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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: George Aristodimou - EGO

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

    I got involved in the gambling industry five years ago when I started working with the Action Poker network as a media buyer. I was working as a technical writer before this for a large telecommunications company based in Cyprus and when the company relocated to Bahrain I applied to AP and started my journey into the online gambling industry. I was with AP for two years and discovered that I really liked working in this industry, so when the opportunity arose to work for a great gaming company to help them launch their poker room – Redwings – I joined EGO as a media buyer and then moved into the world of affiliation as an affiliate manager.

    Do you find it is easier to manage an affiliate program with a variety of brands or one with just one?

    It’s easier when you are working with one brand in affiliate management but more exciting/interesting when working with multiple brands. You also get to know more about the online gambling business when working with multiple types of brands (e.g., casino, poker and sportsbook as opposed to limiting yourself to just poker).

    RedKings Poker recently launched BetRedKings, just in time for the World Cup. How has the new site been received, and has the live-betting option been popular?

    BetRedKings was launched shortly after CasinoRedKings and was received extremely well. It’s an attractive site, the betting software is stable and easy to use, and we offer highly competitive odds and live betting on all major football leagues and sports events. I am not surprised by the great results and reception we received. We also launched some great promotions during the World Cup – World Cup Predictor and $50 Free Bet on World Cup Final – which also contributed to the success we have had with our sportsbook.

    One of EGO's brands is, which deals with backgammon. Backgammon doesn't get the traffic of casino games, poker or sportsbetting. What is the market for the game?

    I think affiliates looking to get into online backgammon promotion should be aware that it takes much longer for backgammon players to convert, so it will take longer for affiliates to see ROI in this gambling market than in online poker and casino. Online backgammon has established itself as a major gaming market in terms of player volume and is still growing, so there is a lot of revenue potential. I think you should only enter or expand into this field if you are willing to make the investment without looking for immediate results.

    What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the industry are right now? And what would you do to solve it?

    I think the greatest challenge facing the industry now is restrictive government policy. Some governments have tried to prohibit online gambling through law (U.S.), and by doing so restricting/infringing on individual freedoms, and other governments are trying to regulate it (France, Italy) while finding a way to accommodate one’s freedom to gamble online and at the same time protecting the collective good. I think as an affiliate manager of EGO I have a role to play in the way I conduct my day-to-day business. By conducting business in an ethical way I know that I have contributed toward the success and survival of this industry. Acting in an unethical way will just give governments another reason to justify restrictions.

    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?

    We value greatly the relationships we have with our affiliates and for this reason we always pay affiliates on time. In fact we pride ourselves on having never been late processing our affiliate payments. Our affiliate payments are processed by the 10th of every month. We are also looking at integrating more payment options to make it easier for affiliates to get paid.

    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?

    I try to respond to all my e-mails within 24 hours, but at times this is not possible due to the workload and the number of affiliates I am managing. The urgency of the response and the subject matter of the e-mail will also determine how long it will take for me to respond to an e-mail. If the e-mail concerns a complicated matter that requires investigation to resolve accurately, then it will take longer to respond to than a simple question. At EGO affiliate managers do not just respond to affiliate queries; we also have to offer our views on the day-to-day running of the business from an affiliate marketing perspective, how our affiliate program can be improved, generate content and creatives for existing and new affiliates, as well as contact and communicate with potential affiliates to get new affiliate partnerships running – in fact we might be out of a job if we do not get new affiliate partnerships running, so this is a good time to e-mail me about joining our affiliate progam!

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

    I don’t use any special software – just an old-fashioned Planner/Diary. With so many tasks pending at any one time, prioritizing tasks is very important for an affiliate manager to ensure that no major deadlines are missed.

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

    I think both have their difficulty level but attracting players is more difficult in the current business environment. With so many online gaming operators emerging and markets closing, you always have to offer the best in all areas to attract new players (promotions, customer service and software). I think this is something we do very well and is the main reason why we have enjoyed great success and have established our brands and affiliate program internationally.

    How can affiliates help in retaining players?

    Affiliates have a big role to play in retaining players – especially affiliates with forums. Operators such as EGO invest a lot of funds in running promotions to both convert and retain players, so affiliates can help by giving these promotions maximum exposure on their portals.

    You always come across some affiliates who will only promote exclusive promotions for their players. They think that an exclusive offer will convert better for them, so they limit exposure to exclusive offers. They don’t realize, though, that while we have given them an exclusive offer most of the time it’s our big general promotions that both convert and retain their players – and keep them playing. This is something affiliates on rev share deals should take note of. I urge affiliates to contact their affiliate managers and find out what promotions their brands are running if they are not being kept up to date on current promotions. We at EGO always keep affiliates up to date on the promotions for all our brands so that they can give these promotions exposure on their site and benefit from them.

    You've been at EGO for over three years. What is the biggest difference between April 2007 and now?

    EGO has grown incredibly and quickly since I started: we have increased our product offering from poker and backgammon to also include casino and sportsbetting. When I started, our main established brand was our backgammon room, BGroom, and we were just launching RedKings poker. We have since established RedKings as an international poker room and we also expanded into casino and sports betting with the launch of EUcasino, CasinoRedKings and BetRedKings.

    What distinguishes EGO from other affiliate programs?

    EGO offers a complete package – something few affiliate programs do. When affiliates sign up to our program they will have access to industry-leading software (comprehensive reporting and marketing tools) and commissions, country affiliate manager support and prompt and secure monthly payments. We don’t just say we will offer a better commission, we do it. This along with our reputable brands has allowed us to establish strong and lasting affiliate partnerships which have contributed to our program’s fast growth. For this reason I would like to thank all our affiliates for their support and hard work because without them we would not have achieved the success we have.

    You've also promoted Poker4Ever, Action Poker and Tiger Gaming. What lessons did you learn at those programs, and how have they affected you at EGO?

    I was doing media buying for Poker4Ever, Action Poker and Tiger Gaming instead of affiliation, but if there is one thing that I learned it’s that to be successful in this business you have to work hard and gain the respect of those you work with through trust and reliability. Affiliates need to know that you will look after their interest – whether it’s resolving a query or relying on you for creatives.

    You went to college at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. What did you study there, and how did you eventually end up in Cyprus?

    I studied Political Science at UofT. After I finished my degree, I worked for a few years in Toronto and then I decided that it was time for a change. I needed a change from the weather (cold winters), the long rides to work and the big-city life. I had relatives in Cyprus, so I decided to make the move and try out the Mediterranean life. Living on an island has been a big change but a good change – especially the sun, and the beach.

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

    I have to admit I did not know much about the industry before I entered it, but if there is something I wish I had known it would be the great people who work in it (friendly and professional) and how exciting it is. People hear “gambling” and they get a false impression of the industry and the people who work in it.

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

    Be motivated, work hard and be patient and honest. I think these are the ingredients to get on the road to a successful career in this industry. Oh, and let’s not forget, try to attend as many conferences as you can to establish new partnerships, personalize your existing partnership (i.e., put a face to the e-mails) and most importantly, take advantage of the free sponsored drinks – reward yourself for the hard work you have been doing!

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

    There are a lot party stories – I just can’t recall them. Drink moderately!

    What’s the best movie food?

    I would have to say popcorn because you can enjoy it for most of the movie.

    What is your favorite movie?

    "Star Wars" (premiere) because it revolutionized special effects and science fiction and kept you on the edge of your seat.

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

    “Eye of the Tiger,” from Rocky – inspirational song.

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

    Dishonesty – this exists to some extent in every industry but I would still like to see this eliminated in the online gaming industry, where agreements are done between people who are thousands of mile apart.

    If people are visiting you in Cyprus, what's the one place you have to take them to see?

    There are many places to see in Cyprus so it’s hard to just select just one. I think they need to see some of the ancient sites (Greco-Roman) such as the Temple of Apollo, the Kourion Theatre, the Troodos mountain range (including Mount Olympus, with a height of 1951 meters) and some of the great beaches.

  2. #2
    ironman2000's Avatar
    ironman2000 is offline Non-sponsor Affiliate Program
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    April 2007
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    Hey George,

    I always wondered when you would be interviewed here on GPWA as you are such a key hard working affiliate manager for EGO ..............and I must state a very good friend to boot.

    Very nice to get to know a little more about a very experienced colleague in our Industry and who's guidance you can always trust!!!!!

    I just pray that all is fine in personal life...........stay strong M8!!!


    SKYPE= ironman20001

  3. #3
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is offline GPWA/APCW Program Director
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    Great interview George. I always enjoy reading these to know a little more about the people we work with. Thanks for sharing.
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
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  4. #4
    Paolino's Avatar
    Paolino is offline Private Member
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    Nice to hear something more about yourself George!

    Online Gambling Guide -
    I sell Cheap Web Hosting.

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