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Interview with Maria Florides, Program Manager at GPWA

We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Maria Florides, who is currently the Program Manager at Gambling Webmaster Portal Association (GPWA). She has over 10 years of experience in the gaming industry as an Affiliate Program Manager.

Please tell us something more about yourself. How did you get into the affiliate space and were you always focused on the iGaming industry?

I would say that the iGaming industry fell into my lap. I was lucky to speak Spanish, so this was a unique skill needed here in Cyprus at the time, this allowed me to venture into customer support 16 years ago. I find it extremely rewarding to help people, so I made it into a career. If you asked me 20 years ago, what would be your dream job? I would have said “work as a vet or have my own farm filled with animals and lots of fruit trees.”

What is the most challenging and the most exciting part of working in the gambling industry?

Working with people is always a challenge, resolving issues for them and making sure they are happy with the service you are providing. I get a kick out of turning bad situations into good ones. I love a challenge and the rewards I get when I know I have done a good job.

How the year started for you and what is your feedback – now almost 6 months after the world COVID-19 situation?

2020 started with the LAC and ICE. I was very busy and excited to welcome lots of new clients to the GPWA.  I had the flu the previous year, so my frame of mind was focused on being healthy and to avoid getting sick again. I have worked from home for over 10 years, so my life hasn’t really been affected that much. I do miss the conferences, but we all must adjust and find alternative ways to get our message out e.g. virtual conference, social media, etc.

What are the biggest challenges for new affiliates to join the industry? Which 3 best tips can you share with our audience about smooth and successful start in this industry?

Challenges:

  • Finding the right brands to promote.
  • Penalties from Google.
  • Late commission payments.
  • Tracking links that are not working
  • Keeping up with affiliate programs closing their doors.

Tips:

  • Do your research, don’t just start promoting brands before you know a little bit about their history. It takes a lot of effort to integrate brands to affiliates sites and it is a shame when affiliates come across brands that are not worth their time.

  • Don’t expect to get results in a short period of time, so it would be great if you are able to keep a part time job going while you are building up your traffic.

  • Have good content on your site and avoid using Google translate, if you are planning on having a multilingual site.

In the #StayAtHome situation content is more than ever The King – what advice would you give for iGaming brands (online casinos, sports betting sites, etc.) in order to strengthen their brand image?

Make sure to collaborate with affiliates now more than ever.  They are always happy to add new casino reviews, game reviews and other unique iGaming related content. Use social media to get your name out there and network as much as possible.  Be responsive and transparent, your reputation is what will help you get to the next level.

Did you notice any differences in the way affiliates and operators use GPWA since the beginning of the world health situation?

There has been an increase in the numbers of GPWA members signing up and the forum has become busier since the lock-down started, especially with affiliate’s posts and I am getting more PR requests from operators. You can feel how the isolation has affected the GPWA members, and that in these hard times they find comfort by sharing on the forum.

Why do you think that iGaming industry is getting late in adapting blockchain and crypto, even if they see the benefits and opportunities as of 2020? 

I will admit, my knowledge about blockchain and crypto is very limited.  This technology is the future, because it does provide a greater level of transparency for players and affiliates. I think the reason why you don’t see a large number of operators using this technology is because their focus is not on the end user’s experience, therefore they don’t see the need to invest on it. There will always be the need for traditional online operators, but we will see a larger demand for blockchain and crypto technology in the coming years.

What will be the next BIG thing according to you in the iGaming sector?

I was reading a PR sent to me by a client, regarding Progressive Web Apps.  I reckon, this will be a game changer for affiliates, players, SEO and operators. The integration of this app is a large investment, because operators/gaming platforms need to re-design their entire front-end technology in order to accommodate the Progressive Web App. I think, it could be worth it, some of the benefits are: push notification support, store dependencies is eliminated, SEO optimized, works on both online and offline mode.

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