Q&A With BrokerBabe’s Stefan Muehlbauer
When Stefan Muehlbauer was tapped to lead BrokerBabe's sales and marketing initiatives last year, the innovative mobile affiliate program gained a veteran marketing whiz.
In fact on his appointment, company officials called him a "perfect match" to lead the program, now in its fourth year.
XBIZ World last month spoke to Muehlbauer to find out more about him, his company and his perspectives on the biz.
XBIZ: How did you get involved in the industry and working for BrokerBabe?
MUEHLBAUER: I was training in a sport called Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and my sparring partner back in those days was the owner of the parent company of 69Cash, Intermax. He was looking for a marketing and sales manager.
So he asked me if I was up for working in the adult industry. At the time, I was in the insurance business, selling for six years and working an additional two years developing new marketing concepts.
It took some time until I made the decision, and I am glad that I made this step.
When I think back, I must say: Damnit! How was I able to survive such a boring job like insurance for so long.
After working for different companies as a freelancer, I got the offer from BrokerBabe to lead the sales and marketing team.
In my mind, it was clear that mobile was becoming more and more important. So I took the chance and stepped into this highly dynamic business world.
XBIZ: What programs does BrokerBabe offer, and does the program have plans to expand into other countries?
MUEHLBAUER: We are a mobile affiliate program focusing on markets where we can use the direct-carrier billing flow. But we also run apps in different countries. We are offering dating, VOD and live cams.
Besides our own products, we also have integrated small local players all around the world who are specialized in certain markets to convert traffic our partners send us. Most partners of BrokerBabe appreciate what we offer - a CPA (cost per action) commission model. Especially the media buyers are quite happy about it.
But, of course, we also offer rev-share. The payout is one thing, but the payout conditions and service is also a really important part of our philosophy. So we pay out bi-weekly over different options and have a very big focus on taking care of all affiliate requests quickly. Even on the weekends or late at night, you can reach usually somebody of the team.
We've made a start in German-speaking countries, and we are permanently increasing the number of countries with the most aggressive billing flows.
XBIZ: Where is most of BrokerBabe's business in the mobile space coming from?
MUEHLBAUER: It is a well-balanced mix. We have media buyers, site owners, small affiliates, high rollers, and we have also our own media buying department. I think we offer for everyone a setting that makes it interesting to work with us. The personal and individual set-up makes the big difference. But it also depends on the country and the product.
Until now, the good old video portals are the biggest revenue generator, but we do believe that product innovation will keep us on top for upcoming years.
XBIZ: What sector of the mobile adult business is driving the market these days?
MUEHLBAUER: When it comes to mobile there are really huge differences what product converts on which network, device, carrier and also the time of the day is an important factor. The complexity of traffic optimization is key. Our partners really appreciate that we take over a huge part of their prior work. Therefore, a very important part is the perfect routing. A team of four people is taking care of this, and our traffic analytics and routing tools are more and more advanced.
XBIZ: Is there big competition between the mobile companies these days?
MUEHLBAUER: The competition is quite tough. More companies are pushing into the mobile sector to try to get some piece of the cake. When you look at the sponsors of the shows, the mobile companies are often the ones that are doing the most aggressive marketing. There are performance networks, mobile affiliate programs, traffic networks, and they all want to have traffic.
Nobody can be good in every market; the mobile payment world is too complex. Whoever tells you he can convert with their own products worldwide is simply speaking nonsense.
That's why all mobile affiliate programs are exchanging traffic to maximize the payouts for our affiliates.
We are, for example, very strong in Italy and the German-speaking markets. In eastern Europe we are really strong in Hungary and Romania.
Most of our partners have worked with us since 2011 and trust our service and stability.
XBIZ: What's a typical work day like?
MUEHLBAUER: A typical day is hard to describe, as there are not many typical days. Half of my workdays, I am abroad. I attend around 30 tradeshows per year. Besides this, I also have to visit our other offices in Romania, Germany and Italy frequently. When I am not traveling, I am based in Zurich, as Brokerbabe is a Swiss company.
My working day starts at around 9 a.m. mostly discussing with Reto, our COO, the results of the last night's conversions.
After checking emails I am busy in Skype meetings with partners, sales employees, the marketing team members and the management.
At around 6:30 p.m. I leave for Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. Then I return at around 9 and work again until midnight to catch up with our partners from the Western time zones.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
MUEHLBAUER: When it comes to social activities I have to think about the biz as well. Some of my best friends are also working in the industry, so we hang out a lot.
In winter I go snowboarding and during the week, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a duty for me.