From earning his first $50 commission selling Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscriptions to running a multi-million dollar affiliate operation Vito Glazers, founder of CPAtank, tells us the story of his road to success. It involves ambition, drive and a knack for getting work done while constantly being surrounded by hot girls.
Thanks for being with us today Vito. You're a young multimillionaire and you are self-made. Tell us the story of how you first got started including your journey before starting CPAtank.
Thank you Mark, I am not going to sit here and mislead anybody by talking about how easy or fast it is to make money in the Internet marketing industry today. A lot of people think that I suddenly became successful overnight just because I started putting my face out there recently, but the reality is that the fundamentals I follow have allowed me to make a name for myself in different industries throughout the years.
I got my start in finance at a young age because money has always been a passion of mine. Some people are passionate about sports; some people are passionate about cars or music. My passion has always been Making Money, spelled with capitals out of respect for the subject. To me it is not even the money itself that I care about; I just genuinely enjoy the creation process. From plotting an idea, putting it into action, projecting and overcoming challenges along the way, working alongside great people and finally getting the big financial reward, the entire cycle is a source of positive energy for me.
I tend to jump to where the big revenues are. I started in commodities and securities because it did not require any formal education. The price of college was a huge burden on my conscience that never made business sense to me when I was younger and in a position where I had to watch every penny, so I tended to lean towards sales jobs. I taught myself the finance game by reading books and working closely with mentors who helped me capitalize on mortgage banking and development in my late teens and early 20s. When that was coming to an inevitable end, I followed the budgets into adult merchant processing 5 years ago, and most recently transitioned into mainstream advertising in November of 2009. I thrive on the competitive environment online and genuinely cherish all the amazing people I have become friends with over the past few years from this tightly knit industry. To the dismay of my competitors, it will take an industry with a very large checkbook to get me to move into something new anytime soon.
What was the first commission you ever earned?
The first commission I ever earned EVER was, to my recollection, $50 for selling a subscription package to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I was completely broke and had to take the first sales job I could get. They would let pretty much anybody who showed up work for 100% commission and you were literally calling out of the phone book trying to get people to buy tickets, packages or at least donate. This was one of the jobs that actually helped me get back on my feet when times got tough because it was do or die to the extreme. I remember it was the last day I had to make a sale before I was cut off and I finally got a sweet elderly woman on the phone. The unspoken rule was to not waste your time talking to the elderly because they could talk for hours and never buy. I figured I was screwed anyways so I sat there talking to her because she was actually a pretty charming, interesting character. It must have been the fact that I completely dropped the whole telemarketer/sales man front and started being myself because she began being very receptive to me. She made a comment about someone close to her having a birthday and I jumped on the opportunity to close the sale. I actually went on to work there for a few months and it was a great experience, the first commission I ever remember earning.
Our industry is known for overnight success. Was there a defining moment when you thought to yourself "Holy crap, I can't believe how much money I'm making right now!"?
Well as you may or may not know, "it can take a lifetime to become an overnight success." I really started completely at the bottom, living on $200-500 a week as income while I was figuring out how to get anything stable going. I made a lot of money in bursts when I was younger, and then I would have long droughts. I only mention that because whenever I could get something going for a little while I would say "I can't believe how much money I'm making right now!" but I never lied to myself, and when I factored the slow months in I knew I was not making nearly as much as I thought I was. That's what kept me conservative when it came to spending and helped me outlast all my competitors over the years.
To be honest though, while checking my stats halfway through last year I can remember starting to feel like I was winning the lottery every single day. The numbers have not slowed down at all since then and there is so many places we can improve as a company that I know the surface is barely scratched.
How old are you and where are you from?
A year ago I did an interview with Jonathan Volk where I said I was 25 but I felt like I was 47. Now I'm 26 but I feel younger than I did last year, I would say around 35 now. I attribute that mostly to having a lot more "enjoyable" stress and a lot less "critical" stress. I have stress and burdens still like anybody else, but they are not life threatening and the reality is not much can really affect my life negatively at this point. Even losses and lawsuits are still just on paper. The things I was stressed about when I was younger were a lot more serious, so I am glad to be at a point in my life where I can pick and choose what stress I have.
I was born and have spent the majority of my life living in Chicago. Speaking of stress, it is considered the 2nd most stressful city in the United States, but I love it. Even the cold weather is great for me because it keeps me inside printing money off of my computer. Something about Chicago breeds incredible people and after traveling all of the country and many parts of the world, I am really proud to call Chicago my home.
Take us on a tour of the average day in your life.
The truth is I do not have average days. It is my goal to make every day extraordinary. Obviously, I am very committed to work and maintaining an active support role in the day to day operations of my network. My day typically starts with a flurry of phone calls and instant messages before I'm even able to get into the shower. I have 3 phones and I sleep with the phone that my biggest affiliates call me on in my hand every night. I don't set an alarm because someone will wake me up every morning with some life destroying fire that has to be put out or some opportunity that has to be capitalized on. Once I have things rolling for the day and all immediate tasks have been governed, I like to eat at Gibson's Steakhouse a lot. I pretty much eat there every other day. If you want to assassinate me, just wait over by Gibson's on Rush Street. Besides eating and working, I'm trying to replicate the fundamental characteristics of all the world's self-made billionaires so I have added hitting the gym every day to my routine as well. Every self-made billionaire sets aside 30-45 minutes a day to exercise. You're too busy to hit the gym? Are you really busier than Bill Gates?
The other thing I do that is different than a lot of people who work online, is that I go to and attend a lot of meetings. Usually I will attend about 5 meetings a week, sometimes more. You may have heard the concept "never have boring lunches." I take that to the maximum. I keep my assistant calling as many interesting people whose contact information we come across setting up appointments. The nice thing about this is that I don't actually need anything from them, and I'm not trying to sell them anything, I just like to build interesting relationships. This has been one of the things that helped me become successful because years down the road you never know what kind of opportunities have randomly been opened by having a large network.
In almost every picture I see of you you're surrounded by hot women. How do you get any work done?!
Haha, I will share the magic secret with you and your readers. The trick to being able to balance working hard enough to earn that 7-8 figure bankroll and simultaneously have a lot of fun, is as simple to me as not drinking alcohol. I have no problem going to dinner or to clubs in Hollywood or Chicago and buying Champaign bottles all night and drinking half a glass and sticking to RedBulls for the rest of the evening. I can stay out all night and work early in the morning without any issues. If you want to make money, you have to be on point at all times. If you want to meet girls, you have to go out. Even if wild party girls don't think you're cool, you don't need those types of people in your life anyways, and you will see pretty quickly that people around you will start imitating your behavior.
A lot of affiliates give up if their first campaign is a bust. How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
I've never failed by the dictionary definition. I've lost money, I've had terrible experiences I had to crawl my way out of, but I have never failed. You only fail if you let something beat you. You also fail in my opinion by making a bad judgment call that affects other people's lives negatively. A lot of unqualified individuals try to start networks, and that has caused a lot of affiliates to become cynical about affiliate marketing. I know networks with 0 assets and no experience in managing cash flow or receivables who put thousands of dollars of affiliates budgets at risk. When they don't get paid once, the whole network goes up in smoke. That is a failure in my opinion. Affiliates get stiffed, those budgets that could have been used to build good campaigns with a quality network are damaged, and next thing you know those affiliates who trusted that failed network are in the unemployment line.
When I approach risk, I approach it objectively and intelligently. I never take on more risk than I can afford to pay from out of my pocket. Sometimes that means passing up on what seems like a good opportunity which is always hard to do. When I started CPATank, domestic advertiser compliance was light-years away from anything I had ever dealt with on the adult side, so we lost thousands every month. The fact that I never took a risk that I couldn't afford to pay was the difference between CPATank going on to become a multimillion dollar company and just being another failed Hasoffers network. By planning intelligently up front and being ready for anything, I was able to turn losses into lessons and maintain a Titanium reputation in Affiliate Marketing.
If you could sit your 16 year-old self down today and have a chat with him, what would you say?
Stop going for the quick easy money. Above all, stay honest. You will feel like it is not paying off, but it does. Don't worry about who you think is cool and what is popular, life goes by really fast and all that matters is what makes you happy and who in your life can help you reach your own personal heaven. And ask out that nerdy girl you actually like instead of that really hot girl who is a total flake, she doesn't look so good 10 years from now.
Do you have a secretary?
Yes! I have a really amazing personal assistant who pretty much keeps my real life running. I tell people all the time they need to get assistants. The little things in life will devour you and completely drain your productivity, especially if you work long hours like I do. I hired an assistant the first time I got a six figure paycheck and realized I was out of toilet paper. Some people say act your age. I say act your wage. If you can afford to hire someone to take over your personal life, do it. Your bankroll will thank you.
You're the only network we know that swears an oath to your affiliates. Tell us about that.
One of my favorite things about internet marketing is the fact that I can conduct seven and eight figure deals on a handshake. Everything online is on the honor system, and in my world, you're only as good as your last transaction. That being said, there's also a tremendous amount of risk involved. If you run $10,000 in traffic a week with us and I am paying you weekly on it, I'm in essence giving a $40,000 pay day loan to someone who lives thousands of miles away, who I have never met, and who I have no real way of confirming identity except maybe a Wickedfire Username! I think there is a lot more to an oath than a contract. Contracts slow down business and only benefit lawyers. If you break an oath, you're basically just admitting you are a terrorist vulture whose name is only worth whatever measly dollar amount you broke the oath over. My word, integrity, and name have no price tag on them, so when you enter into an agreement with me, you can set the rotation of the Earth to it.
You're intimately involved with the operations of your network and strive to give your affiliates exactly what they need to succeed. Tell us a story about an affiliate(s) who went from broke to baller with the Tank.
I could write a book on affiliates who I have helped go from $100 a day to $100,000 a month. That seems to be my signature move these days. I can't take too much credit for it, because the truth is the people really putting up big numbers are extremely creative and talented people who deserve to make that kind of money. They just needed me to line up a few things for them and believe in their projects. We had a programmer from Europe who was one of our very first affiliates. He was working a corporate job but clearly had some serious skills. He said his goal was to make $50-100 or so a day and honestly seemed skeptical it was possible online. I gave him the outline of a method that was not easy, but I knew was possible for his skill level. He quickly became an advocate for his own income, put in serious research and work and scaled that up to over $10,000 a month by his 3rd month with us. Fast forward a year later, he has become a close friend and bouncing ideas around and sharing resources, we were able to work together to set him up with a method that has been pulling him over 100k per paycheck. The great thing is he's not the only one. If you're a super affiliate, you can pretty much work your way up to a partnership level in CPATank where we donate some of our manpower, location and resources to helping you scale your operation as big as it can possibly be.
Your offer payouts are among the highest in the business. How can you afford it?
I'll tell you exactly how. We relied 100% on social media and word of mouth to grow CPATank as a Cash Backed affiliate network so our on time payments were basically our best advertising. We didn't have any snags in the road because when advertisers didn't pay up, we paid anyways and that just helped us grow bigger and bigger without any slowdown in our growth. Now we are at a point where we can run offers at nearly no margin just to earn the business because like I said above, there's no loss that can negatively affect us at this point. We are so well diversified that any deadbeat advertisers we have to deal with are merely a mosquito bite to an aircraft carrier.
We've noticed that your affiliate managers get a lot of love for being responsive, diligent and insightful. What are the criteria for becoming an AM at CPA Tank?
This is something that I personally really am proud of, my amazing Affiliate Managers. The job is demanding. Excessively demanding. You have to pay a lot of dues to roll with CPATank, and it shows in the work ethic. The biggest challenges my managers face, is dealing with a lot of people who only want to talk to me. We only promote from within, so we do not hire people just to be affiliate managers. All our AM's started working for free as an intern to prove themselves. That is the kind of self-sustainable, secure, and committed to the brand people that we are looking for. We are adding some creative, experienced new talent to CPATank this month. It is really going to change our whole dynamic all over again and should contribute to us helping affiliates putting up some even more ridiculous numbers in the last quarter.
Which niches at CPA Tank are hot right now and where would you recommend affiliates to focus their efforts?
Right now the best niches for us as always have been Dating and Biz Ops. The budgets on these offers go up and down fast and most networks can't keep up with the best offers. If you've been promoting the same Biz Op more than 2 months in a row, you're probably not promoting the best one, the competition in these niches by advertisers is intense and CPATank stays on top of where you are going to get the absolute best EPC's. If you are running biz ops, no matter what the traffic source, we have something that you haven't tried that you should be, and we will stalk you when new offers come out to make sure you're split testing the best. The same principles apply with Dating. Dating performs best when you target niches, and we literally have hundreds of domestic and international niche landing pages that can give you the upper hand and competitive edge.
EMail submits is a really unique Niche that we have been pioneering for over a year now with a lot of success. The great thing about Email Submits is that there is a huge variety of Landing Pages, everything from Free iPads, phones and laptops, to branded deals like Wal Mart, Starbucks, Groupon and even UnEmployment Surveys which I don't have to tell you convert amazing in this economy. The best thing is our relationship and partnership with all the major advertisers in this niche, which gives us the ability to crank out custom pages, and take any traffic on these offers.
There has been a lot of talk about massive emerging opportunities in mobile marketing for affiliates. Thoughts?
There is still an incredible amount of opportunity in Mobile marketing despite what a lot of critics might say. I think as far as domestically it is pretty burnt out, but the opportunity lies in the wide range of international deals and very little regulation. That is just currently. I predict that over the next decade mobile has the ability to surpass the internet as far as total users because countries in the emerging world like Central America and Africa are going to get cell phones before they get internet and credit cards. Also worth mentioning are some of the statistics on how many people now use the internet exclusively on smart phones and tablets. The combination of more accessible devices and new emerging markets are going to be the driving forces behind international mobile’s unprecedented growth.
The field of performance marketing is constantly changing and successful affiliates are always on top of the newest trends and strategies. How to do your affiliates ahead of the curve?
CPATank affiliates have been staying ahead of the curve for almost 2 years now, and doing so is easier than you think. All you have to do is subscribe for Free to my newsletter, The General's Address, which has come out every Sunday since November 2009. This newsletter, which was once exclusive to only CPATank affiliates, is now open to anybody who is interested in subscribing by visiting the CPATank Blog. Leave your socialist reading materials at home; The General's Address will update you on all the major trends from offers to traffic sources and more.
For the affiliates that haven't joined the CPA Tank army yet, what would you like to say to them?
I would like to first of all say that when you're dealing with CPATank, whether you think the name and our ads are edgy or a complete joke, you are doing business with me. I will always take care of you personally no matter who your AM is, as much as time allows. I have the resources and volume to take just about any campaign and make it work.
The name of the network doesn't matter, what matters is having the best and newest offers, the highest payouts possible without shaving, a reputation for paying on time, and the patience to deal with a large volume of affiliates professionally.
I would personally love to work with any serious, drama free affiliates here that are interested in working with a network owner who lives by the above qualifications. No peasants welcome.
Anything else you want to tell the users and the industry?
If you hear anybody saying Internet Marketing is dead, it's just their ideas that are. Also, I would like to thank you personally Mark from all of us at CPATank Inc in Chicago, Illinois for the service you provide with oDigger and your contributions to the industry. Thank you for the opportunity to interview, Salute Success.