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  1. #1
    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Isaiah Maidis

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    (This interview was originally published in the October 2018 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine)

    How long have you been in the iGaming business? How did you first get into the industry?


    Twelve years ago, when my page started getting attention, I got the first e-mails regarding affiliation or advertising. But everything started back in 2003 when my girlfriend was working at a local betting shop. I went there and placed a coupon: a random combo of nine football games that was accidentally won.

    What did you do before iGaming? What did you learn that has helped you as an affiliate?

    I was working at a hospital in plumber maintenance, and then moved to something new that I liked a lot: computer technician and network support at a famous sports newspaper and radio station. I also created their group of websites and forums, so most things I experienced there really helped me later, as my daily routine had to do with everything about sports.

    Tell us about your site. When did you launch it? How long did it take for it to start making money?

    I started the site in August of 2004 just for fun. It was a simple personal blog built with PHP-Nuke, where I was just posting my daily football betting tips. It was more like an experiment to learn how some content management systems functioned. I had no intention to make money from this, but as time passed, the tips had some huge success and the traffic exploded out of nowhere.

    The first money came in two years after the launch date. As a casual daily punter, I had no idea about affiliate programs and things like that. Online sports betting was at the very early stages at this time. So, I was accepting only some prepaid advertising. For the next two years, the site was like a second job for me. Actually, just some extra income after my main job. Anyway, things started getting good, traffic was increasing, so I quit my main job to concentrate on the website.

    What's one thing you think an affiliate new to the sportsbook market should know about it? How has the online sportsbook market changed since you started your site?

    That you need to have a lot of patience. The good results will come late if you can't wait, this isn't for you. Things have changed rapidly.

    Only a few brands existed before. But as new names started appearing, there was total chaos in all aspects. No rules, no restrictions, unhealthy competition, no regulating authorities. Maybe this situation was almost ideal for the affiliate side, as there were a lot of opportunities to make money, but we all knew that someday rules would be in place.

    Things now are not better for the affiliates. Conversion became a very difficult task. But from the players' point of view, sportsbooks are more advanced. They give players more features and opportunities to win. Generally, more for the players, less for the affiliates.

    Sports betting can be a tough sector, especially when players are doing well. How volatile are your revenues from month to month?

    Not much, but surely more volatile in comparison to the past. As I said before, the market has changed a lot; there are sharper players nowadays. I have to be prepared for negative months, anytime, so I always keep the site's spending budget stable, even in the very positive months.

    Your site features a blog with a ton of content that is updated regularly. How important is that to your site's success?

    I think that the blog is the best way to gain new traffic and loyal users, so it is important. Many well-done posts brought us some quality traffic we were seeking.

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

    I spend a lot of time on SEO, depending on the period and the circumstances. Sometimes half my day is dedicated to that. About my approach, I go 100% white hat. Even if I get only a small piece of the pie, I am OK with this. I have experienced many problems so far negative SEO attacks, doorway spamming, plagiarism, and many more things like these. Our niche is full of these guys.

    Do you have plans for additional sites?

    Yes. I am thinking of bringing back Bettingbasket.com soon. It was a successful basketball betting site I shut down before due to lack of time. I also had the Lithuanian and Serbian versions of Betshoot live before some friends in the scene helped for these versions, but all were consuming too much of our time.

    What makes your site unique? How do you help it stand out from the competition?

    Probably the simplicity it has all over it. The content is direct with no catches. We don't promise things we can't do and we display our big losings, nothing is hidden. But, I don't think that nowadays is that unique. Maybe in the past, it was more unique with all these tipsters and stuff. We still have some unique features, but now there are so many betting tips sites out there, and many betshoot clones.

    How do you decide what sportsbooks to promote?

    I go with the big brands that give the best experience to the players, but also have friendly affiliate terms and conditions. The combination of these two facts is the main factor when it's about to decide. But things are not that simple. There are many country restrictions, so if you are an International English language site, you have to bother with this too.

    Do you have employees, or do you run your sites by yourself?


    I have in my office two full-time employees and some part-time editors.

    Do you gamble?

    Yes, I do; it's a part of my life. Mostly football betting and a little video slots. I don't visit land-based casinos, though.

    How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?

    My interaction with other people in the scene is not that usual. I attended the London Affiliate Conference only once. Most of our communication is done by e-mail.

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


    I always look for an affiliate manager who can work closely with me. I need to be informed frequently about market changes, bonuses, links changes, country restrictions and things like that. An affiliate program with a rich media gallery and correct tracking and reporting is what I seek, too.

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

    The fact that there is massive information in the forums, mainly from webmasters' experiences with the affiliate programs, was a major factor in joining the GPWA. It is like you are not alone anymore in the ocean. It helped me learn hundreds of useful things for this industry and to get in contact with many affiliate managers.

    What do you like most about the industry?

    I like its diversity and that interest is growing. From the affiliate side, of course, it's great that you have the freedom to use your own creativity and ideas, to test a lot of things and see how it goes.

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

    Much stricter regulatory bodies against companies who don't toe the line, which would get rid of new brands popping out of nowhere, half of them resulting in terrible user experience. If I had to name a second thing to change, it would be the bad affiliates who are spoiling the scene with their "underground" techniques.

    What do you think the industry will look like in five years?

    I think there will be more certainty, but there will be a lot fewer brand names and shops out there. The Gambling Commission is getting tough, and there is a backlash against gambling adverts, so the reputation of the industry will suffer for a while.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?

    Many of my friends don't really understand what an "affiliate" is and how it works. Most of them, including my family, think that I operate a sportsbook. Either way, I have their sympathy and full support.

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your site?

    Not even a minute anymore. I used to spend cash to get my page more famous on Facebook. Suddenly Facebook decides to suspend your page, asking for prior permission due to gambling-related content. And when you try to get the permission, they ignore you.

    What's the most difficult thing about running your site?

    To have everything up to date, especially on weekends. When you reach more than 20,000 unique visits per day, e-mails and requests are coming like rain. Sometimes it's like slavery to be all day in front of a computer. Sooner or later, you will need help if you go big. This means you need more income, so you can pay your extra hands.

    What's the best thing about running your site?

    When we see positive feedback after winning bets from the visitors, and when our work is rewarded accordingly.

    What do you do to stay in shape both physically and mentally?

    Nothing more than a simple walk to the beach for an hour.

    What do you do with your spare time?

    My main hobby is fishing from the seashore. I do this two or maybe three times per week, so you can call it a passion. I load my equipment and go for a whole day or night of fishing with friends to some lonely beach. When I don't go for fishing, I stay home, playing games on my PC, watching U.S. TV series, listening to my favorite black metal music, following sports on TV and, of course, betting online.

    What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?

    I always wanted to have my own music band touring around the world.

    If you won $10 million playing the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?

    First, I would buy a nice house for my daughter, then I would invest in my site and do many other things I have in mind. But I would not take everything as seriously as I used to.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, whats the one place you'd definitely take them to see?

    Toumpa Stadium when PAOK FC is playing there. There isn't something more notable in my town.

    What are your pet peeves?

    I can't stand those who are looking at their mobile phones all the time and those who are eating and chewing loudly.

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you and why?

    A fishing rod and cigarettes to spend my time, and a mobile phone for an emergency.

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

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pablo Garcia, Henrik Larsson, Varg Vikernes and Raul Mario Perez Luna.

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


    1. I smoke a lot.
    2. Everyone calls me "Sakis" and not my birth name.
    3. My marriage was a civil one 18 years ago, and I have a 6-year-old daughter.

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Daniel View Post

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your site?


    Not even a minute anymore. I used to spend cash to get my page more famous on Facebook. Suddenly Facebook decides to suspend your page, asking for prior permission due to gambling-related content. And when you try to get the permission, they ignore you.
    That happened to me twice. I was successfully promoting my site through my facebook page and had a decent number of followers when Facebook shut it down. A few years later, I started another one and was doing well before they shut it down again.
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  4. #3
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    SuperiorShareConnie is offline Former Affiliate Manager
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    Hello Isaiah,

    Nice to meet you!

    I hope that one day you get your music band.

    Cheers,

    Connie

  5. #4
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    Another great interview read, ty

    BR
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    A good affiliate interview with Isaiah. I joined GPWA for the same reasons and I'm still learning many new things.
    usa

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    Eloquently spoken. I enjoyed reading this interview.

    Betshoot is an exceptional betting tips website, the design and functionality are A+, and it has been my main inspiration in my own endevours as a gambling webmaster. You can tell Isaiah knows his stuff.

    All the best to you and your family, mate.
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