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  1. #1
    GPWA Abby is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series - Geert Polmans - Netgaming Solutions

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    (This interview was originally published in the June 2016 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    You joined Amsterdams Casino as brand manager last fall. What drew you to this position, and how do you think things have gone over the last year?

    A good friend of mine has been in the business for a couple years, and it always drew my interest. When I got a tip for an opening with Amsterdams Casino, I didn’t hesitate and went for it! I think we’ve made some improvements to the Amsterdams Casino website, and we're also converting affiliate traffic better. There will be more interesting updates coming real soon!

    Before joining the Amsterdams Casino team, you were a content manager for an online retail site, Did you learn anything working in retail that has helped you transition into the gaming industry?

    I was on a team of five content managers. Working in retail at bestlist, and at my other previous jobs, has had its advantages when making the switch to the gaming industry. There are a lot of similarities in the way a website should work and behave. Of course, it doesn't translate perfectly, but lots of the same ideas work for both retail and gaming. You just have to make sure you adjust your approach to reach your audience.

    Tell us a little bit about the branding of Amsterdams Casino. Do you accept players outside the Netherlands?

    I think the name works well all over the world, since Amsterdam is well known all over the world! So I wouldn’t say we’re just there for a Dutch audience. We do accept players from all over the world. We are licensed by the U.K. Gambling Commission. We’ve been actively targeting countries like the U.K., Germany and the Scandinavian countries. We’re seeing good results there, so I think these countries will become a much bigger part of our player base.

    The site has English, German, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish as language options. Why did you decide on these languages, and do you have any plans to expand to other languages in the near future?

    We decided on these languages based on our numbers. We see how we perform with players from these countries and other areas where these languages are spoken (e.g., German is also spoken in Austria). We currently have no plans to expand to other languages, but if we see any opportunities, I don’t see why we wouldn’t add more languages.

    The casino has been open since 2007. How important are longevity and reputation in the online gambling industry?

    We’re coming up on our 10-year anniversary next year! Longevity and reputation are definitely important. For players, a brand that’s been around for a while has a more trustworthy feel to it, which is, of course, very important in this business.

    Does Amsterdams Casino run its own affiliate program with Netgaming Solutions, or do you work with a third party?

    We’ve been using EGASS since 2013, which is developed by Network Media Services in Essex. And I must say, it works very well for us.

    Describe your role in regards to affiliates. How much of your traffic is attributable to affiliates?

    I work with all Dutch-speaking affiliates. My colleague Alistair Sparrow handles most other affiliates and is very keen to handle anything any affiliate needs. I would say about 40% of our traffic is attributable to affiliates.

    Netgaming Solutions offers affiliates lifetime revenue share of 25-35% depending on net revenue, with no negative carryover. Why did Netgaming Solutions decide on this commission model?

    The 25-35% is our default offer for affiliates. Most of our affiliates have a customized deal that is better than the default 25-35%. We also offer CPA and hybrid deals.

    To calculate net gaming revenue, you subtract a fixed 18% administration fee from gross revenues. Does that administration fee cover all player bonuses? Or do bonuses for players also get deducted when determining net revenue?

    This fee does not include player bonuses. But player bonuses do not count as revenue or negative revenue until the play-through requirements are met. At that point, the money will be credited to the player's real-money account and will count as a "win." Of course, if that money is then lost, affiliates will make revenue share on it.

    Netgaming Solutions recently became a GPWA Platinum Sponsor. Why do you feel it's important to support the GPWA? And how does a sponsorship help your organization?

    We feel it’s important to be seen in the affiliate industry. We want to be there for all our affiliates and answer any questions they may have as soon as possible. The GPWA helps us communicate with the affiliate community.

    When are payments sent to affiliates?

    Our payments are sent out on the fifth business day of every month at the latest.

    It's one thing to bring in a new person to a site. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What does Amsterdams Casino do to retain players sent by affiliates?

    Without getting into too much detail, we analyze our players and their behavior in order to use the right tools at the right times to get them to stick with us. We also have monthly player promotions, which usually have very big prizes. We’ve given away trips to New York City, one year’s salary, big-screen ultra-high-definition TVs and much more! For affiliates, this is also a good way to promote our brand. We always have matching graphics to go with every promotion that can be used by affiliates, and we can always make specific graphics if requested.

    Problem gambling is a serious issue for our industry. What does Amsterdams Casino do to protect players who may have a gambling problem?

    Gambling should always be about having fun. And that’s what we want our players to have. Players who have a gambling problem can have their accounts shut down, and we can direct them to the right organizations to help them with their problem. It’s also possible for them to set a deposit limit or a time-out, or to be self-excluded.

    Describe your typical workday.

    I’m very happy to say I don’t really have a "typical workday." I have a lot of variety in my work, so no day is ever the same as the last one. I try to spend as little time as possible in meetings, but of course it is necessary to have them. Our team tries to make our meetings as efficient as possible, so we don’t spend two hours when one hour would be enough. I’d say I send out around 20 e-mails a day. I’m always available on Skype for affiliates.

    Describe the office culture at Amsterdams Casino/Netgaming Solutions. If we were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation we'd hear about at the water cooler?

    If I had to use one word to describe our office culture, it would be easygoing. We have a very relaxed atmosphere at our office and everyone gets along great. The non-work-related conversations would be about football, Formula 1 (at least, I talk about F1, the others not so much) and discussing who gets the next round of coffees. We do 10 card flips to decide who has to get them.

    Have you had a chance to attend any gambling industry conferences yet? If so, what were your first impressions?

    I attended LAC, where we had a stand. I must say it was a great experience to meet a lot of affiliates. I feel it was good for us to be there and to show our brand. Next to that, the parties were awesome!

    What do you wish you could change about the industry?

    I don’t think I’ve been in the industry long enough to be able to say what should be changed. I think you would have to ask me this question again in about a year or so.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?

    I think, with more and more regulated markets, the industry will be more and more accepted in many countries. The industry will need to adapt to the different ways these markets should be targeted. What works in the U.K. will not necessarily work in other markets. This is a challenge the industry has to take and we, as Amsterdams Casino, will of course try to understand and target these markets as best we can.

    If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?

    Since I only moved to Malta last year, I still feel a little bit like a tourist myself! But I would say, go where nobody else goes. Find the quiet but beautiful spots this island has to offer, and take in the beautiful surroundings.

    So we Googled your name, and we came up with this video on YouTube: Unfortunately, we don't speak Dutch . . . can you please explain what is going on here? Even though we don't understand it, we loved watching!

    Well, then. I never thought this would get out this much! This is a song I recorded back in 2014 with a couple of friends in the Netherlands. It’s specifically targeted at a little festival we call Carnival (or in my dialect, Vastelaovendj). It’s a Catholic festival held 40 days before Easter and right before the start of Lent. The way we celebrate it, music is a very important part of it. And this particular song was made for my town’s carnival song contest, which we won! The music is in a Dutch dialect spoken in Limburg. Every little town has its own version of the dialect, so it varies a lot. The music made for Carnival is always in the dialect of the town where the writers and singers are from.

    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?

    The last book I read was God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette; he and Teller are also my favorite magicians. It’s a great book, and I think it doesn’t matter if you are an atheist or not to enjoy it.

    I’ve never read a book on an e-reader. I don’t own an e-reader — or tablet, for that matter — and I probably never will. (I hope I didn’t say that about cellphones 15 years ago.) So yes, I prefer to have a physical copy of the book in my hand.

    What's your favorite movie?

    Forrest Gump. If you don’t agree with me, just watch it again. It might just move up on your own best movie list!

    What do you use for most of your Web surfing: a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone?

    Laptop and smartphone. I would say about 70% laptop, 30% phone. This gap was smaller when I lived in the Netherlands, because my mobile Internet was a bit faster there.

    iPhone or Android? If we took out your earbuds, what would we find you listening to?

    Android. I just find it nicer and easier to use. If you took out my earbuds, you’d find some Dutch music like Acda en de Munnik, or maybe some classic rock.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?

    A lot of my recent trips have been to the USA. I lived in Hawaii for six months and I’ve visited a lot of states already: California, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York. I hope to visit every state at least once.

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

    If you’re aiming at famous people, I would say Michael Schumacher, John Lennon and our beloved Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.

    My favorite beer is Hertog Jan. I’ve watched every episode of How I Met Your Mother at least six times.
    I would’ve said that I had recorded a song that's available on YouTube and Spotify, but you found that out already! So I’ll give you another one: My friends in Holland called me Bompa. It's up to you to look up what that means.

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  3. #2
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    Very interesting read. I agree, Forrest Gump is a great movie !!

  4. #3
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    Nice interview ! I visited many countries but not yet been to USA which will probably be one of my next destinations. I really keen to go to LasVegas

  5. #4
    FruityJelena's Avatar
    FruityJelena is offline Former AM
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    Pleasurable to read, great interview Geert!
    I didn't know you've been living in Hawaii (or I did forget that), you lucky, lucky fish!

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