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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series | Stefan Berak, Favourit

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    You've been with Favourit since the site launched three years ago, and before that you were the social media manager for Favourit's parent company, Agility Interactive. Tell us how the site has grown and changed since you started.

    Favourit was born out of Agility Interactive's (a part of TOTE Tasmania) strategy to develop the next generation of sports betting technologies for players worldwide. Originally, the platform was intended to operate under the parent company’s own operations and sportsbook; however, the management buyout of the Favourit business by Chief Executive Toby Simmons and Head of Technology Josh Simmons led the company in a new direction.

    As a result, the Favourit business launched its own sportsbook product in partnership with technology provider EveryMatrix in November 2014. The Favourit platform is the first of its kind – a truly social, engaging, real-money sportsbook licensed in the U.K. and Malta. Our customer base has grown quickly, and we are proactively working with a number of leading affiliate partners so we can provide more content and player engagement strategies than traditional sportsbooks.

    Before signing on with Agility Interactive, you were a marketing coordinator for REA Group, a digital business specializing in property. What do the real estate market and the online gambling industry have in common? What are the major differences?

    Interesting question! I think the most obvious comparison to make is that in Australia, both sport and property are by far the most popular topics of conversation, and that leads to countless content opportunities.

    From a financial perspective, the main difference between gambling and real estate is the actual business model. The main focus at REA Group was delivering as many eyeballs as possible due to the two main revenue streams, which were agent subscriptions and media sales.

    I believe the gambling industry is more transaction focused, looking at converting every single person into a depositing player who bets, redeposits and bets again.

    You studied business marketing at RMIT University in Melbourne. Did you grow up in Australia?

    I was born and bred in Melbourne. My parents settled in Australia in the 1980s from the old Yugoslavia and quickly settled into the Australian way of life. Beach, shorts and footy quickly became family favorites.

    Favourit is an online sportsbook that combines social, play-money betting with real-money betting. Players in jurisdictions where you don't allow real-money wagers (the U.S., for instance) are able to make play-money bets with "Favourit Caps," while punters in the U.K. can deposit and make real-money bets just like any other online sportsbook. Walk us through the reasoning for this strategy. Do you think it's working so far?

    The original intention of Agility Interactive's strategy was to build a globally scalable and regulation-compliant platform that included the ability to bet with a fully automated virtual currency in markets that were not regulated for real-currency betting. Thus far this strategy has proven a success, with our player base growing internationally, which presents a great opportunity for affiliates of all jurisdictions.

    What percentage of your players are play-money players only? Do you have any way to monetize these players outside of them becoming real-money players?

    Our marketing activities and, subsequently, database are heavily oriented toward real-money regulated markets, in particular the U.K. Our focus is on building a high-growth, profitable operation which, in turn, allows us to reinvest in emerging markets that may have a monetization path further down the track. We are constantly assessing new market opportunities as we expand.

    Favourit's offices are based in Australia, but you only accept real-money bets from the U.K., correct? Do you plan to expand to any other markets?

    We are licensed in the U.K. and Malta, which effectively means we can accept customers from most parts of the world. While our current database has a significant portion of U.K. customers, we’re actively looking at emerging markets to expand our operations.

    What role have affiliates played in generating new players at Favourit? Do you see affiliates becoming an even more integral part of Favourit's player acquisition plan?

    To date, our affiliate partners have played a significant role growing our database. Partners who have taken a chance to promote Favourit have benefited from the social nature of the product, which keeps players engaged longer.

    Moving ahead, I see affiliates playing an even greater role in growing Favourit as they’re able to integrate Favourit data within their content, which not only adds value to the affiliates’ sites, but also helps educate their audiences about Favourit and its benefits.

    You recently joined the GPWA as a Platinum Sponsor — we're excited to have you on board! Why did you decide to join the GPWA? What are you hoping to get out of your sponsorship?

    First, it was a no-brainer to sponsor GPWA, which has many talented individuals involved in the gambling industry. Personally, I’ve been lurking around the forum for the past year and look forward to connecting with affiliates who are looking for something unique compared to the traditional bookmaker experience.

    Favourit offers affiliates a tiered revenue share from 25 to 35 percent, with GPWA members earning 50 percent for the first three months. You also offer CPA and hybrid deals on a case-by-base basis. Based on what you've seen, which is the better deal for affiliates? Why do you think it's important to give affiliates the ability to select their payment plan?

    For customer referrals and sign-ups, we've got a competitive tiered revenue plan that offers long-term and high player value based on our engagement metrics.

    Which deal is better for affiliates? That depends on the affiliates’ strategy and what they want to get out of the partnership, although we are seeing an appetite for hybrid deals, which delivers affiliates the immediate income and an ability to continue to generate income from returning players.

    One clause in your terms and conditions states that affiliate accounts may be closed if affiliates fail to deliver at least five depositing players within three months of joining the program, and all affiliate payments will be deferred until five depositing players are delivered. This clause was noted by a GPWA member in the forums as not being affiliate friendly. Can you explain the reasoning behind the clause?

    Our objective is to build long-term, scalable and profitable partnerships with our existing and future affiliates. Our affiliate program aims to maximize activity for partners, and as a result, we are mindful of investing our time managing and working with affiliates who are able to provide quality traffic. From our experience, affiliates have not had an issue with this kind of quota given the low barrier; however, we are always open to working directly with affiliate partners to improve the terms of our program and ensure partners maximize the opportunities working with us.

    We have since removed the activity quota, as we are genuinely looking to encourage new affiliates to join the program and see what Favourit has to offer.

    How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? When do your payments go out?

    Paying affiliates on time is very important to us, as we’re looking to deliver on promises made and, more importantly, build trust with affiliate partners. Affiliate payments are processed in the second week of each calendar month via their player accounts.

    Favourit has a very active Twitter feed (@favouritdotcom), with live tweets during big games. Who manages that account? What is the business strategy behind being so active during games?

    We employ a full-time social media coordinator who manages our social media activity from the U.K. A key objective behind any of our content is to provide our customers insightful information in real time, which adds value to their betting experience.

    It's one thing to bring in new people to a site; it's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What does Favourit do to retain players sent by affiliates?

    Great question! It’s something we believe is unique to Favourit. The social design of the product keeps players coming back more frequently, which results in better yield than competitors.

    One other key feature, which is completely unique from other sportsbooks, is our in-built leaderboard betting competitions. This means that players place bets on select markets to earn points to win prizes, driving turnover and revenue share from players.

    Describe your typical workday.

    I like to get in the office around 8 a.m. to look through my e-mail and Skype messages responding to a magnitude of different queries. After settling in the office, the bulk of my workday is spent responding to queries and monitoring and optimizing campaigns.

    I have a love-hate relationship with Skype due to living on the other side of the world, requiring me to be up late in the evening responding to affiliate requests. All in the life of an AM.

    Describe your work environment. If there was a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation we'd hear about at the water cooler?

    If I were to describe the office culture at Favourit in two words, they would be “fantastically unique.” We have team members who have an unhealthy obsession with Ministry of Sounds anthems pre-2001, wannabe surfers, washed-up local sportsmen and guys who could work for the NSA.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?

    Engagement, social connection and more personalized technology are key themes and trends that brands must do well at in the next five years. People are looking for entertainment and are now double- and triple-screening, making contextual interaction even more important in the future.

    If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?

    That’s a tough question. It depends on the person, although from a sporting point of view I would definitely take them to the MCG precinct. If they were an active person, I would take them to the 1,000 steps in the Dandenong Ranges for a walk.

    What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? Did you read it on an e-reader, or do you need to have a copy of the physical book in your hand?

    I’m not a huge book reader, although back in 2008 I enjoyed reading The Wolf of Wall Street on my way to the United States before it became a mega movie starring Leo DiCaprio.

    What's your favorite movie?

    I’m an unashamed Jean-Claude Van Damme fan and would say the movies Kickboxer and Bloodsport are personal favorites. Splits, fights and those dance moves — what else do you want in a movie?

    What do you use for most of your Web surfing: a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone?

    Well, due to work commitments, I would say most of my Web surfing is on desktop — although my personal use is entirely made up of using my smartphone to check news, live scores and e-mail.

    If we picked up your iPod (or more likely, your iPhone) and pressed play, what song would be playing? Where do you listen to your music? Do you use Spotify, Pandora, or iTunes?

    I’m actually listening to a new album at the moment by Mike Steva, titled “Who Am I” and would say my two favorite tracks are “Weekend Love” and “Oro,” which get the feet moving.

    I use a paid app called MOG that allows me to stream unlimited amounts of music with no data usage.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?

    I would have to say the Greek Islands. Santorini is my favorite place to visit. Good food, wine and weather — what else do you need in life?

    If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

    1. Diego Maradona
    2. Elvis Presley
    3. Michael Jordan

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.

    1. I played my first XI cricket senior match at 14 years old. I was lucky enough to play alongside Australian internationals such as Brad Hodge, Shane Harwood and Mick Lewis.
    2. Reebok sponsored me as a teenager, ensuring all my friends and family were kitted out with the latest gear.
    3. I grew up speaking three different languages at home: Serbian to my father, Macedonian to my mother and English to my sister. I’m now in the process of learning Italian, to speak to my partner’s family.

  2. #2
    Miles_FTA's Avatar
    Miles_FTA is offline Former AM
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    Great Choices

    If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

    1. Diego Maradona
    2. Elvis Presley
    3. Michael Jordan

  3. #3
    efreebets is offline Private Member
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    Great Interview

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