation in July. What have been some of your biggest challenges so far?
    As a new starter in the company, the challenge is to get up to date with the internal systems and processes and at the same time be there for our affiliates. At the moment, I am setting up an office in Malta and am involved in the recruitment process, which makes my day very diverse and anything but monotonous.

    Previously, you've worked with NetEnt and Microgaming as an account manager. How does working with a provider compare to working with an affiliate program?
    Both roles involve working closely with people, establishing and maintaining partnerships. Another important factor in both roles is to help partners to drive their and our business' profitability. The daily tasks differ, but in the end it comes down to the same goal: to grow the business.

    Have you ever been an affiliate yourself?
    No, I have never been an affiliate myself, but I know a few people who happily took the jump into another side of the business.

    What do you hope to accomplish during your time as head of affiliation at Lapalingo?
    By the end of this year, I would like to build up Lapalingo's brand awareness in the market, achieve more visibility for our stakeholders and motivate everyone to become a part of the Lapalingo journey. In the long run, my goal is to make Lapalingo into one of the most trusted and most played online casinos in the industry.

    You've had a variety of positions outside the gambling industry. How did you become involved with the gambling industry initially?
    I have a degree in media management, and during my studies I worked for RTL/Walt Disney. I thought the TV sector was the future of the media and this sector intrigued me for many years, until after my studies when I relocated to Sydney and got into iGaming. My friend asked me to accompany her to an interview for a CS role at Casino Rewards /Microgaming, and somehow I was also offered a role then. That was my step into this industry. And now, six years later, I am still enjoying the vibrant, fast-paced industry and working closely with these talented people.

    Lapalingo focuses on "bettertainment." Can you explain what that means for players? How does it improve the user experience?
    Lapalingo stands for secure and exciting entertainment. We offer a wide range of secure, high-tech and popular games on the market. Our players can easily access our content from any device. Our German precision combined with advanced technology offers an innovative and user-friendly gaming experience. In addition to the games selection, we provide our own games created in-house, which incorporate exquisite graphics, HD and 3-D technologies, unique motifs, and expert-devised gaming mechanisms that are subject to strict control. Moreover, we hold an MGA license, which is an indicator to our players that we are regulated to European standards. Hence, Lapalingo offers an entirely new dimension of innovative online entertainment.

    What markets does Lapalingo primarily target?
    Our main markets are the DACH (German-speaking countries) and Scandinavian markets. Lapalingo constantly strives for more and better entertainment for our customers, so we are adding more content. For example, recently we launched Endorphina games, which were a success, and by end of this year we are looking to enter into a few other markets.

    Lapalingo affiliates can earn revenue share of 10-40% based on monthly players referred. Why did Lapalingo decide on this commission model?
    This is a starting commission model for our affiliates, but we make the effort to negotiate with our affiliates to develop a tailored model suiting each and every one, depending on their situation, such as traffic volume and quality. Usually, affiliates contact me for a change of their commission model. Each affiliate is unique and different and deserves a different approach, and I enjoy being able to cater to that with Lapalingo's agile structure.

    Lapalingo focuses on slot machines and live dealers. Are there any plans to get into other verticals, such as table games, esports or sports betting?
    Lapalingo has been around for a very short period of time, and we want to take small steps and get every step right before jumping into a new project. But in the near future, we will definitely get into other verticals, so our players can find everything they want under one roof.

    The casino offers some tips for gambling safely. What else does Lapalingo do to help prevent problem gambling?
    Lapalingo is an MGA-licensed operator, and we adhere to European standards. Our players can easily self-exclude, can find necessary information in our footer under “responsible gambling,” and can always seek support and help from our well-trained customer agents. At Lapalingo, we take gambling safety very seriously.

    Describe your role in regards to affiliates. How much of your traffic is attributable to affiliates?
    My role is to support our affiliates where needed, assist with optimization ideas, give insights on the campaign and provide guidance. Currently, we get a fair amount of traffic through our affiliates, but as I mentioned earlier, we are constantly working on optimizing our product so more and more players seek our casino.

    How do you make sure payments are sent out on time? When do those payments go out?
    I am always in touch with our affiliates, and monitor the traffic regularly to ensure the agreed-upon terms are applied. Our payments are handled by a dedicated team and processed at the latest by the second week of the month. We usually ask for invoices so everything is processed correctly and in a timely manner.

    How does Lapalingo retain players sent by affiliates?
    We have a dedicated CRM team, which added a new team member (in August). With her help, we will be able to cater to our players’ needs even more, and I will be more involved in the CRM operations. We all have many years of experience in this industry within marketing, CS and VIP management, and we apply this knowledge to strengthen our CRM team even more. Furthermore, our affiliates are driving some valuable ideas, which we try to implement. Lapalingo is a very agile brand, and we are always open to our stakeholders' suggestions.

    What is your typical work day like?
    My typical day at work starts very early. As mentioned earlier, we are setting up our office in Malta, and we have found a very spacious, bright and comfortable office in the heart of Malta, so hopefully we will be moving in very shortly. So, first thing in the morning, I check the stats and my inbox, then I jump onto Skype and into meetings, followed by campaign reviews and more meetings.

    What's the office culture like at Lapalingo?
    Our office in Germany is very multicultural, as our entire industry is, too. You hear various languages. Almost every second team member has a different cultural background, which makes our lunch break chats very interesting and informative.

    Have you attended any affiliate conferences yet?
    I have been to a few conferences this year, but there are a few still coming up. I do like the conferences, as they are where you meet these talented people you work with and exchange ideas, get to know each other better, listen to the presentation talks and mingle at the after-show events. I did very much enjoy this year's AAC, because it was a small venue, and it was compactly structured so I got to meet all our affiliates and make new contacts. At bigger conferences, you have fewer chances to meet new people unless you have a meeting scheduled with them.

    What would you change about the industry, if anything?
    First thing that comes to my mind is the image of our industry. I would like our industry to set an example of fair play, regulation and trust, so iGaming won’t be associated with anything "dodgy" anymore.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
    I expect so many innovative changes in the next couple of years. I am very keen to see where and when the industry will take VR.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
    Oh, traveling is my weakness, and my bucket list gets constantly longer. A safari tour has been on my to-do list for a while now – let's see if I get around to it next year.

    What was the last book you read? Do you prefer using an e-reader or a physical book?
    I have this habit of reading multiple books at the same time. I’m currently finishing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Witch of Portobello. Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. I prefer the e-reader, as I can easily travel with all my books on one device.

    Do you prefer surfing the web via desktop, laptop, mobile phone or tablet?
    It depends on the purpose of my browsing. Usually, if it's a fast task, I use my mobile device. If it requires more attention and is of higher importance, than I definitely prefer my laptop.

    What's your favorite movie?
    I won't be able to answer that as there are too many great movies out there, which I like and re-watch multiple times. But I’m currently watching Game of Thrones, which keeps me intrigued even after six seasons. The fact that many scenes were shot in Malta makes it more interesting to me.

    If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
    Catherine the Great, Julius Caesar and Barack Obama.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    1. I'm a food lover.
    2. I hope to finally go skydiving.
    3. I can bake a yummy Napoleon cake from my mom's recipe.

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