Alexander Tsatkin has over 10 years of experience in performance marketing from all sides of the industry, starting from Market Research Analyst, SEO expert, affiliate, advertiser, CEO, and now, as an Investor and Co-Founder of Leadtopia.
Alexander Tsatkin is intelligent, sensible, stubborn, and has a desire to help others. He is always ready to move forward as well as investing 100% of his energy towards any project he is working on.
When I asked him to answer several questions about affiliate marketing, he gladly accepted. I’m happy to post his interview on my blog. Please continue reading, and you will dip into the fascinating history of his life.
1. I know you as an affiliate marketing expert, and I’m sure many people know about your business success. I would like you to share the full story of your career growth with my readers. Please tell us about your industry background. Also, why are you referred to as “The Angry Russian”?
I started in marketing as a Market Research Analyst for a large multi national company. While there, I realized that the internet would let you track behavior like never before. I switched to digital marketing and moved to San Francisco as an SEO expert. In SF I discovered affiliate marketing and left full time employment to try and make it as an entrepreneur. Through networking and Tracking202 Meetups I was introduced to paid traffic. Once I got the hang of the business I started to travel and live the typical affiliate lifestyle. I met many other affiliates including Mr Green who came up with the nickname Angry Russian when I asked to guest blog on his site. After a few years there was something missing. I wanted to build something tangible instead of simply doing arbitrage. Smart phones were just starting to explode and I knew there had to be away to make money from their adoption using affiliate marketing. I build Mobaff with a simple goal of cracking mobile for affiliates. We built training, tracking, and affiliate network from this work. We were acquired in 2013 by Matomy Media group. Since then I’ve worked on a few projects.
2. Why did you decide to quit your job and become an affiliate marketer? Why didn’t you combine the 2 jobs in order for you to earn more money?
I’m just a stubborn person who doesn’t like to be told what to do, so working for someone else never suited me. I was always looking for a way to make a living without having to answer to someone else. Affiliate marketing was something I discovered that allowed me to do that, so it was a clear choice.
3. Your affiliate network, MobAff, was acquired by Matomy Media Group in 2013. Is there any reason why you decided to sell it? Did you have assumptions that all your employees could be fired, including you?
I decided to sell because I wanted to go through the process of an acquisition. Through selling I learned a lot about my business and what others look for when buying. Most of my employees, myself included, were affiliates at one point so the fear of losing a job didn’t worry us.
4. When you received the offer from Matomy, what was your first reaction or thought? Why did they choose your company among other mobile trackers?
I was actively trying to sell the company. At the time I had big ambitions and believed being part of a larger entity would allow me to carve out a larger position in the market. The selling process is not as simple as receiving an offer. There are many steps involved from term sheets, letter of intent, due diligence, negotiations, contract reviews, etc. When I received the final contract signed and payment I was simply relieved that a six month arduous process was over. At the time there were not as many mobile focused performance companies so I think Matomy wanted to really push hard into mobile and this was part of their strategy.
5. Now that you do not work at MobAff anymore. Do you still monitor its development on a regular basis? Do they still ask for your expert advice?
No. Once the acquisition happened we worked to integrate into Matomy. Once that process was complete there wasn’t much left for me to do.
6. If you had a chance to repeat your business path, would you have changed something?
I try not to live in the world of “what if” as the only true choice we have is in the present. At the time I made the best choice with all the information I had.
7. What motivates you to create new businesses, to invest in different companies, and to grow personally?
I’m a student of life who enjoys new challenges and frontiers.
8. To my knowledge, you have invested in 2 companies: AdWill and HyperTarget Marketing. Why did you choose them and what influenced your decision?
Adwill had a very interesting challenge in trying to use machine learning to automate media buying in the mobile RTB space. HyperTarget Marketing was one of the early Pay Per Call networks and it was clear that there was room to grow.
9. Can you please tell us about your current company – Leadtopia? What is the main purpose of creating it? Leadtopia is currently 10 months old, what success have you achieved through it? Have you been able to get enough clients?
I started Leadtopia with my business partner when we decided to get into solar lead generation. We had to learn how lead generation worked including the technical side, the demand and supply, and marketing. Our biggest achievement was to figure out how to drive volume without hurting quality of the leads. Another accomplishment was closing the biggest buyer and solar installer in the US.
10. You’ve been on both sides of affiliate marketing: as an affiliate, and as an affiliate manager. How should they be combined in order to achieve a huge profit? Do you have any success story to share with my readers?
The key to being a good affiliate manager is to understand what kind of affiliate you’re working with. There are the beginners who need more hands on and the more advanced affiliates who know what they want. In both cases listen to your affiliates and their needs and push them offers accordingly. Over time you will develop loyal affiliates as long as they feel like you’re in their corner instead of just another AM pushing whatever the latest fad is. I’ve always invested in my affiliate base at MobAff and there was nothing more gratifying then seeing affiliates grow their business over time. My favorite thing to hear was “thanks to you I quit my job”.