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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    November 2008
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series: Martin Basl - Jetbull

    Name:  MartinBaselJetbull-Banner.jpg
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    How did you get involved in the online gambling industry? And why did you choose to join the Jetbull team?

    In December 2004 I started my first sports-betting-related Web site. There were just a couple of online bookmakers in the Czech market back then, but I knew there would be many more in the years to come. I was in contact with a couple of bookmakers and in the summer of 2005 I started working for an Austrian sportsbook. I ended up working with them for more than five years.

    I decided to join the Jetbull team because Jetbull is a very progressive company and there are many great opportunities and challenges ahead. I have been working very closely with affiliate partners during the past five years, but there is still much to learn so I am really happy to be part of the Jetbull team.

    Jetbull Affiliate launched a new Web site earlier this year. Why did you relaunch the site, and what has the feedback been?

    Jetbull has been around for five years and the business had outgrown its previous systems and infrastructure. The new Jetbull Affiliate site was developed in tandem with new sportsbook, casino and poker sites. It made perfect sense to refresh the entire offering when going through such a massive project.

    We are extremely happy with the response from all our partners, both new and old. Being an established business with a lot of experience, we were fortunate not to make any major mistakes or experience any serious “teething problems.” All in all, we are very satisfied, and that is reinforced in the response from all partners.

    Does Jetbull view itself as a sportsbook first, with casino and poker coming afterwards? Or does it view all three brands equally?

    Jetbull launched as a pure sportsbook and then added casino. However, since the relaunch of the business, with all-new back ends, we now view ourselves as a provider of world-class gaming and wagering services. Our new casino is growing rapidly, our sportsbook is going from strength to strength and our new poker room has really taken off. And there will surely be additional gaming products coming soon that will further establish us as a true multi-product destination.

    How would you describe the Jetbull brand?

    Jetbull’s mantra is “The World Belongs to Players!” We are a destination for “players” of all shapes and sizes. The brand is young, exciting and happening, and perhaps more importantly, solid, reliable and trustworthy!

    Your casino is powered by NetEnt software. And your poker room is on the Cake Network. Why did you go with different software providers for your casino and poker products? And how pleased are you with the results so far?

    We really like NetEnt, both from a player’s perspective and also for the back-end functionality. Their development roadmap is really exciting, with lots of new, cool games coming online, and the growth in our casino is testament that our players really like it, too.

    Cake Poker Network is not the biggest but it has perhaps the best loyalty program on the market today. Along with sufficient liquidity and attractive tournament offerings, a unique and generous loyalty program is in our opinion essential to extract maximum lifetime value as well as maximize the benefits and enjoyment for the player.

    How much crossover do you have among your sportsbook, poker and casino offerings? Do sports bettors become casino or poker players? How about the other away around? Do casino or poker players become sports bettors? What is the usual "flow" between properties?

    I don’t think we are much different from most other multi-product operations. Since we have just relaunched our business with all-new products, it is too early to draw too many conclusions. What we have seen to date is a big portion of our sports customers really like the casino and are happy to try our poker. Pure casino players will only bet on sports during big events. Our poker players have shown quite a liking for our casino as well – something we are going to encourage further.

    What's the average age of your players? And what's the male/female ratio?

    The average age varies dramatically from country to country, but our global average age is 26. We, like most operators, have a majority of men but our casino is pretty evenly matched, with 48 percent women!

    How important are social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in terms of promoting the Jetbull brand?

    We have a lot of social media “believers” in our company and we have great plans for the near future. Social media is not like traditional marketing channels and most companies miss the point. We have developed some very cool games specifically for Facebook that we expect will gain a huge following. Please stay tuned!

    Formula 1 star David Coulthard is a Jetbull ambassador. Has there been an increase in business or traffic since this was announced? What has Coulthard done for you?

    Obviously, working with David has been instrumental in increasing the visibility of Jetbull and ultimately the traffic. We have worked with David (or DC, as he’s known) for over a year now and he’s featured in a wide range of campaigns and promos both on and offline. Going forward, we will bring our players closer to DC by offering opportunities to win F1 packages, exclusive casino experiences, poker tournaments and several other events. We also have a lot of unique and very cool F1 merchandise that our players can win. It is a great partnership and we are very pleased to have DC on our team.

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

    Taxation & Regulatory Instability. France’s draconian taxation regime, Italy’s selective legislation and the myriad of different regulatory frameworks make compliance in all European markets increasingly difficult. Each country interprets its gaming legislation differently, often driven by political ambition that is not related to gaming in the first place. This goes against the EU and the single-market approach and makes it both difficult and costly. And the player ends up footing the bill in the end.

    Increased Unequal Competition. For example, we are not able to compete with PokerStars or Full Tilt; they don’t follow the same rules as we do. This inequality must be dealt with as it is not sustainable in the long run.

    Truly Mobile Gaming. We have all been following the emergence of mobile gaming and wagering solutions. There is still a long way to go before the mobile platform can match the current online market, especially in terms of payments, risk/fraud, etc. This is an area of particular importance to Jetbull as we believe mobile gaming will help us increase market share in our target markets.

    If Jetbull Affiliate discovers someone is spamming to promote the program, what steps will be taken to stop the spamming?

    We operate with zero tolerance for spamming or any other activity that we don’t allow. Noncompliance leads to termination of the partnership. Affiliate marketing is a partnership based on trust and we rely on our partners to promote us to a certain standard. Similarly, our partners must rely on us to provide a service of a certain standard. If we were to allow some partners to spam, then we will very quickly be dropped by many serious partners who do not condone such behavior.

    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?

    I believe this is one of the most important things for any partnership. All partners want to be paid on time and no one benefits from delays in payments. That is why we are working closely with each partner to make sure all commissions are correct and their payment details up to date. We always process our commissions by calendar months and send out payments on the 10th of the month.

    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?

    My e-mail inbox is always full, but I simply cannot let partners wait for answers or critical information. In case we have too many things going on, I have a great affiliate team behind me. On average it takes me less than six hours to answer any partner’s e-mail. I am working hard on prioritizing the most important matters to be resolved first and then move down the list for issues that perhaps can wait.

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

    I am using very simple software for that. It is called uTodo. You can easily set up your to-do list and get different priorities for each task. It also allows me to save all my ideas and plans for the following days and weeks. I’m sure there are many more sophisticated tools than this one, but I have got used to working with uTodo and really like it. It helps me save a lot of my time and makes my daily work much more effective.

    What’s more difficult — attracting players or retaining them?

    I believe that in the current situation it is much harder to retain new players than to attract them. If you look at the competing Web sites, you will see that there is a regular “bonus war” between them. In order to attract new players, they are willing to offer almost any bonus in all kinds of products. The problem comes when those players reach the bonus requirements, which is when most of them lose the reason to play with the company. That is why good retention is simply crucial for any company in this industry.

    How can affiliates help in retaining players?

    Affiliate partners play a big role in retaining players. There are still many customers that don’t read newsletters and they can easily miss any news from our side. Thanks to our partners we are able to get such players back to the game and keep them playing with us.

    Do you gamble yourself? Were you an online player before getting into the industry?

    I always enjoyed betting on sports and playing casino games, even before I started in the industry. Sadly I am so busy these days that I have very little time left over to gamble, but when a new game from NetEnt comes up, I am one of the first people to check what the game has to offer. It is always good to know the games because many affiliate partners are asking you for advice on what games they should be promoting on their sites, etc. I say if you want to know your products, you have to test them.

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

    I wish I would have known how much commitment it takes. Players play 24/7 and you have to be available 24/7 to deal with any issue that may come up. So sometimes you have to work very long hours – but the results are worth it.

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

    Anyone who is entering the industry now needs to have vision, courage and also a lot of patience. I know people who joined our industry and left after a short period as they discovered better potential in different sectors. Many times they just expected too much and were disappointed with the results, or perhaps were not willing to work hard enough to reach their goals. It is good to start without too high expectations and give yourself goals that you are able to achieve in the near future. I always say, “Expect the best, be ready for the worst.”

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

    I am not the biggest partier and would rather have a nice chat with a person I want to talk to. I used to party quite a bit when I first moved to Malta a couple of years ago, but I can’t think of any particular story that would be worth mentioning. You know that saying, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.”

    You are a native of the Czech Republic. If someone was visiting there, what's the one place they'd have to see before leaving?

    There are many nice places in the Czech Republic, not only in Prague. I am from Pilsen, which is located around 100 km southwest of Prague. It’s also a great city with rich history, so I would recommend checking it out and tasting the original Pilsner beer in the world-famous brewery. If anyone will be planning a trip to the Czech Republic, just drop me an e-mail ( and I will give you advice on which places are best to visit.

    What's your favorite traditional Czech dish?

    I have many favorite Czech dishes but the one I will never stop loving is roasted pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. A real Czech classic!

    Are you living in Malta right now? If so, what do you miss most about the Czech Republic? And what do you like best about Malta?

    I have just recently moved back to the Czech Republic. One of the reasons I left Malta is that I missed the real nature in the Czech Republic. Of course, Malta is a nice island with more than 320 sunny days per year. You can enjoy diving and fishing during the long season, but after a couple of years there you realize that it is not only about the weather. You start missing the forests, hills, rivers . . . even the snow. In Malta, the only snow you see is artificial snow in the shop windows.

    A little Google sleuthing reveals you might be a badminton player. Is that the case? And if so, how did you get into the game, and what do you like about it?

    Yes, I am a badminton player. I started to play when I was 15 years old but after two years I had to decide between handball, table tennis and badminton. I chose handball, which I have played for more than 10 years. When I came to Malta, I picked up badminton again. I was very lucky because I could train with a former Bulgarian champion, who lives in Malta and is still playing actively. When you play with such players, you realize how poor your game is and how much you have to learn to become a top player. What I really like about badminton is that it’s a fast-paced and highly unpredictable game requiring quick reflexes and some degree of fitness. It is also a game of strategy. Without the right strategy you can lose against anyone.

    What is the last book you read?

    The last book I read is called Ca$hvertising, by Drew Eric Whitman. It is about the psychology behind the response. I have read several similar books but this one really stands out from the crowd. I have to say that I haven’t read such an interesting book for a very long time, so I can definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this topic. It is very easy to read and will give you a lot of new ideas.

    What is your favorite movie?

    I have many favorite movies. One I can mention is "The Game," with Michael Douglas. It is a very interesting psychological thriller, the kind of film that surprises you at the end because what you believed is completely different from the reality. It also leaves you with many open questions that are not fully answered at the end. I think this was one of Michael Douglas's best film roles.

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

    There are really too many songs to mention. If I would have to choose one, maybe it would be “Bohemian Rhapsody,” from Queen. It is simply genius.

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

    I would create an international gaming commission responsible for the gaming regulations in all countries. This would mean one rule for all.

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

    1. Leonardo da Vinci – he was really ahead of his time, maybe the most multi-talented man who ever lived.
    2. John Lennon – he was an amazing musician who inspired a lot of people.
    3. Tom Hanks – one of the best actors of this generation. I would have a lot of questions for him.

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  3. #2
    Simmo! is offline Public Member
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    July 2004
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    The average age varies dramatically from country to country, but our global average age is 26.
    Out of interest, does that vary a lot from sportsbook to casino Martin? For some reason I always think of casino as an older audience than sportsbook (as a generalisation).

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