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When did you launch your site?
August 2008.

Your homepage states that Odds Shark aims to become the global authority (not just a global authority) for online betting odds in sports, poker, casino games and horse racing. Statistics indicate that you're well on your way to reaching that goal. Why do you think your site is so well received?
The site has grown quite a lot and we take in a lot of customer feedback on new features. The stats and odds are organized well and it looks good, so it appeals to casual and intermediate bettors. I think we enjoy a lot of credibility as the odds partners to Yahoo!, ESPN, FOXSports and other top mainstream sports portals as well. We still have a lot of work to do even on the sports side, where we do a good job to reach that lofty goal in our tagline. We have more work to do on poker, casino and horse racing, where some of our excellent fellow affiliates and friends in the industry are proof that we have a lot of catching up to do.

Your site provides in-depth statistics and information on upcoming games. Sports bettors have more information available to them than ever before. Do you believe the average punter is more successful as a result of all that information? How do sharp bettors affect your revenues as an affiliate?
Sports betting is a very tough thing to succeed at, but we know that punters are at least far better informed. Whether that translates into their being more successful is tough to say, but sites like ours certainly provide much better insight and information for punters and not just in volume of stats, but in terms of odds moves and in terms of learning about money management and other important facets of sports wagering. As for sharp players, it can be a boom or bust situation for affiliates, because they can win big or lose big. It is something that affiliates need to monitor, because one successful bettor can be damaging, but there are options at most sportsbooks to manage it.

How closely have you been following New Jersey's efforts to regulate sports betting in Atlantic City casinos? Do you think the U.S. will ever regulate online sports betting? If so, when do you think it will happen?
I have personally been around the industry for more than 15 years and we were saying back in 1998 that regulation is right around the corner because it makes no sense to continue fighting it. But here we are in 2013 and even at a state level, efforts are being shot down by the courts. New Jersey seems like they will keep fighting for it. The leagues and NCAA seem like they will keep fighting it. I think the leagues understand that regulation might actually prevent point shaving and some of the betting problems that they fear. But there is a risk-reward for the leagues as well. How do they benefit from legalized sportsbooks? The margins are so thin that books can't afford huge sponsorship deals and if there is no huge money to change their minds, why should the leagues abandon their anti-gambling stance? If you show them that the technology is solid and that sites like Betfair can actually help the leagues monitor rogue betting behavior and you can show them the money, I think you will get traction, but not soon. I believe the leagues will need to exhaust all legal avenues fighting it, for a public relations show if for no other reason. When do I think it will happen? I suppose if New Jersey suddenly got some legal green lights, it could spread within a few years. Realistically, I would say another decade of fighting.

How dependent on big events are sports betting affiliate sites like Odds Shark? How much more traffic do you get in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament compared to a random (non-Super Bowl) week in February?
Solid traffic volume and broad SEO build a great affiliate site, but ranking well for and converting around key sites can really boost the bottom line. Super Bowl remains the king and affiliates can see 10 times as much traffic and signups in the weeks before this game. Kentucky Derby and March Madness are also huge in sports. You have to bring your "A" game all year, then move to "A+" at these times.

How did you become involved in the industry?
We got involved nearly 20 years ago when provincial sports lotteries began proliferating in Canada. The ProLine and Mise-o-Jeu models are similar to the Delaware style of parlay betting, which is much safer for governments because the margins are so generous. We started out building a tiny offline database of stats and odds and eventually migrated it in 1997 to this thing called the Internet.

How long did it take for you to start earning money?
It began as a hobby business and was a very small operation for many years. Slowly, it grew into a viable business. In the early going of any business, you have to work hard and get lucky. We worked hard but didn't get too lucky for several years.

What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
An affiliate manager or rep needs to be flexible and responsive, because trends and traffic patterns can change quickly and dramatically. If you and your affiliate boss are not on the same page and not always monitoring things, you can miss a burst of activity whether it be positive or negative. An affiliate program that updates stats quickly and allows the affiliate some options in sorting and analyzing the data is important.

If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?
1. Content no quality content equals wasted quality leads and a quick death spiral.
2. Credibility you can be great at SEO but if your content is superficial and if your site/brand doesn't scream credibility, that negative word will spread faster and more freely than anything positive you can say.
3. Analysis studying metrics from every angle and launching trial and error efforts on site to see what works and what doesn't work.
4. Loyalty working closely and candidly with clients and partners creates a better working environment and encourages everyone to understand each other's goals and needs.
5. Partnerships not simply link buys but solid working relationships to learn from each other and find ways to share ideas, traffic, success stories and warnings about pitfalls (bad operators, for example).

What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
We knew about the GPWA but never had designated workers to reach out and explore some of these industry self-help groups. Now we see how important they can be. We are fairly new in the past six months and just now starting to take advantage of GPWA and networking with the many affiliates in the forums.

What do you like about the industry?
It's always changing and always challenging and you had better be nimble or creative to take advantage of sudden opportunities and to get out of the way of sudden disasters. It's nice to be able to create your own site and your own niche and watch it become a popular and meaningful destination.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Regulate the U.S. market. It's a huge market that already loves the industry and most governments are deprived of the opportunities. It would open many opportunities for affiliates, but would also cut off some opportunity. All in all, a regulated, healthy, uniform policy on gaming there would be terrific for all involved, from governments all the way down to the players.

What surprised you most about the industry?
Over the years, the dogged determination of forces in the U.S. to thwart online gaming has been surprising and baffling. The determination and creativity of people to find new opportunities and business ideas has been surprising and refreshing.

How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
We try to respond within an hour or two, depending on the nature of the e-mail. Any tech or service e-mail goes immediately to the service queue, where it is handled immediately. We try to respond quickly, professionally and courteously and give a timeline of when something might be fixed or changed or introduced. We always thank people for their interest in the site and for taking the time to send e-mail.

How do you manage your "to-do" lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
Simple calendar items that focus on daily, weekly and monthly chores. Then work back calendar lists so that we have our NFL project started 90 days before football season kicks off, etc.

How much time does it take to keep your site updated?
We have three or four people who touch the site on a daily basis, from writers to editors to SEO and marketing folks to metrics analysis and Twitter folks. It varies week to week and month to month.

How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site?
More SEO focus in the distant past, but more social focus (Twitter, mainly) in the past year. Facebook apps and other social commenting strategies are also paying off more in 2013.