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    GPWA Abby is offline Former Staff Member
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    May 2015
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Vardan

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    (This interview was originally published in the November 2017 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    How did you first get into the iGaming business?
    The first time I learned about the iGaming industry in 2012, I can say that it was a very random discovery. One day, I learned that the domain was sold for $3 million, and that was quite a surprise to me. Back then I was an ordinary internet user, and such news made a shocking impression on me.

    Of course, after getting involved with domaining I had very little in the way of results, just like most beginners. I started to analyze the market, the demand and supply, and the market trends and dynamics.

    And then I noticed that, along with financial and adult domains, gambling domains had great demand Ė their prices were reaching to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I found using the domains sold at such prices just for advertising purposes strange. I was thinking there was another, hidden goal. Apparently, I had no idea about affiliate marketing. After a lot of research, I found out about the gambling industry and affiliate marketing.

    Tell us about your sites. When did you launch them? How long did it take for you to start making money?
    I started to work on my first gambling website in January 2015. At the beginning, it was very difficult Ė I didnít know HTML and wasnít familiar with WordPress, but the most difficult part was the content.

    With the help of YouTube videos, I started to learn and created by solving the problems step by step.

    I received income from it for the first time quite late, after almost one year. It was really encouraging to see the results of the work I did over the months, day and night.

    Your sites are in English, but your GPWA profile says you speak Armenian, Russian and Spanish, as well. Do you have any plans to translate your site into other languages? Why or why not?
    Yes, my websites are in English. Researching the industry, its potential and the legal states in different countries, I decided to focus on the U.K. market, because it is more liberal.

    Some time ago I tried to translate some of the website content into other languages, but the results werenít as good as I expected. However, making SportsBetting777 multilingual is included among my long-term plans.

    Are you a full-time or part-time affiliate?
    Since 2016 I have been a full-time affiliate. EURO 2016 gave me that opportunity. Now I enjoy my work and it provides me with income.

    I would advise beginners to seriously research the industry, educate themselves and get as much information as possible before making any serious investment.

    I also have several other non-gambling-related projects; however, they are more for learning, applying new tactics and as a hobby.

    Do you have employees, or do you run your site by yourself?
    I work on my websites on my own. I have several contacts with content writers who provide me with necessary materials. A friend of mine is helping me with web development, with whose help and direct participation it was possible to start and successfully launch a new project: By the way, I want to use this opportunity to thank Leo for his job and patience.

    Do you have plans for additional sites?
    I'm planning to start a new website related to slots and casinos. This way I can try to diversify my portfolio a little. I am also trying to include some news in this project, which is quite hard.

    Uniqueness has been talked about a lot in our forum; experienced webmasters give this kind of advice a lot to beginners in this industry.

    However, I must say it is one of the most difficult issues to solve. I think hard work and quality content is the base to focus your long-term plans on.

    Sports betting can be a tough sector, especially when players are doing well. How volatile are your revenues from month to month?
    Sports betting is a big and rich industry along with its opportunities and difficulties. If you are able to organize your work correctly, it can pay you back the whole year long.

    As we all know, football is the No. 1 sport in the U.K. and Europe, and the affiliates working for the European market are based on it.

    For sportsbooks and us ó the affiliates ó the good thing is that it is getting more and more popular in the U.S. and in some Asian countries. The newly founded clubs, newly built stadiums and multimillion contracts with European superstar footballers are proof of this.

    I'm very impressed by the development of the American MLS, Chinese, Japanese and Korean leagues. Though the gambling rules in these countries are very strict, they are good alternatives to the European championships during the summer season.

    Along with football, tennis, horse racing, greyhound racing and ice hockey are also popular, and I think there are always interesting tournaments and betting opportunities for the bettors.

    What makes your site unique? How do you help it stand out from the competition?
    It's a difficult question. I think each website is unique by itself, starting from the design, color palette, content, etc. My website is an average affiliate website. I try to focus more on the content quality.

    The competition forces webmasters to always look for new ways to improve their website's quality and make it more user-friendly. I always try to compete effectively, learn and use new tactics and tips in SEO, and publish quality content Ė and I hope the efforts will pay off.

    How do you decide what sites to promote?
    I decide based on the bookmakerís and affiliate programís authority and the general opinion about it, how they work with bettors, whether there are issues with other affiliates or not, how and how fast they solve those issues, etc.

    There are quite a lot of sources that give you an overall image about any affiliate program. For example, the GPWA and AGD have a great role and impact. My regards to the organizers and forum participants for their enormous work.

    Do you gamble or bet on sports yourself? What teams do you support?
    Casinos as a way of leisure do not attract me at all. I prefer to rely on my personal experience and analysis.

    I bet on football matches only, because in my opinion I have more knowledge and experience in it. My favorite club is Barcelona Ė it is an amazing club, with a specific ideology and nature.

    I like Manchester United and Italian Juventus. I'm also quite impressed by the success of Leicester City in the last year. That was a victory of real devotion and will be remembered for a long time.

    How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?
    Unfortunately, I havenít yet participated in any conferences. Of course, it is one of my biggest desires, and I hope to participate in these important events in the near future.

    When I was planning to enter this sector, there had been an international annual conference held in Barcelona for years. Once I had my website and could participate as an affiliate to this conference, it was surprisingly moved to Amsterdam.

    What can I say? Cíest la vie. If the conference doesn't come to me, I'll go to it one day.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I appreciate simple and sincere talks, and during my active years I have been cooperating with many professionals. Itís a great pleasure to work with people who understand this industry and how it works, and whose main goal isnít including you in their program by any means.

    Affiliate programs should be stable and without traps. However, Iíd like to work without quotas, negative carryover or other limitations.

    But if an affiliate program has shown stability and respect for the affiliate during its activities, I am willing to work with them, being sure that later there will be no negative incidents during our cooperation.

    What's your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers?
    Usually, I use e-mail and Skype for communications. Those are my preferred options.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA?
    The GPWA was a real discovery for me. While learning affiliate marketing, I discovered our association and I became addicted to the GPWA. I would read the forum threads for hours, without even being registered there.

    I have learned a lot from the GPWA, starting from web development and SEO to the idea of unselfish help. The willingness to give sincere help and experience exchange that exists in our forum is priceless.

    I would like to see the GPWA even stronger Ė a strong organization that would unite people of our sector and solve problems by the help of all its members.

    What do you like about the industry?
    The opportunities. It's a great industry with a huge turnover, and I want to have my part in it. That's all.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
    The formula here is very simple. There are sports where bettors are willing to bet and casinos where people are willing to play. This makes a huge turnover where oneís loss is another partyís gain. I donít think this simple formula needs to be changed.

    Concerning the affiliate programs, I wish they were more stable, there were exact rules, and the statistical data was more correct and detailed.

    What do you think the industry will look like in five years?
    More developed and rich. New technologies bring new opportunities, and I think that the big players in the industry will analyze and try to make these opportunities work on their behalf. Mobile gambling is proof of this. I am not sure whatís going to be the next big thing.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    My family members and my friends know what I do. They have different opinions, but in general, there are no problems.

    For the rest, I am someone who doesn't work and is engaged in doing something via the internet or has his own online casino.

    If there's no need to specify what I do, I just present myself as a self-employed person engaged in internet marketing with a flexible schedule.

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your sites?
    Iím not focusing much on social networks; I just post new published materials. However, I think I should find more time for that. There's a huge potential there that can be used.

    What's the most difficult thing about running your sites?
    It's the content for me, or Iíd say it's about finding the right professional who can supply me with the quality and quantity I need. Another difficult thing is when some affiliate managers do not fulfill their responsibilities properly.

    For example, you might have a program whose promoted sportsbook changes its free bet size several times a year, and they do not follow up with the affiliates so they know to update this information on their websites.

    As a result, you can see on a Google search result page different free bets for the same sportsbook, and this makes the competition unfair.

    What's the best thing about running your sites?
    The freedom and the pleasure of getting results by my own efforts. I am the manager of my projects, and Iím responsible for my success and failure.

    What do you do to stay in shape Ė both physically and mentally?
    Physical exercises are the best way to go. Also a short walk in a park nearby is quite relaxing and recovering.

    What do you do with your spare time?
    Mostly, I relax by having some beer and watching football with my friends. I like traveling and discovering new places.

    There are a lot of historical and cultural places both in my birthplace, Armenia, and in Spain. When I have some time, I always try to visit and discover a new place.

    What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?
    I donít remember that when I was too young. Maybe an astronaut like most other boys, but at the age of about 10 to 12, I had already decided to become a historian, follow diplomacy and become the minister of foreign affairs.

    Since my childhood I have always been fond of history and geography, and in my perception, diplomacy was an amazing combination of this all. However, the events in our region at the end of the 20th century had their consequences, and Iím in a different sector now.

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, whatís the one place you'd definitely take them to see?
    In Barcelona, I think Iíd take them to the temple of Sagrada Familia, which is still being built since 1882. By the way, I think the city authorities use this fact very successfully for advertising purposes, and the Sagrada Familia has been providing a stable income both for the city budget and for the tourism sector in general for a couple of decades already.

    In Armenia, Iíd take them to the Khor Virap ancient monastery, from which there opens a wonderful view of the biblical Ararat.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
    To the mountains. Fresh air, nature, inaccessibility to the internet and the sense of freedom. It is very impressive and relaxes from daily problems.

    What's your all-time favorite movie?
    Iíd mention Kingdom of Heaven and The Wolf of Wall Street. The last one is a great movie about goals, money, relationships, and creating and losing it all.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    My grandfather, Cardinal Richelieu, Messi, System of a Down and Jeff Bezos. I hope Bezos would tell me some secrets.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.
    1. I have myopia and I wear lens.
    2. I like historical TV series like Game of Thrones, The Tudors and Vikings.
    3. I like hits of the '80s.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Abby For This Useful Post:

    Cash Bonus (7 March 2018), PromoteCasino (7 March 2018), WBM (5 April 2018)

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