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  1. #1
    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Alexis Z.

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    (This interview was originally published in the August 2021 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    You have been a GPWA member since 2017. How did you get your start in the affiliate business?

    My journey into the affiliate business began purely by coincidence. It was the month of March 2017. In the city of Valencia, where I live, every year there is the famous Las Fallas, one of the most unusual and beautiful celebrations of Spain, which is included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO.

    At one of the parties, mutual friends introduced me to a sociable man, as it later turned out it was Mark Taylor (who was interviewed by GPWA Times Magazine in November 2016). It turned out that Mark, like me, also lived a while in Latin America and speaks Spanish very well, and thus we immediately became friends and found common interests. I learned about the partnership business from Mark. At that time, I was working as an assessor and tourist guide for my compatriots who come on holiday or business from Russia. But there was already a slow decline and I was looking for something new. So a chance encounter with Mark prompted me to open a new page of my life and start a new job for me, for which I am very grateful to fate and Mark!

    What jobs did you have before becoming an affiliate webmaster and how has your past experience helped you as an iGaming affiliate?

    During my 47 years, I've done all kinds of jobs. I've worked as an electrician, a waiter and a barman. And as I mentioned earlier, one of the last jobs I had before I became an affiliate webmaster was as a interpreting guide.

    Of course, life experience gained over the years helps a person a lot in starting any business, even a completely unfamiliar direction. Working as a guide-interpreter I had a website, so I already had some knowledge and experience on the internet. And, of course, some advice and guidance from my friend Mark also helped me quickly master the specifics of webmaster affiliate work.

    The industry has changed dramatically over the last few years. What have you done to adapt and survive?

    Yes, of course, things change very quickly, especially in the iGaming industry. I think consistency and the ability and willingness to adapt to new changes is one of the foundations of success for any business. Certainly it's very hard. Well, who says that working as a webmaster is easy? No, it's quite a laborious process, where many people start and then quit after a while. You need to keep track of trends, changes in technology, players' interests and many other factors.

    I admit, I've had moments of desperation, too. There were times when I wanted to quit everything and do other things. But I got ashamed, and after telling myself that I wouldn't give up, I continued what I started. I think that only persistence and a constant search for the best will keep anyone afloat over the long haul.

    Please tell us the story behind your username “casinoduende.”

    The history of the username “casinoduende” is directly related to the name of my first project, Casino Duende. The original idea was to make a website geared towards Hispanic players. That's why I chose a Spanish word for my domain name.

    During the search, from my previous work as a tourist guide, I remembered the name of a cafe that I visited with my clients during a tour of Valencia. It's a cozy bar with live performances of traditional flamenco music and dancing, called Café del Duende. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to use the word “Duende” and named my website Casino Duende.

    The word “Duende” itself has a different interpretation in the mythology of different cultures. In Spanish mythology, the Duende are supernatural beings who, according to legend, can be chased away neither by prayers nor by holy water. Therefore, to attract more potential players to my website, I leave a glass of milk on the table at night, and thus “make” Duende work for me. This is of course a joke! But as they say, in every joke there is some truth. Anyway, I think that every webmaster eventually becomes superstitious.

    Your websites are dedicated to casino games and virtual sports. Which casino game drives the most traffic/revenue and what do you do to cater to those visitors to keep them coming back?

    In aggregate, online casino games, and specifically their reviews, occupy a large part, because the game is a major component of any online casino. Of all the casino games, I think, and many webmasters will agree with me, that online slots bring the most traffic and, consequently, the most revenue.

    If you look at statistics, more than 50% of online casino income comes from online slots. With other casino games, such as baccarat, blackjack and roulette, online casinos usually do not earn much, and the casino advantage is relatively small. In baccarat, for example, the casino's betting advantage is just over 1%, meaning players collectively get 99% of the cash bet. But with slots, the casino advantage can be anywhere from 2% to 20%, which is significantly more than the casino's table games. And given the huge number of online slot machines in casinos, it's not surprising that they bring in the most revenue.

    One of the distinctive features of any information resource online is fresh and interesting news, which helps readers to meet their needs and makes them return again to their favorite information site online. Knowing this, I try to provide a wide range of reviews on my sites of new releases of online slot machines, though it is not easy, with so many developers of slot machines, which is constantly and rapidly growing.

    Tell us about virtual sports. How popular is this vertical? Does it provide much affiliate revenue?

    It is no secret that in recent years virtual sports have become a window to a world of new possibilities in the betting industry. The constant desire to keep up with technological progress is forcing gambling developers, programmers and other IT specialists to create a great alternative to traditional sports tournaments. In other words, virtual sport is a computer simulation of a real sport event in accordance with all its canons, rules and principles. You can say that it is a set of scheduled games with fixed odds based on a random number generator to determine the winner. Of course, virtual sports have their advantages and disadvantages. This is a very broad topic that deserves a separate article.

    As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down most of the world. However, as far as virtual sports are concerned, I'm not afraid to say that, obviously, the pandemic has accelerated the development and popularization of virtual sports, particularly because of the faster introduction of new trends and the lack of choice for users. At the same time, virtual sports proved to be little dependent on live events and continued to evolve. As a result, the industry has demonstrated a good level of content generation and distribution that traditional sports did not manage even before the pandemic. The fact that virtual sports, to a certain extent, saved the betting industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is undeniable proof that V-Sport is likely to continue to grow in the future.

    Today, soccer is the most popular virtual discipline in the betting industry. Virtual soccer simulation is no different from real soccer, all the rules and principles are followed. Following virtual soccer, this cybersports betting is developing as a direction much faster than traditional betting.

    As for the revenues, I would answer this question by giving the forecasts of analytical company Newzoo for the current year 2021. The cybersports audience growth rate in 2021 will be approximately 14%. The number of spectators of cybersports will grow to 307 million and the number of enthusiasts to 250 million. The total cybersports audience will be 557 million. I think that the betting industry with such multimillion audience, big investments and the annual growth of 200% of volumes should have the income of billions, don't you think?

    Do you get a lot of crossover between casino games players and virtual sports players?

    My guess is that it's going to happen more and more often. Why? The answer lies in the very psychology of gamblers. Interestingly, the typical profiles of players who tend to play casino games and virtual sports games are much the same. Both want a fast gaming experience, a high frequency of gambling and a lower average betting expense, compared to betting in a live casino or on live sports.

    To speed up this process, I think it's a task of both parties involved, the webmaster and the online casino operator. In other words, it is necessary to make an effort to create a certain interest in the player and to make it individual.

    Speaking of COVID-19, how else did it affect you personally and professionally?

    The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly affected us all, both personally and professionally. I did not make any radical changes in response to the pandemic. As for the personal plan, I have not felt the impact of COVID-19 either, as I spend most of my time at home. And professionally, I won't deny that in my case, the negative impact of pandemic is felt. According to the statistics of websites, there was a noticeable decline in player activity and, as a consequence, revenues.

    The main criterion for decline is fear and uncertainty about the future. Many of the potential players are out of work, and, as a consequence, there was an increased control of their financial situation. And all this is directly reflected on the statistics of players and deposits.

    Of course, much depends on individual countries. If we consider the Latin American countries, they are in a difficult situation and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for a long time.

    What's your approach to SEO and drawing traffic to your sites? How much time do you spend on SEO specifically?

    I will probably not be wrong in saying that attracting traffic to a website is the main and most time-consuming process of any webmaster's work. I don't know about my other colleagues, but I've grown gray and old prematurely in the SEO and the pursuit of traffic. This is a joke, do not believe it!

    But seriously, it's a "sore subject" for all those who have a website of any topic. And concerning the niche of gambling, doubly so. The No. 1 question for all webmasters affiliates: How to get to the top of the mountain of search engines and stay there as long as possible? If I knew the unambiguous answer, I'd be fabulously rich! But unfortunately, neither I nor anyone else will give you the exact answer. Although I'm wrong, the only one who knows the exact answer is Google, but it will never tell the whole truth. So there is only speculation and conjecture.

    Against this background of speculation on the internet there is an industry called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I think it makes no sense to tell in detail what SEO is, because it is a very vast area and will take a very long time to explain. I will limit myself to a brief answer.

    SEO is, to some extent, a science and art of leading people to content through a search engine. Good SEO comes from a deep understanding of what potential audiences are looking for on the internet and how to provide content that meets that need. You need to understand the technical settings so that search engines understand if your content is appropriate for users. SEO works best for websites that are strong in all three areas: audience, content and technology.

    It's possible that some webmasters will disagree with my opinion, and they will be right in their own way. But as I said before, this is a very shortened and incomplete answer. That's why for discussions on SEO, I and my colleagues, use the GPWA forum, where everyone can find an answer to any question on how to promote your website.

    What advice would you give to someone just getting started as an iGaming affiliate?

    Above all, patience. In the beginning, you should not expect too much. It takes some time to become successful and see results, and the competition in this niche is enormous. Sometimes it happens that you do a great job, but the results can be very disappointing. That's why you have to be patient and have realistic expectations, not give in to despair, and keep moving forward!

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager and affiliate program?

    I understand that the manager is also a human being and everyone has different approaches to work. But I would not be wrong to say that this is a collective work, and we have a common interest. Therefore, it is a direct task for any manager to interest as many affiliates as possible and motivate them for further cooperation.

    It is no secret that most managers are only interested in the initial registration, and then they forget about the affiliate. Many affiliate programs lack any additional work to further motivate cooperation. I think that many affiliate program administrators need to reconsider their tactics of working with affiliates. A good affiliate program manager must have three basic qualities; intelligence, initiative, and honesty.

    In your GPWA profile under “interests” you list “literature, internet, cinema, walks in parks, beach.” Tell us more about your hobbies. What do you when you are not working?

    Yes, I like literature. They say that to be a good webmaster you have to read philosophy. This is a joke, of course! But seriously, although literature has nothing to do with the work of a webmaster, to some extent it helps to relax and forget about work for a while. It's very good for the brain. And on the other hand, while reading a book, sometimes you suddenly find solutions to problems at work.

    As for movies, this is also a good way to relax. Of course, due to the pandemic, many cinemas are closed, leaving only the internet and Netflix for the moment.

    The city of Valencia, where I live, is also called the garden of Spain. There are a lot of parks in Valencia. The people there love flowers and trees that bloom almost all year round.

    Well, my favorite pastime when I am not working, is to relax in nature. Getting away from the comfort of the city is like winning the jackpot! Just 10 minutes by car from Valencia are the beaches where the fusion of nature and recreation reaches its maximum expression. To the south of the port are those that delve into the heart of The Valencian Albufera Nature Park, a protected clean natural area with fabulous sunsets, boat rides on Lake Albufera and the opportunity to completely disconnect for a while. It's like an oasis surrounded by rice paddies and forests. On the other side of this natural park, 17 kilometers of beach of fine golden sand, protected by dunes and with all the attractions of a picturesque nature.

    If someone were visiting you for 24 hours and had never been to the area where you live, where would you bring them and why?

    This is exactly the question that I was asked by my compatriots when I worked as a tourist guide.

    In recent years, the government of Valencia and the people of this city have done a great job in attracting tourism. Of course, the global pandemic has had a very negative impact on the tourism industry, one of the worst-hit sectors.

    But as we all know, nothing lasts forever and everything changes. As the massive vaccination of the population continues, the Valencia region (as of June) has the lowest percentage of infected people in all of Europe. So I believe tourists will visit Valencia this summer with complete confidence and safety.

    To answer the question, Valencia is a city that must be visited at least once in your lifetime, even if you only have 24 hours. It is definitely worth the effort to do and learn as much as possible about the city. You'll be surprised by its incredibly rich culture, with influences from all civilizations, from the Romans and Moors to the Christians, thanks to its prominent location on the Mediterranean coast.

    Whatever you do during your short visit to Valencia, you will definitely want to come back here again.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

    If I had the opportunity, I would invite my four late grandparents and my late father and express my great gratitude to them for what I am and what I have become.

    By the way, one of my websites in Russian,, was called in honor of my father. His name was Ivan.

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

    1. As a child, I dreamt of becoming a pilot. At the age of 15, I finished courses on flying a glider and had three individual (not tandem) parachute jumps.

    2. I served in regular Army for almost two years. Retired with the rank of Junior Sergeant, Air Defense Forces. This rank is comparable to OR-5 in NATO rank system.

    3. I lived almost 10 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am also a citizen of this South American country.

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  3. #2
    Cash Bonus's Avatar
    Cash Bonus is offline Private Member
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    Interesting interview (especially regarding your username, "casinoduende". I used to always wonder what it meant) and thank you for sharing.

  4. #3
    drifter8's Avatar
    drifter8 is offline Private Member
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    Great interview. In order to survive in this industry , we all have to be "duende" at some point

    Regarding virtual sports - I do agree completely - they are the future+ e-sports , because milllenials have very different understanding about betting and gambling.
    Seven times fall, eight times stand.

  5. #4
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    Dsquared is offline Private Member
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    Super interesting read.. thank you.

  6. #5
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    gil.langelaan is offline Private Member
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    Very interesting to read. Thanks a lot!

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