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AffiliateWIDE represents two brands – Black Diamond Casino and Box 24 Casino. Both brands are standalone casinos. What are the advantages of promoting standalone casinos for affiliates? What challenges do you face in not offering poker, sportsbooks and bingo, like some other brands do?

Like anything else in life, you have to pick a path to follow before you can diverge from that path into new ventures. In an industry with so many different markets and targeted traffic, it only makes sense that both affiliates and operators attempt to conquer a particular niche before taking on too many directions at once. I have never been an affiliate – nor do I plan to jump down that road – however, with all the people competing for traffic, making yourself established within one target market is definitely the best way, professionally speaking, to prepare yourself for the long run as you will then be more adept in the future at approaching a new sector within this business.

In terms of challenges facing us, I look at it as the exact opposite, really. By not focusing on poker or sportsbook, we have been able to go full speed into the casino market without having to set unrealistic goals for ourselves. AffiliateWIDE is a family-sized operation with all the tools and expertise to position itself as a prime choice for casino traffic and we are in this for the long haul; so, should the time be right to delve into other projects, we will not miss that opportunity. For now, though, we have a set goal before we can move on to the next phase.

What distinguishes your two casinos from other casinos in the market? What makes them different and unique in comparison to other casinos powered by Rival software?

I think Box24 and Black Diamond stand out in particular due to the way in which the ownership plays such an active role in both player communication and satisfaction. The owner of these brands has a 24-hour role in what is happening from the top down in terms of his staff making sure players are never getting the short end of the stick. The word “Vacation” is not a part of his vocabulary, and as a result I think the players can feel the hands-on role of the operator himself.

AffiliateWIDE’s brands run everything completely in house: support, processing, retention, etc. Up to date, we are the LARGEST, NON WHITE LABEL, Rival-powered group. As an affiliate it only seems logical to promote this type of program – assuming the affiliate focuses on the type of traffic to which we cater. Once we launch Spartan Slots Casino, there will be no question about the direction in which we are headed and how we should effectively be able to monopolize the Rival market.

Recently, AffiliateWIDE made a series of decisions that really pleased affiliates and showed your dedication toward them. But these same decisions split with Rival policy for its skins. Earlier this year, Rival decided to charge affiliates when their players played progressives and pass on losses from MasterCard processing issues to affiliates. But AffiliateWIDE announced Box 24 (Black Diamond wasn't on Rival software yet) would absorb the MasterCard charges and NOT charge affiliates for progressive play. First, why did you make these decisions? Why were you able to split with Rival here? And why did you choose to move Black Diamond to Rival?

Eating the MasterCard charges was an easy decision even though it was a huge financial loss to the company. However, this is something we had prepared for a while back, knowing that something like this is never too far away. Simply put, there is no reason for affiliates to get shafted for business established between the processing companies and the operators. That would be like employees of AffiliateWIDE having to chip in some of their wages because of damages to Wael’s [the casino owner’s] car! This along with the decision not to charge for progressive play was a no brainer, and Rival knows that we are completely in control of all of our own company matters, except when it comes to issues regarding the software itself. Rival allows operators to set their own business terms and structure; so for us, it makes sense to handle the progressive issue in line with the other leading software providers in the industry.

The decision to move to Rival was a simple one. Based on our reputation within the Rival community and the future we saw to really exploit that market, we figured having a completely Rival based program with multiple brands would allow us to compete better with the biggest RTG and Vegas Tech affiliate programs. Within the U.S. market especially, players are still waiting for a prime casino group offering another strong option besides the RTG and Vegas Tech groups that have been in the market for years.

Some affiliates have complained about it being difficult to find and retrieve marketing material from Rival systems. What has AffiliateWIDE done to address that issue?

AffiliateWIDE is in the quick process of adding a special “Marketing” section on that is not attached to the Rival backend. Here, there will be a plethora of easily navigable marketing resources in addition to the standard tools offered.

What are three things every affiliate needs to know about AffiliateWIDE?

We are in this for years to come, and going about business in only the most ethical manner is the way to ensure this future.

Affiliates are ALWAYS paid on the first of each month

You will earn with AffiliateWIDE – whether you want to or not!

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

Obviously, across the industry, the long arms of various governments are always complicating matters and this has a HUGE range of effects, the least of which is the ability for players to even have a chance at getting their deposits through. On the other side, we are not helped by some of the nearsighted and inexperienced operators who have compromised the reputations of some top-notch programs.

In terms of solving these problems, I think we just need to give a good shake to some of these heavily lobbied politicians who prefer to cater to moneyed special interests rather than listen to the voices of the people they are representing.

I also propose a “decency and competency” test to be administered to anyone wanting to become an operator so that we can weed out all the dopes who have managed to get gaming licenses. Maybe GPWA wants to partake in this!

If AffiliateWIDE discovers someone is spamming to promote your brands, what steps will be taken to stop the spamming?

Spamming is not completely eradicable but the deactivation of accounts definitely helps. A simple “Stop spamming or else” e-mail usually does the trick, and if not – see ya!

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?

All payments are processed on the first of each month and within a few days of that, all affiliates have usually received their commission (obviously wire transfers take a few days to arrive). You can refer to the “Affiliate Payments” section of GPWA and other forums to verify this.

When the clock hits 00:00 on the first, we are already starting to process payments; hence the 8AM confirmation of funds received by affiliates.

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?

Now with everyone getting mail on their mobile phones, rapid e-mail conversations are always taking place. If I am not sleeping, I usually answer within a few minutes – although I do find myself on my Blackberry in my dreams, which is very creepy. In terms of e-mail management – ANSWER them!

To affiliates specifically: we know you get tons of e-mail a day, but please, even if you are not interested, just give a three-word response so we don’t have to keep bombarding you. “I’m not interested” usually works.

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

I stick to Post-its and notepads and there is no better software than a ballpoint pen! Seriously, I don’t know how I work in this business as I am a technologically illiterate mutt.

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

It seems like each month differs in the difficulty between attracting players and retaining them. Assuming affiliates are sending us traffic, we will convert it – that is not the issue. They will definitely stick around but the player value may be sometimes be less than expected since many of these players have accounts at multiple casinos. We just have to make sure we offer them what they are looking for during the time in which they are deciding which casino to visit that particular gaming session.

How can affiliates help in retaining players?

The best thing affiliates can do is to establish a relationship with their traffic – even though that percentage may not be too high. Our strong relationship with players can trigger back to the affiliate and from there, we can establish an unbreakable triangle among the operator, player and affiliate. Those relationships also depend on how well we communicate with our affiliates while keeping them up to date so that they always have new tools to offer their returning customers.

We did some digging, and discovered you are a graduate of the University of Oregon, where you majored in journalism. So how did a good Duck like you end up moving into the online gambling industry? How did you end up in Oregon? Why did you give up on journalism? Do you miss being on the radio (and if so, what do you miss most about it?)? And why did you move to Israel?

I decided to move to Israel after college because I needed to shake some things up in my life and wanted to join the Israeli Army as the first step into integrating myself into Israeli society. Sports Journalism is still my passion and someday I intend to have my own sports radio show, but for now, getting my Master’s degree is my main priority. Never did I imagine that I would be working in the online gaming industry; however, I needed some shift work to complement my time as a student and as a result fell into the customer support team of a competitor. From there I moved into affiliates before taking the job at AffiliateWIDE to head up the program there. Being an affiliate manager is the best job for a Master’s student, as dealing with affiliates can be done 24 hours throughout the day. This is a job where set hours do not make sense – it is definitely better to be flexible throughout the day, night and early morning hours!

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

In high school, after seeing the film “Rounders,” I developed a minor poker addiction that showed itself in the school cafeteria, but those days are long gone. The only time I will make a bet is with friends over college football – and of course during March Madness; but that is not really gambling, is it?

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

I wish I had known what an affiliate is!!!

What advice do you have for someone just starting in the industry?
Understand the players. From there, you can work in nearly every field associated within the business itself. Also, there should be a manual for abbreviations – I still find myself asking affiliates to what they are referring when they give me a three-letter abbreviation!

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

Well, the story I don’t remember too much; but I do remember waking up on a park bench in Madrid during my junior year of college.

If you were at a bar with an unlimited budget, what would be your drink of choice? And why?

I would be drinking beer and chasing it with Arak. For those of you who don’t know what Arak is, let me know and I will send you a bottle. Pure joy in a bottle – and at a price that won’t break the bank

Who do you think is going to win the World Cup this summer? And why?

I would love to see a team from Africa take it, but I do not think this is the year. Spain’s time has finally arrived. This is definitely the finest team the Spaniards have put together in some time, and mixed with their grouping, it seems like a winning combination to make a run for it.

What’s the best movie food? And why?

I NEVER get food at the movies nor do I have time to watch them at home. It would definitely be a Philly Cheesesteak, though, because that is the BEST food at ANY time.

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

The last book I read was Uneasy Lies the Head, the autobiography of the late King Hussein of Jordan. It is definitely a fascinating book, and anyone who is interested in trying to understand Middle East politics has to read it.

What is your favorite movie? And why?

I am not a movie buff, but I would have to say “City of God.” It is congruent with my obsession about Brazil.

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

“I’ll Make Love to You,” by Boyz II Men. Let’s not go down that road…

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

I would love to have affiliates, players and operators all communicating equally and keeping each other informed so nothing slips through the cracks. It would also be great if the nitwits in this business would stop making all of our lives more difficult – that goes for all sides of the spectrum.

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

I am definitely taking them into the middle of the Negev desert in Southern Israel. I think every person at some points needs to feel like he or she is the only being left in the world; parts of the Negev will definitely get you there!

What are three things that no one knows about you?

I played the violin for 10 years.

I did standup comedy in college and got booed of the stage.

I was arrested six times before the age of 21 – everything was expunged, though!