February has been an incredibly busy month for Optimal Payments, which operates leading payments system NETELLER as well as one of the industry’s most successful affiliate programmes. At the recent iGB Affiliate Awards, Optimal Payments added yet another award to their collection. The firm was also out in force at the London Affiliate Conference (LAC), where Optimal Payments exhibited their new products.

While at LAC, we took the opportunity to sit down with Lee-Ann Johnstone, Head of Affiliate & Merchant Marketing at Optimal Payments. Lee-Ann discussed the company’s recent successes and told us what 2014 has in store for both NETELLER and the wider affiliate industry.

Income Access: Hi, Lee-Ann. On 7th February, Optimal Payments won the Best Payment System award at the iGB Affiliate Awards. How important was the award?

leeann_B&W – corporate shotLee-Ann Johnstone (left): The iGB Awards are incredibly important to us, as it’s an opportunity for us to be judged by our clients and peers in the iGaming industry. The fact that affiliates across all gaming verticals use and value NETELLER and consider it the industry’s best payment system, and that our merchant partners work with us to manage and grow their affiliate programmes, makes us immensely proud.

IA: Why do affiliates and operators favour the NETELLER eWallet over its competitors?

L-A J: Our product features and functionality make it a favourable option with both affiliates and operators. We have higher daily limits on our award-winning Net+ Prepaid MasterCard® , making affiliate’s commissions instantly accessible worldwide in physical form. In addition, we continually enhance the product by adding new serviced regions and additional deposit options and new language supports are coming soon.

Another clear benefit is that we currently offer free money transfers to members, so moving money around the world and between colleagues is cost-effective for affiliates who operate rakeback schemes. Our VIP and Loyalty Rewards Programmes are best in-class, offering multi-currency accounts, reduced FX, VIP dedicated support, and regular promotions.

IA: The iGB Affiliate Awards took place at the same time as LAC. Tell us how the conference has been going.

L-A J: We love going to this event, where we get to meet a range of interesting affiliates – from newbies starting out to old hands who’ve worked with us for years. The NETELLER stand was especially busy this year, as we launched our new Joint Affiliate Programme with Referback, Smart Live Affiliates and Noxwin just before the show. There was a lot of interest in these programmes, as affiliates who work with these merchants can now earn twice for every player they convert at these sites. That’s double revenue for doing very little extra.

IA: LAC could be said to mark the official start of the year for the affiliate industry. Can you forecast what 2014 has in store for the industry?

L-A J: Attribution marketing remains high on everyone’s agenda and a number of programmes are looking to compensate affiliates using this model, as tracking and technology develops to allow for better margins and incentives. Meanwhile, mobile and tablet traffic is on the rise, and the effective monetization of these customers is a real focus-point for every affiliate.

In addition, I think people will continue to explore re-targeting to increase revenue and also look to continue innovation in social media, with app development and tracking being a key focus for technology-based affiliates.

IA: What launches does Optimal Payments have planned for 2014?

L-A J: We’re focused on developing our product and services expansions, including US entry. Mobile continues to remain central to our product road map, as traffic and conversion increases in this vertical. Alongside this, we are constantly working to improve and expand deposit and withdrawal methods as well as create innovative features to facilitate payments for both operators and affiliates. For example, we are enhancing our Payment API, which allows you to pay affiliates via NETELLER when they have not listed a payment method in their affiliate account.

Income Access: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, Lee-Ann. We wish you and Optimal Payments a successful 2014.