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You are one of a select few affiliate managers to be interviewed twice in the GPWA Times Magazine. The first time, in our May 2012 issue, we asked you about your role in building the ComeOn! affiliate program. Now, two years later, we're asking you about what it's been like to build Affiliate Republik from the ground up. What is it about starting a program from scratch that is so enticing to you?
Thank you for the interview. I feel honored making it here for the second time. So, I am not going to lie; starting a new program was tough. We were a small team and there was a lot to be done. We also rushed in the start to get the brand published, as well as the system up and running in under one month so that we would launch in time for the Barcelona Affiliate Conference 2012. Starting a program from scratch is challenging because it has to be done just right in order to make it. You have to introduce the right terms and conditions in order to be attractive to affiliates while also taking into account that the program must be successful long term without having to amend the terms and conditions every year thereafter. Then you also have to attract affiliates with a good deal while making sure you stay within your profit margins so the deals do not get compromised over time.

On the other hand, a new start gives you an opportunity to build things right from the beginning. And when things are built right, they move fast and in the right direction. I think this is why we got recognized with an award early on. Since I could start a new affiliate program with my eyes closed now, a new program also gave me more time to be involved with the rest of the operations and learn, as well as contribute to other departments in the company. This was one of the main advantages I saw when Alexandre and Charles approached me with their great ideas and big plans for the future. My past experiences from numerous startups have taught me a lot (all those previous startups are still operational, by the way!) and by nature I am drawn to, and have been involved in, different areas of the business. I simply could not pass on the opportunity, but had to get onboard.

You've worked in the online gambling industry for almost five years now, and you developed a lot of relationships prior to moving to Affiliate Republik. How important were those relationships in launching a new brand?
Considering that so many programs come and go (or change their terms), affiliates have a tendency to see if a program will stick around before they give it a go. This easily becomes the group mentality, and you can end up with no one promoting the program, leaving it with very little room to grow. Having relationships and built-up trust in my pocket was very helpful in launching Affiliate Republik. The people with whom I had those relationships put faith and support in us from the very beginning, which really gave us a head start and opened up doors for new affiliates as well. We reached 500 affiliate signups in no time, about half the time that I had allowed for in my optimistic scenario. We all know that it is not just the quantity of the affiliates, but the quality that matters more; we are lucky to have both.

Affiliate Republik was named the Best Newcomer Affiliate Program at the iGB Affiliate Awards in 2013, one year after you helped ComeOn! earn the same award in 2012. More recently, you were named the Best Affiliate Manager in the Casino and Overall categories at the 2014 awards. What did these awards mean to you? And how important are they in establishing what is still a relatively new program?
I will not be modest. The awards mean a lot. I work countless hours and am practically dating my job. When dating and in love, you usually give and love unconditionally, hoping for the best. Receiving these awards really felt personal and rewarding, as if the career returned the love put into it.

Receiving the first award was perfect timing to help put ComeOn!’s program on the map, and that was the same scenario for Affiliate Republik. Plus we got a bit of extra buzz from those people who knew that I was part of the team and that I’d built a good program before. The second award helped with credibility and made a statement that Affiliate Republik was not playing around. By the way, we have also received an award from Casinomeister as the Best Affiliate Program of 2013, which we were super excited about knowing just how rigorous the community there is. After all this, receiving two personal awards as the best affiliate manager really left me speechless at that time. I know many good affiliate managers who put in the extra hours and dedication to their work, and I take my hat off to them knowing that they equally deserve an award.

These awards are also a message letting me know that I am on the right track and that we as a team are doing a good job.

And also, the awards bring good attention to our business, with instant credibility. We are lucky not to have to chase after affiliates to send us traffic.

In addition to handling the affiliate relationships for Affiliate Republik, you also manage the marketing programs for Tropezia Palace. How much of your time is spent marketing directly to players vs. spending time developing affiliate relationships?
I like working on campaigns that are directed toward players and I always think how these campaigns can be of advantage to affiliates as well. Most of the time we try to make a couple of twists to a campaign so there is something to be used for acquisition as well as for retention and reactivation. Communicating the campaigns to the affiliates keeps me in frequent touch with them and I can also gather their feedback, which is used for future campaigns. Sometimes our internal campaigns are even triggered from the received feedback. The attention between player marketing and affiliate management has really shifted back and forth over time; there is no standard split as I am involved with both sides continuously. Some days are more concentrated on player marketing and some other days I spend more intensely with affiliates in person. Relationships are best developed when we have time to spend in person – e.g., at the events or when we invite affiliates to visit our offices and team.

One of the first things Affiliate Republik did when it launched was become a GPWA sponsor (thanks for that, by the way!). Obviously you felt this was an important piece of your marketing efforts. Why did you feel that way at launch, and how does the GPWA fit into Affiliate Republik's marketing efforts?
We recognize the history and the reputation of the GPWA, and we want to support the community. In addition, we want to stay transparent by having our terms and conditions monitored by the APCW and our tracking software audited randomly to confirm to our partners that we can be trusted.

We have been a little bit thin on the GPWA forum simply because of lack of time, and we plan on improving that to become more active in order to reach out to the members and promote our new casino.

Affiliate Republik is looking to launch Slots Million soon, correct? When do you expect the launch will happen? And what can players and affiliates look forward to when the property does open for business? In particular, what do you expect will differentiate Slots Million from other online casinos?
Correct! We have been somewhat late with the launch as the casino is running on a brand-new platform using new technologies. It has been challenging and a bumpy road, but we expect it to be rewarding in the end. We presented a live demo at the LAC and got better feedback than expected, and that made us very happy. Up until recently we have been ironing out the bugs that were recorded during the live testing, and in recent days we have been busy with optimizing the performance and adding a few last touches to the site. We will launch a casino that has a completely adaptive design to different devices, meaning that if you are on a regular iPad or PC, you will see one image and if you are on a retina screen, you will see another optimized image for that resolution. The same goes with screen sizes; basically, the content and user experience are seamlessly optimized no matter what device you are on. Among other things, we will have over 10 software providers under the same roof including the Big Kahunas. Very exciting times.

One of the most important issues online casinos must address is problem gambling. What do the Affiliate Republik casinos do to try to identify and help players with gambling problems?
That is true. For one thing, if our staff identifies or suspects that a player is losing control, then they chat and advise the player to go over a few standard gambling problem questions and even recommend a few ways whereby the player can talk to a qualified independent person or forum who can help. Then also, the players have either our budgeting tool or the cool-off options that they can use in order to limit their spending budget during a certain period of time, or use the option of self-exclusion to cool off for a bit. In Slots Million we are taking these tools further and the players will be able to budget the time spent in the casino or the number of bets placed per certain period.

It's one thing to bring in new people to a site. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What do your properties do to retain players sent by affiliates?
Besides our usual retention efforts and attentive customer care, we tend to segment players from individual affiliates and send them co-branded mailers, showing our close association with the affiliate they came from. We have also run exclusive competitions for groups of players coming from one affiliate. Currently, we are developing private tournaments with custom prizes that we believe will be a nice addition to the pool of promotions that we run with affiliates.

Affiliate Republik offers affiliates revenue share starting at 30 percent up to 45 percent based on net revenue produced. Why did Affiliate Republik decide to utilize this commission model?
This is the “old school” commission model that is straightforward where the deal aims to reward more for higher turnover. It is the most familiar revenue model in our industry, even if it is an old one. We are actually talking with our current partners and known affiliates about introducing an additional model which is based on the number of real-money players referred during a month. And then, we do also negotiate custom deals with individual affiliates.

Describe the office culture at Affiliate Republik. If there were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation it would hear about at the water cooler?
Lately there has been a lot of talk about the Maltese license (which we just received) and Slots Million, of course. We are also talking about the new Maltese office and who will be there. If the talk is not work related, then we are sharing tips for restaurants or rooftop bars around town.

Growing up in Sweden, did you ever think you'd be traveling all around the world as part of your job? What's the best part of traveling for conferences? And what's the worst part?
Interesting question. Actually, yes! I did plan to be in a position where I will be traveling all over the place. Deciding early on to pursue an international career, I prepared for it by obtaining several international degrees and working with international companies. So far, I have been a resident of seven countries in total – a “Modern Gypsy,” as my friend Richard Wanigasekera would say.

The best part of traveling to conferences is really meeting all the people in person. We do a bit of work and a bit of socializing. Many shared memories are born and relationships strengthened.

The worst part must be trying to pack your suitcase while hung over and make it to the airport on time. After a couple of days of rich dinners and late-night drinks followed by early mornings at the booth, it gets to you in the end. The last day on my way home, I look like a three-year-old girl who is about to start crying out of pain.

How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? And when do your payments go out?
Oh, we have a killer workflow in place. We occasionally manage to get the payments out the door on the first of the month, but of course we do not promise that. First, we identified the complete process of calculating commissions and sending out payments and the people involved. Then everyone is scheduled to do their task in the workflow with exact timing and with no time spill in between handovers. We can manage the full process and send commissions out in one to two days. Naturally, there can be many factors that cause delay of payments past the first of the month; perhaps it falls on a holiday or a weekend, perhaps one of the involved people is not working during that day, perhaps we had a red flag somewhere along the line whereby we triple check everything from the start, making sure we did not miscalculate or miss something. All in all, the payments are usually out by the third business day of the month, even though we have a policy to pay within 10 business days of the following month.

Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
The pop star of the questions! I expect that the licensing regulations will start taking firmer shape around many countries in Europe. The affiliates will have to comply with licensing regulations as well, making it harder to work with programs of their choice. Let’s top the affiliate cake with the Google icing of the future updates. Mobile is going to split into tablet and mobile segments, as they do offer different user experiences; they will not be treated as same. In the next year or two, I believe we will start seeing more “social” driven casinos coming out on the market.

If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?
Easy one! There is a local beer brewery here in Barcelona that is called Moritz where they serve fresh, on-premises brewed beer, without any additives or preservatives. It is beautifully easy to drink with just enough rich taste without going over to the bitter side. The kitchen is top notch and the wine connoisseur can impressively select a personal recommendation out of 400 different wines from the cellar.

What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? And did you read it on an e-reader? Or do you need to have a copy of the physical book in your hand?
1984, by George Orwell, one of my favorites. This book definitely deserves several reads as the symbolism and allegory unveil further and further with subsequent reads. This time, it was on an e-reader even though I still prefer a hard copy in my hands. For those who are not aware, this book introduced the modern concept of Big Brother and is set in a utopian society driven by fear and control. Very powerful psychological drama and thriller.

We asked you what your favorite movie was last time (you said The Matrix, by the way); now we want to know – what's your favorite TV show?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – a brilliant TV comedy sitcom with a good balance of satire occasionally targeting the American way of life as well as political and current events. A group of underachieving friends who never agree and easily betray each other at the slightest sign of benefit. Hilarious.

What do you use for most of your Web surfing: desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone?
I am still using the laptop and my smartphone. The tablet is somehow always farther away to reach than my smartphone, so I use it mUch less.

If we picked up your iPod (or more likely, your iPhone) and pressed play, what song would be playing? And where do you listen to your music? Spotify, Pandora or iTunes?
Tough question. It depends on the week; one week you will hear Blue Note artists like John Coltrane, another week you will hear an electronic Deep House podcast. In terms of how I listen, it's on iTunes.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Somewhere far, far away, to a hammock between two coconut palms on a white sandy beach with few people around and plenty of cold Coronas. Can I bring a lady with me?

If you could have dinner with three people other than Elvis, Richard Branson and David Hasselhoff (your answers last time), living or dead, who would they be?
Warren Buffet, Bono and John F. Kennedy. Sure, we are all involved in the ever-hungry casino industry running after the dollar on every corner. However, I aim that in my later years I will be able to help others, and these three are all icons in our modern day who have contributed to humanitarian causes, each in his own way. Legends.

And finally, since we know that you were a superbaby from our last interview, what's one thing you haven't done yet that you hope to accomplish?
Manage a team of 60 people.