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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Anthony Prissman - Fortune Affiliates

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    How did you get involved in online gambling? Why did you choose to join the Fortune Affiliates team?

    I had been living in Australia for four years and decided to return to South Africa with my family. Fortune was looking for someone who had experience in international markets who had both customer service and marketing skills. My profile met their requirements and the rest is history. I knew very little about the online gaming industry but had done some research and realized that Fortune Affiliates had the reputation as a leading program held in high regard. That, plus the fact that Fortune Affiliates represents one of the oldest and most established casino clients, Fortune Lounge, convinced me that it was an opportunity of a lifetime!

    What do you think the three greatest challenges facing the industry are right now? And what would you do to solve them?

    This is a tough question to answer as the industry and global economic climate both present many challenges for 2012.

    · Regulatory landscape – developing and implementing new business models for each landscape, tackling one market at a time and not diluting our focus.

    · EU policy and economic meltdown of many major economies – unfortunately this is not something we can solve but we all have a role to play in trading through volatile times.

    · Market saturation – focus on strengths, differentiation and niche markets.

    If Fortune Affiliates discovers someone is spamming to promote a Fortune brand, what steps will be taken to stop the spamming?

    We have zero tolerance for spam in our business. As per our terms and conditions affiliates found guilty of spamming will have their accounts locked until the case has been fully investigated. Repeated spamming will result in the closure of their account. It is mandatory that all affiliates sign our no-spam guarantee as part of the registration process, in which they undertake not to send unsolicited mail.

    Fortune Affiliates offers a variety of brands to promote. How difficult is it for you to give each brand equal love? Do you find yourself steering affiliates to one brand over another?

    As a company equal effort goes into building out each brand. We had four additional brands which Fortune stopped promoting. These brands were our U.S.-focused brands, which we did not deem worthwhile to continue with for a number of reasons. By only having four casino brands, we are able to give the resources and focus to each and build up the brands in markets where there is a good fit. Cultural nuances play a big role in which brands suit markets best and this is where our differentiation is key to building high-profile, high-converting brands which players love and stick to over time.

    Do the target audiences for your various brands differ?

    Our target audiences don’t differ for our various brands. We position our brands in a way that can cater to various demographics through smart marketing techniques. Different channels require bespoke offers and different approaches which our marketing team works on constantly to drive as many visitors to our brands to facilitate depositing players. Royal Vegas is definitely our flagship brand and has excellent brand recall and attracts a broad player base in almost all marketing territories.

    Some companies, especially those focusing on Europe, use sports betting sites to acquire customers for their other products (casinos, poker, etc.). That's not a path you've chosen to travel. What advantages, if any, do you feel you have operating without a sportsbook? What disadvantages do you feel you have working without a sportsbook?

    Fortune has always been a very focused group. We take the view that we should do what we do right and not spread ourselves too thin in any area. I do think that sportsbook has presented great opportunity to many operators and helped to fill the funnel but we apply our minds to understanding how to offer brands for the casino vertical which brings in the right player the first time. Investing resources into offers, branding and player experience in the casino brands has proven to both ourselves and our affiliate partners that player loyalty, conversion and retention are the result of these efforts, and we have not diluted our focus or strategy away from this vertical.

    We have done extensive investigation over the years regarding the sportsbook crossover scenario and have always come back to the same conclusion: Let’s stick to the knitting and do what we do best. Adding a sportsbook to our bouquet would add complexity and is a very different business from what we are in. We know that sportsbooks have produced great results for some operators in certain markets and has helped act as a buffer where casino acquisitions have been hampered.

    Go ahead and pull back the curtains a little bit. What three things would affiliates be surprised about regarding how Fortune – or any affiliate program – operates?

    1. Professionalism and integrity.
    2. Our expertise – making us leaders in keeping ahead of industry trends.
    3. The amount of money that can be made.

    You offer a revenue share with increasing percentages (up to 35%) based on the number of “new active accounts” affiliates deliver. How do you define what a “new active player” is? Are they players who have been delivered that month? Or can a player who was delivered months earlier who is still playing be considered a “new active player”?

    Affiliates earn revenue share on total actives. This is made up of players brought in during previous months plus those brought in during the current month who have purchased and wagered, which we define as new actives. The bottom line is that affiliates will get paid for ALL players they bring in.

    Affiliates are generally not fans of this type of term. While they understand affiliate programs want their brands promoted, they also know that online casinos/poker rooms/bingo rooms, etc., are a critical part of the conversion process. And they don't want to see their revenues reduced by a site's inability to convert players. What was the thought process behind implementing this term? And how do you address affiliate concerns that their income could be dramatically reduced through no fault of their own?

    We pay all affiliates revenue on the basis that a player purchases and wagers regardless of the time period. The “new active player” term is merely an internal means of measuring the players who came in/or who purchased and wagered in the same calendar month. This by no means affects the earnings of affiliates because regardless of the time frame in which players purchase and wager they will still earn their entitled revenue share.

    Some affiliate programs offer increasing percentages based on the amount of revenue an affiliate brings to their sites. Why did Fortune Affiliates choose to base revenue share percentage on the number of players delivered rather than the revenue generated by affiliates?

    This was a decision made many years ago when our earnings models was established; it facilitates an ongoing partnership. It was considered the industry norm and we chose to go with it.

    We reward affiliates monthly for the players they bring into our business, hence we choose a tier model instead of a value-based earnings model. Our business relies on constantly filling the funnel with new players and this model has worked for our partners and for us, so we have chosen to stick with it.

    One way to keep affiliates happy is to pay them on time. What steps has your program taken to ensure that they’ll be paid on time? And when do your payments go out?

    Our systems and month-end processes are a well-oiled machine. We understand the importance of giving our affiliates what is rightfully due and payable on time for all their hard work. We have never paid our affiliates late and endeavor to get payments out by the 15<sup>th</sup> of every month even though our T&Cs stipulate payment on or before the 20<sup>th</sup>. If we do have problems we always keep our affiliates in the loop and well informed.

    What are the three most important attributes affiliate managers must have in order to be successful?

    Integrity, passion for their work and the ability to execute in a highly performance driven culture.

    Affiliates and affiliate program managers have several things in common. One of them is their e-mail inboxes are always full. How long do you give yourself for responding to e-mail? And what e-mail management tips can you offer?

    Always respond within 24 hours even if it’s not your final response. Being left in the dark is painful and creates uncertainty. Tips for e-mail management: I use the simple follow-up flags in Outlook with reminders, but it’s an ongoing battle!

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?

    We have our own CRM system which we developed internally. Works really well but you still have to put in the tasks!

    In your mind, what’s more difficult, attracting players or retaining them?

    There is no clear answer to this question and I confidently can say that we do well at both but ALWAYS strive to do better. Both present massive challenges and you have to be ahead of the game in both areas. We never acquire enough and we never retain well enough. This drives our business to constantly do things better and smarter with the ultimate objective of making our clients and partners more money at the end of the day.

    How can affiliates help in retaining players?

    There is no doubt that affiliates have a massive role to play in retaining players. I have always said that affiliates are our billboards and ambassadors for our clients’ brands. Affiliates who have websites with relevant content which attract repeat visitors and who have an online community have the ability to give players far more than just an opening offer with a call to action. Where players enjoy the ongoing retention efforts with the help of affiliates through promotions, tournaments, events and more, we experience an increase in the “stickiness factor,” which helps keep players loyal to our brands.

    How long have you been at Fortune Affiliates? What is the biggest difference between when you started and now?

    I have been with Fortune affiliates for three and a half years. In my opinion our biggest change has been in building a team of affiliate managers who have knowledge of what it takes to be an affiliate. It’s all about sharing knowledge and helping our partners build their businesses.

    Historically affiliate management was a “relationship management function” where now the business is far more proactive and takes a value-added approach. Our program builds on this mission to constantly add value to our partnerships.

    What distinguishes Fortune Affiliates from other affiliate programs?

    Affiliate programs today have very similar offerings across the board extending to management tools and reporting and tracking tools. What distinguishes us from other affiliate programs is our people – the relationship managers who build long-standing relationships and make our affiliates more money. Our long-standing partners will bear testament to the fact that over time, in a number of cases, affiliates earn more with Fortune.

    You are based in South Africa. Did you enjoy the World Cup being in South Africa? What was your favorite thing about the experience?

    The opening goal of the 2010 World Cup scored by South Africa set the nation alight. This will never be forgotten.

    If someone is visiting you in South Africa, what's the one place you have to take them to see?

    Cape Town, which has to be the most beautiful city in the world.

    Do you gamble yourself? If so, what games do you like to play? Were you an online player before getting into the industry?

    I dabble for entertainment at land-based casinos on the blackjack tables. I was not an online player before joining the industry.

    If you wish you had known one thing about the industry before you entered it, what would it be?

    That constant change is a certainty.

    What advice do you have for someone just starting in the industry?

    Be passionate about your journey and learn, learn, learn!

    People in the online gambling industry have been known to party. What’s your best party story?

    This is a tough one to answer. There have been some spectacular gatherings around the globe over the last few years. I have to say for me the parties in Budapest hit the spot, more than once!

    What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?

    I love cooking and people so this would be a perfect fit. My beautiful kids and I would make the best pizza and pasta in town.

    What’s the best movie food? And why?

    South African dairy milk chocolate. Nothing else comes close to SA chocolate. Our cows are built differently!

    What is the last book you read?

    The last book I read was Daniel Silva’s The Rembrandt Affair. All Daniel Silva’s books are so well researched and you get lost in his world from page one.

    What is your favorite movie? And why?

    Schindler’s List – the movie teaches one to never forget the past.

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?

    Piano Man” – Billy Joel – because no one can sing from the soul like him. It’s a classic.

    If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be?

    Bring back the USA.

    If you could have dinner with three other people, living or dead, who would they be?

    Jamie Oliver – this guy lives with such passion and loves what he does to the core. My late mom – left me too early in life. Billy Joel – to add some of that soul music.

    What are three things that no one knows about you?

    1. I love to sing.
    2. I love to cook . . . food is my passion and I could happily land up owning a restaurant one day.
    3. At the age of 12 I was chased off a farm by a farmer with a shotgun when he caught me riding a motorbike across his property.

  2. #2
    cass's Avatar
    cass is offline Private Member
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    Enjoyed reading your interview Anthony. Keep up the good work at FA.

  3. #3
    casinogod's Avatar
    casinogod is offline Private Member
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    Default Good Interview, Great Guy!

    Was really nice to read this Anthony. You are a real professional and it is always a pleasure working with you & the rest of the Fortune team.

  4. #4
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is offline GPWA/APCW Program Director
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    Outstanding interview Anthony plus you have great taste in music.
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
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