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    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    November 2008
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Boris Chaykin - Offsidebet Affiliates

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    Offsidebet, which traditionally focuses on the Eastern European market, has decided to take on a more global focus. Why did you decide to expand?

    We are a company which started as a traditional brick-and-mortar bookmaker in Eastern Europe (CIS markets) 10 years ago. Until the summer of 2009, we successfully operated over 150 betting shops in Russia, Ukraine and other CIS markets. In 2008 Offside was taken over by some of the best online gaming executives in the industry – people with vast executive-level experience in companies such as Sportingbet, PartyGaming, Gamebookers, etc. As a part of our ongoing development, was developed as our online betting platform. A few months later we added poker and casino products and turned our Web site into a really competitive all-in-one gaming platform. Hence, our more global focus is in line with our management views. We have the ability to make a difference in the industry and gradually apply that across different markets.

    How is the Eastern European market different from other markets?

    While the markets in Eastern Europe are not as overpopulated as traditional Western European online-gaming markets, Eastern Europe is a place with very high overall gaming standards and demands. Business in that part of the world is mainly done on a personal level with media companies, partners and affiliates. We’ve teamed up with some fine local executives in each market – people who have both global and local gaming experience and who know each market’s specifics.

    What’s the history behind Offsidebet? How and when did it start? Please tell us the story behind the unique name of the brand.

    While new to the online market, stemmed off a CIS-operating bookmaker with 10 years of experience. We inherited the name from Offside and since we believed it is a fine match for sports fans, we created We are also the only betting company where you can literally “play at offside.”

    Offsidebet offers a sportsbook, poker room, casino and a games section. Which is most popular among your players right now? How do the player demographics vary among brands?

    At Offsidebet, we believe product superiority, fast and accurate payments, as well as happy affiliates pave our way up. We have a top-of-the-breed selection of products (Playtech poker, Net Entertainment casino and an LVS-powered sportsbook) which easily cross-sell each other. Adding a fine selection of bonuses, as well as a variety of payments, really keeps all our products rolling nicely. Logically, players have slightly different preferences in different markets; however, I can say all our products are developing very well in all markets we operate. Spring 2010 will be a major stepping-stone for our sportsbook as we’re in the process of revamping our sports betting platform and ready to become a top 10 product within the next eight weeks. We expect our already strong offer to match the top-of-line business by April of this year.

    What prompted you to offer a games platform? Who developed Soccer Shot and Roll Up? I know I spent some time playing those games. How much time have you spent playing those games – possibly when you should have been doing something else??!!

    LOL! Games are a natural extension for casino lovers, as well as people who simply want to idle away a few minutes waiting for their game to finish. The product was developed by the market-leader CTXM as we yet again needed to show a sheer top-of-the-line product. As this is a public interview, I can only say my penalty shootout skills are now a lot better, without revealing the amount of time spent on practicing : )

    What are three things everyone needs to know about Offsidebet?

    Three is quite limited and still we need to mention:

    1. Our huge 10+ years of experience and dedication to players, partners and affiliates.
    2. We’re committed to providing players with a top-line gaming experience across all our products – from the initial Web site visit, to the last penny withdrawn in the blink of an eye.
    3. We’re in the market to make a difference, and our current members and affiliates already see and treasure that.
    4. We are a private company owned by very experienced gaming guys. We are not a big faceless plc constantly trying to grind down affiliate payments because they see these as a negative cost. We believe in affiliates and will work creatively with them while paying our partners what they are worth.

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

    They’re both difficult and challenging. Offsidebet’s daily efforts are 100% devoted to both player acquisition and retention. We work very closely with our affiliates and players and always treat everyone personally – no matter if he wagers $1 or $1 million. We offer special VIP player treatment, and we’re committed to this. However, the key here is that we treat everyone as a VIP.

    How can affiliates help in retaining players?

    The Internet has developed immensely over the past few years and everyone is looking for more and more reliable sources of information. People trust their favorite Web sites; that’s a fact in modern times. We work very closely with our affiliates as we know that happy affiliates can bring happy players. It’s a matter of mutual trust, and we treasure that very highly. Clearly, affiliates are also treated as VIPs – we use this as a powerful down-the-line tool as we believe special treatment of affiliates is a key success factor in our business model. Our most successful affiliates have managed not only to build high-traffic Web sites, but also high-trust communities. Successful site owners and webmasters give their customers special, highly professional treatment. That turns them into trustable sources, which makes visitors return.

    Most of the affiliate managers we talk to say building trust with their affiliates is critical to success. How do you go about building trust with your affiliates?

    We know most of our affiliates personally – face-to-face, by email, skype, chats, etc. – we are always looking for a way to keep in touch with our affiliates on an almost daily basis. We are 100% local. You don’t deal with a central office in London. You deal with local guys who speak your language. Our dedicated affiliate managers in each of our markets are constantly trying to improve their relationships with affiliates, as we know how important that is for everyone’s sake.

    Besides trust, what are the keys to building successful relationships between affiliates and affiliate programs?

    Trust is important but not enough. After all, we’re in business here, and in this business we value prompt and accurate information flow, fast and easy affiliate payouts, and easy access of affiliates to their affiliate managers.

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

    A successful affiliate manager needs to have a thorough knowledge of his product, be very friendly and – last but not least – have a terrific business personality.

    How long have you been in the online gambling industry? Why did you decide to enter the field?

    I entered the industry by accident back in early 2001. Well, 10 years in online gaming definitely means I love it! I actually used to be an affiliate myself and I know the business on both sides – I know what is important and crucial to an affiliate and hence affiliates receive the treatment they really deserve at Offsidebet.

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

    No, I never gamble – on one hand I don’t have a gambling mindset, on the other – I try not to mix business with pleasure

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

    I wish someone would have advised me of the endless weekends at my desk, as well as advised me of the endless fun it is after all.

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

    The gaming industry is still developing and blooming – keep a very open mind and be innovative.

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

    Winston Churchill (I would love to get one of his cigars), Leonardo Da Vinci (I would like to touch his genius even for a little while; who knows – I might get some good ideas) and Angelina Jolie (we need someone pretty at the table as otherwise we risk being boring).

    What’s the best movie food? And why?

    The one you share with your loved one.

    What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

    I just finished a trilogy on Bulgarian history – an enjoyable reading. It’s amazing how little people know about this country and its fabulous history. Still, I didn’t really get all of it as I was checking email on my Blackberry too often.

    What is your favorite movie? And why?

    Do you really think I have the time to watch movies, lol?

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

    “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – it really matches my own personality.

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

    Open up the U.S. market – the industry was so much more fun before their federal government tried to wipe it out.

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

    I love the seaside – that’s where I grew up, and just watching and listening to the crashing waves is such a battery-charger. The coast of Halkidiki, Greece is one the most tranquil places I love to revisit as often as possible.

    What are three things that no one knows about you?

    I would love to answer this one but we need to leave some questions open for the next interview. Still, I will give a sneak peak by saying that I used to run an online arbitrage service as an affiliate, so I know all the tricks : )

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