Interview: James Gabbard (CPAWay)
We're very excited to present our 22nd interview with James Gabbard of CPAWay. James is an affiliate manager for CpaWay, a cash flow positive, and super performing affiliate network. CpaWay is growing very rapidly and has its web presence growing more and more every day. He is a big part of that as a forum junkie and blogger. James spends a lot of his time helping affiliates and getting them the tools they need to be successful. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? I’m James, and I actually just turned 28 at the time of writing this, and I was lucky enough to be at a bloggers tradeshow celebrating in Vegas. I was born and raised in Sunny Florida just north of the Tampa / Clearwater area. I’m a big basketball and football fan, and I play a little of both on the weekends. 2. How long have you been in affiliate marketing and how did you get involved? I’ve been involved for around 4 years now. I actually took a job with CPAWay's sister company Dietzel and Dietzel as a temporary position originally in 2007. I was just out of work at the time, and was good friends with the owner (Tom Dietzel) and his family so I gave him a call and decided to try it out. After seeing the success of Dietzel and Dietzel, I quickly recognized the huge potential of online marketing. I’ve been hooked ever since. In 2009, after much planning and development, they launched CPAWAY where I'm currently one of the affiliate managers. 3. What has been your biggest success to date? Success is whatever you decide to make of it. I define success as being able to live your life on your own terms. To me, this means the freedom to be able to work where ever I would like, geographically, without feeling the time crunch of a 9-5. I felt as though I didn’t have that independence at most of my previous traditional jobs, and that’s what makes affiliate marketing so appealing to me. It wasn’t so much the money, although that part was cool, but the freedom that it gave me. The best part was how much fun I had doing it. 4. What was the biggest mistake you made when you first started doing Affiliate Marketing? The biggest mistake I felt like I made was not taking action sooner. I was the type of person who wanted to read, read, read, and learn every possible angle of every outcome before I took step 1. Since my first day in Affiliate Marketing up until now, I have really developed a much more aggressive “go-getter” mentality. If I had started doing what my experience has taught me now, I would be so much farther along on the unending learning curve that is affiliate marketing. Lately, I find myself wondering why there aren’t more hours in the day. 5. Tell us a little bit about CPAway and what you do over there? Well CPAWay is owned by a now good friend of mine and pretty all around stand-up guy Thomas Dietzel. We have taken more of a buffet style to cpa marketing, and have well over 1000 offers live at any given time in our system. We make sure we always something available no matter what type of offers you have success promoting. We also have our own in-house brand of exclusives, and we definitely keep up on all the trending hot and seasonal offers. CPAWay is cash flow postive, has no debt, and owns the building that houses their office. I’m an affiliate manager as well as doing a few compliance calls a day, and handle some of advertiser direct relations. I sign I.O.’s and send and receive credit apps all day. Quiet the glamorous life ! ha 6. There are already so many CPA affiliate networks out there. What makes CPAWay different? CPAWay has taken the approach of keeping things friendly. Each publisher is assigned a dedicated account manager, who is not over worked and actually has time to help you with anything when the time arises. The promise of being available when you do need us most. Each affiliate is provided their account managers aim, cell phone #, direct phone line, and email address. This helps ensure that when something is needed from you, then we are able to get it done. No affiliate is too small, while no affiliate is too large. We are required to handle all accounts in the same fashion, meaning with respect and providing as much help as possible. We are here to grow with you, as we only succeed when you do as well. 7. Do you offer biweekly or weekly payment? If so, how much does one have to make to qualify? We do offer special payout terms. 1k a week will get you on a weekly schedule upon request, anything else we handle on a case by case basis, but we definitely can cater to high volume affiliates especially when cash flow is an issue to keep your campaign running. We understand both sides of the coin, so we know how important it is to make something work that is acceptable to both sides. 8. How many incentivizable offers do you have? Do you have any exclusive offers that other networks don't have? We have over 400 Incentive friendly campaigns on our platform, and keep a pretty fresh inventory. We load more constantly everyday as well, if you’re a publisher with us you’ll get a twice daily newsletter with all of our activity. We also own a few incentive based promo path offers that we provide to our affiliates to run as well. One of our brand names is called The Reward Pro. 9. Which offers are performing well on your network? We have been doing great with Big Branded names with our non-incentive side. We encourage our affiliates to take advantage of what the media is pushing, and the companies that are using offline advertising. These consumers are typically heading back online for more information. If you can help solve their search, or fix a problem they didn't know they had you're two steps ahead of most since the consumer is already interested. We are also doing great on the incentive side of things. We have had a lot of luck in a few different niche’s over there. We also have a few of our own incentive sites still going strong, which is how we got into this affiliate marketing business to begin with. Getpaidto.com and gaminglagoon.com to name just a couple. 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? Social, PPC and PPV(CPV) traffic. We have a few publishers that are pretty successful with media buys. Facebook and PoF are also doing well for the dating space. The average dating site user is only a member of 2-3 other sites simultaneously, so a lot of your success will depend on your ad copy and how drilled down you can get your targeting without killing the size of your demo. There is a fine grey area like so many other things. The best publishers are the ones who can think outside the box no matter the traffic source, and don’t mind blowing through some cash in order to come out with a profitable campaign on the other side. 11. I see you are using your own affiliate network software. What made you build yourself, instead of choosing HasOffers, LinkTrust, DirectTrack and HitPath, etc? Upon the planning stages for CPAWay, we demo'ed all of the major platforms, called around for pricing, features, etc. After careful review and the desire to be able to integrate with everyone without having to rely on an outsourced tech team, we decided to build our own platform out. We originally started with an out of the box platform, but learned it was full of bugs and spent 6 months rewriting most aspects of the platform before going live. We have never looked back since going with our own platform. It has allowed us to change things on the fly when business demands it. 12. What are the criteria for a marketer to be accepted at CPAway? How does CPAway prevent and handle fraud? We review all applications manually. Every affiliate must be spoken to on the phone if in the usa or any English speaking country, if English is not a spoken language to the affiliate, we use alternative methods to verify the affiliate to make sure they are a good fit for our platform. These alternative methods are on a case by case basis, depending on the methods that affiliate uses to promote campaigns and offer. As for fighting and preventing fraud, we constantly monitor and check traffic as it comes in, especially from newer and high risk affiliates. We have many priority in house checks when leads come in and if anything out of the ordinary is found it alerts our team in real time. 13. For those who are interested in working with you and your affiliate network - What's the best way/time to reach you? We suggest applying to become and affiliate at www.cpaway.com, and then give us a call. We are in the office Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm EST, baring trade shows and natural disasters. Ha – We are available through almost any time of day, and we provide our affiliates with their affiliate manager’s cell phone number for after-hours issues that may spring up. 14. In your opinion, what are the best places for a new affiliate to learn affiliate marketing? What advice would you give for them? There are many forums out there and there some genuinely helpful people on those forums who will help you get your feet wet, however you also have to be careful because some people will intentionally try to misdirect you if you aren’t on your toes. After you’re feeling a little brave, attend a conference or two and listen to some keynote speakers. I wasn’t able to make ASE this year, but I read some great reviews of some of the keynotes there this time around. If you’re going to pick just one conference to attend make it ASW in Vegas. Definitely the biggest show by far and I have gotten the most of it personally over the last few years. 15. What are the keys to building successful relationships between Affiliates and Affiliate Networks? What are some of the challenges of being an Affiliate Manager/Owner? The most important part of building a relationship is keeping the lines of communication open and available at all times. We try very hard to be open with our affiliates and relay information on campaigns as soon as we receive it. The biggest challenge in being an Affiliate Manager is proving yourself to your affiliates. You want to keep your relationship as transparent as possible too. For instance, if I’m checking in on something for an affiliate and I haven’t heard anything back yet, I will normally contact them anyways just to let them know where we are at with the situation and what I’m trying to do for them to get in resolved. Open, Honest, and Transparent are the 3 big keys. 16. What are your goals in 2011? And how is the progress so far? Our goal for 2011 is to increase our affiliate base, while increasing our direct to advertiser relationships for most legitimately exclusive offers. We have been working very hard over the past few months to bring campaigns on that are directly from an advertiser instead of working with a middle man or another agency. We have plans for a lot of great things moving forward. 17. What are your hobbies/interests/passions? What's your favorite movie and why? I love playing some basketball when I do have free time, chasing girls, and just hanging with my friends. Oh and I love outback steaks. My favorite movies would be anything from Scarface to Friday to Office Space to Bad Boys 2. The quotes from Office Space are just too much. “So, what exactly .. would ya say … ya do here?” haha 18. Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like. I make my rounds through all the forums and blogs in the morning, I’m extra careful not to click on links from wickedfire. Answer affiliate emails, and return some phone calls. Pause for lunch and sanity sake, then back to work making some compliance calls, assigning affiliates managers, and following up on any advertiser direct relationships that need attention. Then I head home and try to avoid getting jumped on by my dog when I come through the door. Many thanks to James for sharing your time with us and for sharing some great insight tips here! If you have any experience with CPAWay.com Affiliate Network, please write a review for them on the CPAWay 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.