Andrey Novoselov, the Travelpayouts content-manager, never stays in one place for too long. This interview was taken during his stay in Turkey. Andrey told us how to become a part of the Travelpayouts team, use a blog to help affiliates with the development of their projects and increase income, the secret and main rule of all “remote” workers, how to live freely in general and why he didn’t have faith in Ivan Baidin at first.
- I am a webmaster. My first website was created in 2008, and it was a software project on DLE CMS. The same year, I made my first profit selling links online.
- My first “big money” for online work was made on “satellites.” In 2008-2009 you had to follow a common pattern: buy an outdated website, generate pages and then sell links.
- My experience has taught me that links are nothing but short-term income – big as it might be. That is why I started trying other approaches in 2010: teaser ads, pop-under, context advertisement and CPA, with the latter two becoming my primary methods.
- I used to work in various fields: travel, software, construction works, finances, cooking and medicine. I specialized in selling links in all spheres except for travel and software. I once worked on an adult website, but it went wrong from the very beginning, so I decided to drop it in the first year. Among all these projects, software and travel websites were the only “survivors” over time.
- I signed up with Travelpayouts in 2011, when it was just flight affiliate program, not the network it is today. At first, every single question I asked was answered by Ivan Baidin. As time went on, the network grew, but Ivan Baidin still responded to me himself. In 2014, I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t a real person, but was just an alias of the whole technical support team.
My role at Travelpayouts
- In order to describe my job to people who are out of touch with internet technologies, I simply say that we sell plane tickets, which is partly true. If a person is more or less familiar with the concept of the internet, I tell him about my job in detail.
- Today, we have 10 people working on the content. Apart from me, there is Maria Kuznetsova, our second content-manager, Julie Tepe, our proofreader, and seven authors. Truthfully, we have more interesting tasks than we have workforce, so we are searching for new authors to write in English remotely. In order to apply, click on this link.
- Together with our multitasker Alexey Yanchuk, I work on translating tools. For instance, White Label and widgets are now available in 59 languages. It became possible due to a joint effort with affiliates, as dozens of our partners around the globe assisted in the translation process. Some of them even did it for free, as was the case with Maho Kevlishvili, owner of the project aviabiletebi.org (a service for the sale of flight tickets in the Georgian market).
- I am also responsible for SEO. A small firm from Ukraine helps us out a lot with it. Speaking of links, we consider them to be important, but we don’t make purchases blindly. If a project sells links, trust me, you are not the only buyer. For this reason, we try to obtain links from resources where normally you cannot buy them.
- Before me, Nikita Gurovskiy was responsible for the Travelpayouts blog. Today Nikita is not a part of the team anymore, but his initiative to start a blog continues to bear fruit. It has become a useful platform for communication with our affiliates.
- “What should I write about?” is a question I used to ask myself all the time after starting the blog. It was really hard to come up with a topic for an article and elaborate on it at times. Today, we have more expertise and face the opposite issue: How can we cover all the topics we want to write about? For instance, we noticed that several affiliates were not using additional markers in their links for the tracking of sales nor were they using other tools for analytics. This seemingly small thing inspired us to write a whole series of articles on analytics and metrics. As you can see, our ideas for the blog come from real people’s needs.
- Our project has a narrow niche, and it is customized for webmasters who make money on travel. In this field, it is possible to estimate the potential size of the audience. Thus, every month our blog is visited by 45,000 people. This is already good, but there is always room for growth. Our traffic mostly comes from two sources: search engines (42%) and partner websites (15.5%), as there are links to our blog in the personal account of each platform.
- The fact that 18% of traffic is direct seems to be indicative of readers’ interest in our blog.
- We strive to write the truth and nothing but the truth in order to stay honest and fair to others, including our rivals and colleagues. For example, we openly post information about our partners and links to their websites, as well as other affiliate programs.
- Travelpayouts has been my first employer. Before this, I used to work for myself. I joined the company looking for a new experience, and I can say that I made the right choice. We have a friendly atmosphere, and the team is made up of only professionals.
- In December, the entire team worked in Phuket for two weeks to mark our 1 billionth ruble (around $18 M) payout. That was when I got to know the team better, since I’d only seen them twice before. Once at Travelpayouts Affiliate Summit and on the company’s birthday in Georgia.
- Everyone on the team loves jokes. Although our humor is kind, it might seem weird to other people. For instance, someone might roll you up in a carpet and throw into the swimming pool. Potential employees may get asked weird questions like: Which Ninja Turtle are you? Who is your Patronus? Do you use a dash or a hyphen in a text? This is exactly why a sense of humor and a positive attitude towards life are a must in order to join Travelpayouts.
- I have never felt like selling my time to anybody other than myself. But despite this, I find a refreshing combination of freedom and opportunity to learn new things from our team at Travelpayouts. At first, I had a small concern that it wouldn’t work out well, but after a year, I saw that it had turned out even better than I thought.
What we have coming up
- First, we want to change our blog’s concept to make it easier to read. It implies upgrading the design and turning the website into a learning platform for webmasters.
- We also plan to shift our focus to an English-speaking audience. We enlist the help of outsourced writers, translators and a proofreader, however most of them are non-native english speakers. But, in my view, a project of this kind will be difficult to develop without native speakers as authors and proofreaders.
- We have an affiliate who used to make $300 per month just a year ago, and now he makes $1,000 per month. I like to think that this increase in income was determined partly by our project and content which we share with affiliates on a daily basis. I watch this partner closely, because he always asks plenty of questions, which is indicative of his development and interest in us.
- The saying, “A change is as good as a rest,” perfectly sums me up. I take almost no holidays, and fatigue only makes me change my current activity. I love what I do, and that’s why I don’t get burned out at work.
Things I’d like to improve
- I think that having more people on the team would be nice. Our plans imply the engagement of more affiliates and tools for reaching the international market.
- I would like to develop public speaking skills. Even though I speak on webinars from time to time, I feel nervous every time. Besides, I would also like to improve my English.
- In general, our company runs like clockwork, so I prefer to not interfere unnecessarily.
- A secret rule of being efficient at a remote job is to sleep and work in different rooms. For this very reason, last time I chose an apartment, I selected one with two rooms. As soon as I understood this rule, the quality of my work and the level of concentration increased considerably. Our developer Andrey Mosin, who works remotely every now and then, says the same thing.
- I believe that sometimes you need to meet your colleagues “offline.” If your communication is limited to telephone calls, it is easy to lose touch with them. I’m glad that we get together often in Travelpayouts.
Let’s get personal
- I studied in the Czech Republic, and I hold two degrees, one in financial management and another in business management in aviation. For now, the degree in financial management is of greater use to me.
- Besides my work at Travelpayouts, I have two projects of my own in software and travel. Speaking of the CPA model, I am earning in the software niche by installing apps and in the travel niche with Travelpayouts. However, the software niche was more beneficial than travel earlier on. Today, I see that software continues to stay on top of my projects in terms of profitability, but I also understand that travel is a long-term niche with huge potential, and its position has only grown stronger since that time.
- In the field of travel, I don’t only work for Travelpayouts. One example is that our network doesn’t have an Aliexpress affiliate program. Many tourists face the need of buying something while traveling, which might include a suitcase or a powerbank. People normally plan their trip shortly before the scheduled departure, so it is not an option to order necessary things from China (Aliexpress). You could work with a local partner, and don’t forget, that the time of delivery greatly influences the choice of a shop.
- I like countries that aren’t spoiled with a constant flow of tourists. In 2016, I visited Iran and was surprised at the small number of tourists, as well as capitalism.
- If one day aliens come and ask where to go on holiday to get an idea about the human race, I will recommend that they take a Transsiberian train from Moscow all the way down to Irkutsk. I’ve made the same trip 10 times in my life, and I think it is a perfect way of getting to know people better.
- I read the summaries of business literature at a special website called GetAbstract, where every book is reduced to a couple of pages. This is not a brief description of what we used to read at school, but a thoroughly drafted summary. If I like the summary, I will read it in its entirely afterward.
- I admire our affiliate Alexey Barmin, the author of the first social network for tourists Tourister.ru. I particularly like how Alexey managed to grow from creating a few small websites to one big travel project. I don’t plan to follow in his steps, but he inspired me to not limit platforms to one narrow niche.
- From time to time, I check websites available for purchase. I learned a lot from the Travelpayouts team, and now I want to put my knowledge into practice. The niche of tours is of particular interest to me because of a high average price and decent remuneration. This winter, I participated in a big project auction for Kazakhstan (my plan was to make money on the double commission), but the investment volume turned out to be much higher than I was able to make.
- I see myself online in 10 years. I believe that the internet will continue to be an integral part of our lives which makes it a perfect opportunity for business.