Interview with Robert Gryn CEO Codewise

Robert Gryn is the CEO of Codewise the company behind Voluum and Zero Park traffic network. I met Robert and his CTO Bartek at Adsimilis Meetup in Dubai. It was a good experience meeting these guys as I wanted to know about their tracker and I had many questions and concerns about it, and also about their traffic network. Both of them were pretty cool about it and answered all my questions. In fact that meeting convinced me to try both their products. To share more about their products I decided to interview Robert on my blog and share his views with my readers. Okay so lets start with the interview …

Robert GrynTell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where do you live? etc

My name’s Robert Gryn, I’m 28 years old and I currently live in Krakow, Poland where my company Codewise is based.

How long have you been working in this industry, and how did you get involved? What was your first money maker?

I started with affiliate marketing almost in 2005, when I started promoting a pay-to-surf type site thru it’s referral program. I got into CPA marketing in 2009.

Can you please tell us a little about your professional background?

After I finished my studies, I got a job at a startup called Elephant Traffic. What they did is similar to what ZeroPark does now.  When working there I got involved with everything, including marketing, finances, operations, IT management, project management, sometimes even HR. It’s the experience that changed my life and gave me the balls to start my own company after I quit.

What is the most expensive thing you ever bought?

Erm, an apartment 🙂 I don’t really splurge out on fancy things. I like a good pair of shoes and a nice watch, but I’m quite reasonable.

What is your biggest achievement so far? And also what are your biggest failures?

Biggest achievement is having grown Codewise to where it’s at today which is 36 people based in a fantastic office space. I honestly sometimes feel like I’m dreaming when I try to get my head around where we’re at and how far we can now go.

Biggest failures.. I try not to think in such terms as I don’t believe in regretting decisions and/or looking back unless you can learn from it. Purely financially, there was one day where I lost $300k due to an IT error in our internal tracker. That was tough to bounce back from.

What is your Daily Routine?

Get up around 7-8AM (I don’t use an alarm clock) shower with loud music, do some light exercise and stretching. I either walk or bike to work. At work I typically have a couple of meetings, product meetings, management meetings and what not – I like to know what’s going on. In regards to the actual work.. I’ve now delegated all of my tedious small tasks to others so I work on business development and think about the bigger picture for Codewise. Be it planning our next project, or seeing how we can grow ZeroPark and Voluum.

What tips would you give to those who want to take the path of entrepreneurship?

See question #21. There are many tips but going back to question #3 I highly recommend getting a job at a startup. There’s no better way to learn than at someone elses expense.

Are you an affiliate yourself?

I’m no longer an active affiliate. As strange as this may sound to some, it’s made me a happier person. I was burnt out, couldn’t look at any more LPs, I also realized I wasn’t motivated by money. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that we needed the cashflow to sustain growth at Codewise as we weren’t profitable yet. As soon as we turned profitable I ended my media buys with great pleasure and relief as I wasn’t able to focus on the big picture doing nitty gritty things. I still read about AM on various forums as I like to stay in touch with trends.

Tell us about Voluum  and what inspired you to start this service ?

We created a custom tracker for my needs as I was sick and tired of CPVLab crashing on me weekly, having to wipe all my data 2 times a day and all that. Then at Affiliate Summit West 2013 I showed a couple of guys our tracker and I pulled up 500 million clicks of data within 30 seconds. Their reaction was “WTF, is that a screenshot?” I said, no, that’s our internal tracker. To which they responded, build a public version and take our money! That’s all we went off of to start working on Voluum later after the conference.

As we all know setting up a tracker like yours is not a bed of roses, what was your biggest problem when you started?

The biggest challenge is that you’ll never know what the needs of others are until they start using your product. That’s the exact reason I pushed back the paid launch twice, by 6 months in total. We built it the way I thought would be suitable to affiliates, not looking at other self-hosted solutions as we didn’t want to take too much ‘inspiration’. The postponement of the launch allowed us to add critical features that would justify us charging money for our platform.

How large is your team? How many people work under you?

Codewise is currently 36 people – 70% developers. Nobody works under me as we have a horizontal structure 🙂 By next year we’ll be around 70 people and to accommodate, our new office building is being built right next door as I write.

There are a lot of Tracking solutions these days, What makes yours different and how does it stand out?

Nobody has put in the level of investment and time into a tracker as us. In fact, in our company, we do not consider any self hosted tracker as competition. It’s not us being cocky, it’s just that building a self-hosted tracker limits you to being just that. Our plans go beyond that.

We’re a heavily tech company, we’ve built our own database solution which not many companies in the world have done. We’ve also set up and built a highly sophisticated server infrastructure on Amazon Web Services to handle the billions of visits and clicks (soon impressions). We’re actually one of their largest customers in central Europe. We also constantly revise the technologies that we use to stay in the forefront of the IT world. This approach keeps us dynamic, competitive and perhaps most importantly, it keeps our developers motivated as they’re extremely passionate about new tech.

To sum up, what makes us the most different is that we are thinking next level. Tracking is just the beginning for us but it opens us up to many very exciting opportunities for consolidating a heavily fragmented industry – the whole performance marketing industry.

Many people argue it is not a good idea to have their all your tracking data including offers and keywords on someone else`s server what you would say about it?

To be honest, I always knew this would be a challenge. At the same time I knew it was a matter of educating people and also, a matter of building a product so good, that people would just forget about it and appreciate the fact that they can focus on what they do best: affiliate marketing.

The biggest fact that proves the shift in mindset is that Voluum grew to now nearly 3000 users purely by word of mouth. We only attended a few conferences and posted on a couple of forums, the rest spread via our users recommending Voluum to one another.

Do you have any plans to launch self-hosted version of voluum ?

We will not be launching a self-hosted version. It’s not a scalable business long-term. I’m happy to leave that part of the market to the smaller players in the tracking space.

Tell us a little about about Zero Park?

ZeroPark is our bread & butter so to speak. It started out as a self-serve platform to resell domain traffic, and we’ve now moved to other forms of traffic such as pops. Currently we have close to 8 billion visitors (redirects) available a month, and that will double very soon. Think of ZeroPark as a PPV network with a twist.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re constantly hiring talented developers as we want to continue growing both ZeroPark and Voluum. More importantly, we’re now starting a third project which in terms of scale will trump both. More details will come on that soon 🙂

What are the challenges you are facing right now and how are you planning to overcome those challenges?

Our main challenge is hiring right now. Especially support and account management type roles where experience is key as well a fluent English. We work with about 10 recruitment agencies and attend various job fairs in Poland. We’re also looking to bring people in from abroad which we’ve done already a few times. We’re also playing with the ideas of opening an international office(s).

What are your favorite traffic sources? And why?

I used to be a high volume CPA media buyer. So I wouldn’t do much optimization myself, I’d work with 3rd parties that run thru AppNexus and in the older days RightMedia. On the buys that I would optimize myself I liked 50onRed due to the scalability, and for mobile PlugRush was my fav.

Lastly and shamelessly, ZeroPark, as I don’t know of any other self service traffic source with that amount of volume 🙂

If you could go back in time and do things differently, what one thing would you change?

I wouldn’t change a thing – honestly I cannot believe we’re in the place that we’re at now with 2 successful projects and what’s more exciting are the opportunities that lay ahead of us as we have all the resources anyone could dream of to take them head on. Things fell in place nicely!

What budget do you suggest to start with affiliate marketing?

I would say $5-$10k.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

I have two presentations that some of you could benefit from. I know a lot of affiliates dream and think about starting a real business. This is something I’ve finally managed to do and it took me not only a lot of time but what was more difficult.. it took a lot of personal development. I was an introverted lone wolf type for most of my life and in my talks I touch upon my personal experience of overcoming that.

Transferable Skills – Affiliate Marketer to Business Leader: http://bit.ly/1t6fDFQ

Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur: http://bit.ly/1rraq67

 

I would like to thank Robert for taking time out of his busy schedule and sharing his time with us , those of you who are interested to buy traffic from Zero Park click here or check out his awesome tracker voluum here ~ KJ

CPV Lab got more powerful after its 2.16 update


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In July last year i did a detailed post about traffic trackers , Where i did compared all 3 popular trackers for affiliates including Bevo Media Prosper 202  and CPV Lab . I also mentioned about using CPVlab and how i love this amazing tool. This is for sure a paid tool but its worth every cent you pay it gets regular updates and their support team is always there to help out ( a big thanks to Mo from support team) . Recent 2.16 Update was a great news for me and i was amazed to see the new things added into the system which also included feature which i thought was missing  (CPC pricing options within Campaigns as well as a separate Ad Performance Section within the Stats.) and asked CPV lab team to add it and thanks to them they did delivered what they promised.

 

Here are a few more features which were added into CPV lab

 

– Optimization and Alert Profiles
– Store Unique Token from Traffic Source/s as a separate token and allow Passing Token to Additional Pixels
– Predefined tokens for Traffic Sources; option to use these predefined tokens in the campaign setup pages from simple dropdown menu options.
– Option to change/customize redirect page names
– Improved queries from base pages for speed and volume
– Improved Redirect load times on all base links
– Improved sorting in Stats
– Improved additional server-to-server pixels with curl library integration
– Added Dynamic Subid Token Placeholder {!subid!} in the offer URLs
– Allow {!subid!} placeholder in additional pixels
– Allow grouping by Day and Hour in Stats
– Exported CSV files now retain the sort conditions of the original table
– Save sort conditions on Campaigns page
– Improved Clickbank Conversion Postback functions

 

With all those updates now CPV lab has left other trackers far behind and is surely the best Tracking solution to this time and still my favorite tracking solution ..

 

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Tracking your Traffic

In affiliate marketing there is a major mistake almost every person makes and that is not tracking your traffic properly . Specially when you are driving Paid traffic to your CPA offers it is very important to track each and every click you have sent to your offer  . No matter you use PPV,PPC , Or drive social traffic or you are doing media buys , The most important competent of your online advertising campaigns to have a proper tracking solution . Tracking is what lets you find what keywords and what creatives are working and converting for you and what keywords and creatives are not working for you . It also helps you to monitor behaviors of your visitors and collect data about them using which you can optimize your campaigns and increase your ROI.

 

As they say you have to spend money to make money it is very important to have best possible solutions for your campaigns .

For affiliate marketers there are two type of tracking solutions

  • Free
  • Paid

and there are three major tracking platforms i have tried and used.

  • Prosper 202  (FREE YOU NEED OWN HOSTING)
  • Bevo Media   (FREE NO HOSTING REQUIRED )
  • CPV LAB       (PAID . HOSTING REQUIRED )

Before going into details id like to discuss hosting part , Never  use shared hosting for your tracking platform and also try to get your own VPS for the best results. I  personally use beyond hosting and i also highly recommend you to use beyond hosting Because they are specially optimized for Tracking platforms and fast redirects , their  load time is very less as compared with other hosts , and most of Tracking solution creators (Prosper 202  ,CPV LAB    ) do recommend you to use beyond hosting so your tracking platform can work at its best.

Now coming back to topic here are my reviews about all three trackers i mentioned above .

Prosper 202

This is the first tracking platform i used when i started with CPA Marketing , at time i started using prosper202 , Prosper 202 was also offering free hosting so i availed opportunity , During this period i understood why you really need your own hosting , When a tracking platform offers free hosting many affiliates will jump in and start using availing this opportunity , But the disadvantage is that your load time will be slow which is not good at all specially when you are driving paid traffic that means you are losing traffic . Many users will simply close your tab as your link will take longer to open . This is a major disadvantage   in free hosting platforms .

This issue can be resolved by getting a VPS on beyond hosting .

Now coming back to prosper , It is a great platform and very easy to use , but there were some things which i really missed in it ,

  • landing page rotation

For affiliates testing their landing pages is very important and without proper testing you cant create a successful campaign  . Tough there are some custom scripts which you can use to rotate your landing pages but still it is a big headache at least for me , because i spent whole one day in setting up but it was all waste of time . so this is a major thing missing in prosper202.

  • Not able to track a complete funnel

This is something i missed when i was driving PPV traffic . I wanted to Create a PPV landing page and then from their when visitor clicks ppv landing page i  wanted to take him to a landing page where i can pre-sell offer and then finally send visitor to the offer page ( this is what i really needed for offer which have exit pop up on their landing pages ,Because Traffic Vance does nt allow you to have exit pop up on click through page .)

Other then these two problems 202 is a great tracking solution . And it works very well with beyond hosting  .

Click here for Prosper 202

 

Bevo Media

I have already written about Bevo Media and also have created a bevo media video tutorial  also . It is a very good tracking platform and at start when it was  launched i was amazed using it , And for a prosper user bevo media features were a blessing , Bevo media really made rotation a very easy task and within minutes you can create a campaign and it is a user friendly platform .  when it comes to negative side it doesn't have proper ROI Calculators at this time , It does offer you ROI Calculation with PPC but does not offers with PPV traffic .

Also as bevo offers free hosting and does nt support self hosted app this time ( i waited for 3 months and finally moved on to CPV LAB ).

Bevo also have got some great features which include Geo targeting, Day targeting,Landing Page Rotator and Offer Rotator . Also it does offers finger print tracking you can read more about features of Bevo Media  by clicking here .

There are a very few things missing in Bevo including  Self hosted version bevo can be a best tracking platform for sure ..

 Click here for Bevo Media

CPV LAB

id like to say i use it and i love it , it is a combination of great features which help you to maximize your earnings .tough it does cost $297 but its totally worth it . It is much more advanced then trackers we discussed above , They are way far behind in technology and ease which CPVLAB provides , I must say you will notice a huge difference in your ROI when you start using CPVLAB reason is simple it does helps you to optimize your campaigns like no one else . With its advanced features you can create a complete funnel before sending a visitor to offer page or you direct link offer or first send your visitors to a review mini site and from there redirect visitors to offer page , Everything is possible with CPVLAB no matter you use squeeze pages to collect emails and then send traffic to offer landing page CPV LAB will track everything for you . Other then that CPV LAB makes campaign testing and optimization very easy , Its reporting sections are much more advanced then bevo or prosper 202 , All you need to do is to tell CPV LAB what ctr you want , what ROI you want and it will automatically highlight bad keywords which you should remove from your campaign and also it does help you sort out landing pages with bad ctr in same way , So in this way all you will have to do is to  log into your CPVLAB and se e what keywords and landing pages  have low ctr and conversion , simply remove them and replace them with new ones and that's it! CPV LAB make your life easier .

You may add as much traffic sources and Affiliate networks as you want and its a very easy. Another benefit i have noticed is that code for all landing pages in CPV LAB is same so in case if you outsource your landing page creating tasks  like me , When ever i used to outsource this task before buying CPV LAB i had a to go through a very boring task , which was adding tracking codes in all landing pages , As all landing pages had separate codes so that was a great pain to add tracking code in all the landing pages . CPV LAB saved my time in this way too as they do have same code for all your campaigns so you have no need to add separate code for all the campaigns i just send code to my freelancncers and ask them to append this code in all LPS , This works because CPV LAB uses a intelligent tracking system using which it does have all information about campaign in the destination url it does provides you which is unique for each campaign , Destination url contains the all information about campaigns and when visited it will simply call database and redirect user accordingly .  This feature is a huge time saver here is an example lets say you have two campaigns A & B , tracking code we will put in landing pages of these two campaigns will be same but they both will have different destination URLS .

 

There are many other features In CPVLAB which could be included but i guess this post is been way too long and i dont want to bore you guys …

Now something about Support , Here id also include Beyond hosting support with CPV LAB Support , Literately both these companies have got topnotch customer support and when ever i leave a ticket within 5 minutes it's answered. I am Highly satisfied with support being offered by both these companies .

About Hosting for CPVLAB Id again say beyond hosting if you want to truely take advantage of CPV LAB features  beyond hosting is  a must .

You can track anything with CPV LAB Including click bank,amazon or any other affiliate network.

Click here for beyond hosting

Click here for CPV LAB

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Bevo Media`s free tracking service for CPA affiliates

The main problem newbies face when they step into cpa marketing using ppv is setting up and finding best tracking platform , Prosper was king of tracking platform when it comes to track cpa campaigns but
since they stopped offering free hosting service for affiliates it was a headache for affiliates with low budgets to setup tracking on their shared servers specially those who use host gator, In this video i am going to show you how you can use bevo tracking system to track your cpa campaigns with bevo media`s free tracking system and best part is you have no need to host it on your own servers tough it also offers self hosted version and if you drive high volume of traffic i would highly suggest you to use self hosted server with vps but if you are just starting out bevo media also offers free tracking hosting . in this video i am going to show you how you can setup campaigns on bevo media.