Geoffrey Bonnechère began his journey in the affiliate marketing world in 2005 as a webmaster. He soon joined ExoClick which is known today as one of the biggest ad network in the world. After 6 years of tremendous growth Geoffrey decided to go his own way and consequently co-founded two very big and well known brands in the industry – TrafficStars and Runative ad networks. Again – he brought them to exceptional success and in 2018 sold his shares to start anew.
Instead of giving birth to a new project he rehabilitated an affiliate network which was on the brink.
In this interview we discuss with Geoffry why he had decided to go down this route, what it takes to salvage a company like this and to let it flourish.
I first met Geoffrey in Moscow in 2016 when he was taking part in a panel, he struck me as a natural, really passionate about what he was doing, and ever since then I wanted to talk to him.
Here we go! Enjoy
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Reflex Affiliates as it was
Hey Geoff! First of all tell me the story of the group and/or ReflexAffiliates before you stepped in?
ReflexAffiliates, formerly known as ReflexCash, was one of the most successful dating CPA networks from 2014 to 2018. In 2019 a series of events rushed the group to self destruction. Unfit C-levels, lack of processes, shareholders conflicts and a growing competition worldwide… These ingredients led the group to bankruptcy in less than a year.I liked the challenge as well: saving a company from bankruptcy. I had never done that before. Click To Tweet
Why have you decided to get involved in affiliate business from the offers end of things?
Affiliation evolves continuously. It seems to me that many affiliates can’t scale anymore their dating, CCsubmits or nutra campaigns and are looking for different kinds of offers, CPL based. With my partner Bertrand Lemoine, we saw that it was the right momentum to grow in parallel both lead gen and affiliation businesses.
Why have you decided to buy a company instead of founding one?
Just the timing and the opportunity. I liked the challenge as well: saving a company from bankruptcy. I had never done that before.
Did the company have any debts that you had to settle? Any additional investments that were required for you to proceed?
Yes it came together with debts and yes, it was necessary for the remaining shareholders and myself to invest into the company to keep it afloat.
Were there any active affiliates on board when you bought the company?
Absolutely. Business went down progressively but never stopped completely. We were able to maintain the activity by focusing on our main strengths. I’d like to thank all the affiliates who kept sending traffic during those very hectic months. Without them, nothing would have been possible.
Can you give me an idea how much a network like this could cost on the market?
That’s not something I can share. What I can tell you is that our group is worth more today than 18 months ago.
Reflex Affiliates re-birth
Tell me more about the group now. What does it consist of? Did you buy it in its entirety or did you bring together separate entities?
We specialize in lead generation, digital marketing, affiliation and ad tech. Our main brands are ReflexAffiliates.com which is our affiliate network, ReflexLeads.com our lead generation company and ReflexMediagroup.com our main portal but also our demand generation agency.
I took ownership over the entire group.
How big are you now and where are you based?
We went through a tough restructuring between August and December 2019, from 65 people down to 22.
We’re now a staff of 31 and we expect to be 40 by the end of this year.
We have offices in London and Barcelona as well as remote collaborators around Europe.
What is that you are trying to build?
It’s important for Reflex to go more international, to keep on building powerful proprietary tools and to provide a real added value to its partners: building exclusive partnerships and releasing more successful in-house CPL offers.The group has literally come back from the dead! Click To Tweet
What is a core value of ReflexAffiliates under your supervision?
A long term vision of the business and an important focus on our team.
We’re working hard on establishing the basis of a pyramid which will go way higher than whatever was achieved in the past. This is only possible with the right team, its expertise and well being. Our team is, from my point of view, much more competent, committed and legitimate than before.
What is your biggest challenge as for today?
The group has literally come back from the dead! We’re still recovering financially. It’s a very long process which was slowed down by the global pandemic.
We’ll keep focusing on what’s working, we’ll keep improving our finance and build a new image for Reflex, regain the trust of all our partners and start working with new ones too.
Let’s talk more about your portfolio, what are your strongest verticals? You are still dating focused?
Dating is still a good vertical for us. CCsubmit and nutra too. However we’ve been focusing a lot more on truly “white hat” offers for the past few months.
Do you have or plan to have any in-house offers?
Yes we have! And new in-house offers are made available to our affiliates every week. These campaigns are unique and created entirely by our expert marketers from Reflex Leads, our lead generation company. We have a growing demand for home renovation (solar panels, boilers, heaters, windows, etc..), insurance (life, death), energy, telecommunications, health and seniors. So far, we’ve been focusing on the French and Spanish market, but we’re opening the UK and soon Germany.
What do you consider your competitive advantage?
Combining both lead gen and affiliation is a great advantage. Both activities are very complementary.
Our proprietary lead attribution technology developed over the last year is also a major asset to combine the strengths of both affiliation and lead generation businesses.
And lastly you mentioned that you have been focusing on “white hat” side of business. Can you elaborate on that? Is that more an ethical thing or you see a business opportunity there?
Facebook, Google and the biggest native ad networks dictate what is ethical or not. It’s very subjective and may change from one ad network to another or even from one account manager to another! That’s why I don’t use the term “ethical” in online advertising but “compliant”. Going “white hat” in opposition to “black hat” means that our in-house offers are compliant and can be promoted on all ad networks. Affiliates who media buy on the largest traffic sources don’t need to use any sort of farming strategies or cloaking to generate leads and profits.
And yes, it’s a business opportunity for everyone. Many affiliates are tired of this cat and mouse game, tired of getting their BM banned several times a week and would rather promote high converting white hat offers. It’s a big win in the long run for everyone.
Thank you for reading
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