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Interview: Sam Sim (Guppy Media)

Sam SimWe’re very excited to present our 43rd interview with Sam Sim of Guppy Media.

Born and raised in Honolulu and LA. Currently marred to Christine, daughter Jessica and son Justin. Currently lives in Seattle, WA. On my spare time, I play on a club soccer team, practice kendo, play guitar, xbox live (at night) and heavily involved a volunteer board member at my church. Also, active with volunteering for world missions at my local church and of course spending time with family. Favorite sports teams include UW Huskies, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Seahawks, LA Dodgers, Boston and Vancouver Canucks. Graduated from University of Washington in 95′. Favorite foods are: Pho, Bibimbap, Sushi and Red Mango and Bubble Tea.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this industry.

My career in affiliate marketing got started when I changed my career as a stockbroker for Smith Barney and started business development with Zango / 180Solutions (current day Pinball Network). I knew I wanted to be on more on the ‘tech” side of the industry, as I saw that many of my clients were making much more money than I was J And particularly in the late early 2000’s with the initial dot com bust, it was a perfect transition for me, with no prior experience in tech, to start in a biz dev role at Zango, driving installs and distribution. I had always been a top performer and receiving sales and production awards as a stockbroker and fortunately, this naturally carried me over to the interactive ad world. My spheres of influence, contacts and relationships started in the interactive advertising and affiliate marketing world from here on out. I owe Zango quite a bit in terms of my initial training and fundamental understandings of interactive media buying.

2. What has been your biggest success to date?

After just two years of running Guppy Media, starting with zero revenue from day one, we were then able to reach and be accepted into the Inc 5000 list for 2011.

3. What was the biggest mistake you made when you first started doing Affiliate Marketing?

Primarily, I learned the continuing and irrevocable value of keeping consistent with what I say and agree to as well as follow through. Nothing replaces the value of honesty, integrity and reliability.

4. What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?

1). First and foremost is to always keep your “creativity” cap on. In my honest opinion, creativity and novel and unique ways of marketing will allow our industry to thrive and flourish. Innovation is the key to not only survival of a company but also ongoing success as well.

2). We are in a service and relationship industry – we should never lose sight of this. With our industry, being so competitive as it is, the only real way to stand apart from the crowd is to always place an emphasis on best possible client service, to the absolute best of your ability. Much like the golden rule states, treat others as you would like to be treated. This hold so true in our service and relationship oriented industry.

3). This is also somewhat related to point #1, but just like Jack in the Box say’s, we must think “outside the bun”. Our industry, at times I believe, just tends to stick to standardized norms and processes at times and if everyone then begins to follow the same process, this could then lead to what I call “idea saturation”. We must encourage ourselves to go against this grain and think of and develop new and innovative ways of conducting business, from an operational, marketing and relational perspective.

5. Do you think being an Asian in this industry has hindered or helped you achieve the level of success you currently have or anticipated?

Honestly, I feel that actually one of the positive characteristics of our industry is that is so diverse and progressive to begin with. I believe that these two characteristics actually define our industry as a whole, as well as many other adjectives which come to mind such as “hip”, “glamorous”, “trendy”,”youthful”, “energetic”, etc. I do feel that it is actually because of this culture of diversity, that I feel, personally, I was able to actually flourish more, in the sense of reaching my true potential from a career perspective. So, to answer this question, I would have to say that given the environment and the surroundings which I live and breathe everyday within our industry, I would actually have to say the celebration of diversity has actually help to foster and proliferate my career. This is actually one of the key traits about our industry (affiliate , performance marketing) which I actually admire most – cherish and encourage your diversities, uniqueness, and creativity.

6. Tell us a little bit about Guppy Media and what you do over there?

We are drive and focused performance offer exchange and marketplace. We develop our own internal download and pay per install offers and campaigns, which are becoming rapidly popular. Be on the lookout for new pay per install network releasing, called “GuppyGo!”. We also do many forms of publishing and media types including Facebook app installs, iPhone app installs, virtual currency, content unlocking and gateways, co-reg, host and post as well as social and search CPC media buying. We also have a good influence in mobile advertising and publishing, including our WAP and iPhone and Droid optimized pages on the offer side as well as the same on the publishing side.

7. There are already so many CPA affiliate networks out there. What makes Guppy Media different?

The drive and will to succeed as well as the fundamental belief that as Microsoft states: “There is no such thing as a perfect product”. This is the fundamental tenant of our belief as a company. As a company, we continue to strive, achieve, be out of the box thinkers to always think of new and novel ways of doing things as well as creating innovative products and services.

8. Do you have any exclusive offers that other networks don’t have?

We have hundreds of exclusives, that we develop and build internally. And we develop approximately 1-3 new exclusive offers weekly, as we maintain a fairly rigorous development schedule. Again, our download and PPI offers very popular via our GuppyGo! Pay Per Install network. Please feel free to contact affiliates@guppymedia.com for more information

9. Which offers are performing well on your network?

Download, downloads and more downloads. J

10. Which traffic sources prove to be the most effective for your top earning affiliates – E-mail, PPC, PPV, Facebook, Media Buying or any others?

It’s a mixed bag, contingent on media type. We have success with PPC, CPV, Facebook as well as other second tier search and contextual buys, particularly with our toolbar downloads as well as free utilities.

11. Do you offer online training for new affiliates?

If any new affiliate would like to have training, they are welcome to be trained by us. We do not have a set online training system however at the moment.

12. I see you are using LinkTrust as your affiliate tracking platform. What made you pick them instead of choosing HitPath, DirectTrack, Cake Marketing or HasOffers etc.? Do you have a plan to create your own tracking platform?

The ultimate decision criteria was their quality level of support and promptness as opposed to the technology, really. The Linktrust staff and team are all very courteous, knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. Hence, support is most important for us.

13. For those who are interested in working with you and your affiliate network – What’s the best way/time to reach you?

For affiliates, please contact – affiliates@guppymedia.com. For advertisers, please contact – advertisers@guppymedia.com. We guarantee a 24 hour response time by email as well as a follow up within 48 hours.

14. In your opinion, what are the best places for a new affiliate to learn affiliate marketing? What advice would you give for them?

You can certainly go the popular forums out there, but in my experience, as with any new venture, the best way to learn is to, as Nike says, “JUST DO IT”. Dive right into the deep end and learn how to swim – you’ll be amazed at how fairly quickly one learns. J

15. Any words of wisdom for our readers looking to get into this space?

Be real and genuine. Remember you are dealing with humans and not AIM ID’s. Always remember the golden rule and the basic laws of the Universe and you’ll be fine. Lastly, always believe in your “inner superstar” – you just need to find the right outlet to release it and let it shine.

16. In your experience, what are the three most critical elements of run a successful campaign.

Understanding key metrics and conversion points. Knowing your audience and user base. Understanding the need for split and multivariate testing of your creative. These are all critical elements.

17. What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?

Google Docs is the only tool you need !! J I also highly recommend Basecamp for CRM as well Assembla for ticket and task management.

18. Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry.

Its really a pet peeve when I go out of my way to do favors for fellow industry colleagues and I often stick my neck out on the line for them. In many cases, they in turn do not return the favor, much less appreciate what I have done for them. I do feel at times that albeit we are in an “online” world, we should always remind ourselves that we are all human beings ultimately behind the keyboard and we should all treat each other with mutual respect and courtesy, as is the natural laws of humankind and the universe. I do believe that we shy away from the tendency to think that we are not email aliases and Skype ID’s behind our PC’s…and that if we were doing business face to face, would things be done differently?

19. If you could change one thing about the affiliate industry, what would it be?

There’s not much that I would change, since Im in love with the industry, but I do feel at we could focus more on the value of real human relationships.

20. What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s generation? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?

New media is the reason we are progressing as a society and is one of the few economic sectors still experiencing rapid growth and progress from the financials markets sense. It is because of this innovation, that new jobs are created daily and I truly believe will continue to be the driving force behind the salvation and comeback of our current domestic economic situation. Reciprocally, I would hope that with the onset and growth of “new media” that this does not preclude us from continuing to be in touch with our human side as well as the value of real interpersonal relationships and the human touch.

21. What do you think about where the industry is going? Where Guppy Media may be going? What advice would you give to affiliates to keep up the pace.

Its no doubt that I do believe there may be consolidation on the horizon for affiliate marketing. In order to survive, I do believe that we need to continue to innovate and develop our own offers on the advertising side. On the publishing side, we need to continue to secure and discover new and unique publishing sources as well as ways to monetize them. The need for a network, or in other words, an exchange between advertiser and publisher will always be there….its the innovation and maximization of yield and relevancy of the ads that will win the race, ultimately.

22. What are your goals in 2011?

We want to be a leading Pay Per Install network and establish GuppyGo! As a top three brand in this particular market segment.

23. You are well known in the industry, who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?

First of all, I give all the credit and all blessings to God in Heaven. Through Him all blessings flow. Secondly, my family is my number one motivational force. Finally, in terms of inspiration, I actually believe and admire myself. It may sound pompous, but when I look back at my previous trials and failures and how I was able to maintain a positive attitude and continue to survive and succeed each time, it is a constant reminder and inspiration to myself.

24. How important is it to you to communicate with your readers? Is there a particular message you are wanting to convey?

If there is one word of encouragement that I could communicate to my fellow peers and industry colleagues, can all be summed up in one word – “value”. I encourage everyone, particularly as a daily reminder to myself, to always provide value in all that you do. Value in the sense, that we must give our clients a reason to work with us.

25. If you had a money tree in your back yard and could purchase anything for your business tomorrow, what would it be?

Definitely. I always wanted to have my own 59′ lifesize “Gundam” robot – http://sneakermaniac.com/59-foot-tall-gundam-to-be-displayed-in-tokyo-park/

26. What are your hobbies/interests/passions? What’s your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie of all time is The Karate Kid (original). Triumph out of adversity and challenges – that is the stuff of life.

Many thanks to Sam for sharing your time with us and for sharing some great insight tips here! If you have any experience with Guppy Media, please write a review for them on the Guppy Media review page.

Ps. If you are an affiliate marketer, AM or Network owner and are interested in answering a few questions about you, your network and affiliate marketing, please drop us a message.

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