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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Yoni Sidi - Winner Affiliates

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    Winner Affiliates is the affiliate program for Winner Casino, Winner Poker, Winner Casino Mobile and Casino Del Rio. The connection for the first three is clear, but Casino Del Rio is a completely different brand. Does that property attract a different type of player than Winner Casino?

    Winner brands is more recent and new to the market. It has a great name and is more a New Age media brand. Del Rio is a trusted brand that has been around for some time, always doing well by its users. It has a certain pedigree about it and a great history so its user base is slightly older in terms of lifetime value.

    How long has Winner Affiliates been in business? And do you do more business in poker or casino games?

    Winner has been around for nearly two years now, more or less. Being part of the Ipoker network means that our poker offering is very good but I would say that our casino business is slightly larger for now.

    Many European-facing sites offer sports betting as a way to bring in customers, but Winner hasn't gone that route. Why was this decision made, and do you have any plans to open a sportsbook in the future?

    We know the importance of having a sports product and it is in the pipeline. Winner as a group has been built on the foundations of patience and choosing the right partners. We will be launching our sportsbook in August using a great software provider that supplies all the main operators. We have been building the sportsbook team to consist of some of the industry's top professionals to make sure that the look and feel of the site are first rate and that the offering is attractive as well.

    It's one thing to bring in new players. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What does Winner do to retain players sent by affiliates?

    I think what we use best is our experience. We have been around since the beginning and have always built our reputation on being able to keep our users longer than others. We will soon be offering a full suite of products that we will cross sell to the users, and we’ll also be focusing on mobile and social elements as we want to be able to contact our users anywhere.

    What do affiliates need to know about Winner in order to effectively market the brand to their players? What distinguishes Winner Affiliates from other affiliate programs, both in terms of the player experience and what you offer affiliates?

    Like I said, we have over 10 years’ experience in this business and have grown with the times in terms of what is needed to enable affiliates to thrive. We understand the important things our affiliates need to deliver results and we know it is in our best interest to give them everything they need; they are a crucial part of this cycle. We make sure we always pay on time and make sure that our team of dedicated account managers is always on top of the numbers, ensuring that we are working as effectively as possible, managing every click and impression and optimizing that data – and I would say that is something we pride ourselves on.

    Winner Affiliates offers both rev share and CPA deals, as well as a hybrid commission structure. What is the most popular deal among affiliates, and why did you decide to provide so much flexibility in the plans that you offer?

    In today's market everything is on offer because each affiliate has different needs. Some need a short-term solution and others can ride the wave and take a rev share and we understand this. For this business to be a success it needs to work for all parties and we know and make sure our affiliates know that we will do all we can to ensure that they earn money in order to keep promoting us – this is how we want to grow our business, via affiliates who want to do good business – and also have fun along the way!

    Describe the office culture at Winner Affiliates. How many affiliate managers work on the team? If there were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation it would hear about at the water cooler?

    There is a great buzz around the place, especially at the moment as we look to launch our new products. The affiliate team is 15 strong with a media team as well as SEO and PPC but they are all young and hungry and get on really well. We have cool nights out over here in Tel Aviv and without doubt the biggest topic of conversation is football, so much so that even the female employees have started to take an interest. We all love our sport both playing and watching so the weekly sweepstakes is always interesting.

    You've recently joined Winner Affiliates after working with other Playtech-powered brands. Is the fact that you’ve worked specifically at Playtech brands a coincidence or intentional? What makes marketing Playtech brands different from marketing others?

    I have been working with PT brands for nine years now and it is a fact that they are the biggest software provider in the industry and also a market leader in the field. When you are working with the best it does make your job easier but also sets a bar that you need to reach on a daily basis to make sure you don’t do injustice to the brand. I know the brands very well, and how they have grown is amazing. I only see bigger and better things for them, which here at Winner we will be a huge part of.

    What do you know about the industry now that you wish you had known when you first started?

    I think in hindsight everything is easier and for sure the nine years have been a huge learning curve but nothing has surprised me that I can think of. I knew from my early days that the potential was huge and the way the industry has evolved has been remarkable and a credit to all of the people involved as I do believe that it is these people who have brought about this change and not just things like technology or regulations.

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

    Again our experience tells us how important it is that affiliates get paid on time and we have a payment processing team that takes care of this and has to date been really efficient and we haven’t had any problems. We have a good process in place that is internally secure and yet relatively painless as well to ensure no silly delays. We pay out once a month before the 10th of each month.

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

    I think mobile and tablet gaming will continue to be huge and surpass online PC gaming by some way this year or next with the development in smartphone technology especially. I think that the market will continue to consolidate itself with other big JV's and mergers but most of all I believe that the social side of the industry will grow. It’s important for affiliates and operators to be connected to Facebook and other networks as that is the direction I see it going.

    What is it like to work in the online gambling industry in Tel Aviv? While the city has a big population, the industry has a rather large presence there. Do you run into people who work in the industry (outside of your own colleagues) often?

    I think it is similar a bit to Gibraltar, where everyone knows everyone. It is a small world and you often find that you mingle in the same circles and it is all in good fun – I wouldn’t say there are any fierce rivalries or anything like that; at the end of the day we are all here to make good business and have fun while doing it. We work in one of the best industries in the world if not the best, so we have to enjoy it and thank our lucky stars how fortunate we are that we get to do what we do.

    Word is you recently ran your second marathon right in Tel Aviv, raising money for the Rishon Multiple Sclerosis Aid Group, which supports Jewish people with MS and raises funds for research. How did it go? And why is this cause so important to you?

    It is a great cause and a charity that is very close to my heart as MS has affected my immediate family and is an illness that has no cure. I channel all my charity work towards MS hoping that one day a cure may be found. Everyone says I am mad for running my second marathon but when you think about people who suffer from MS (and other illnesses) around the world it makes running 42.2k insignificant. I ran with the charity in my mind and it really helped me when I hit that wall. As long as my body can take it I plan to run many more and continue to raise money for the MS Society. To date I have raised over £15,000.

    You also shot a solid 83 (+11) from the blue tees at Caesarea Golf Club in December last year, but faded at the end of the round, shooting +5 over the last four holes (our research is nothing if not exhaustive). Word is your best score is 79 . . . what happened over the last four holes? And what is your handicap?

    Wow, you guys are good – a bit scary in fact!! I am addicted to golf and try to play as often as I can (again, I am amazed at your research!!). I do remember that round as at the time it was my best and my best score is in fact 78 (+6). I think the last four holes I must have lost concentration – not that I can remember, but surely your researcher will know?! My handicap now is 12 and I hope going down.

    In addition to running and golf, what other activities do you enjoy?

    Playing football for sure is one of them but my new hobby is spending time with my newborn son, Jacob, who is five months old. He is amazing!

    What’s the best movie food?

    Salty popcorn!

    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 always prefer the physical books and the last book I read was Your 15th Club, by Bob Rotella. It is a book on the mentality of golf and I think it has helped me be "calmer" on the course and definitely saved a few trees from a good beating as well!

    What is your favorite movie?

    Of all time? Would probably be Notting Hill as I am a big Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts fan . . . is the correct answer Casino?

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?

    The 8 Mile tune “Lose Yourself,” where Eminem says that you only get one shot. I believe you have to seize the moment in life!

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

    Palm Island for three days to relax (I get bored easily) and then St. Lucia for a week of golf.

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

    Albert Einstein – I would love to know what all the fuss is about.
    Bill Nicholson – you won't know him but he was the Tottenham Hotspurs’ most successful manager and I would just love to hear his stories.
    My wife and son – if I am meeting these cool people then they should too.

    What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?

    Make sure it has all the marketing ability that it needs and also make sure it offers a healthy option! Then invite all my friends for a closed party!

    What are three things that no one knows about you?
    I hate sleeping and live off of max five hours a day.
    I am a huge Zionist and passionate about Israel as the home of the Jewish people.
    My family is my life and I will do everything and anything for them.

  2. #2
    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Lovely interview! I totally agree with you about the importance of family.

  3. #3
    PSORG is offline Private Member
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    Good interview! - 1 question.

    "We will be launching our sportsbook in August using a great software provider that supplies all the main operators."

    Update on the ETA? Still coming soon, here: http://sports.winner.com/

  4. #4
    F-L-C is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PSORG View Post
    Good interview! - 1 question.

    "We will be launching our sportsbook in August using a great software provider that supplies all the main operators."

    Update on the ETA? Still coming soon, here: http://sports.winner.com/
    He is working for Fortune Affiliates now

  5. #5
    TheBoyMitchell is offline Non-sponsor Affiliate Program
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    I dont think he is, is he? Or have I just whooshed myself?

    And salted popcorn? Thats a travesty!

  6. #6
    Topboss is offline Private Member
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    A great interview Yoni ... but what is this about Fortune Affiliates??

  7. #7
    alexpratt's Avatar
    alexpratt is offline Private Member
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    This would be the first I have heard of it - I can't imagine he would have left
    iGB Affiliate - The biggest magazine and events for affiliates in igaming

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