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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Marina | Bonus Paradise

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    Age: 44
    Hometown: Born and raised in Innsbruck, Austria
    Living in: The Netherlands
    Favorite Food: Seafood, Italian food and a real Wiener schnitzel
    Must Read Book: I don't have a particular book in mind. My tastes vary from a good mystery novel to romance to even self-help books. Not one book stands out. Variety is the spice of life.


    When did you launch your sites?
    I started in 2005 with a free hosted forum. This was also when I met Mike, my partner for life and business. In 2007 we were able to buy the domain and in 2008 we added a forum to it. We also bought some other domains, and started to work on them as well.

    Lately I haven’t been able to devote much time to the other sites, as BonusParadise Forum gets all my attention. We have extensive plans for the future for our other sites though. As the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day."

    How did you become involved in the industry?
    I discovered online gambling and joined a gambling forum in 2004 where I became a member, and then a moderator.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    I received my first affiliate commission after running my free forum for three months. The earnings weren't much, but it was a nice feeling.

    Your site is promoted as the most extensive online gambling guide available. Why do you believe this site is the player’s best source for Internet casinos, poker, bingo and other games?
    My philosophy in life comes out in my work. I simply believe in good, honest people and wish to carry that over to my forum. I try, along with the staff I hire, to provide honest, thorough reviews so people know which casinos are the best places for them. We are gamblers ourselves, and before promoting any sites, we check out as many as possible to provide truthful feedback.

    Things we look for include: How fast are withdrawals processed? How is customer support? Any negative feedback online? We also evaluate the software and ease of access for the player. We take a look at all aspects of casinos.

    In terms of traffic and player quality, why do you think has been so successful?
    What makes a forum successful? Are you just talking about the earnings or members’ staying power? I consider successful in both categories. Being persistent, consistent and on the site every day provides our members with updated information. Trying to understand and help our members is a top priority. I truly believe in putting the members first.

    What prompted you to launch a site totally dedicated to Rival Gaming powered casinos? Is the site still operative?
    We sold this domain a while back. Rival is in my opinion not what we thought it would be when they began.

    We had many complaints from members who had been bonus banned, just because they got bonuses from different Rival casinos, White-label Rival casinos shared a database, I didn't like the fact that even if players got a bonus from one Rival or two, they would mainly be bonus banned from even the new ones. The idea of a shared database across the board for one software type is unnerving. Also there were some bigger winners on some Rival slots like Scary Rich, and so they decided to lower the maximum bet dramatically. The points mentioned led us to our decision to not promote Rival casinos anymore and therefore we sold that domain.

    You have sites in English, Dutch and German. Are you fluent in all three languages? Do you speak any other languages? And do you provide the content for all your sites, or do you have some help from others?
    German is my native language. I learned English in school and I still learn English day by day in this industry. I’ve been living in the Netherlands for seven years and therefore I can speak in Dutch as well. Mike also speaks Dutch and English. All our staff speak English. Our moderators are fluent in several languages as well. They are dear friends and the soul of our forum; Ellis, Kotsy and Ardilla have been with BonusParadise for years. We all write our unique content in various languages, and the moderators are also there helping with the members’ questions and much more.

    Outside of content, do you have others who work on your site as well?
    Yes, we have a team for coding and general website maintenance and just recently we hired Matt Janaway, who helps us with SEO and link building. I consider myself very fortunate to have found him. He is a wonderful, honest person with much knowledge.

    Describe your work environment. Do you work from home or in an office? If you work from home, how often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?
    Mike and I work from home. We have incorporated an office separate from our living space. It is the best of both worlds. It gives us the opportunity to spend more time with our daughter. She doesn't need to stay at school for lunch like many other kids whose parents have a full-time job away from home.

    We have only been to one affiliate conference to date. As our daughter gets older (she is seven now), Mike and I are more comfortable with leaving her with her grandparents or aunt for a few days. She is now able to understand that her parents have a job and must be away to tend to business. We look forward to attending more conventions and meeting the people we deal with online in person.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    It is important for me that affiliate managers answer e-mail in a timely manner and that they are not “pushy.” We always try our best to send traffic, so there is NO need to send me tons of e-mail asking what can be done for more traffic, or how to get top positions, etc.

    A good affiliate program should provide the best statistics possible. Some do show which countries your players are from, and some don’t. I find this to be very useful information and believe it would be good if more programs let us know things like that.

    I also look for clear, fair and easily understandable terms, fast payments (unfortunately there are still programs that keep the affiliate’s earned money for 20 days in their own banks) and good player retention.

    What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or via Skype?
    Sometimes via Skype, but I noticed that chatting on Skype always uses up a lot of time, so I am not so online there much. I do prefer e-mail contact.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    We are fortunate to have the GPWA and some other good sites for gambling affiliates. The GPWA forum is a great way to meet other affiliates, affiliate managers and operators. Many times I find really useful information on the GPWA site. I also like the GPWA member portal sites, which present a nice opportunity for gambling affiliates to get their websites listed.

    What do you like about the industry?
    You will always be busy with the industry. There is always something to do. When you have good, trusted programs, it makes your work more enjoyable. But then you have the bad news, and the challenge to take care of it is always there. I love a good challenge.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    Rogue sites need to disappear. Those sites ruin it for all the reputable ones out there. As much as I’d like for all of them to disappear entirely, I’m afraid this will never happen.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    They know this is my job. They are fine with it and realize work comes first.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
    Yes, I also gamble online. I love to play slots mostly, but video poker is also something I enjoy.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    I try to answer e-mail within 24 to 72 hours. I have no e-mail tips, but maybe a suggestion: The subject line could be more precise. E-mail with subjects like “An offer you can’t refuse” lands mostly in my trash.

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I do it the good old-fashioned way, writing a list and checking off things which are done.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    I’ve been trying to spend more time on social media lately. For SEO we now have help.

    What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    They’re not difficult to run at all. Frustrating? At times, but that's what makes a good challenge.

    What’s the best thing about running your sites?
    I am my own boss and I can work from home.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
    I live very near the sea, and I would definitely take them there. No matter what season, the view, the feeling and the atmosphere at the North Sea are simply fantastic. And of course they also need to visit Amsterdam; it is an amazing city.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    To the Alps, to Tyrol in Austria. Being up there in the mountains on a nice sunny day is an incredible feeling. You see the blue from the sky touching the green from the trees and the grass. But also the winter is amazing, absolutely romantic.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
    I love to be in my home country of Austria. I love to see my mountains.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?
    There are many movies I have enjoyed. I do not really have one favorite movie, but this is definitely a good one: The Day After Tomorrow. Such movies make you think, and hopefully many people watching it make up their mind to help keep this planet alive.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Michael Jackson – I believe him to be one of the greatest artists.
    Nostradamus – I want to ask him why they world is still here; was he really just misinterpreted?
    My dad – I never had the chance to get to know him, really. My mother finds I am very much like him. So I would like to have a conversation with him.
    My life partner, Mike, and my daughter, Sarah – They are my love, my life, my everything.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    Do you really believe I would tell you my innermost secrets in this interview? I think not! They are what makes me who I am and I keep them to myself.

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  3. #2
    wolfie is offline Private Member
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    I really like these interviews. They give a lot of very valuable insight.

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  5. #3
    Renee's Avatar
    Renee is offline Sponsor Affiliate Program
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    Great interview Marina!
    Renee, Affiliate Program Manager
    Affiliate Program for
    Best Affiliate Manager - CAP Awards 2008
    Best Casino Affiliate Manager - CAP Awards 2009
    Best Casino Affiliate Manager - iGB Affiliate Awards 2010

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  7. #4
    sweetbet's Avatar
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    Very nice interview. I've never been to Austria, but I hope to travel there one day. It's such a beautiful and picturesque country.

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  9. #5
    Maria F is offline No longer with Harbour Gaming Affiliates
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    Hi Marina,

    This industry is mainly ruled by men,so I love it when I see strong women been interviewed.

    Great interview!

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  11. #6
    Bonus Paradise is offline Private Member
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    Thank you all for the kind words, I have been pretty nervous when GPWA asked me for this interview, glad you like it

    Cheers and ty again

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  13. #7
    GCG is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonus Paradise View Post
    Thank you all for the kind words, I have been pretty nervous when GPWA asked me for this interview, glad you like it

    Cheers and ty again

    Nice and sparkling interview Marinchen !

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    Bonus Paradise (3 May 2014)

  15. #8 is offline Non-Sponsor Affiliate Program
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    Great article, keep at it - great to see great affiliate work!

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  17. #9
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    elgoog is offline Private Member
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    Love the interview!

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  19. #10
    Puma's Avatar
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    Well done ! I have always been a fan of the Bonus Paradise website. Nice to read the force behind it.

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