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  1. #1
    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Mykola Tsiotov

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    (This interview was originally published in the October issue of the GPWA newsletter)

    When did you first get into the iGaming industry? Why did you decide to enter this industry?
    Iíve been working as an SEO specialist in different companies since 2011. In 2017, when I was looking for a new job, Roman Doroshenko (who has been interviewed by GPWA Times Magazine as well) suggested I apply at a gambling company, since there were more opportunities to grow in iGaming. His advice started it all, and I first got into a betting project and changed it to a casino project later.


    How did your experience as a digital marketer help you as an iGaming affiliate?
    Iíve been into digital marketing for a long time. This gave me the tools necessary to lead affiliate projects in iGaming. The best experience for me was the possibility to see myself and others fail and learn from it.


    You have sites targeting Ireland and several African markets. What are some of the challenges of each of these markets? What are some differences between Irish and different African players?
    The main difference is the number of players and player value. In Africa, there are a lot of bettors, and they bet significantly lower than the Irish do. The Irish bet more than Africans, but there are fewer bettors.


    What makes the sites you work with stand out from the competition?
    The entire HEX Casino network is focused on providing users with useful and relevant information ó researching and resolving new player issues. We also have a special approach to each of the regions ó players from the U.K. and Japan are very different, and so is the type of information they want to find. We are constantly working on the user experience of our sites ó we want everything to be intuitive and simple for the user.


    How do you decide what casinos to promote?
    The first thing we look at is the reputation of the casino. No one wants to send the user to rigged casinos. We also look at how the casino behaves toward users and affiliates. We promote casinos for players depending on where the user is from, by developer, or if there's a specific game they are looking for.


    How big is the HEX Casino Network?
    The HEX team has about 30 people: One person working on each site in the network. There is also a researcher who gathers all the necessary information, an affiliate manager who deals with affiliate programs, and a designer who constantly improves the appearance of our products.

    Iím not a business owner, Iím just a hired specialist. This made my choice to do affiliate work full-time not as hard as it was for people who have websites of their own.


    Do you gamble?
    I gamble online once a month to pay respect to Lady Fortune and to check the brands we recommend on our websites. Since gambling is illegal in Ukraine, Iíve only gambled offline in Amsterdam, at Holland Casino and Merkur Casino. Merkur fascinated me with the old slot machines and one-armed bandits. They create a great old-school atmosphere. Besides, thatís where I was able to win.


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

    I try to get in touch with other affiliates in the industry, but I only succeed with a few. I think itís because many people donít like sharing their knowledge, even though I donít ask about anything sensitive or something that would hurt their business. There is a fairly large iGaming community of people who are engaged in gambling and betting whom I periodically contact.

    I was at iGB Live! in Amsterdam, and it was an interesting experience to chat face-to-face with well-known representatives of the industry. I am also going to London in February to visit the iGB and ICE (if the British government opens a visa for me), and I want to visit SiGMA in Malta, but most likely it's going to happen in 2020.


    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I think that the main trait for the affiliate manager and the program is the willingness to improve and develop the experience of the customer through the marketing funnel. A lot of brands have so many possibilities to lose their clients even before they can deposit because of a lack of attention and neatness in detail.


    Why did you join the GPWA?
    I was looking for platforms where I could share my experience and find answers, and spotted AffiliateGuardDog and GPWA. AffiliateGuardDog's registration form was broken, so now I'm here (laughs).


    What do you like about the industry?
    It's really wide, literally. Everyone can find a place for themselves, and it's developing fast, which gives even more space for work and new challenges.


    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    I'd have full legalization of gambling ó grey and black markets are cultivating the opportunity to scam gamblers by rigged brands.


    And the second one is for affiliate programs. They should stop targeting Scandinavian countries and develop other markets!


    What do you think the industry will look like in five years?
    Rise of underrated markets.


    What's your approach to SEO and drawing traffic to your sites? How much time do you spend on SEO specifically?
    The main approach is to keep pace with search engines ó since, at the moment when you stop learning, you stop being competitive. I don't spend as much time on SEO as I wish.


    What's the most difficult thing about your job?
    The permanent lack of time.


    What's the best thing about your job?
    The opportunity to be creative and implement innovations.


    What do you do to stay in shape Ė both physically and mentally?
    Getting familiar with different activities each time I'm feeling stuck ó playing basketball, riding a motorbike, skiing, anything that I've never tried, which is a lot.


    What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?
    When I was a kid I dreamed that I'd become a scientist ó an inventor and innovator. But then, suddenly, the world spat out Elon Musk so I became an affiliate (laughs).


    If you won $10 million playing the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?
    I'll spend $1 million on myself (car, house, etc.) and I'll find a nonprofit organization in a field I'm really keen to invest in.


    What were you like in high school?
    A normal kid, I guess.


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

    It'd be Kiev Old Town, for sure, with all that Imperial and Medieval architecture.


    What are your pet peeves?
    Smoking, overreacting and the last 17 cups of coffee.


    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
    A knife, a flint and alcoholic drinks. The first two are for surviving, and the third is for enjoyment.


    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    Freddie Mercury, Nicola Tesla, Mark Sandman, Andrei Sakharov and Bruce Lee.

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  3. #2
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    universal4 is offline Forum Administrator
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    Good interview thanks

    Rick
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  4. #3
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    Cash Bonus is offline Private Member
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    A great affiliate interview series, Mykola. It's much appreciated that people like you share their knowledge with other GPWA members. We're constantly learning from each other.

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