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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    July 2006
    Needham, MA
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Andy Edwards - Madaboutmedia

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    AGE: 31

    LIVING IN: Widnes, Halton, U.K.


    MUST READ BOOK: Screw It, Let’s Do It, by Richard Branson


    Tell us about your site. What distinguishes it from other bingo sites?

    I believe our site has a simple and elegant design, which makes navigating around the site really easy. Plus our reviews have been written with the player in mind, making sure that everything they need to know or check for is within the first fold. This also keeps the visitor on the site for longer and helps bring the bounce rate and exit rate down.

    When did you launch your site?

    February 2006.

    When you're evaluating bingo rooms to promote, what key factors are you looking at? What makes a good bingo room?

    I look at the brand, the promotions, what platform the bingo room is hosted on, the initial affiliate sign-up offer and what this goes back to after the trial period. I also check to see if my competitors are promoting the room, and if they aren't, why not?

    When you're looking at bingo affiliate programs to work with, what key factors are you looking for?

    Is their program well known? Will they be able to convert the traffic we can send them?

    There is a lot of talk in the poker community about player liquidity. How important are large player pools in bingo?

    I believe a large player pool in bingo is a must. Bingo players in general are a lot more recreational than their poker-playing counterparts. They don’t have a bankroll and tend to play just for fun. They play with and tend to deposit a lot less than poker players, so in order for affiliates to make any decent revenue from a bingo site we need to have a decent active player pool on each brand.

    What are the most important factors you weigh when considering whether or not to promote a site?

    I look at whether or not it’s a well-known brand on a well-known platform, and whether I believe the player will stay loyal to the site or just bonus-hunt the site. Also, has the site got a good customer relationship management team and will they struggle to convert the bonus hunter into a full-time depositor?

    You mentioned recently that you’re trying to “Google Panda–proof” your site. What can you tell us about your progress and your motivation for doing this?

    We like many other sites on the Web were hit by Google Panda 2.5.2 on October 13 last year. At first I couldn’t understand why, so I started to do a lot of research into Panda and looked at what big companies had also been hit and what they had done to have bounced back. With Google announcing 500-plus updates to its algorithm a year and Panda tweaks happening every three to four weeks, I want to make sure that the site can ride out the current storm and come out of it stronger and more Panda-proofed as a result.

    How did you become involved in the industry?

    I used to work as a financial customer service advisor in a call center for a well-known U.K. retailer chain. I got to a stage where the job wasn’t challenging anymore and every day was like Groundhog Day. I wanted to challenge myself and look at something that I could do in my spare time with the goal to make some extra money and eventually work for myself.

    How long did it take for your site to start earning money?

    A lot longer than I thought it would. I was naive at first, thinking that I could build a basic HTML site with very little content; a few banners and Google would automatically rank my new site high in SERPs. I then started to do a lot of research, added more content, etc., and I remember jumping up and down when I got my first check through the door for about £50.

    A little over a year ago, you switched from operating your site on a part-time basis to working at it full-time. What factors led to your decision to leave your previous full-time position?

    When I first started the website it was always with the impression that one day I would be my own boss. I had reached as far as I could go in my old job and realized that I was never going to be promoted any higher or make any more money. So I focused my efforts on the site more in 2010, so that I could start 2011 as a new year with a new job.

    In late December you revealed that you were looking to add a casino site to your portfolio. Why did you decide to diversify outside of bingo? And how did conversations at LAC go in that regard? When do you expect to launch your casino-focused site? And do you plan on expanding into poker and sports betting as well?

    Bingo is a saturated market and there only seems to be a small percentage of sites that outperform the rest. We had a setback with our Web designer and couldn’t get the site launched in time for LAC, so talks didn’t go as well as we would have liked. However, we did make lot of new contacts and hope to have the casino site up by the middle of March at the latest. We are hoping to have a sports betting site launched in the summer and a poker site early next year.

    In your opinion, how long is too long for a site to load for a first-time visitor? What can webmasters do to speed up the process?

    Anything over four seconds load time and you’re going to be losing a lot of potential customers to the back button. There are a lot of things that webmasters can do to speed up their sites. The main ones are listed below:

    Have the site on a dedicated VPS server;
    Optimize all your images, JavaScript and CSS; and
    Make sure the coding off your sites is clean and rid of any 404-type errors

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager?

    Professionalism is a must; you need to be able to have a good working relationship with them. It also helps if they are available if you need them and that they keep you up to date with all the latest promotions.

    What advice would you offer someone just starting out in the industry?

    DON’T! It’s too competitive! No, seriously the best advice I can give anybody just starting out is to analyze your competitors, see what they are doing. Then try to think outside the box and offer visitors something that is different and make your site unique.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?

    When I first started attending the conferences and found your magazine, I really liked the layout and the wealth of information in it. However, when I joined the forum it was for a GPWA seal for madaboutbingo. When I started to have a look around the forum I was overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge freely available. Years ago I had to spend many a late night searching Google for the answers, but with the forum it’s only a search or new post away.

    What do you like about the industry?

    The flexibility I have as an affiliate. If you’re well organized and make the most of your time you can really make a difference in the market.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?

    It would be to get rid of all the fly-by-night businesses with their false advertising, which are cheating players and shaving off affiliates. The small minorities are creating distrust within the industry and I feel a lot of affiliates are more worried that this is happening and will happen to them as a result.

    What surprised you most about the industry?

    That even though it’s a competitive market that we are in, a lot of fellow affiliates are friendly and approachable. I like how we can all meet up at the different conferences, discuss work, and share knowledge and ideas over a few drinks.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?

    I try to respond to e-mail as quickly as possible; however, this can vary from straightaway to a couple of days depending on how busy I am. A lot of time can be taken up going through all the spam and e-mail from new sites, about their amazing high conversion rates and excellent player retention and how they want us to benefit from this as well.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?

    I have a “things to do” notepad along with lots of scrap pieces of paper on my desk and try to prioritize the work that needs doing on a day-to-day basis. Anything that doesn’t get done gets carried forward to the following day. I don’t use any special software as such but I would highly recommend you use the calendar feature within Outlook or similar. This allows you to prioritize your day and allocate time to each task, increasing and decreasing as is needed. And if you don’t get everything done you can just change the date to the next day, so that you know what you have planned when you come in first thing in the morning, such as checking e-mail, etc.

    How much time does it take to keep your site updated?

    Since Panda a lot longer, as I triple check everything that goes on the site and make sure content, banners, etc., are up to date. In November last year I took on my first full-time employee, Phil Goulding (DELETE if this photo isn’t used:- pictured on the right in the IGB Awards photo), as my Internet Manager to help with the daily running of the site and future websites.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site?

    I spend a lot of time on SEO; I think it’s a huge part of any affiliate business. But since Panda came along it has opened my eyes to the social media aspect and how they are trying to make search more social. So this is something that will be taking up a lot of my time over the next year, as we look at other ways to drive traffic to our sites so that we are not as reliant on SERPs.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?

    I’d say Flushing Meadows Fishery. My son (Ronan) and I have had many a great day fishing there. Plus it’s in the middle of the countryside and very picturesque and really quiet, so I can just turn my mobile off and sit back and relax from the stress of work.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?

    Las Vegas, for the weather, the nightlife, sightseeing and poker.

    If you could have one “superpower,” what would it be?

    Telepathy, so that I could read affiliate managers’ minds and get better deals and win a lot more money playing poker.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?

    I don’t have a favorite movie as such as I love going to the cinema and all types of films. I never get bored watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy – I love the films and the effects.

    If you were casting a movie with yourself in the leading role, who would play your romantic interest?

    It would have to be Kelly Brook, who as you know is absolutely stunning.

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

    Richard Branson – I find him to be a real inspiration and would love to talk business with him. Matt Cutts (Google) – to find out what their recent algo updates are truly about. Daniel Negreanu – I’d love to talk poker and get some one-to-one insight from one of the best poker players in the world. Karl Pilkington – this guy says what everyone else is thinking and would bring a lot of humor to the dinner table. If you don’t know who he is, Google An Idiot Abroad. Dave Koz – I think this guy has brought the saxophone to a whole new level of playing, and I’d like to jam with him and gets some tips.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    I have been a blood donor since I was 18 as well as a bone marrow donor and three years ago I donated bone marrow for an unfortunate young boy with leukemia.

    I play the saxophone. I love the sound and the different types of music you can play, from jazz and blues to pop and R&B. I’ve been taking weekly private lessons for the past two years.

    I have a black tag (1st Kup) belt in tae kwon do, only one belt off my 1st Dan black belt. I don’t have the time to commit to this at the moment but I’m hoping one day I will be able to go back and complete my grading.

  2. #2
    Maria F is offline No longer with Harbour Gaming Affiliates
    Join Date
    November 2010
    Thanked 337 Times in 248 Posts


    Great interview Andrew!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge. I am sure that up and coming webmaster will appreciate it.

  3. #3
    SlotsAff is offline Private Member
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    August 2007
    Thanked 143 Times in 108 Posts


    Superb interview - as for Karl Pilkington, I absolutely love him!

  4. #4
    Madabout Media's Avatar
    Madabout Media is offline Public Member
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    August 2011
    Thanked 19 Times in 13 Posts


    Thank you, this was done at the start of the year for MARCH's edition of GPWA. Am happy to say we have Google Panda proofed the site now but we now have another Google animal to proof against the dreaded Google Penguin. I will create a thread when we have penguin proofed the site detailing what we did to get the rankings back etc
    Last edited by Madabout Media; 9 August 2012 at 6:29 am.
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  5. #5
    Elisha is offline Public Member
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    February 2012
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    Great Interview .. Thanks for sharing all the info..

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