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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    November 2008
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Bjorn Bos Madnesz

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    Age: 25
    Hometown: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Currently residing in: Amsterdam
    Favorite food: Tortellini
    One book everyone must read: The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss

    How long have you been working in the industry?

    I started in the casino affiliate industry about four years ago. At the time I was doing very well in online poker, and spent quite a bit of time at a Dutch poker forum. When I found out that the owners of such Web sites were the biggest winners of the emerging poker hype, I got very interested in this money-making possibility and started to make plans for affiliate sites.

    What do you like about the industry?

    The very strong correlation between effort and reward. The more time you put into your Web sites, the bigger the rewards. Plus the freedom to choose location and time to do your work.

    What don’t you like about the industry?

    The unregulated environment. Because of this, the casino operators still have ultimate power over their players. For example, I've been reviewing a lot of bonus terms and conditions for one of our Web sites, and I've seen the most ridiculous rules that do nothing but make the player completely powerless in the case of any disputes. Also, most players cannot go to their local court to fight an operator's decision, since the practice of online gambling is illegal in many countries.

    What surprised you most about the industry?

    How well organized and close this industry really is. Most people are willing to help each other, and a lot of knowledge is shared freely among the affiliates. The conferences are always a good place to meet interesting people.

    You started off operating several sites, at least four that were dedicated to backgammon and one that provides information on bonus offers for blackjack, roulette, slots, etc. – pretty much everything except backgammon. Why so many backgammon sites? Which sites currently bring in the most revenue? And where does tommydanger fit into all of this?

    When poker got really booming, there was a lot of buzz in the industry that backgammon could become the next hype. I decided to take that chance and wanted to be one of the first backgammon affiliates, so that if it really became as big as poker, I would be in the front row. After a while, it became clear that backgammon did not have a lot of growth potential and I started to develop other Web sites. At first, I created some poker and casino subpages at the backgammon Web site. Then I started working together with tommydanger (Luuk Noordhoff), who is a good friend of mine from university, and we developed a casino Web site. After that, I started working on forex-related Web sites.

    Dutch is your native language, yet you operate English- and German-language sites (in addition to a Dutch language site). How difficult is it to work on the non-Dutch sites?

    Most of my Web sites are in English. Since my whole study is in English, and I've spent four months in South Africa, I am quite familiar with the language. The German language I can understand when reading, but I'm not able to write it. For this I use freelancers.

    You also operate a forex site and a crude oil site. How are these sites performing for you?

    I got in touch with the forex market at one of the casino conferences and got enthusiastic to start a financial site. I now have seen the tremendous player value in this industry, which is even bigger than the casino industry. These Web sites currently bring in most of the revenue for me.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA, and how has it helped you so far?

    I'm not really sure what prompted me to join, but it must be the amount of knowledge available at the forums. Unfortunately, I still lack the time to get actively involved in this community, but I hope this will change when I graduate at the end of this year.

    You’ve said that attending CAC Amsterdam in 2007 increased your enthusiasm for the industry. How did that conference get you excited about being an affiliate? Have you attended any conferences since then? If so, which ones, and how have they helped you learn more about the business?

    I've visited CAC three times, and have attended both CAP Barcelona and CAP Amsterdam one time. They always are a great source of SEO knowledge and the perfect place to get face time with your affiliate manager. I also have to admit that the parties account for a lot of the excitement!

    How do your family and friends feel about how you make your living?

    They are happy for me that I manage to earn a nice extra buck during my time as a student, and that I can do the work I like instead of some ****** job at the gas station.

    A couple of years ago (July 200 you posted that you believed that “the online gambling market could die pretty soon.” Do you still feel that way? Explain.

    I am really amazed by the large number of people in this industry who say that this could never happen. The closure of the U.S. market was a huge surprise to many and we were left behind, pretty powerless. Fortunately there still was the E.U. market that we all could turn to, but there are no guarantees that this will always be so. Whenever the E.U. decides to make an end to online gambling in the same effective way as the U.S. did, the market will be pretty dead. For sure the opposite can happen just as easily when the U.S. opens its doors again, but no one can predict what will really happen.

    Between attending university and being a webmaster, you’re a busy person. Time management is one of the biggest issues facing affiliates. What time management tips can you offer your fellow webmasters? And what are you studying at university?

    I am studying industrial engineering and management. I expect to graduate at the end of this year, which will open up a lot of time for me. Time management can be really simple: just make effective use of your resources. Don't forget that you can outsource almost anything to free up some time. For more tips you definitely have to read The 4-Hour Workweek and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

    One thing that is definitely true about most affiliates is their e-mail inboxes are always full. How long do you give yourself for responding to e-mail? And what e-mail management tips can you offer?

    Don't forget that at least 80 percent of the messages in your inbox are nothing but time consuming. Choose to spend time on them wisely. How much e-mail do you receive from new online casinos that say they have the highest conversion, and that they want to work together with you? Or automated e-mail from webmasters who want to exchange links? Although it is polite to answers each one of them, most are just time consuming and can easily be ignored.

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

    No. I am pretty chaotic in my way of working. I prefer to work from a list of work in my head, instead of written-down “to-do” lists. The great advantage about this way of working is that your mind automatically prioritizes things. The first “to-do” your mind is thinking of is often the most important one.

    Who do you think is going to win the World Cup this summer? And why?

    Definitely Holland. It is about time we become world champion! We often play the best football during the tourney, but always forget to take home the cup. Hopefully things will be different this year.

    If you could sit down to dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be, and why?

    Richard Branson is one of my heroes. His autobiography Losing My Virginity tells the whole story about this self-made man, and shows the possibility to both have great success in business and have lots of fun meanwhile. During my internship in South Africa I learned a lot about the great accomplishments of Nelson Mandela, and what an amazing person he is, so I would definitely add him to the dinner table. I also would love to have some words with President Obama, so he will be invited as well. The remaining spots I would fill with Charles Darwin to hear about his great adventures, and Jim Morrison from The Doors because I love his music.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?

    Never really thought about this question. I think the best way to forget about work and clear my mind for a moment is to do sports. I like to play tennis, football or squash; this is a great way to relax.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be, and why?

    - Creativity. Don't just copy; think about new ways to attract an audience. If you get a great idea that is genuinely different from the rest, you could be sitting on a pot of gold.
    - Dedication. Especially for new affiliates, be prepared to work hard for it until things start to come together.
    - Get involved. Spend some time at communities such as the GPWA. Every minute you put in will be returned times two. Also try to attend a conference every now and then.
    - SEO knowledge. After all, we all try to rank number one in Google.
    - Persistence. Don't give up at times when things do not seem to turn your way.

    What’s your favorite movie?

    I don't really have just one. To name a few of my favorites: “The Godfather,” “Boiler Room,” “District 9” and “The Hangover.”

    If you were starring in a movie, who would you want to play your romantic interest?

    Sarah Roemer from “Disturbia.” Damn, she was hot in that movie!

    If you were “stuck” in a city due to travel restrictions, would you be the person who did everything humanly possible to get back home? Or would you be the person who took some time to go exploring and smell the flowers?

    Definitely the latter. I really enjoy visiting new cities, so if I got stuck in a city I would use it to my advantage.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    I want to get a flying-certificate. I've played the guitar for a few years. I would love to participate in the WSOP one day.

  2. #2
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is offline GPWA/APCW Program Director
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    Great interview. We are all wanting to play in the WSOP one day!
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
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  3. #3
    ecobika's Avatar
    ecobika is offline Public Member
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    it was really very interesting to read this interview to make sure that fellow marketers do the same as you do, or to make sure they do an absolutely other way. By the way I would never participate in WSOP. It is also amazing to read the many mistakes others do in this business, meanwhile everybody think that he/she is the best.

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