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    vinism's Avatar
    vinism is offline Editor Emeritus
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Shaun O'Neill - Wager Profits

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    Age: 31
    Hometown: Farnham, Surrey, UK
    Favorite food: Curry

    Wager Profits started marketing PayNoRake.com recently. What was the thought process behind launching PayNoRake.com? What differentiates it from the other poker rooms that Wager Profits markets?

    We wanted to launch a unique product that rewards the player and the affiliate, like no other poker site. We’ve seen rakeback grow to unbelievable levels as players have become more educated and understand they can play a game that they enjoy and be rewarded at the same time. So it seemed like a natural progression to launch www.PayNoRake.com, the only poker site in the gaming industry that is solely dedicated to rakeback.

    Actually, each of our sites has unique selling points. TigerGaming is focused on TeamTiger, which is a player league based on ring games. ActionPoker has a good mix of ring games but its main focus is on tournaments. The major difference between PayNoRake and the other merchants that Wager Profits markets is that players can earn up to 100% rakeback and payments are made directly to players’ accounts on a daily basis. Consequently, PayNoRake has a very strong focus on ring games.

    The way we read the PayNoRake.com rakeback structure, if a player reaches the 100% rakeback level, neither the affiliate nor the poker room will earn any money off of that player. Is that an accurate assessment of the situation?

    That is accurate to a point. But there is a lot more to the structure than that. Let me explain.

    Players earn no less than 50% rakeback and have the chance to earn up to 100% rakeback with PayNoRake. Rakeback is calculated and paid on a daily basis and this means that firstly, not every player will hit 100% rakeback on a daily basis. Players have various skill levels and bankrolls; some of them will never get above 50 or 60% rakeback. Also, in addition to poker revenue, we are going to pay affiliates 50% of any casino games losses, which means that if a player loses $1,000 at blackjack, the affiliate will earn $500.

    With PayNoRake, we see the affiliate as a pure 50/50 partner. Every $1 profit we make on poker and casinos is split with the affiliate right down the middle. This ensures that any affiliate who works with PayNoRake will be one of the highest-paid affiliates in the industry.

    In addition to marketing five online poker rooms, you also represent two online casinos. From a demographics standpoint, what are the key differences between poker players and casino players? And, in your experience, how is marketing online poker different from marketing online casinos?

    Poker players are more loyal to their site and they are also interested in perfecting their skills as players. Casino players are more interested in escaping their routine. They want some time and space for themselves and are not inclined to socializing. Marketing for casino players is more heavily based on how good are the bonuses and opportunities you offer, as well as the variety of games you have. Poker players are looking for a good place to play, one that will give them opportunities to improve their gaming skills. Or, if they are already experienced players, they want to have as many options as possible in terms of tables, tournaments, etc.

    You mentioned in the forums that one of your favorite moments from a recent conference was meeting former WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold. What were you expecting Gold to be like? And what was he actually like?

    I had read a number of interviews with Jamie, and to be honest he seemed fairly dull - just another poker player who had won a major event. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was a really nice guy, had a lot to say, and said that my party in Barcelona was awesome. So big up to, Jamie Gold!

    Wager Profits was recently certified by Affiliate Guard Dog. How important was that for Wager Profits?

    It was extremely important, especially because they didn’t ask us to modify any of our Terms and Conditions. There’s nothing more important than having places like Affiliate Guard Dog give you their seal of approval because, in this industry, being transparent and honoring commitments should be the basis of any affiliate relationship.

    What distinguishes Wager Profits from other affiliate programs?

    Even though we’re not one of the biggest programs out there (yet), we are completely committed to offering our affiliates all the tools they could possibly need to promote our sites. Our sites are growing as well, and we’ve new brands that are born out of our desire to satisfy the needs of both players and affiliates. I’m very fortunate to have a really good, solid team behind me. This means, in terms of support, we’re here for all our affiliates 100%. Their payments are sent on the 1st of every month. Which I believe makes us one of the fastest-paying affiliate programs. Affiliates have complete access to their data and reports, and if they have any questions or suggestions, they can be sure to receive an answer right away, since we are completely dedicated to them. We firmly believe that our affiliates are the way to success, so keeping them happy is our top priority.

    What differentiates your statistical reporting package from other affiliate programs?

    I’m not totally sure what other programs offer or lack, but our reporting is very thorough. Our affiliates can see their stats on a daily basis, separate them by site profile, banner, campaign, etc. They have access to specific details on impressions, clicks, sign-ups, deposits, active accounts, and much more. Our reporting package was created by Income Access and, in my view, there is no better affiliate admin out there in the industry. Using Income Access goes to show that we are a serious affiliate program and that we give our affiliates the best possible tools.

    What are some unique things that you've seen work for some affiliates that you would like others to try?

    I believe the most important factor is to try new and different things, and when something works for the players and the affiliate, to keep offering it. Some of our affiliates are always asking us, “Can we do this?” “Would it be possible to do that?”, and those are the ones with more growth. The bigger affiliates already have their market positioning, but the smaller ones will definitely find their own place by continuing to look for the next great thing.

    What's the most difficult part of your job?

    Lack of time. Dealing with lack of time can be one of the hardest parts of the job.

    What’s the most exciting part of your job?

    The variety of things that my job entails. It’s never boring; there’s always a new challenge. There really isn’t any segment of the business where your dealings are what I would call “regular.” It’s something different every day.

    In an industry where everyone's inbox is always overloaded, e-mail management and organization is a critical skill. How do you manage your email? What tips can you share?

    It’s important to deal with things on a daily basis and also to find some time to follow up on things. Sometimes you can be tempted to prioritize and say, “This can wait,” but then things accumulate quickly and you eventually drop the ball. If I have to stay extra late because I haven’t finished answering my emails, I prefer to do it rather than having to deal with even more of them tomorrow. It’s also important to ask for help if you’re unable to deal with something. Needless to say, it’s always good to be able to delegate to someone you trust.

    Trust is often cited as one of the critical components of successful relationships between affiliates and affiliate programs. How do you go about establishing trust with your affiliates? And what do you expect out of your affiliates in return?

    The most important factor is to be transparent. When you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to be afraid of. We’re owned by a publicly traded company on the Norwegian stock exchange, so we have to be more transparent than most. As a result, trusting us should never be an issue.

    If affiliates can easily check their numbers and their payments come punctually on the first of every month, they’ll know they can trust us. We expect the same in return: transparency, honesty, everything you would expect from a business partner.

    Besides trust, what are the keys to building successful relationships between affiliates and affiliate programs?

    I believe that, aside from trust, personal contact is very important. I’ve formed great relationships with a lot of my affiliates. Because I attend conferences, I meet a large number of them face-to-face, which helps substantially in building a successful relationship.

    What are your three keys to success for an affiliate?

    A good knowledge of SEO is a major plus, followed up with some unique offerings to really attract players, and good communication with the affiliate program that you work with.


    In the forums, you’ve made no bones about your love for Dublin and Guinness. And you have a good Irish name. Yet you live in Costa Rica. Are you a transplanted Irishman? And how did you end up in Costa Rica?

    I have an Irish father, an English mother, and a love for the finest drink in the world - being a good pint of Guinness, of course. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find it in Costa Rica, but I’m sure I’ll be drinking a fair few of them in London in January.

    I came to Costa Rica in January 2008, and I was offered a great job with Wager Profits, the affiliate program for the Action Poker Network. As they say, the rest is history.

    What songs are currently on your iPod or MP3 player?

    Believe it or not, I must be the only person on this planet who doesn’t own an iPod or MP3 player. Actually, I almost bought an iPod a couple of months ago, but deciding which one to buy was just too strenuous - so I left.

    What's the last book you read? What did you like about it?

    The last book I read was called “Rogue Trader,” written by Nick Leeson, the real-life rogue trader who brought down Barings Merchant Bank in 1995. It’s an amazing book that kept me gripped from cover to cover, even though I’d already seen the movie of it twice. The book is ten times better, much more detailed. I only read factual books, based on real events. Personally, I can’t stand sci-fi or fiction; they bore me to death.

    What’s your favorite movie and why?

    I’m huge fan of English gangster movies. I don’t really have a favorite, but there are movies like “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Layer Cake,” and “Love, Honor and Obey” that I can just watch over and over again - the reason being that they are full of English humor which you just don’t get in the big US blockbusters.


    What was your favorite subject in school? And why was it your favorite subject?

    Favorite subject and school are kind of a contradiction in terms. I wasn’t a big fan of school but I think my favorite subject had to be art - not because I had any talent or skill at drawing or painting, but simply because I had a great-looking art teacher.

    How did you get started in the online gambling business?

    After working for the same finance company for three years in the UK, I found myself running the biggest and most successful team of brokers in company history. Realizing I had peaked with the company, I started to get bored. So I started looking for new challenges.

    At that point, I was offered the role of Sales Manager for the leading gambling publication in Germany and Spain. This proved to be my first real taste of the gaming industry. Soon I was dealing with most of the major operators in the business. But, in all honesty, I really got hooked when I started hearing about all the trips to exotic countries and the wild conferences and parties, but the biggest lure had to be the money that I heard people got paid in the gambling industry.

    After two years of working for the publication, I was offered a great opportunity with Action Poker Network and I was then swiftly moved to Wager Profits (the affiliate department of APN) as the Affiliate Manager. Just prior to Barcelona, I was promoted to Director of Affiliate Marketing for Wager Profits and…here we are!


    What’s the first concert you attended in person?

    Again you’ll never believe me, but I’ve never actually been to a concert. I’m starting to sound dull: no iPod, no MP3, no concert… music is simply not a big part of my life. But if I had the chance to see anybody live, I guess it would have to be Jamie Callum.

    What's your favorite board game?

    I played a lot of chess when I was younger and I still love the game. But I haven’t played for over 15 years or so. Recently, I played a game of Monopoly which proved to be a huge amount of fun, as we ended up consuming about seven bottles of red wine. So I would have to say currently my favorite board game has to be Monopoly with vast amounts of red wine.

    If you had to live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

    To be honest, I wouldn’t change any part of my life if had to live it again. I’m quite a calculating person, so any real decisions that I’ve made in my life had a fair bit of thought behind them.

    What are three things that no one knows about you?

    If I told you that, then everybody would know…

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to vinism For This Useful Post:

    wagerprofits (7 May 2009)

  3. #2
    wagerprofits is offline Public Member
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    GPWA thanks for posting this interview I didnt see it until now...

    Thanks

    Shaun

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    Chips is offline Private Member
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    Musta been too much red wine Shaun... (I missed it too, but it was during a "blind spell)


    Good read, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with the group! Thanks for the bump too
    --
    "People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity." ~Andrew Carnegie~

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    wagerprofits is offline Public Member
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    Chips

    Me red wine never...

    I hope to share a bottle or 6 with you in Budapest later this year....

    Dude I hope you can make it.

    Shaun

    Quote Originally Posted by Chips View Post
    Musta been too much red wine Shaun... (I missed it too, but it was during a "blind spell)


    Good read, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with the group! Thanks for the bump too

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    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Shaun your interview was great. I enjoyed reading it!!!

    You say you loved to play chess eh?? Well some day soon if we meet up, I will challenge you to a match!!

    If you want I can give you a handicap mate. Say Rook odds??

    I got my Indian Marble board ready with your name on it!

    Steve

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    wagerprofits is offline Public Member
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    Bring it on lets say $100 a game...

    Glad you liked the interview just wanted to be honest and me....

    Shaun


    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    Shaun your interview was great. I enjoyed reading it!!!

    You say you loved to play chess eh?? Well some day soon if we meet up, I will challenge you to a match!!

    If you want I can give you a handicap mate. Say Rook odds??

    I got my Indian Marble board ready with your name on it!

    Steve

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    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagerprofits View Post
    Bring it on lets say $100 a game...
    Agreed!!! 10 game match? Shall i bring the clock?

    Steve

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    wagerprofits is offline Public Member
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    You bring the clock and i will bring the red wine....

    Shaun




    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    Agreed!!! 10 game match? Shall i bring the clock?

    Steve

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    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagerprofits View Post
    You bring the clock and i will bring the red wine....

    Shaun
    Awesome!! That is a deal Shaun! I cant wait!

    Steve

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