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  1. #1
    GPWA Daniel is offline GPWA Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series - Santiago Castiarena

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    (This interview was originally published in the July 2022 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and where did you grow up?

    I am what we call ďporteŮo,Ē a native of Buenos Aires in Argentina but nowadays living peacefully in Mendoza, a region of foothills and high plains. Itís a much smaller city, but still counted as one of the fourth-largest census metropolitan areas in Argentina.

    What I love about the city and living here is that any season of the year you can find some interesting and exciting activities for any preference. The way to Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres, brings travelers who love hiking, rafting, horse riding and climbing. During the winter, the easiest access for skiers to the Andes is from Mendoza. Apart from extreme activities our region is famous for being the largest wine-producing area on the continent, and Mendoza is known as one of the 11 Great Wine Capitals, sounds amazing, doesnít it?

    Wineries, amazing views on Andes from any spot in the city, sunny days all over the year, this is the business card of the area and what makes people come once and stay forever. To make it even more exciting, I have to mention that around 40 years ago we hosted six matches of the FIFA World Cup. Locals are proud of it even after many years passed because football is integrated into youngsters' life from childhood. Personally, I canít say that I am playing a lot now. I do more watching with a glass of a good Malbec on the side.

    You have over 14 years of experience in the iGaming industry. How did you get your start and was it an industry you thought would turn into a life-long career?

    I started my career in the industry working for a poker room when I was 19 years old. This was when the poker boom was gradually fading throughout the globe so at the start I wasnít very optimistic about the role. But a few months was enough for me to realize that there were so many things to do in this emerging online industry and that was the main reason that kept me motivated and it still does today with my current role at Cyber.Bet.

    I've spent a lot of years in the poker industry scaling my knowledge and skills and there is always something new to learn. The most important thing for me at work is constant delivery of excellent service and developing our product for our clients and partnersí needs. This is exactly what we do in Cyber.Bet.

    I have learned one thing for sure: The key in this industry is not just to bring players, but satisfy their needs, expectations, and give them the opportunity to reach their dream. That works exactly the same way with our partners.

    You also have experience in tech support and as a web developer. How have those skills benefited you in your current role?

    Having dealt with players personally during my first years in the industry as a Help Desk/Tech Support role gave me a strong foundation to understand players and their needs. This, in turn, could translate into specific marketing actions, and later turned into positive results. While my journey through development was very short, I did learn many things, but I think the most important thing for me was learning about the processes, and how important it is to have a strong team to develop and to deliver.

    Tell us about Cyber.Bet and what makes it attractive to both players and affiliates.

    Cyber.Bet is one of the best companies Iíve worked so far for many reasons. Starting four years ago, we went through a harsh journey because the company decided its product had to be different in order to conquer the market.

    Thus, we have one of the best platforms for the players. We update it on a daily basis to meet market needs and be the leader in all we do. Our main focus at the beginning was in esports but having obvious success in it, we didn't limit ourselves and added a sportsbook two years later.

    Enlarging our presence in the market gives us more exposure that users need. Also, we started offering casino games at the beginning of last year. Operating under one brand from our perspective gives more trust to the players and our partners as we are fully focused on what we do and always trying to reach the maximum. The sky is the limit, as you know. We started affiliation recently with the same way of high appreciation to the partners and focus on trust.

    The main idea of our company is to earn together and grow day by day. We respect the feedback from our partners and players because this is what helps a good company practice in order to become user-friendly and client oriented.

    As for affiliates, at the beginning of our journey, we focused more on elite traffic, review sites, because it gives direct exposure to the players and brings in good results. But now with the growth of our team, we are seeking all options of traffic and partners, and this is where the affiliate program plays a key role. We are led by professionals and have grown a lot during the past six months and will continue growing vertically. We are covering all possible traffic types, price models and are more than flexible with the deals we provide, which distinguish us from other brands on the market.

    As you mentioned, Cyber.bet has a strong esports presence, but now offers new verticals. Please tell us more about the decision to expand.

    Esports was our base to start, but we are successfully scaling and developing sportsbook and casino, which have been shifting the companyís focus for the past few years. The success of the sportsbook after we launched was obvious. With casino, we werenít so sure at the beginning, but we are starting to get positive feedback from our partners. Something to be proud of, right?!

    Also, following the strategy to satisfy our players, we recently started offering virtual sports on our site, so sports betting lovers can enjoy winter sports during the summer and still spend some time watching interesting matches. Also, we are running casino tournaments on a monthly basis. Some are exclusive, some are open tournaments from slots providers.

    How popular has the esports market become over the last five years and where do you see it going in the next five years?

    If you asked me how it was five years ago, I would have said that it was a niche with private events and limited options for the players all over the world to enter tournaments, watch them and bet on. Then things changed around 2018-2019 with the shift of interest from local events arranged per country to more global level. Most sportsbook brands existing on the market explored the niche and opened esports products under current brands.

    The peak was in 2020 when the whole world was living in a pandemic. That helped to scale it to the heights we never expected. But even before that we already had our own tournaments with more than Ä50K Euro Prize. That was an insane experience and we are planning to continue this year with more partners and countries involved.

    You are in charge of the LATAM development. Please tell us more about that market and why affiliates should want to enter it.

    This is a high responsibility, I must say. At first our focus wasn't on the LATAM market but then by having more and more players which were coming organically we rearranged our strategy. Yes, the market is huge and, yes, the market is very competitive. We entered it two years ago and for some particular countries like Chile and Peru our presence is non-negotiable.

    Users like the brand, they like the product and features we offer, plus the support and care we provide. Recently we entered the Brazilian market and have had successful cooperation with a few local affiliate agencies, which are planning to scale up. This step-by-step strategy shows us that if we want to conquer the market, it should be a coordinated effort with transparency from all departments and media resources involved. People need to know about you before seeing your brand on the screen.

    What do you like the most about working in the iGaming industry?

    Good question! Never thought about it. I guess the main thing is that itís very dynamic. What we used to see offline is like the Dinosaur Era. Online development is equal to the speed of light. New brands appear almost every day, new features, new types of games/slots for casinos and new trends for sports, that draw peopleís attention to sportsbooks.

    So to answer your question, what I like the most, is this magic we create within this industry and the excitement we bring to our players. This is definitely worth spending 24/7 hours at work, 365 days a year!

    What are the keys to a beneficial working relationship between an affiliate manager and an affiliate?

    For many years I was on the bus-dev side and helped tons of people (single affiliates, agencies and other clients) start working with the niche and become its representative. Iím still impressed by how many talented people there are on the market but afraid to give it a try, and this is the best reward for myself, to help them find the best offer, deal and approach to convert it with the highest ROI.

    Sometimes people just donít know where to start and here we are, a team of professionals with huge experience in the niche and in digital marketing. The key point for us in cooperation with affiliates is to find the best combination of terms (country, deal, product, creatives etc) for each one so the client can see results straight away.

    How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you both professionally and personally?

    Professionally, I have to say that I went through an interesting experience because before the pandemic only country managers were working remotely. Then the pandemic changed everything. We were working from home, and working more hours, for sure, but with greater pleasure as you can just focus on results and not waste your time on transport and other things. The coolest thing is that we have a multi-language company present in almost all continents such as South America, Middle Europe, Africa and Asia. This is not separating us, but just the opposite. It helps us work as one. We have online team-building with some cool offline games arranged by the company and even food delivery to each employee's house, worldwide. That is a lot of fun and brings great pleasure.

    What are your hobbies? What takes up your time when you are not working?

    Being born in Argentina, you may understand that football is part of our life and I'm not an exception. Other than football, don't be surprised, but I prefer Dota and CS:GO, which are pure esports, and I might say that cyber sports in general are highly popular in Brazil, Perķ, Chile and other South American countries, with the top ones being esports simulators FIFA, NBA, NHL, Dota and CS:GO. On our team we have a lot of Dota lovers and we play from time to time as a team.

    When I am not working I like watching movies, TV series or playing video games. CS:GO is a passion of mine and, as I said before, Dota is also my game of choice.

    I also like to investigate the latest programming developments and all the news from the tech industry is always of interest to me. This is another reason why I really appreciate going to the conferences. It's the best way to get the max info about the industry, trends, new companies, new stars on the market, in a very limited period of time.

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

    Bill Gates, Maradona and Linus Torvalds.

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Daniel For This Useful Post:

    drifter8 (14 July 2022), GPWA Gary (20 July 2022), GPWA Maria (14 July 2022), Theratman (14 July 2022)

  3. #2
    GPWA Maria's Avatar
    GPWA Maria is offline In Memoriam, 1970-2022
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    Thank you for the interview Santiago!
    Feature your Affiliate Program with us and enjoy the rewards!

    Regards,

    Maria Florides
    GPWA Program Manager
    GPWA.org | iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com | FinanceAffiliatePrograms.com | GPWAtimes.org | iGamingPocketDirectory.com | APCW.org

    Mob: +35796453758 | Skype: Maria.florides1 | Email: Maria@gpwa.org

  4. #3
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    drifter8 is offline Private Member
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    It was a great interview to read, thank to Santiago and to gpwa.org team for bringing to our attention a lot of interesting people from our gorgeous industry
    Seven times fall, eight times stand.

  5. #4
    Legalbetes is offline Private Member
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    Very interesting interview, thanks for make it!

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