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Dealer Dan, pictured here with WWE Superstar Mick Foley, has been in internet marketing since 1996. He likes hugs, long walks on the beach, and making money while wearing his jammy jams. For more information, you can read all about Dealer Dan.

Hey Businesses – Get Your Twit Together!

Do you like my play of words? This article is about businesses being crappy on Twitter – but instead of saying “get your shit together” I said “get your twit together”.

I’m a freaking genius.

Okay so it’s 2014. Every business pretty much has a Twitter account or a Facebook page. Most businesses probably don’t know WHY they have these. But everyone else has, and it’s 2014 – so yeah, they MUST have them too.

Here’s why you should have a Twitter or Facebook account in 2014:

For people to contact you.

No-one likes using the phone anymore. It’s just the way of the world. Even for the most important things – more and more people are reaching out via Twitter or Facebook.

Recently – I was in Toronto airport sitting beside a gentleman who was stressing hard, as his flight was just canceled. This dude was freaking. And I sat there and I watched him as he used his phone to hop on Twitter, and send a tweet to Air Canada about it.

This was from the looks of it – an emergency situation. Dude needed to fly out. Yet rather than phone Air Canada, or walk 100 feet to the Air Canada information desk – he sent out a tweet. Then sat there frantically refreshing, waiting for a reply.

Dumb? Yes, but that’s the way of the world. And if you’re a business who offers up a Twitter account or Facebook page, you need to get on that. You need to realize that this is the way the world is going. This is where people will reach out to you.

A large reason for that is because it’s PUBLIC. They know if they reach out to you in a public environment, they’re going to get better customer service because the eyes of the world are watching. And I’ve experienced this multiple times – received poor customer service over the phone or e-mail, sent out a tweet or facebook message and boom – better customer service.

Now let’s get to the personal experience that led me to writing this article:

Boston vs Montreal: Game 2

I visit Edmonton twice per year. I was there during the Bruins vs Montreal series. I’m a Habs fan, so I was obviously going to be watching the games.

Game 2 was on at 10:30am local time on a Saturday morning – May 3rd. I was craving a full English breakfast. So I yelped or googled “full English breakfast Edmonton”. The result was O’Byrnes Irish Pub.

The only issue is that they were listed at opening at 11am on Saturday, and the game started at 10:30am. Now this was May 1st, 2 days before the game. On their website they listed both a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

So I sent them this tweet:

Simple as that.

No Response.

Now you get a lot of businesses that sign up to Twitter with no idea how to use it. However these guys know how to use it. They’re not perfect – but they get the general idea. They send out tweets advertising events that they are showing(ie: the FA Cup Final), and offer special promotions that they are running.

That just makes it even worse that they didn’t send a response.

Sidenote: Nothing Against These Guys:

I’m not attacking this pub in any way and I just wanted to note that. I’m just using this as a general example of how important it is to monitor your social network accounts. I love Irish pubs and next time I’m in Edmonton I’ll be sure to check them out. Hell, if anyone from O’Byrnes is reading drop me an e-mail and I’ll give you some free tips on how to market your social accounts better.

However I just want to emphasize the importance of a missed response and there’s nothing better than a personal anecdote.

The fact is – this was a mistake, and hopefully they learn from it. Hopefully anyone running a Twitter account and reading this article learns from it. We all make mistakes.

Hell – I’m guilty of it too. A year ago, someone tweeted one of my casino accounts. It was a Q&A account that I ran at the time. They asked a simple question: “I’m wanting to deposit $1000 at a casino – what’s the best deal for an American?”.

I missed that tweet, and I only saw it a month later when looking through the archives for another tweet.

Crap.

I also potentially lost out on a lot of money there. That person could have deposited through my affiliate link, and usually if you’re dropping $1k then you’re going to keep doing that. Tens of thousands of dollars of potential income that I missed out on – all because I wasn’t monitoring my tweets well at the time, and missed out on that one.

It happens. You just have to learn from it and not make the same mistake in the future.

More Than A Missed Tweet:

One missed tweet – big deal, right?

As I said – I go to Edmonton twice per year. I’m also a creature of habit like many people. I generally go to the same bars and pubs every time. Hell go to any pub or bar more than once and you’ll no doubt see a group of locals who to the same place every time. When I go to Edmonton, there are a few places I frequent on a regular basis.

By missing that tweet, this pub potentially missed out on the following:

  1. The 3 of us going there for the game, where we would’ve spent easily over $200.
  2. The 3 of us potentially going back there later that night. Instead we went to another bar where we spent over $1000.
  3. Return visits from me when I go to Edmonton twice per year.
  4. My friends adding that bar to their rotation. Actually – one of my friend eats out practically every night. They could have list out on a lot of return business from him.
  5. Word of mouth marketing. If the place is great the 3 of us would tell others, and by just answering that one tweet there’s the potential for many, many people going there.

This place missed out on potentially thousands of dollars short-term and tens of thousands of dollars long-term all because of that one missed tweet.

To me – that’s a big deal.


10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Launching A New Website

Dealing with new affiliates on a daily basis, I see the same issue cropping up time and time again; people bringing no new ideas to the table, with no real thought process beyond “I want to make money online” and “I have no new ideas”.

For the latter – it generally means rarely(as in 1/100 of the time) will I see an actual unique concept, or a niche being targeted that isn’t already over saturated and extremely competitive.

Whenever you are planning on building a new website, before doing so these are 10 questions that I usually ask myself that I’d recommend you ask yourself.

I’ve also found that giving examples can really help in the learning process. So I’m going to also use the example of a site a friend of mine approached me with yesterday. If you’ve seen sites like GasBuddy.com where random drivers will update it with the latest gas prices as they see them – he wants to do a niche version of that, focused specifically on the city of Toronto, where he lives.

I’ll also use the example of a website I see being built frequently – a large, catch-all online poker website that aims to cover everything from reviews to strategy.

1: What Is Involved In The Website Work-Wise?

You have to think about the work that is going to be involved – from launching the website to the daily work that will be required on the actual website.

Toronto Gas Site: Obviously a lot of coding is going to have to go into a site like this, as well as keeping up with gas stations opening and closing. However the main job is actually building a community of drivers who will report gas prices on a regular basis on the website via their smartphone.

Catch-All Poker Site: As this is going to cover everything, the majority of the work will involve content. There will be marketing yes – but for a site like this to work, it needs content. A LOT of content, and all high quality, covering a variety of topics.

2: Do I have the time/resources to do it?

Once you’ve sat down and thought about the work involved, you need to seriously consider if you have the time to put into it. This is where a lot of projects shouldn’t leave the ground floor – once you calculate the work involved, you need to see if you can handle the actual workload, be it from your own time or hiring out to other people. If you can’t – don’t be afraid to scrap it at this stage, and come back to it later on when you have the resources to handle it.

Toronto Gas Site: As I said above, the main part is the coding and the community building. The person would need to be able to either code, or have the resources to hire a coder. They would also need to focus strongly on building a community via so many, many different methods. Lots of work is involved in that and it may not pay off.

Catch-All Poker Site: You’ll need to either be an established, knowledgeable poker player who is familiar with lots of poker rooms and has lots of time to write, or be able to outsource the content to people. For a site like this to be a success you need to be able to look at adding multiple articles per day, not one a week or launching with 10 articles and never touching it again. For a site like this to be a success, I’d recommend launching with at least 50 articles, and 1-3 new articles per day.

3: Is There A Market For It?

It’d surprise you how many people build a website without thinking “Is anyone interested in this?”.

At this point I’m not talking about the competitiveness of the niche or anything like that – just whether or not there IS actual people interested in the topic your website is being built around.

Toronto Gas Site: Yes. People care about gas prices more than ever these days, and are willing to drive fairly far to save even a few bucks on gas. For many people, it’s the principle.

Catch-All Poker Site: Of course.

4: Who Exactly Am I Targeting?

This is one that a lot of people also overlook – they never think about their demographic. They simply decide to build a site, without really thinking about who is going to be visiting. You may be WRONG in your demographics – but hey, it’s good to get some estimations and ideas then you can re-evaluate as time goes on.

Toronto Gas Site: People who live in Toronto who drive, and who have smartphones.

Catch-All Poker Site: People interested in poker. It could be learning how to be a better poker player, looking to play online at new poker rooms, or read up on the latest happenings in the WSOP etc.

5: How Competitive Is This Market?

Competition shouldn’t always put you off – but you should get an idea of just how difficult it may be to compete in the market. You should have a general idea of your primary keywords – take a look at the competition for those keywords, and get an idea of how competitive it is. If it’s very competitive you may need to go back and reassess the work involved in the website, while if it isn’t very competitive you can probably take a more relaxed approach to the site.

Toronto Gas Site: Nothing too bad. The only real competition is an EMD and a brand name website. This is very good because you are relying on the community, so you don’t have to pry them away from many sites; just a couple.

Catch-All Poker Site: Obviously, a lot of competition here. This is where I might try and look at focusing on less saturated keywords at first. For example for poker room reviews, a review of Pokerstars wouldn’t be #1 on my list. Instead I’d be looking for new poker rooms, or poker rooms that don’t have as many reviews etc online to target. Essentially due to the competition, you’re changing your focus onto your secondary keywords.

6: What are my income sources?

Very simple – how are you going to make money from this type of site? Are you going to focus on affiliate links? Or throw up Adsense and hope for the best? There are many ways to make income from websites, and you should sit down and cover them all.

Toronto Gas Site: Looking at the competition, it seems to be your typical “throw lots of Google Ads in your face” technique. Nothing wrong with that, but you should think of other methods such as localized deals, or selling ad space to local businesses etc. If I was going the app route(with people using smartphones to most likely report gas prices) I would look at possibly a premium version of the app.

Catch-All Poker Site: Obviously affiliate links are the main thing here – but don’t forget sources like Amazon, and of course media buys.

7: What Can I Expect Financially From This Website?

This can be a tricky one – because often, you don’t know. It may not matter. You may wish to just try it and hope for the best. Sometimes the website won’t rank, other times it does and you get traffic but no income etc. You can learn or get an idea of this by looking at existing websites in the niche – if they’ve been around for awhile, constantly updating etc then yeah – if everything works out well, your site should have income. But depending on how important the income is should also affect the workload and plans for the website.

Toronto Gas Site: This is one where honestly – I just don’t know. And that’s okay. Based on the existing websites, ads and traffic numbers as well as the market, I would estimate you would make from $xxx per month to as high as $xx,xxx. I would focus however on hooking up with some local sponsors, and considering anything else a bonus until I see how Adsense works out. The tricky thing with a site like this is in the early days you actually don’t want a lot of ads – you want people to get a nice clean experience, before slowly adding ads. So in this sense, you almost want ZERO income for the opening year while you focus on building a community.

Catch-All Poker Site: Obviously the potential for a lot of money is there – but it’s going to take a ton of work. I would focus initially on working out deals with poker rooms where you get a certain amount of money for putting them in your top spots or plastering them all over your site – at least for the first year until I have a better estimation of how the site is going – and consider anything else a bonus.

8: Am I Passionate About It?

Sadly, not all websites are overnight successes. Do you have the drive to keep going if months down the road, everything is failing? Generally that’s where the passion comes in – where you’re still very passionate about the idea to be able to do that. It’s something you need to consider as you decide whether or not you are building the site purely for income, or if it’s a project that you’re willing to put work into, and forget about if it’s not succeeding.

Toronto Gas Site: The biggest part of this site is the community, and you need to think 3-6 months down the road what happens if you have almost no members? Are you going to be motivated to come up with fresh ideas and continue to market the site?

Catch-All Poker Site: I’ve seen this happen so many times before; people who create sites like this, work hard on it for 2 months and are then burnt out when there is no income, and give up. If you don’t have the passion for a site like this, then you need to have the resources to be able to hire people to keep the site going when you have lost your drive.

9: What Are My Goals After One Year?

So many people don’t have a long-term thought process about their website. That always surprises me. You should sit down and mark one year from today on your calender, then work backwards. Think about where your site will be one year from today, how much content will be on it, what content will be on it, and how it should be doing. Having a long-term perspective is great for a site – it keeps you driven, and it allows you to really comprehend how the site should be laid out and so on. I know there are many sites in my past where I’ve had no long-term perspective, and down the road I’ve had to change things around big time – which was a lot of time and work I could have been putting to better use.

Toronto Gas Site: The goal is simple for this site; to have a community doing most of the work for you. Maybe one year is too optimistic but it’s a nice goal to have – seeing the majority of gas stations having updates every day, new members being referred by people other than yourself and so on.

Catch-All Poker Site: The goal here would be to have consistent traffic numbers and income growing by the day. There are too many variables to accurately predict the amount of either – but I’d like to see a constant growth to know I am on the right path. I would also have a set number of articles to aim for by the end of year 1.

10: How Can I Reinvest In The Website?

This is the big one. As time goes on, ideally your website will be making money. Do you have any reinvestment plans? So many people I know simply take the money and never think twice about reinvestment. Yet reinvestment is the big one. For example – all the work you do, you could hire OTHER people to do freeing you up to do OTHER work or NEW projects and make even MORE money. Or you could reinvest in the site to increase the quality of it, and further solidify the income.

Toronto Gas Site: The big one here is the community. I would look at reinvesting in them – give them rewards for the hard work they do. Encourage them to keep doing it, to start referring friends etc – keep the community happy and make them priority – that’s what you need to do for any community driven website. Cater to all of their needs. Without the community you have nothing.

Catch-All Poker Site: As this is a content heavy site, the main reinvestment area would be this. Hiring people to write content and explore new sections. Also look into various social marketing methods, potential viral marketing methods etc. In theory however content is the big one – I fully expect for a site like this to be a success, it needs to be content heavy. Therefore it is a no brainer that most of the reinvestment should go into the content.

In Summary:

None of this is meant to scare you. But every time you build a website, you should consider the importance of that website. Essentially, you are creating your own business. You should think of every website you build as a “make or break” website for you, and treat each one with the utmost importance.

Every website you build has the potential to be your retirement fund, to allow you to move to Costa Rica and enjoy sun and relaxation while your monkeys are doing the work. On the flip side, it could be a massive time sink and failure for you. It could take up hours, days, weeks and months of your life – all for nothing. It could demoralize you, and scare you away from the greatest lifestyle there is, which is working for yourself.

Isn’t it worth taking some time to consider all of the above?


Thank USA It’s Monday

This week I’d like to thank the United States of America, in particular their soccer team for what they have did in the World Cup so far.

First of all – they are a great example of the sole purpose of hosting the World Cup in various countries; to help evolve the game in that area. Since hosting the World Cup in 1994, they’ve managed to qualify for the World Cup every time. Granted – not exactly the toughest competition, but considering they hadn’t qualified from 1954-1986 it says a lot.

Since 1994, the evolution of soccer in the USA has been fascinating to watch. To see more and more quality players come out from the USA, or the beginnings and then evolution of the MLS, and of course watching soccer grow at the grass roots level in the USA is a beautiful thing.

Of course even more fun – is watching some Americans comment on the World Cup.

It never fails to amuse me. With USA actually doing fairly well, more and more people are taking an interest in it. Yet they can’t just sit back and enjoy – they have to come up with ideas to “make it better”, and write about it in that “matter of fact” way where you just have to shake your head and laugh.

Some of the suggestions just blow my mind, and the highlight of the World Cup for me has seriously been just reading up random Americans thoughts on Facebook, Reddit and various sports forums. I’ve seen people suggest they play without goalkeepers, don’t have offsides, put up walls to stop the ball going out for throw-ins, making the pitch half the size, ban headers, make the net stretch the entire width of the pitch, remove free kicks and just give penalties. Always written in that “matter of fact” way as if they are all geniuses.

Either way though – it truly is great to see this sort of evolution. A 9.1 overnight rating was huge, plus it seem so many bars were just packed for the game and people were super into the match.

Hopefully that continues when the World Cup is over / USA are out. More packed bars for sporting events is NEVER a bad thing.

Phone Security:

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I lost my phone – left it in a cab. And gave advice and instructions for installing apps so that if you DO lose your phone, you can easily locate it.

However that is only part of the battle.

One other thing you need to do – is not just install the apps, but do some test runs. Make sure that if you DO lose your phone you’ll know exactly what to do immediately.

My friend took my advice, and installed a few apps. He lost his phone yesterday….and he had no idea what to do. He wasn’t registered online with some of the apps etc – basically despite installing the apps he hadn’t ran through the “oh crap my phone is lost” process so despite the installation of apps – he was still screwed.

So make sure to take it that step further – test out the apps you install, go through the process and understand exactly what to do if you lose your phone.

Thankfully my friends story has a happy ending.

One of the apps he installed was Secret Control and that has a great feature – when his battery level hit 1%, it sent him an e-mail notifying him of that. Even better is it sent him the exact location where the phone was, and informed him that it was in his house.

Ended up it was behind the back of a drawer – and if it wasn’t for that app, he would have never known and bought a new one.

Buh-Bye Firefox:

I’m not sure when I started using Firefox. It was in the version 1.X range for sure – which based on the way they push through updates and version numbers was probably last week. (Actually: 2002). But man – after 12 freaking years I am finally DONE.

I still remember how slick Firefox was as a browser when it first came out. I’ve always been the “alternate browser” guy. Back when people were using Netscape and Internet Explorer, I was using IE. Hell even with e-mails when everyone was using Eudora or Outlook, I generally prefered “The Bat!”.

However over the years Firefox has just got worse and worse. It’s amazing that I’d actually continually put up with it. Flash would crash pretty much every 30 minutes. Firefox would crash at least a couple of times per day. And worst of all – every bloody time they’d release a new update, key extensions that I used would become uncompatible.

More and more I’ve been using Chrome. I kept finding it hard to make the full switch for some reason – Chrome always felt just too “lightweight”. I also didn’t think I could survive without the Roboform Toolbar which never seemed to be an option.

However over the last week, Firefox just got worse and worse. I’m not sure what it was but it became just “sluggish” to a ridiculous degree. It got to the point where yep – I said screw this, and switched over to Chrome.

Loving Chrome too, I must say. Some really neat extensions, and the Roboform Toolbar IS there after all – just at the bottom, not the top.

There’s also something really nice about having my browsing history sync from my phones browser to desktop browser, tablet browser etc.

Another win for the Google Overlords.

Whew – anyway, sorry this article was a late one today. I slept in after a late night last night – nothing too bad, like 9:45am but man for some reason sleeping in always depresses me. I’ve been sluggish all day, slowly working but not accomplishing anywhere near as much as I want to do. And sometimes all the coffee in the world, all the motivational quotes in the world etc just can’t get you out of that slump.

Then you just call it a day with the resolve to tackle the world fresh the next day. I mean seriously – in an attempt to post this article I managed to post it to the wrong website. TWICE.

Time to call it a day and resolve to work extra hard tomorrow.


Thank Italy It’s Monday

Thank you Italy, and thank you Super Mario Balotelli for defeating England on Saturday night in the World Cup.

Being Scottish means I – well, sadly I rarely have a team to cheer for in the World Cup. Of course I’m betting on every game, do have my favourites and am always into it – but generally every major national championship these days comes down to “As long as England don’t win it, I’m happy”. Even better if they get gubbed in the group stages.

We Scots don’t hate English people personally or anything – we just generally hate them as a nation as a whole. A great example of that actually was right after Italy defeated England 2-1. You would have thought that England had won, the way the commentators go on. Talking about what a great performance it was, what a spirited performance it was.

It’s going to be interesting though because England do have the potential to be lethal. Having Welbeck, Sterling and Sturridge racing all over the place – all you need is someone there to put in the through balls, get some creativity going and bobs your uncle. That switch of Rooney/Sterling could come back to haunt Hodgson. Going to be interesting to see how they line up next.

And I really liked Italy. I thought Immobile would be the hero but Balotelli is showing what a season in Serie A has meant to him. In the first half he wasn’t very impressives but he brought it on in the second half. If he can perform more like that throughout the tournament they’re real contenders.

Overall though a fantastic start to the World Cup with a ton of goals. Funny to see Under 2.5 being the favourite in almost every game at the bookies, and now it’s drastically changing to the Overs. Hope the goalscoring keeps up.

Random World Cup Thoughts:

  • Boy, was some of the commentary and media embarassing after Frances second goal. A clear goal, yet so many of them were just clueless about the goal-line technology, and on whatever American station I was watching it on they wouldn’t shut up about the controversial goal. Embarassing.
  • Hopefully Croatia can keep their discipline as they didn’t really deserve to lose to Brazil. Jelavic is one of my favourite players and I’d love to see them make the next round.
  • Australia may cause Spain & Holland some problems, and I wouldn’t write them off yet. They put everything through Cahill, and with the high defensive lines their combination of through balls and deep crosses could ultimately be lethal. Would love to see the Aussies cause an upset.
  • Argentina did not look good at all. I had Bosnia on a Draw No Bet there and I still feel it was the right bet, despite the loss. Bosnia looked very solid and if not for that own goal, could have been an entirely different game. And of course the media are all over “Magical Messi”, ignoring the fact that he was probably the worst Argentinian on the pitch in the first half.

I’m the Uruguay of Webmasters:

Seriously – the amount of errors I’ve been making on my World Cup Tips site is just insane.

I’ve already covered it in depth in this article – but that was all pre-launch. Now it’s launched – I still seem to be making mistake after mistake.

Some of the things I’ve did in the past 2-3 days:

  • Written articles but forgot to post them.
  • Posted articles but forgot to interlink them on their category pages.
  • Left in Placeholder text in some of the articles.
  • Got confused with the dates, and only put up tips articles 2 days before when it should be 4 days.Put in the wrong ID on my mailing list, so people couldn’t subscribe.
  • Linked to pages that don’t exist.
  • Tipped Spain vs Holland as a “quiet” game with few goals.
  • Completely forgot to put a content CTA in my tips articles.

That last one is actually the worst – traffic wise from search engines, the site was a massive success yesterday. It’s been doing 50-100 a day and yesterday it did over 500 unique hits from search engines, yet I didn’t have a bloody in-content CTA.

I’ll just blame it all on World Cup Fever I guess.

T_IM:

Just a quick note that the next few T_IM’s will most likely be 100% about the World Cup, or close to it.

Football is my life, and I often have to pinch myself to remind myself that yet – this is real life. I am sitting down on a Saturday from 12pm until 11pm watching football game after football game – that’s my job. I’m going down the pub to watch the games, hanging out with friends and watching games.

One of my favourite motivational quotes is If you can dream it, you can do it. If you can imagine it, you can be it.

While I probably didn’t have this specific dream – it’d be nice to be able to go back to the 14-15 year old me. The pimply faced youngster who would get up at 4am, and spend 3 hours in pissing rain delivering over a hundred newspapers each day – all for the paltry sum of £10 per week. To go back in time and tell him that his future job would involve sitting around in the sunshine, drinking beer and eating wings.

It truly is amazing what hard work can accomplish.

Now come on CR20 – show everyone just WHY you’re the best player in the world and take down the Germans today!

And F U Messi.


Building A Website I Expect To Be A Failure

Every affiliate has websites that are successes and failures. However never do we actually build a site with the idea of it being a failure. Every website we build, we are building it full of optimism and confidence. We’re either going to dominate an existing niche, or target a new unsaturated market.

Either way – this next website we’re building is going to be massive, and a big earner.

Yet that’s a sentence I can’t actually say for the website I just recently built. And this isn’t just pessimism – this is from my years of experience of being an internet marketer. I would be very, very surprised if this website becomes a success at all financially.

Yet I honestly don’t care.

I’ll probably put 30-40 hours into this website – 30-40 hours that could be put to use on websites or projects that WILL be a success. Instead I’m devoting all this time and energy to an expected failure of a website – yet I don’t care.

Weird, right?

Not really – and it goes back to the fundamentals of any affiliate marketing advice I always give. I’ll touch on that at the end of the article.

In the meantime let’s talk why this website is going to be a failure, although I can sum it up quite easly:

It’s a time limited niche website – but I ran out of time.

The Website in Question:

The website in question is WorldCupBettingTips.org.

2 years ago, I launched another website: BetEuro2012.org. It was a website essentially offering betting tips and odds on Euro 2012. I launched that purely as a test – to see if a time limited niche website would still work in 2012. It did extremely well, generating over $25,000 revenue in that year alone, and getting around 60,000 unique visitors. The income continues to come in from that site today, although nowhere near what it was doing at it’s peak.

So I decided to build another one for the World Cup.

I learned a lot from that website. There’s certain content that works, and I know how to maximize the content that usually doesn’t convert. But the most important thing I learned, and something I’ve been testing over the years – is all about the launch.

The most important part of a time limited niche website is WHEN you launch it.

And I failed miserably.

This sort of website should have launched 3-4 weeks prior to the World Cup starting. This would allow the content to get indexed, backlinks to be put in place, and for it to start ranking. Continual content updates would keep Google coming back, and would allow me to target specific longtail keywords I know that work, doing articles that generally don’t result in a quantity of visitors but do have strong chances at converting.

But I ran out of time. Instead of launching 3-4 weeks prior to the World Cup, I launched about 10 days prior. Now this is already a big deal as it is – but there’s many more things that running out of time affects, that I’m going to go into here.

Content Quantity:

The core component is content, and that’s where the site is hurt. With a new website, you generally want a lot of content so you are coming out of the gates judged as a quality website. It doesn’t always happen that way – but yeah, launching a new website the best chance you can give yourself is a lot of content.

I planned to launch with 40 articles, adding 2 per day. Instead I launched with just 13 articles, and have been adding content whenever I can get to it.

It’s very simple: the less content on the site, the less visitors you are going to get. Worse – I had to focus on the betting tips content mainly, which is actually some of the least converting content on the site.

Design & Conversion:

Due to running out of time, I wasn’t able to launch with my ideal website design template which is set up for maximum conversion. Instead I had to use a basic one I use that “works okay”, but is nothing special. Due to running out of time, I’ve immediately decreased the chances of converting the visitors I DO get.

Worse – I had to skip on one of my highest conversion tools during Euro 2012. As I said above – match betting tips generally don’t convert that well. However my highest conversion tool for each one was this live odds script:

building-1

Without a doubt, that was the main converter. Yet due to running out of time, I wasn’t able to do up the table or get the script going or anything – and instead I had to go with this:

building-2

Meh.

Content Quality/Research:

Even the content I HAVE written is really nothing to write home about, and it’s been a struggle.

Prior to Euro 2012, I was able to put so much research into the tournament. I spent hours discussing and debating with some friends, going over everything with a fine tooth comb and being really, really excited about Euro 2012. What this meant was not only was I writing solid content – it was a LOT easier to write as well. I set a minimum 500 word count for my articles, and I was breezing over that with ease.

This one for the most part I’ve had to do the research on the fly. For the major teams I’m good – but when it comes to Iran and Japan etc it can be a bit of a struggle. I’ll have multiple browser tabs open going over everything, and then it becomes a struggle just writing the content. With the previous site I would write an 800 word article in about 10 minutes or less. With this site it’s about 30-45 minutes per article just for 500 words, with the amount of research and the fact that it’s not flowing as well due to not as much knowledge.

That’s not good, and it bugs me. I’ve often said – when I build a website, I build it with the aim of it being the BEST in that category. While it’s still solid content – it’s nowhere near the BEST, and that’s something that eats away at me.

Backlinks:

Generally when you build backlinks to a website you want to take it slow and play it natural. With a time limited niche website you don’t want to go overboard as it can cause flags to ruin your site. Unfortunately without that time, I’ve had to throw backlinks at the site and just hope for the best basically. A risk that I never wanted to take.

Additional Marketing:

I was only able to focus on the basics for this one – content, and praying to the Google Gods every day. At the last minute I’ve started a $10k or Bust Betting Challenge but I haven’t really had time to promote that, nor will I.

Meanwhile my friend John (http://www.bettingbonusestoday.com/) was able to get on top of that sort of marketing. We had talked about some ideas and he went with this one:

That’s great because it has the potential to go viral – the dog just need to make a couple of correct picks and you start pushing it and there’s a great chance it takes off.

I’ve been planning this World Cup site for 2 years. As soon as Euro 2012 ended, I bought the domain and I got planning. I had about 15-20 potential viral marketing ideas.

Due to lack of time, I’m doing none of them.

To Summarize All This:

When you build a time limited niche website, time is not your friend. It is your enemy. You only have a short amount of time – a small window – to actually capture visitors AND convert them. Therefore you need to present the best possible website you can, with the maximum conversion options possible. Because as soon as that window closes – it’s over.

Unfortunately, I’ve missed the window. As I sit here, 24 hours before the World Cup starts and still more content that I need to write, it’d be easy to be frustrated. Looking through the site, at the hours I’ve poured into it, and looking at the weak traffic stats and thinking it’s all for nothing.

Yet I Don’t Care:

You might think that the lesson you should take away from this is that with a time limited niche website – you need to focus strongly on time.

Yet that isn’t it.

One of the basic things I say to all new affiliate marketers is this: build something you are passionate about.

Why do I say that? Simple. Because the first website is usually going to be a failure. It’s more of a learning experience than anything else – understanding SEO, getting used to how WordPress works, testing out conversions etc.

But if you go into that first website with high hopes and it becomes a failure – that’s enough to kill off your motivation for affiliate marketing.

That’s why I tell people to build something they’re passionate about. Build a website where you don’t care if you make money or not. Build a website and write content simply because you WANT to – if you make money then great, but it’s not the end of the world.

I grew up in Scotland. Football is my life. Doing a website like this – even if it makes me absolutely nothing, is still a lot of fun. Because I learn so much more about the players and the teams and the tactics. Korea Republic versus Algeria is not just a game that I’ll watch “just because” anymore – it’s now a game where I could name the starting line-ups, and tell you the tactics that they’ll most likely play.

Essentially – it’s made me CARE a lot more about the World Cup, and it’s drastically increased my interest and enjoyment in the World Cup.

To me – that’s made it all worth it.

Plus hey – every cloud has a silver lining, right? Maybe I’ll end up with a backlink from Failblog!


Thank Rangers It’s Wednesday

By Rangers, I mean the New York Rangers.

If you know me, you’ll probably be surprised by that title. I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan – why the hell would I be thanking the New York Rangers? They eliminated us, which meant I missed out on possibly celebrating my teams first Stanley Cup win in my lifetime(as I wasn’t a fan of the NHL in 1993).

Well – as painful as it was to watch the Habs succumb to the New York Rangers – there was a small part of my breathing a sigh of relief.

You see – I had tickets for a potential Game 7 between the two teams, at the Bell Centre. I bought the tickets prior to the dates even being announced – and unfortunately that ended up causing me a bit of a problem.

If I was going to attend the Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers Game 7 – I would have to go up to Montreal on Saturday May 31st, and return Sunday June 1st.

If I did that – I’d miss out on going with my son on the Saturday as he participated in a 5k race in Toronto, and then seeing my daughters dance recital the next day.

Crap.

So that’s why I’d like to thank the New York Rangers. Because they saved me from a very difficult decision – and hey, made me look like a good guy! Because if push came to shove, in a massive series deciding game……..I just don’t know if I would’ve parted with those tickets.

Thankfully, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade with it. So the Habs lost – that sucked right?

But thanks to the New York Rangers victory I didn’t miss out on this:

thanks-rangers

And that’s worth more than a thousand Stanley Cups.

(….yeah, right.)

WordPress Security Tips:

The majority of you use WordPress. Hell, pretty much everyone uses WordPress. From large multi-million dollar companies all the way down to some emo blogger – it’s ridiculous just how widespread it is.

Of course one major issue is security. Seeing my friend Kev get his websites hacked repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, as well as the major All In One SEO Exploit – I thought I’d throw out some tips. I’ll be implementing all of these on my websites if I don’t have it done yet over the next week:

  1. Make sure WordPress and all plugins are regularly updated. I generally do this on a monthly basis.
  2. Change the location of the wp-admin folder.
  3. Make sure the administrators login is not admin.
  4. Install the Login Lockdown plugin.
  5. Make sure your server has a firewall running.

Now if you’re super concerned about WordPress security there’s a lot more you can do – but the above should cover about 99% of you.

Seriously don’t wait until it’s too late. Hacks can come from anywhere and you don’t want to have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a security audit when the above process can take just 5 minutes per site.

Link of the Week:

Man – do I love this concept. http://runpee.com/.

What is it? It’s simple: you go to the movies. You drink pop. You need to pee.

THIS APP TELLS YOU WHEN TO GO AND PEE DURING THE MOVIE.

Seriously – how bloody great is that? You go pee and you can read the app to make sure you aren’t missing out on anything.

I love the digital age that we live in. I really, really do.

Time Limited Niche Time Again:

Ah yes – that time of year again. My favourite time of year – where I build a Time Limited Niche website. Man I love doing that.

That’s why I’m writing this on Wednesday as opposed to Monday – because I was too busy launching my World Cup 2014 website – www.WorldCupBettingTips.org.

Of course – a couple of interesting things to note about that website:

  1. I am not confident in it’s ability to make money at ALL.
  2. I am convinced it will be a failure.
  3. I made many, many mistakes in regard to that website.
  4. Yet despite 1-3, I just don’t give a damn.

And with that teaser – I’m going to save explaining all that until an article next week.

Have a great week people.


Twitter Descriptions and How To Do Them Right

If you run a business or a website and want to use Twitter for marketing, there is one basic method that I really hope you know: “Follow” your Target Market.

Identify who your target market is. Then start following them. If you run an NBA Tips website for example – at the very least you’d be looking for people who like the NBA. Of course you might want to go deeper than that – find people who not only like and watch the NBA, but discuss their NBA bets. Even further – you might want to aim to target just Americans, and thus go for Americans who like to bet on the NBA.

The problem is – as basic as this is – so many people do it wrong. Oh they get the following part down pat – how could they not – but they don’t seem to understand the whole conversion part I have various dummy Twitter accounts I use. Whenever someone follows them, I get an e-mail in my inbox.

The e-mail is very simple. It states:

  1. You have a new follower on Twitter.
  2. Provides their profile picture and twitter account name, plus a link to their Twitter page.
  3. Provides their twitter profile description.
  4. Provides follower stats.
  5. Provides an easy “Follow” link.

In this article, I’m going to be talking about #3: Provides their twitter profile description.

Because that’s where so many people do it wrong.

What Do You Want?

When you follow someone – what exactly are you going for? You want them to follow you. It’s that simple. You want this person to receive this e-mail, and immediately click that “Follow” button.

Generally, the user has 3 options:

  1. Delete the e-mail.
  2. Click through to your profile page.
  3. Clck “Follow”.

1 is complete junk, 2 is okay depending on your follow-up. 3 is what you want.

And that’s where the description comes in.

A Good Description:

Here is an example of a description that I really like:

twitter-description-1

I’m big into fantasy sports. I love them. And Fantasy Sports are a nice combination of both skill and luck. So much like poker, you want to obviously get the skill edge up as much as possible. However it’s tough to do so.

So then Roto Rants follow me above. Look at their description. Right off the bat they state that they provide fantasy sports advice and analysis. I LOVE both those words. “Advice” is great because it makes me think I can ask these guys questions. Analysis is money too because if you are a stats geek, you’ll love to pour over their thoughts. So they’ve managed to hook practically every fantasy sports fan with just their first sentence.

The next sentence talks about an algorithm created to help you out. Again that’s great. People don’t like to trust others opinions anymore on things like this – but an actual algorithm? Computers are doing it? Boom, great great hook.

The last sentence “We call them our Premium Plays” is weak, but honestly the first two sentences are great enough that this description is money. And that Premium Plays line actually ties in with what you see when you go there. There’s a pinned tweet stating you can try their premium plays that day for free. So it’s nice to see a tie-in like that, and smart to see a business using pinned tweets effectively. As soon as I clicked through to their site, I was bookmarking it.

An OK Description:

Sticking with fantasy sports, here’s another follow I received:

twitter-description-2

What really stands out for me here is it is intriguing. The first sentence is money – a fantasy sports game where you win cash by picking losers. What? What the hell is that? That’s something where I want to click through and find out more.

Personally I would have just went with that. It’s nice and mysterious, will intrigue the user and is going to get people clicking to read more. Then you follow it up with a nice pinned tweet inviting people to read more about it on their site.

Bad Descriptions:

I get a lot of followers from local businesses in my area. That’s pretty standard and smart – why wouldn’t you follow people in your area?

Here are two bad descriptions though from small or local businesses:

This one is absolutely horrendous. The description offers nothing about their business. It provides no information about whether or not they are a local business or not, or where they serve. Yeah you do crepes – I get that from your account name. twitter-description-3

Even worse – they use the description field to try and get you to follow them via another social networking service. Seriously? Who the hell came up with that idea?

Then you go there and it’s a bunch of random tweets, meaning for me to find out where they are located I need to do a lot of legwork. No thanks. This is a franchise with multiple locations over Canada and they haven’t spent one second thinking about how to market to new followers, yet they are randomly following people.

Another one:

twitter-description-4

This is a local hot dog vendor in my city. Yet you wouldn’t know that, because their description doesn’t mention anything about the city at all. With so many random businesses following me – this one doesn’t stick out at all. If I click through then yeah the location says my city – but if you’re recieving this in e-mail, it’s likely you’ll not follow.

Furthermore – what’s the actual POINT of following these guys? Is there a reason other than them being a local business?

This is one that is going to fall into #2 – clicking through to their profile.

When I go there there is no special offer – no incentive to follow. It’s just them retweeting a bunch of other tweets for the most part. How about retweeting one of their promotional tweets and getting 50 cents off your hot dog? Anything! Even if they DID have a good description there’s zero follow-up. No reason at all to follow.

Let’s Look At Some Gambling Sites:

I’ve covered business here to give you a general idea but as most of you are gambling affiliates, and most of you are thinking “Well I need to get on Twitter even though I have no idea what to do” we’ll look at some gambling twitter accounts and see what they say.

I’m just going to pick a few completely at random by searching key phrases in Twitter:

twitter-description-5

That one’s pretty good. It’s telling you what to do – to FOLLOW THEM. Reaffirming the fact that you should do it. And why? For exclusive bonuses. Not bad. Also note the amount of followers they have – 17,000. Sure it’s possible they just bought all of those or just followed a zillion people who randomly follow back – but either way, it adds legitimacy to them. When you see that many followers you think “Hey these guys are worth following”.

twitter-description-6

Ugh – really? First sentence is fine – they’re offering free tips, and they’re tweeted daily. Easy enough. Then it gets weak by IMMEDIATELY telling you they sell tips. That’s not good. Get people in the door first FFS. And provide more information – what sports do you cover? What is so special about you?

twitter-description-7

This is an interesting one. From the looks of it they don’t do free tips. That’s fine. First of all it’s informative – they tell you what tips they provide. Then they provide a price which is super cheap. So that might get people curious. People might want to follow them just to see if it’s worth paying that, and pay attention. AND people are impulsive. So if someone follows them they will most likely check back the next day to see how they did or just look at their history for the last few days. If they won – they might jump on it and pay the cash.

Then the hook of “£10 Into £10,959 in just 17 Bets”. Now that’s an interesting one. I know that’s possible – I’ve seen it happen before. But it also sounds speculative and “too good to be true”. That’s where they need to back that up – with a pinned tweet showing exactly how they did that, and when. Because I went to their website and I don’t see anything about it – and if that is true, it’s something they should be broadcasting as a massive selling point.

Summary:

When you’re setting up any sort of social networking profile, you need to sit back and think about these things. The very first thing people are going to see when you follow them is your description.

Look at your Twitter accounts for your websites and ask one question: would YOU follow that account?

If not, work on figuring out what would make you change your mind and slam that follow button.


Thank Coke It’s Monday

I love marketing. I remember getting to pick our classes in high school when I had turned 16, and one of the ones I chose was marketing. It was because my friends were taking it too, as it was generally accepted as an “easy class”.

It was something that hooked me though. I’m not sure exactly when – but I’ve mentioned before my fondest memories of that class being the day after the Superbowl. My marketing teacher would get the commercials that aired in the USA imported over on a VHS tape and we’d all sit down and watch them. I remember the passion as he spoke about each one, and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

One thing I really love about marketing though – is watching how it affects myself. I try and pay attention to that, and think about why I am doing certain things or why I made a specific purchase.

Yesterday, for example – after two hours of cravings, I bought myself a bottle of coke.

Now buying a bottle of coke? What’s the big deal about that? Millions of it are consumed every day by millions of people.

Well I rarely drink pop. I mean I never drink it at home, and the only time I’ll have it is if I’m out at a restaurant and not drinking beer. Not just because it’s bad for you – but I also break out in zits when I drink it – so that helps keep me away from it! But something happened yesterday that got me craving it – and it’s the trickle down effect from coke spending billions on marketing every year.

I was outside, sitting on my porch and enjoying the hot sun. I saw a guy walking by. He was wearing a dress shirt and pants – both were dirty and wrinkled. He just looked like one of those guys who were beaten down by life. Probably broke as hell, barely making ends meet etc.

Then I saw him coming back. He had went to the corner store to buy one thing: a bottle of coke. I sat there and watched him as there seemed to be a slight spring in his step now. He crossed the road, then he stopped, opened the coke and took a big drink of it.

It may sound stupid – but man, this was a beautiful moment. You could freeze that moment, take a picture of it and slap it in the dictionary under “refreshing”. This guy looked beaten down by life – but yet for that moment, none of his problems mattered. He was just standing there in the hot sun, drinking this bottle of coke like it was just the greatest thing in life. A man just in full appreciation of how great a coke could be on a nice hot day.

2 hours later I just could not get that image out of my head. I walked over to the corner store, and bought myself a bottle of coke. It’s fascinating just thinking about things like that – what sort of marketing can affect you and your purchases, or the way you do things.

And if you’re wondering – yes, the coke was worth it. Probably not as refreshing and life changing as the other guys, but it was still delicious.

And worth every freaking zit I will get.

Contests/Sweepstakes:

Part of my morning routine usually involves entering online contests or sweepstakes. What can I say – it’s fun to win free shit, and it’s a 20 minute process while watching Sportscentre. And hey winning free stuff is great – over the years I’ve won a Ford Freestar van, the Mick Foley Wrestlemania contest, Harlem Globetrotters VIP Experience, a romantic trip to Montreal for two and a whole bunch more.

For me though – a large part of it isn’t just winning – it’s the idea of winning. For example I entered one contest where the winner would get to attend EVERY Stanley Cup Final game. They would fly from city to city as the home team alternates, getting to go to each game. Seriously – how cool would it be to win something like that? And as I said it’s not even about winning – it’s just the idea of it, and being able to sit there and dream about it or chat to your buddies about it over a pint.

What’s interesting as I enter these contests, is look at the social marketing some of these sites do. You’ll get standard ones like tweet about it for an extra entry, post it on Facebook for an extra entry and so on. Those are okay – but one really stood out to me. This Nutella one for example:

nutella-contest

I love that! They manage to use something that will benefit your friends. Then you won’t be a hassle to other people posting contests all the time – instead you’re just posting something that will benefit others. Hell – I rarely post stuff on Facebook and I’m even tempted to share that because who the hell wouldn’t want free freaking nutella?

Busy Week Ahead:

The World Cup is fast approaching, and I don’t have a website set up for it yet. Ugh.

This is where it can be important to make sure you manage your time and work effectively. For a site like that – and I’ll write more about it next week – I much prefer to work on it myself – which means writing all the content myself. It’s a topic I thoroughly enjoy, and I’m actually pretty pumped for this week. Time to get my world cup on.

I just hope the weather is nice. It’s been absolutely brutal here with constant rain and thunderstorms. Really sucks as there’s nothing like sitting out back, relaxing with the netbook on my lap, enjoying beautiful sunshine and thinking “Wow – this is my job.”

Have a great week dudes.


Thank Victoria It’s Monday

I’m thanking Victoria it’s Monday because it is Victoria Day here in Canada.

Honestly, I had to check Wikipedia just to see what that actually means. All I know is it means a day off from school and work. I guess it’s Queen Victoria’s birthday – so we celebrate that. Ok then.

My knowledge of history is absolutely shocking, to be honest. It’s just a topic that’s never interested me at all.

I took history class for 4 years in high school, and honestly from those 4 years I only have one memory: BOOBIES.

I was probably 12-13 at the time. Our history teacher put on this video – I guess depicting the old days back in caveman world or something. All I remember from that is all of the girls walking around in that video wearing leaves to cover their nether regions….and no top.

I still remember the disclaimer our teacher said before putting the video on: “You’re going to see girls with no tops on in this video. Hopefully, you can all be mature adults about this.”

I got kicked out of the class because I couldn’t stop giggling.

Seriously – how could you not laugh? THERE WERE BOOBIES!

On A Sidenote – Fuck Hostgator

For having a large downtime for the 2nd time in a month, meaning I had to post this article one day late. I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks.

Ad Placement 101:

This was from a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share it. In the newspaper there was a March Madness bracket. I practically stopped, put down the newspaper and gave a slow applause when I saw this ad:

ad-placement-101

I mean look at that freaking ad – right in the middle of the bracket. This may be the best advertisement I’ve seen in a newspaper ever. The greatest thing about that ad is that people use this bracket. People use it constantly. I saw multiple businesses and pubs who had cut out that bracket, and displayed it on their bulletin board or on their wall. All while giving this guy additional advertising.

It’s something to think about – and I’m not just talking about sports. Look around you wherever you go – look at what businesses post on their walls etc. Think about what your friends have printed out – either on their walls or on their desks. Schedules, that sort of thing.

For example – years ago, I used to rank #1 for “printable bingo patterns”. People would want to print off bingo patterns to play in their home or something, I guess. So I’d create a bunch of them, and then slap my website address on them as well. That was okay – but then I went further. I’d promote $10 free at Bingo Gala, and then provide my bonus code to use. Or send them there via my affiliate link. I’d get a bunch of signups for that.

So there’s two lessons you can learn from the above advertisement. #1 is the actual placement of it – it’s not just on the same page as the bracket or whatever – it’s right in the middle. It’s presented in a place where you can’t help but see it, where all eyes will always gravitate to it. That’s beautiful.

Second – think about providing a valuable resource for people that also benefits you. That’s the best way to go about it. Stop, and take a look at your website and think “What can I do that would benefit these visitors?”. Then when you’ve did that, think about how you can work it so it benefits you too.

Most affiliates are too focused on one thing: getting users in, then pushing them off to whatever online casino they can. There are so many ways to do something that benefits a user. A “Blackjack Cheat Sheet” for example – that also mentions a no deposit bonus at one of your affiliate casinos. Or poker hand rankings in printable format.

So many opportunities to get your promotions in peoples houses and pockets.

Timing Is Everything:

If you’ve read anything about social networking before – you should have read that “Timing is Everything”. For example if you are posting links to your Twitter account or Facebook for your website – you should focus on posting it at the best “time”.

Some of this is obvious. It’s probably best not to post it at 4am for example. You want to post it when people are hopefully going to see it at the top of their feed.

This is something though where enough people don’t split-test. They automatically assume “during the day” or they pick some arbitrary time and go with it because….I dunno, because they just don’t feel the need to actually split-test something like this.

You really should though – because sometimes the results will surprise you.

One website I run is “Thong of the Day”. Every day, a new picture of a hot chick wearing a thong and nothing else is posted. So when I started the site, I went with evening postings.

Our audience was mostly North American, and my thought process was they wouldn’t want to see pictures of chicks in thongs while at work and scrolling down their facebook feed. Better when they are done work, and sitting at home with a bottle of vaseline and box of kleenex within reach.

The results were….okay. We were reaching maybe 25% of our audience. I split test this though. I started doing posts during the day instead to see how that would work out. It was around the same – 25%.

The next test was to put them in the morning. Around 9am-10am EST. And holy crap did that ever change everything. We were now reaching over 50% of our audience on a daily basis – sometimes as high as 85%. Every post was now getting “Likes” and some “Shares”, and we were getting comments.

Could be a lot of reasons for this – maybe people check their Facebook before they go to bed for example, then when they get up they check it and there’s not many posts so ours is always there to see. But my job is not to question why – it’s more to find out WHEN, so I get to know a lot more about my audience and can market to them better.

Anything you do on a regular basis – stop and think: can I split-test this? If you can, then do it. You just never know – the results might surprise you.

Like dudes hoping to get their daily fix of soft porn 2 hours after waking up.


Thank Partnerships It’s Monday

Partnerships in the affiliate industry are an interesting thing. Most of you have probably had them. Unlike the real business world, you will generally have multiple partnerships with multiple people on multiple levels.

I’ve had partnerships with both singular and multiple people over just one website. I’ve also had partnerships that have consisted of multiple website and projects. Some have fizzled out. Some have gone on for years and years, progressing as the online world changes. Some have been great and created incredibly strong friendships. Others have fizzled out, hurting friendships in the progress.

Practically every partnership I’ve had has been with people online. No-one in the real world. Yes there are some partnerships where I’ll see the people a couple of times per year, and we’ll go to sporting events together or just hang out at a bar and so on.

Today is the day that’s all going to change.

On January 10th, 2013 I was sitting in a chicken wing restaurant with my brother-in-law Scott. After years of being “connected” as family members yet not saying a word to each other, we had finally became really good friends about 18 months prior to that. We’d even attempted 2 affiliate websites together, but neither worked out as he really didn’t understand what it was all about nor had the passion or interest for the topics we covered, and I never did a good job of explaining it to him. Both websites died quickly making exactly $0.

We were together to celebrate the apparent end of the NHL lockout. The season would begin 9 days later. Somewhere during that conversation I was talking about my sports betting tips websites, and how I wished I had an NHL one. Then I approached the idea – why don’t we do an NHL website together? It was one of those things that just worked out perfectly – Scott is a massive hockey fan, and we were on a deadline of 9 days to actually launch a website. So 9 days of hard work later, BetNHL.ca was born.

15 months later, Scott is becoming a full time affiliate. Today will be the first day where he will be coming to my office to work. After years of workplace solitude, I’ll be working with someone beside me. (Although not every day)

And man – I am so pumped for that.

That’s why I am thanking partnerships today. I know of people who do everything themselves, because prior partnerships haven’t worked out. And that’s understandable. But nothing beats having everything click. Over the past 15 months, we’ve been on board with everything and everything has just worked out so damn well.

Over the past month, I’ve had quite a crazy time. I went to New Orleans for Wrestlemania 30. I went to Bruins vs Habs Game 3 in the series. I went to Edmonton to see 2 of my best friends. I went on a great family trip to Niagara Falls. Yet nothing compares to the excitement I have of today – of thinking of that first strategy session, where we sit down and just bounce off ideas and plan out the next few months.

Thank you partnerships – when you work out, you are truly awesome.

Trips and The Other Life:

There’s always a part of me that has a pang of jealousy of other affiliates. Those are the affiliates who are single, or have no family commitments. They work out of their laptop. Some will travel the world. Others will live in the US for most of the year, but move to Costa Rica or Mexico for a few months when it gets cold. Hell my good friend John Wright of Gaffg.com and the recently launched Betting Bonuses Today once flipped a coin while in London – would he move to Spain or Czech Republic. Ended up moving to Spain and living in Barcelona for a few years. (Where coincidentally we became best of friends when he showed me and my wife around)

I’ve always thought it’s been pretty cool, and it’s fun to daydream like that. Touring the world, going wherever you want, when you want and experiencing life to the fullest.

Over the last 5 weeks, I’ve actually got to experience that. Some of the things I did include:

  • New Orleans for WWE Hall of Fame, RAW and Wrestlemania
  • Montreal for Bruins vs Habs Game 3
  • Niagara Falls – Great Wolf Lodge with the family
  • Niagara Falls – Clifton Hill with the family
  • Edmonton – partying with 2 best friends
  • Toronto – Evening with Jim Ross

It’s been quite the time. A lot of traveling, a lot of partying, a lot of amazing and unique times – and all I can say is:

Man, am I ever glad that shit is over with.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved it, I really did. So many memorable moments to “tell the grandkids”, as people say. Chanting “YES! YES! YES!” with 70,000 other people in Bourbon Street after Wrestlemania? Being there for that incredible moment when P.K. Subban finished his penalty, stepped onto the ice right into a breakway and scored an insane goal? Oh man – just amazing moments.

But it’s just not for me. I got to experience the grass on the other side – and that’s not me. The next few months? I plan on going absolutely nowhere. Getting back into a routine. Enjoying Summer. Working my ass off. Watching the World Cup. Playing my backlog of XBox games. Relaxing on the deck, and playing with the kids in the yard.

Boring? Hell yes. But I couldn’t be happier.

Well – that’s not quite true.

habswarrior

Lost My Phone:

Sadly the good comes with the bad, and on May 4th I lost my Galaxy S4. I’m one of those guys where EVERYTHING is on the phone. It’s my life, and I use it for everything. It’s with me everywhere. Sadly it fell out of my pocket in a cab, and I was so drunk I didn’t realize until the next morning.

I’ve seen other people lose their phone. So I’ve learned a lot from that. I upload my pictures every month, and before every trip to my computer. I had a “lost android” app on it to be able to track the phone, and I even let the Google Gods track my every movement. The battery died so the lost android app didn’t work out, but I was able to track the Google location history, and saw it go with us in the cab, then take a trip all around Edmonton still sitting in that cab.

Of course I didn’t quite do enough – you never do, until it happens to you. All I had was “swipe to unlock” on there because I used it enough that anything else would be a hassle. And there’s some apps on there where you have the option of keeping your data in the cloud, or caching it on your phone. I’d go with caching it – data that I sit here and think “ugh” if people access it.

So this is generally a PSA. Sit there and look at your phone right now. Think about it. It gets stolen – by someone who doesn’t have the intention of reselling it, but is instead malicious and out to ruin your life.

How screwed are you?

Do what you can to prevent that happening. For example I’ve went with a password on my phone now. I’ve been more careful with the apps that I install, making sure I lock every one with private data with its own unique PIN. I’m going to start doing monthly backups of my phone, to make it super easy to restore. As lame as it sounds – it’s quite annoying having to sit there for a few hours reconfiguring your phone and all the apps and all the widgets etc.

Seriously – I often end these articles by telling you something to do to kick-start the work week. If you have a phone you value do the following:

  1. Put a PIN or Password or something on it. Once you get used to it, it will take just an extra second to unlock.
  2. Get an app that takes a photo and e-mails it to you if a person puts in the wrong password.
  3. Get an app to allow you to at the very least locate the phone, send alarms, take pictures etc. I personally use AndroidLost.com.
  4. Optional – allow Google to track everywhere you go with their location history. This might seem very “big brother” but I assume they’re doing it whether or not you agree to it – might as well go with it.

Oh – and if you plan on going out to a bar, drinking about 18 shots as well as 10 pints of beer and getting absolutely blackout drunk?

Maybe leave your phone at home.

Have a great week all.


The iWriter Scam

First let me state that this scam isn’t being RUN by iWriter or anything like that. This scam isn’t exclusive to iWriter either. It can happen anywhere – TextBroker, odesk, Fiverr – hell, even over affiliate forums.

However I wasn’t too pleased with how iWriter handled this when I brought it up to them – so I’ll be sticking with iWriter scam when I refer to it throughout this article. I should note that I WILL continue to use them in the future – but not as much as before, and I have zero brand loyalty towards them at this time.

Now to quickly summarize first what iWriter is: it has a large pool of content writers. You post an article request on there, and set the prices and tone of the article and word count. Any of their content writers can then “claim” that article and write it for you. If you’re happy with it, you accept it and they get the money. You can ask them to rewrite it or revise it, or straight out reject it and another writer will get the article.

You can also set “favourite” writers, and hire writers exclusively. I’ll use the name “Neil” as an example because that’s the person who ran this particular scam. I use about 10 different “favourite” writers on iWriter. However Neil was the best of the bunch. He always submitted top of the line articles, and he was very fast too. It go to the point where I was sending him a large quantity of articles covering a variety of subjects and he was able to nail every one with great writing.

He honestly felt too good to be true.

And he was.

How the iWriter Scam Works:

iWriter has a rule: every article a person submits that they write must pass copyscape approval. That way you know you’re getting unique content, and you don’t need to worry about anyone simply stealing content and then sending it to you.

In theory, it’s foolproof. Sadly this is reality, not theory.

What Neil would do was simple: he would take all the article requests he could. 1000 word articles at $7.50 each? No problem for Neil. He’d snap them all up and beg for more.

Then he would turn around, and use a service such as oDesk. He would contact people on there who were writers. He would then try and work with them over Skype, as opposed to via oDesk.

When Neil had the person on Skype, he would then run them some excuse about how oDesk aren’t accepting new paypal accounts, so he can’t pay via there at the moment. However he has a job for them if they’re interested. Neil would then offer 1000 word articles for prices such as $30 or $40 each. Despite it being off oDesk, people wouldn’t be able to resist those prices. So they’d agree to do the work.

Neil would then get 5 articles off them, or however many he could, and submit them to me via iWriter. I’d approve them, and Neil would get the money. He would then stiff the person who actually wrote them, not sending them any money obviously.

So Neil was doing no actual writing himself. He was stealing the content but as it wasn’t published online anywhere yet it was obviously able to pass copyscape approval.

One thing that did impress me about this was there was more to it. Neil would run the articles through a spinner – just very slightly. It still read great – however the word changing were just slight enough that if the disgrunted writer attempted to search for the article online he’d likely be unable to find it.

Of course like any moron, Neil got lazy and cocky. He stopped doing the spinning and I was contacted by someone about it. We went through it all and discovered exactly what was going on, and managed to get the neilalonzo iWriter account banned.

This scam is very simple to pull off and as I said – it’s not exclusive to iWriter. It can be done at practically any website. So if you’re using websites like Fiverr, Textbroker etc – you’re liable to fall for this scam.

How To Avoid The iWriter Scam:

There’s no specific way to really avoid this scam unfortunately. However what you want to do is lessen the chances of this affecting you, or minimizing the damage.

For example – always use multiple people. Whether it’s for content being written, videos being made or logos designed – always mix it up if you can. And I’m not just talking about a service like iWriter – I know people on affiliate forums who many would consider trustworthy, but have ran similar scams over the years.

Whenever you are looking to use someone on a regular basis, really sit down and read their reviews or ask around about them if you can. Get an idea of who they are. If they’re public about their information etc on Facebook and so on and it looks like they value their reputation then that’s always a bonus.

Basically – be careful and don’t rely too much on one person.

How To Handle It If You’ve Been Scammed:

This is a tricky one – what do you do, if someone comes to you and accuses you of stealing their content?

Technically, you’ve did everything right. You used an escrow service. You followed the rules. They’re the ones that screwed up by going outside of a website or escrow service, and really they deserve everything they get.

But it’s tough. People are naive, and if they’re in need of money it can be quite a tricky subject. If they’re wanting money and are getting offered $20-$40 for a 1000 word article – well, it’s tough to turn that down. Especially if they’ve had previous positive experiences.

I’d say it’s totally up to you, and in my opinion you’re completely in the right to tell them you did everything right, and there’s nothing you can do.

Personally, I’ve went two routes as this has cropped up a few times, and it always depends on how they’ve approached me. In some cases, after getting complete proof that they were scammed, I’ve given them the money I paid the scammer. It’s not as much as they were expecting but they’ve been very happy to get SOMETHING from the work they did. I”ve went that route only when I am sure they were scammed, they’re not trying to run a scam on me, and they’ve handled it in a polite and professional manner.

I’ve also told some people to get stuffed. I’ve tried to explain to them that I’m not the bad guy but instead of believe that they’ve just continued to go mental at me, throw crazy accusations and threaten me. Those are the people I take great delight in telling them where to go.

It’s really up to you how you handle it.

How iWriter Handled It:

As I said above – I am not happy with how iWriter handled it. I may continue to use them in the future, but I will have no brand loyalty towards them and will always be looking at their competitors first.

I contacted them on a Sunday about it. They operate weekdays during regular business hours so they replied the next day and said they would look into it. An hour or so later, I noticed the users account was now deactivated.

However iWriter did not follow up with me at all. I asked for status updates, and asked if there was anything they would be doing to reimburse me. I’ve spent thousands of dollars there and referred a bunch of people – at the very least, I think it would’ve been a classy move by iWriter to at least refund the fees for the content I’ve paid for from that person.

Unfortunately they didn’t, and they ignored my responses.

I understand that iWriter don’t really want to get involved too much. They’re making money regardless of what happens, and I’m sure this only happens a very small percentage of the time. Of all the times I have requested articles for different users – this has only happened with 2% of users.

But their complete lack of respect in this matter, or long-term focus on customer satisfaction really left a bad taste in my mouth.

If you are looking for an alternative to iWriter, one very popular website I’d recommend is http://www.TextBroker.com.


FanDuel Affiliates Review

You’re probably heard by now – the “next big thing” in gambling affiliation is Daily Fantasy Sports. However unlike bingo or rummy, this one might be real.

Tons of money is being sunk into Daily Fantasy Sports. There are new fantasy sports websites opening up every day – both operators and affiliates. It can be confusing to know just who to work with.

I would recommend getting started with either Fanduel or DraftKings, and in this article I’m going to review the FanDuel Affiliate Program.

I’ve been working with FanDuel since 2010. My good friend and former Full Tilt affiliate manager Cameron Boal started there as head of the affiliate department, and brought me on board to promote them.

In the beginning, FanDuel was hard to promote, as were any daily fantasy sports websites. It was a new concept that had not yet caught on. Hell even now it’s still a very new industry – most people I know, who are fantasy sports diehards are completely unaware of the concept.

But it’s also something that is spreading – maybe not like wildfire, but it’s getting more popular and known as time goes on. All it takes is one person to try it out, and then he tells his group of friends about it and it grows from there. It’s very easy to become hooked on it, and the retention from places like FanDuel is very easy – simply keep offering daily fantasy sports!

FanDuel currently offer NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, College Basketball and Football. They offer both CPA and revenue share. CPA is based on a $25-$35 model, and revenue share is 25%-35%. Everything is of course tiered based on the amount of players that you bring in, or your monthly net revenue.

FanDuel use the Income Access backend. Like it or hate it – you’ll no doubt be familiar with it, which is always a plus. They’ve got a decent amount of banners that cover the basics. You can also choose from a variety of different landing pages which is nice – and the pages are quick to explain the basics for example same-day cash payouts, and the entry fee range.

Like I said – there’s a lot of programs to choose from. I’d go with both FanDuel and DraftKings to start out with. My experience with FanDuel has been nothing but solid. I’d like to see more e-mail marketing from them as I think that’s where they’re lacking – but the retention there has been great and I’ve got players I signed up a couple of years ago who still play to this day.

I’ll also get into this in a second – but don’t think you need a “daily fantasy sports” website to bring traffic to FanDuel. Just the opposite – if you have any sports traffic in general, THAT is who I would be promoting FanDuel to.

Head on over to FanDuel Affiliates and give them a try.

How I Promote FanDuel Affiliates:

Like I said above – I would NOT go with a dedicated daily fantasy sports website to promote the likes of FanDuel.

Why? Because that’s what everyone else is doing!

See – everyone is looking for the “next big thing”. And while I don’t think Daily Fantasy Sports will ever have the boom period that online poker did, I do think it will be a lot bigger as it catches on, and people become more comfortable with it. However people are launching new daily fantasy sports sites every day, and that portion of things is going to become incredibly oversaturated.

Instead – go for sports traffic. If you have it already then great – and if you don’t, then go get some! Start a niche tips site, or a niche news site or something like that – anything to get sports traffic.

Then introduce them to daily fantasy sports.

Lay it out for them. That’s the thing – most people are unsure about daily fantasy sports. My clickthrus->conversions ratio is brutal and there’s a reason for that – people still don’t fully understand what it is or how it works.

That’s what I do at my sites – I take the time to explain it to them. When I do a tips post at BetNHL.ca I’m not just promoting it – I’m telling them how I did last night, showing screenshots and explaining how it works.

That’s how I promote fantasy sports websites like FanDuel – I have existing sports traffic, and I go with the K.I.S.S. method and promote it to that traffic.

So far it’s been working very well.

So head on over to FanDuel Affiliates, sign up and start sending your sports traffic there today.

F.A.Q.:

Do FanDuel Affiliates Offer CPA?

Yes. It’s $25-$35 and is on a tiered scale. Personally I would always go with revenue share. I’ll make at least double that on the average player.

Does FanDuel Affiliates Have Negative Carryover?

Yes, but it’s not something you really need to worry about. It’s only if players are spending bonuses or FDP and aren’t playing much and I’ve never had my account go into the negative once since 2010.





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Betting Partners Affiliate Program Review

Betting Partners is the affiliate program for the Bodog brands, Bovada and Slots.lv.

I’ve worked with Betting Partners forever. Since April, 2006 to be exact back when it was just Bodog. There was some controversy in the early days that in hindsight I really admired – they would have quality control when it came to signing up. Not just anyone could sign up – and they would readily reject affiliates if they felt their website wasn’t up to standards. Bodog would also open a dialogue with all new affiliates to learn more about their websites.

What this did was make it feel like an “exclusive club” – and it felt great to be approved. You’d see people complain on forums about not being approved, but then they’d put in the effort to be approved and would then push the crap out of Bodog when they WERE approved.

Another thing that has always stood out for me at Bodog is competence. Over the years, I’ve had many affiliate managers at Betting Partners. When I first signed up, Justin Johal was my affiliate manager. I’ve worked with people like Becky, Richard, Riyaz, Seb, Dana, Paul and so many more. Not once have I had a bad experience with the affiliate team there. Everyone is smart and knows what they are doing.

Their backend is very solid these days too. There’s an absolute ton of marketing material available, and the reports are very detailed. They’re updated regularly, and everything is very clear to read. You’re able to set up unique campaigns, view traffic report by country, get daily customer activity etc. The transparency is great, and you can really break down the numbers with ease and see where all of your income and conversions are coming from etc.

From a conversion and retention perspective, they’ve always did an excellent job. I’d say about 30% of the customers I have who I referred through the sportsbook play at the casino on a regular basis for example. They offer live odds, flash casino games and an XML odds feed all within the backend too.

Overall, Betting Partners is one of my favourite affiliate programs. They’re someone I’ve worked with since 2006, and when it comes to the sportsbooks, Bodog and Bovada are always two of my highest promoted brands.

I’ve never had issues with payouts at Betting Partners. At one point there was a slight delay, and they were quick to offer me information in regard to the delay and keep me updated. They offer up to 45% in revenue share, and focus only on a couple of brands which allows those brands to be as good as they possibly can be.

You can head on over to Betting Partners and sign up now, or keep reading if you want to read more of my Betting Partners review.

How I Promote Betting Partners brands:

I’ve not yet worked with their Slots website. I’ve only focused over the years on Bodog and Bovada.

I run various niche sports betting tips sites. Betting Partners offer unique landing pages so if possible, I’ll use those as they convert like crazy. The conversion rate for the Bodog homepage is solid, but their NHL Landing Page on my NHL Tips site does an incredible job. Here is their landing page during the Stanley Cup for example:

bodog-landing

As you can see it’s very simple – a 3 step guide with an offer of a free bet, plus a nice “Join Now” CTA to entice the user to click. Always works out very well.

How I promote them really depends – Bovada for example is easy to promote. They’re one of the only US Sportsbooks and they are very trustworthy – so it’s super easy to promote them to Americans.

Bodog – I generally just go with the same solid and trustworthy promotions. They’ve really got a lot to offer and that’s what is nice – they have live betting, mobile betting, a simple free bet bonus, plus they offer unique promotions and they always work well. They had one last year for NHL where you had to pick each team to win over the month of November – it was called the Divisional Dynasty. It was great and I focused on that each day on my tips and had a ton of conversions from it. It was a light-heartest contest that really hooked people.

From the casino side of things – I again go with solid and trustworthy. I point out how it’s a “catch-all” account and you can play poker as well as bet sports with your casino account. That always appeals to people. They use RTG but have some unique games, easy to understand promotions, a mobile casino and the “red room” VIP program which adds that level of exclusivity that people love.

If you’re not promoting Betting Partners – well, I really don’t know why. Excellent conversion and retention, amazing brands and a top affiliate team. Head on over to Betting Partners and sign up today.

F.A.Q.:

Do Betting Partners Offer CPA?

Upon request, and by discussing it with them only.

Does Betting Partners Have Negative Carryover?

Yes, unfortunately. For the record I’ve had my account go into the negative 2-3x since promoting them, sometimes into tens of thousands of dollars. However it’s always bounced back into the positive.





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Thank Warrior It’s Monday

On Saturday, April 5th 2014 I was in New Orleans at the WWE Hall of Fame. Due to ridiculous amounts of drinking during the day I ended up sitting there in a comatose state, almost passed out for most of it.

Then the Ultimate Warrior came out and I came alive. My friend said it was quite the sight to see – one minute I’m slumped in my seat, eyes pretty much closed and completely out of it. Then the Warriors music hits and I am standing up applauding, eyes lit up and glued to the stage for his 40 minute speech.

But man – he was The Ultimate Warrior. He was my childhood hero. Just earlier that day, I had went into the photobooth at Axxess where you could get a picture looking like any superstar. Of course, I went with this one – The Ultimate Warrior:

warriorface

Sunday April 6th I was at Wrestlemania. A night of incredible moments. Hogan, Rock and Austin in the ring at the same time. Daniel Freaking Bryan. The streak ending. Yet right amongst all those for me was being able to stand up and applaud as the Warrior came out for a brief moment, as everyone showed respect to the Hall of Famers.

Monday April 7th though – that was the night. My childhood freaking dream come true – I finally got to see The Ultimate Warrior IN a WWE Ring. Sure he wasn’t wrestling; he didn’t come running to the ring. He wasn’t doing the gorilla press. But he was there. With the patented jacket and semi-patented mask; The Ultimate Warrior was in a WWE ring cutting a promo. And I was there! I just about lost it when he shook the ropes. That was one to cross off the bucket list.

Tuesday April 8th. I arrived home from Wrestlemania, New Orleans, and the best weekend of my life. I was on the high of highs. I got in just about midnight, and it was all I could do to not immediately wake up my wife and tell her all about my weekend.

Then I looked at my phone and noticed about 10 new text messages sent within the last 4 hours. Every one said pretty much the same thing: “The Ultimate Warrior is dead. WTF.”

Wow, just wow.

It’s just such a weird feeling when a childhood hero dies. I still remember the exact date he became my hero: March 25th, 1991. The day after Wrestlemania 7. I was 9 years old.

Our project at school that day was to actually draw our heroes. I had nothing. I think I did Lion-o from Thundercats or something. I looked over at my friend Nat to see what he was drawing, and it was a 2D picture of a big guy with big boobs. That’s really what it looked like. Turned out it was Hulk Hogan – who I had never heard of. Being an immature 9 year old I just couldn’t stop laughing. But he took it in stride, and told me he’d bring over Wrestlemania 7 which just occurred the previous night, and introduce me to Hulkamania.

I was introduced to Hulkamania that night – but more importantly, I was introduced to The Ultimate Warrior as he retired the Macho King Randy Savage in an amazing match. That was the day that I became a wrestling fan, and the exact moment was when Warrior took 5 elbow drops yet GOT UP.

If it wasn’t for The Ultimate Warrior, it’s amazing to think how different my life could be today. He was the reason I became a wrestling fan. Okay it was technically a drawing of a guy with boobs if you want to argue semantics – but he was still the main reason.

When I think about all of my friends – all of my best friends – our friendship stemmed from wrestling. My childhood best friend Matt – we became best friends because he had Sky Satellite or similar and was able to get the PPVs. My best friend Mark who I travel across the country for twice a year – we first became friends in a wrestling chat room. My high school friends Nate, Alain and Morgan who I’m still best friends with to this day – we lived for punk, drinking and wrestling.

Dan, Eamon, Greg, Vin, Risto And so many more friends – all because of wrestling. And I may as well name drop Taff here as I know he’s reading this and ready to mock me anyway. Just think Taff – if it wasn’t for wrestling, we’d never have been able to read Stixx’s wife fan fiction!

But what about my job? I do affiliate marketing. As I’ve mentioned before – I got into the internet due to wrestling. That was the sole reason. I built wrestling websites way back in 1996. That was the sole reason I learned HTML and got into websites – was because of wrestling. If it wasn’t for wrestling there is ZERO chance I would be sitting here writing this today or doing what I do for a living.

I love my life. I love everything about my life. I truly feel lucky for everything I have. Yet all of that is because of wrestling. And more importantly – all that is because of The Ultimate Warrior. It never really dawned on me until this morning, when I sat down to write this weeks T_IM.

I intended to just write a short blurb about the Warrior and then move onto affiliate marketing related topics – but as I wrote, it all just came to me. Everything I have in life, the whole reason I am sitting here writing this – is due to The Ultimate Warrior.

And now he’s gone.

I’m just glad I got to see him live not once, not twice but three times.

I’ll cherish those moments forever.

New Orleans in a Nutshell

Drunk:

drunk1

Passed Out:

passedout1

Drunk with cosplayers:

drunk2

Choking Out Bob Backlund:

chokingbacklnd

Passed Out with Sunglasses on:

scotsmansleeping

Cuddling with A Stray Cat:

cuddlingstray

Warrior:

warriorfireball


Affiliate Edge Affiliate Program Review

Affiliate Edge are the affiliate program for a variety of online casinos, which also accept American customers. They have a wide variety of online casinos that although use the same software, are vastly different when it comes to their branding.

That’s one thing that has always impressed me about Affiliate Edge; when they launch a new online casino, I’ve never gotten the impression that they’re “half-assing” it. Every casino looks well thought out, and different ideas and plans to attract an entirely different customer page.

Feel free to Head on over to Affiliate Edge – they’re offering 50% Commission for new affiliates for the first 2 months.

The casinos that are currently under Affiliate Edge are:

  • Club World Casinos
  • Aladdin Gold Casino
  • Lucky Red Casino
  • Manhattan Slots
  • All Star Slots
  • High Noon Casino
  • Club SA Casino
  • Buzzluck Casino

The other thing that has really impressed me about Affiliate Edge is their main affiliate manager, Martyn Beacon. If you’ve ever read the GPWA forums or been to any affiliate conference it’s very likely you know who I am talking about. When it comes to brand ambassadors it’s hard to think of anyone who is better at their job than Martyn. He’s always very friendly to talk to, always full of laughs and fun and has always been willing to work with anyone. Even when it comes to negative threads or issues he never shies away and is always right in the thick of it.

Now I’ll be honest: I’ve never had much luck with Affiliate Edge in terms of the conversion front. I’ve tried many of their casinos over the years in various different spots and been left scratching my head when they aren’t performing anywhere near as well as other casinos.

On the retention front however, they’ve been fairly solid. I’ve never had any whales at Affiliate Edge, but they’ve always did a good job of squeezing out extra deposits from their players.

Affiliate Edge use a custom backend that offers a lot of information such as Player Analytics and Website Analytics. It can be a little bit confusing to begin with, but when you take the time to understand it and play around with the reports and become more familiar with it, it becomes a very solid tool.

Their banner selection is okay – a few basic banners in different sizes depending on the casino. Where they really rock though is their flash games. Other casinos just hit you with a code usually – I mean look at this:

affiliate-edge-flash-games

I mean holy crap – that is probably the best thing I’ve seen when it comes to flash games. Very rarely will an online casino allow you to have that much control over it.

Revenue wise, it is solid. 50% for your first 2 months, then a tiered scale which begins at 30% and goes all the way up to 40%. Payments are also processed very early in the month and if there’s ever any issues they’re easy to contact about it.

As I said above – I’ve always had issues with conversion when it comes to the Affiliate Edge group of casinos. After 2 months, I will usually drop them down a few spots. But give it a few months and I’m pushing them up to the top spots again to give them another try. To me – that’s a credit to the professionalism of Affiliate Edge. They’re a group of people that you really want to work together with, and succeed with.

Get 50% Revenue Share for your first two months – sign up at Affiliate Edge or keep reading this Affiliate Edge Affiliate Program Review for my personal take on promoting them.

How I Personally Promote Affiliate Edge Casinos:

I’ve tried many of the Affiliate Edge Casinos over the years, in a variety of different spots. From promoting Lucky Red Casino, their professionalism and their large bonus to High Noon Casino and their $60 no deposit bonus. I’ve promoted All Star Slots to the slots crowd, and Club Euro Casino specifically to Europeans.

I’ve went with their homepages, I’ve went with custom landing pages. I’ve did broad marketing and then very specific promotion.

Unfortunately, I’m yet to find something that 100% works for me. I know the casinos can do a great job – I’ve talked to other affiliates who have had a lot of success with them. Usually in this selection I’d give advice as to how to get the best out of a program – but yeah, I’m still trying.

So all I’d suggest is, especially with them accepting US players – give them a shot. They have a lot of versatility in the ways you can promote them, and hopefully you can fare better than me!

Head on over to Affiliate Edge and sign up.

Affiliate Edge F.A.Q.:

Do Affiliate Edge Offer CPA?

On their website they only offer revenue share. However like any affiliate program, if you prefer CPA you can always contact them and attempt to negotiate with them.

Does Affiliate Edge Have Negative Carryover?

Yes. Affiliate Edge carry over any negative commissions from the previous month. One positive is it is a brand to brand negative. So if you are negative at Lucky Red it won’t affect your earnings at High Noon Casino for example.





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Slotland Affiliates Affiliate Program Review

The question is often asked, both to me and on gambling affiliate forums:

What is the best casino affiliate program to promote to Americans?

While there’s no one answer – it depends a lot on your traffic for example and what they are looking for – the consistent best retaining online casino for me when it comes to Americans over the last few years have been none other than Slotland Affiliates.

I first started promoting Slotland Affiliates in late 2010. They use their very own unique software to cover both Slotland Casino and WinADay Casino, and they had some really unique games not found anywhere else.

The games I was really interested in promoting which were Roulette 5 and La Roulette – both multiple wheel Roulette games. 5 Roulette games at once. As far as I know no other online casino had this groundbreaking game yet, and I was going to promote the crap out of it.

However something else happened; while the Roulette promotion was going well, I discovered another niche which was the Keno at WinADay. Now you can find Multi Card Keno at a lot of places these days, but at the beginning it was something completely unique to WinADay Casino. I promoted it on a couple of Keno sites and in my first month of promoting it I had 20 depositing players and $1500 in commission. That continued to grow and grow, and I’ve even built a website around it – my Multi Card Keno website has WinADays Power Keno as one of the main focuses.

Over the years, Slotland affiliates have continued to do an amazing job. It can be hit and miss with the traffic – for example on one campaign in March 2014 I sent 386 unique hits, 24 registrations and ZERO depositing players. Yet on another campaign I sent just 37 unique hits, got 6 depositing players from it, and a total of 25 deposits from those 6 players. It’s a case of trial and error to find out what really works with them.

I’ve also had a lot of sub-affiliates sign up there, and they’ve experienced the same. Only a few sub-affiliates have managed to get a good regular profit out of Slotland. But trust me when I say this – they’re worth the effort. If you can find the right traffic, you’ll be hard pressed to find better retention in this industry.

Finally, Slotland Affiliates have consistently every month without fail paid me on the 1st business day of the month since 2010, which is one impressive feat.

Head on over to Slotland Affiliates and give them a try for yourself.

How I Promote Slotland Affiliates:

For the most part, I focus on WinADay Casino. I’ve tried Slotland a lot – the name is great for Slots traffic, and they have an awesome mobile casino. They also offer adult slots! But despite all of that I’ve just personally never had Slotland Casino work for me. Those are the only brands I’ve worked with.

With WinADay Casino, there is a lot to focus on. They are an all flash-based casino, and there are audiences that truly love that. They also offer innovative games as I mentioned above, like Power Keno and Roulette 5.

They’re perfect for a lot of people because they also offer Penny Slots as well. There’s a huge audience out there for Penny Slots, and I have quite a few campaigns going promoting them. They’re the ones that actually can be my big moneymakers – watching continual deposits of $25 every few days by a large group of ever-expanding players.

The retention at WinADay is excellent too. I’ve got some players I signed back in 2010 or 2011 who are still playing today. Most of them are the Penny Slots players who are consistently coming back and dropping small increments every few days.

No matter your casino traffic – I’d give WinADay a try in various spots on your website. If one doesn’t work out, try another. Like I saida bove it’s very hit and miss – but when they hit, it’s great.

Head on over to Slotland Affiliates now and sign up.

Slotland Affiliates FAQ:

Do Slotland Affiliates Offer CPA?

No. However Slotland Affiliates offer two separate plans – the Gross Revenue or the Net Revenue. They are a rare online casino that will give you money even if your players win, as they base the percentage on the deposit.

Do Slotland Affiliates Have Negative Carryover?

Great news – no they do not! No negative carryover at Slotland Affiliates.





If you have any questions, just ask below.

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Thank Fools It’s Tuesday

April Fools of course. What a great day.

It’s a great day because you legitimately get to be an ass to other people, make them freak out and then yell “APRIL FOOLS” so they can’t get offended by it.

A few years ago, I was staying at a friends house. When he was out, I took all of his underwear, poured it under cold water then put it in the freezer and it froze in there. Then when trying to get it out he managed to scratch the hell out of his fridge.

Unfortunately, that WASN’T an April Fools joke. It was performed in early May. So instead of coming off as a hilarous prankster, I just look like an ass! But April Fools Day is great because you get to do that crap to people and the only thing they can do in turn is to give you a slow applause.

I’m pretty sure it’s in the constitution or something.

I remember one April Fools gag in particular I fell for. This was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Literally the night before we had found some stray dog that didn’t have a home. My old dog had recently “been taken to the farm” – a statement my mom still sticks with to this day. Just by coincidence, it had bit the crap out of some kid who had thrown dirt in its eyes a few days prior.

So yeah – stray dog, and I’m all excited at the idea of keeping it. It sleeps in my room with me, and then I wake up the next day to my mom FREAKING OUT – because the dog has apparently pooed and peed all over the bed!

Of course as an adult – no big deal. Just wash them! But as a kid just waking up you can’t comprehend that and you freak the hell out. Of course it hadn’t – but man, was I freaking out at that. My new Thundercats bedsheets ruined!

I think I’ll go up and wake my kids up just now and break to them the bad news that their favourite cat died overnight. After 20 minutes of screaming and crying I’ll be all “April Fools LOL” and it’s all good.

Current Me Loves Past Me:

A few weeks ago I wrote about a motivational technique that I really dug; do stuff for “future you”. If you’re sitting there procrastinating over something – just think how much future you would appreciate it. Like a non-affiliate related example; it’s the morning, and your kitchen is messy. You need to clean it, but you can’t be bothered. But think about future you that night – who will appreciate it, because it means he can relax at night and watch TV, rather than having to be in the kitchen.

I use this a ton, both for work related things and non-work related. If I’m tired and feel like I need a nap during the day, I just think “Nope, future me will appreciate me staying up come bedtime as he’ll get to sleep a lot faster.” Amazing how it changes my perspective on things like that.

Every day, I have a daily schedule of work I do in the morning. Part of that involves writing content. I still like to write my own content for some websites, and I average about 4 articles every morning. However for the month of April I am off on a few trips. I go to New Orleans for Wrestlemania, off to Niagara Falls on a family trip, and then finally to Edmonton. My mom also might be visiting me in Scotland during that time. Then the World Cup is kicking off in June, so I’ll want to focus on that in May.

So over the past few weeks, I really buckled down content wise. I wrote TONS of content for the future as well as outsourcing some – to the point where I don’t have to do ANYTHING in April and May when it comes to content. Instead I have a list on my whiteboard of the date the next articles are due – and they’re ALL in June.

This is just an incredible feeling, and it’s opened up my mornings to cover so much more now and I feel so much more productive. And then when I feel like it I sit down and write an article to extend that date further – doing all this good stuff for future me.

If you’re struggling at something – be sure to give this trick a try. It’s amazing what a great feeling it is.

What’s Funny About That:

The funny thing about that quote is I read it on Twitter a few weeks ago, and that’s where it came from. But while writing this, I realized someone had actually used this motivational technique on me before – and I was completely unaware of it.

This was last year – end of April. I was heading to Las Vegas and then Edmonton – both times by myself, so I’d be away from my family for almost 2 weeks. And I hate that – I can get really bad homesickness at times. Well – until I cram a bunch of fireball whiskey down my throat!

Anyway – I was at Toronto airport. Security had given me the wrong information – telling me after checking my bags in via US Customs I could go back out for a smoke. So I checked in the bags like 5 hours before my flight, only to be told NOPE you can’t go back out.

So I’d been up all night. I hadn’t had that “last smoke before a flight” smoke which is a rather crucial one in the smokers mindset. Now I had five freaking hours to kill before getting on the plane and I was exhausted. I started getting anxiety, to the point where I was legitimately ready to cancel the Vegas trip. Just one of those random things that creep up on you.

I was literally about to stand up and find an employee and told them I had to leave, when my brother in law called. We had been texting back and forth about the situation, and he said straight up on the phone – think about how bad you’ll regret it in the future, if you don’t go. Think about how much future you will be happy that you DID go on the trip and have the time of your life in Vegas as you always do.

That was enough – it changed my whole mindset and I ended up going and having a blast as was expected.

Funny how little bits of motivation are all around you yet you can be completely unaware.

Alrighty:

I’m actually off for a few weeks. Heading to WRESTLEMANIA~! this weekend in New Orleans, then I have a family trip, then I have a trip to Edmonton. All articles are of course pre-written for the next few weeks except T_IM which is something I write on the day of. I’ll hopefully be able to check in with that over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime – here’s a video to enjoy. I’m going to Wrestlemania 30 with the same group of people that I went with 2 years ago. The excitement and anticipation for this is at a premium to the point that one of my friends made up this video featuring us all:


Thank Peddigrew It’s Monday

I’ll get to the title of this weeks T_IM at the end of this post.

Something else I would like to thank this week however is the WWE Network. Holy crap is it amazing – it just launched last week and I’m hooked on it. For those unaware, it’s essentially the Netflix of Wrestling. It launched with every WWE/ECW/WCW PPV and a whole bunch more content such as the last few years TV shows, and is adding more new crap every day.

This basically sums up my work for the last entire week:

worklol

Working on one monitor, browsing on the tablet while using my 2nd monitor for old wrestling crap and then sports on the TV.

Perfect.

Going Viral in 2014

I meant to write about this last time out after my Olympic Hockey simulated on NHL 94 article – but I had written a lot of words already so decided to hold it off.

Going viral in 2014 is so so so so so SO much bloody easier than just a few years ago, and it gets easier by the day. I remember writing something with the intent of it going viral, then using my network of friends and accounts via Digg & Stumbleupon just to spend hours digging it and giving it a thumbs up, in the hope that it might be seen and catch on. It was usually an infuriating affair that never ended well.

These days however, we have Reddit. Reddit caught on like a house on fire compared to Digg and it’s no surprise; they have did a tremendous job at setting up sub-communities. Their formula is great too – as long as there is an audience, it’s easy to get people to see your submission and hopefully upvote it. If it’s a webpage you can even add the upvote option onto the page to make it much easier.

If you get to the top of your subreddit, there’s a chance you can make the front page but even better – the relevant people are going to see it, and share it with their audiences and so on.

On top of that you have Twitter, which is also tremendous for going viral. You just need to find one celebrity to retweet what you are sharing and you’re usually good.

Basically – going viral in 2014 is super super easy in terms of how you market it. All it takes is 1 link on Reddit, a few tweets to the right people. If the audience likes it – you’re golden, and these days sharing is so easy they’ll do all the work for you. From tweeting it to posting it on Facebook to sharing it on forums etc.

It’s just a case of having something worth sharing.

Monthly To Do Lists:

I might have written about this before – but one thing I have is a massive monthly to do list, that I tackle on the 1st of the month.

I find this is a great way to get the month off to a bright start – by being forced to be productive.

My monthly to do list currently has 42 items on it. Some of them are personal, some are minor work things and some are much bigger work things. Here’s a few examples:

  • Update WordPress & WordPress Plugins on all sites.
  • Update OrderofBooks.com Monthly Poll and Book of the Month.
  • Backup Google Docs.
  • Check all affiliate payments from previous month have up to date banking details.
  • Organize My Documents/Downloads Folder on Computer.
  • Check for any 404 errors in Webmaster Tools and resolve.
  • Renew domains at Godaddy.

Those are just a few examples. It’s something I do every month and it’s great. The whole thing probably takes me about an afternoon and it’s completely worth it. Really gets me going and if I’ve had a slow couple of days, this brings me back on track.

Backups:

That’s another thing I should mention – backups. Are you all backed up?

Think of the nightmare scenario right now. Your computer explodes, and your web server explodes. Are you covered?

What about your cellphone? If that was stolen when you were out at the pub last night – how screwed are you?

It’s scary but so many people would be completely screwed if any of the above happens. So often I see people posting on Craigslist or Kijiji freaking out because their phone was stolen or went missing, and they’ve lost “a years worth of baby pictures” or similar. Seriously??? Back that crap up!

I’m a backup fiend. Probably too much actually – but whatever. I know if the worst happens, I’m covered. Here’s my backup situation:

  • Nightly, all my important files are backed up to 3 separate external hard drives.
  • Nightly, Weekly and Monthly my websites are all backed up to another hard drive on my server.
  • Monthly, I download all my website files and databases.
  • Monthly, I download everything necessary off my phone.
  • Weekly, a ghost image of my hard drives is made and backed up.
  • Monthly, all my important files are backed up to a portable external hard drive and kept at another location.

Yeah I’m pretty mental – but better safe than sorry. Be sure to implement at least some sort of backup situation in case the worst scenario happens so you aren’t completely screwed.

Link of the Week:

If you did any web development or design in the 90s, then yeah you’ll love this article.

Remembering Chris Peddigrew:

Whether it was London, Budapest or Barcelona – I still remember the opening day of every affiliate conference I’ve attended for the last few years. Waking up early with a hangover, battling with the lines and the hustle bustle of the crowd on the affiliate floor. Then being greeted by the most welcome sight ever:

cake-poker

The Cake Poker kitchen, complete with a fridge full of beer and Chris Peddigrew always right there with a big welcoming grin on his face.

Chris passed away on February 6th, 2014.

People throw phrases like “That guy is just the best” around lightly – but it really does cover Chris, and I was reminded of that while looking at the Memory of Chris Peddigrew page on Facebook. One thing you can take away from the pictures posted in there is the smile. In almost every picture, no matter the situation, Chris has just the biggest, most heartwarming and infectious smile.

I’d had a lot of interaction with Chris over e-mail, but I never met him until 2008 in Barcelona, when Cake had rented a big boat and my wife and myself were invited on board. I remember just how friendly and welcoming he was – especially to my wife, who was no doubt anticipating a boring night of affiliate talk. We chatted for hours about concerts and football making sure to razz on each other – with Chris getting the better of it due to his Dolphins having beaten my Patriots the previous week.

I still remember attending the London Affiliate Conference in 2009, and having Chris race up to me asking where I had been as he had been looking all over for me. The conference had only been open for about 30 minutes at this point! However he ushered me over to the Cake Poker stand, where they had toasters which would brand the Cake Poker logo in the toast! They had been going like hotcakes, but Chris had made sure to save me one and I still remember him just pissing himself laughing over the actual concept of branded Cake Poker toast.

It wasn’t just all fun & games either; Chris was great at business too, and he helped me so much over the last few years. Whenever my players had a withdrawal issue I’d e-mail Chris and he’d be on it. A player waiting a month for a withdrawal would get it processed within 6 hours after e-mailing me. I gained the players respect for that big time, but in reality it was always Chris who was the reason for that.

Whenever there is a death that affects you, it’s always best to think of the positives. Which I do. But when I next attend an affiliate conference, and I make my way through the crowds and I see the Cake Poker kitchen set up – even if it’s absolutely packed with employees, affiliates and beautiful women in tight clothing….

It’ll still always look empty to me.


Revamping A Dead Website

Despite being in affiliate marketing since 1996, there are still quite a few basic things that surprisingly I’ve never dealt with. One of those is revamping a dead website.

By “dead”, I mean a website that I started and then simply neglected. Maybe I didn’t see any potential in the website, or I got busy with higher priority websites – or I just got lazy, and completely forgot about it. The website may have been ranking initially, however due to neglect it dropped down the rankings until it received practically no traffic.

It could be due to Panda. It could be due to Penguin. But really – most of the time it’s due to the website simply being low quality, and not deserving of high rankings anyway.

I’ve got quite a few websites like that – probably 10-15 of them to be honest. Some of them – meh, they didn’t do well when they were ranking anyway and don’t have potential, so I’ll shut them down and 301 them to a more successful site. But there are still quite a few of them where I know the potential is there and if I can get them ranking again then they can do very well.

Of course – the generally accepted advice post Panda/Penguin is that if you have a dead website, it’s best to deindex it, then start up an entirely new website. So I decided to attempt to revamp a dead website, and get an idea of how it will work. I also decided to write the steps I take in revamping it, and every few weeks I’ll post progress reports.

The website I am going to go with is http://www.PlayRoulette.org.

Status of the Site Pre-Revamp:

The website was initially launched in February 2011. It had a pretty slick casino portal design to it as shown below:

playroulette-launch

However the content for the most part was weak. There was about 30 articles, with most very low in content. 500 was usually the top number with some articles being as low as 100 words. The SEO structure was a bit embarrassing in retrospect with some very nauseating keyword stuffing.

It never really ranked for the main keywords, instead for longtails and floating around the bottom of page 1 on a good day. It would get highs of around 50 unique visits per day. It did still manage to get a fair amount of conversions. However in March 2012 traffic completely dropped:

playroulette-dailytraffic

There’s no point showing you the rest of the graph because it’s completely and utterly null. Zero traffic in 2 years. The specific date of the drop from 20 uniques per day to 0 was around March 4th-5th 2012. There was a small Panda update on February 27th, 2012 so it could be due to that.

Either way – the site deserved to go down. After the intial launch of content we did NOTHING on it. Not one article added in one year. Insane. Especially when it was making money – there was no reinvestment plan whatsoever. So yeah – I’m glad it went down because it didn’t deserve to be part of the rankings.

Here are the steps I have taken to revamp the website.

Step #1: What Is My Aim With This Website?

This is a simple one – but something a lot of people miss out on. What is your long term goals? Thankfully I’m in a position where I can take things slow and am able to keep things simple. So I decided to go for a very broad goal – to make PlayRoulette.org the most comprehensive and informative website there is when it comes to Roulette.

If it makes money great – if it ranks, great. But my initial aim was to make it the best website out there – something worth sharing and linking to for players in Roulette.

Step #2: Content Planning, Goal Setting and Writing.

I like to go absolutely crazy when it comes to planning out content. The problem with the initial launch was that there was no set plan for the website. We wrote a bunch of articles and yeah – that was it. No monthly quota, no daily schedule – nothing. So it was time to get that sorted.

First we sifted through a whole bunch of resources to come up with as many content ideas as possible including:

  • Our own ideas
  • Talking to friends who play roulette
  • Checking out other roulette websites
  • Using Keyword Planner and other Keyword related software
  • Using data from existing websites
  • Yahoo Answers and similar websites
  • Reading over 50 books or ebooks dedicated to casinos or roulette
  • Going through over 30 online casinos to see what they have to offer

And that’s just some of the ideas. This took place over a week, and gave us about 2000 article ideas.

Then we whittled it down. We figured out what we wanted for launch. We decided on 4 categories, with 10 articles in each. So 40 articles plus the category hub pages. We deviated slightly from that due to existing content that needed a new home – but that just meant we went over the targeted quota.

Next we set up a long term plan. There are three of us working on the website so we decided to contribute 1 article per week each. That means after one year we’ll have about 200 articles, right on track for being one of the highest quality Roulete websites out there. Not bad for what is about 30 minutes work per week each – less if we outsource.

We set up goals for what content would be written both for launch, and then initially. Planning section by section, and this allowed us to figure out our page structure.

Then we got to writing all of the launch content.

Step #3: A New Design

I loved the design we had, but when you are revamping something, you always want a fresh perspective. So we decided to go with a new design.

Not knowing how this website will do, we want with the very reliable design that I use at BookSeriesInOrder.com. This design is great for both navigation and conversion, is very customizable and supports both small websites and large websites. Perfect.

Here is a screenshot of the completed design set up for PlayRoulette:

roulette-new-design

There are still some tweaks to be done but those are minor and purely for aesthetic reasons.

Step #4: Priorities

As I noted above – this is all long-term, and the initial goal is being the best roulette website out there. So for the design and content we established priorities. Priority #1 is providing the most informative website and content out there. If we get sign-ups great; but our aim would be to push the website first. That’s not for everyone – but it’s always best to establish priorities as it helps you write a lot more, and it also helps you in regard to the content you are writing.

For example – if affiliate income was #1 priority, then I’d push articles like “Best Roulette for Americans”, “Best Roulette for Tablets” etc etc. But it wasn’t – so it allowed us to write more informative articles like talking about various betting systems, or providing a list of casinos that offer Roulette in Edmonton.

Step #5: Launch

Lot of technical and boring stuff here. I’ll just provide it in order of what we did:

  1. Remove existing content. Preserve sitemap and content locally.
  2. Do any backend stuff required, such as necessary plugins, geo-targeting database set up etc.
  3. Upload all new content.
  4. Organize the front page, setting the design up better, making necessary changes, adding sliders and some basic widgets as well as all navigation.
  5. Go through each article, making sure it all looks good and adding screenshots where appropriate and fixing any errors such as HTML, as well as optimizing on-page SEO.
  6. Go through pre-revamp content, making sure it is covered on the site already. If it was, I’d look at adding the content where appropriate to further expand the page. If it wasn’t, I’d rewrite it to adhere to our new quality guidelines. Wow – that sounds so professional for someone who did all this whle in his boxer shorts.
  7. Write content for all category pages. Screw dynamic pages. Never liked them.
  8. Do a few more minor design changes as after looking at the site for a couple of days, you really start to see stuff that can be improved on.
  9. 301 all of the old urls to the new urls.
  10. Run Xenu on the website to check for any broken links, and fix where appropriate.
  11. Test all geo-targeting.
  12. Make sure accurate Analytics code.
  13. Go through Webmaster Tools and remedy any 404 errors.
  14. Clean up any bad links.

And yeah – that covers the majority of my last couple of days technical wise. Then it was a case of content revision – making a list of our current amount of content per category, then aiming for a set target(20 articles in each of the 6 categories) before our next planning session.

Now What?

That’s PlayRoulette.org revamped. It’s got a fresh new design, it’s a lot better than before quality wise, and will progress further week by week.

One thing I haven’t done yet is focus on off-page SEO, and I won’t really bother with that at this time. I’m going to wait till the website is better quality wise first before doing that. I’ll also want to pay attention to the rankings. If it starts to bump up then I’ll start looking into that to assist it in climbing up the rankings.

And if it doesn’t? If it stays as dead as it is, despite the fact that it’s an actual quality website?

Then it was an extremely valuable lesson learned. The time I’ve put into this is nothing compared to the time it’d take me to revamp all my other websites. And I’ll just shut ‘er down, wait a month and then open up under a new name.

Hopefully next time, it won’t land on Double Zero.


Sports Interaction Affiliates Program Review

Sports Interaction is an affiliate program that I initially started working with pre-UIEGA. I hadn’t worked with them for awhile, until June 2013 when my current affiliate manager Richard contacted me about possibly listing the site on BetNHL.ca, due to the Stanley Cup playoffs coming up.

Sports Interaction accept traffic from many countries(non-US), but where they really excel is Canada. They’re a Canadian sportsbook first and foremost, and as I get a lot of Canadian traffic at BetNHL.ca I decided to give them a strong push. I geo-target, so I focused exclusively on promoting Sports Interaction to Canadians.

You can check out their affiliate program here.

Immediately, I was impressed. I was getting 25% signup ratio, and the new account to depositing ratio for June 2013 was 100%. I promoted Sports Interaction to all non-US traffic from there on forward, and when I launched my CFL Betting Tips website, I actually sent 100% of non-US traffic to Sports Interaction.

More importantly – I was extremely happy with the affiliate team at Sports Interaction. Richard was extremely helpful and a great affiliate manager – but what I really appreciated was he went the extra mile. He was pleasant to chat to about many things, and when I told him about the CFL website he actually got his CFL linesmaker to provide me with some insights.

This allowed me not just additional content, but a “hook” to provide when providing tips each week, and this clearly helped in terms of getting peoples interest on the site.

There was also an odd technical issue I encountered that would cause problems signing up. This was due to Roboform and how the form would handle that being filled out. It was very impressive just how thorough Sports Interaction Affiliates were in regard to resolving that issue.

There are negatives however which cause me to usually promote Sports Interaction only to Canadians. For anyone outside of Canada looking to sign up, they are told they need to send documents to verify their age, identity and address before they bet on sports. That can clearly be off-putting, and why Sports Interaction is my #1 to promote within Canada, but low on the list without it.

Overall I would highly recommend Sports Interaction, and if you have Canadian traffic it’s a no-brainer. At the very least, I’d suggest signing up, and then geo-targeting them to Canadian traffic to begin with. That should be a good test and show you how good a job they do.

How I Promote Sports Interaction:

Since working with Sports Interaction Affiliates, I’ve focused 100% on the sportsbook. They offer a poker room and a casino that also features live dealers but I have yet to focus on them.

From a sports perspective, I’ve been very happy. They cover most markets, and they offer a lot of special bets that you can’t find anywhere else. For example in the NHL, they will offer player props which is very rare online, and they will often have an “Anytime Goalscorer” bet.

These are great hooks if you have an existing audience and I use them often. People looking for “nhl tips” usually bet somewhere as it is – so offering unique bets found nowhere else is a great selling point.

They also offer live sports betting and mobile betting. Both of these are very professionally done and look great, and are additional selling points.

Sports Interaction Affiliates also update their marketing material often which I appreciate. For example as I write this, my current NHL landing page has been automatically changed to this:

sports-interaction-affiliates

Which is big time appreciated as it’s going to increase conversions when you have timely landing pages that you don’t have to worry about.

Finally, their odds are usually in line with other sportsbooks and occasionally better, which is obviously a nice additional selling point.

Sign up here.

Sports Interaction Affiliates FAQ:

Do Sports interaction Affiliates Offer CPA?

Yes, $100. They offer Revenue share which begins at 25% and goes up to 35%, $100 CPA and 4% sub-affiliate commission which has two tiers.

Does Sport Interaction Affiliates Have Negative Carryover?

Only on sports – not on casino. And they are always willing to talk it over with you if you have a negative balance and work with you on that.





If you have any questions, just ask below.

Name: Email:

Your Question or Comment:

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Thank Pandora It’s Monday

It’s funny – when we think of every day software that increases our time management and productivity etc, we’re always thinking of actual applications and utilities. Extensions that limit the time you spend on social networking sites every day. Programs where you can map out everything you do, or schedule your whole day out for you in 15 minute increments.

But there’s really so many other things that can increase productivity, and you never really think about it. One of those is Pandora.

I was introduced to this back in September, and it was’t until this morning that it dawned on me what a time saver it was. No more spending time downloading new music to iTunes, sorting out playlists etc. No more spending 5 minutes in the morning just figuring out what music I wanted, or what playlist to go with etc.

I simply click Pandora, and choose one of my predefined stations and I’m off to go.

Funny all the little timesavers we have like that, which we never really think about. So thanks Pandora – you probably save me a good few hours a year, and it’s worth it.

Duh.

Every month, I aim to launch at least one new website. It’s always a nice progressive feeling when you do that, as you’re opening up yet another potential avenue for earnings.

There was one domain I’ve owned for years related to the F1. Let’s call it F1Domain.com. For about 4 years, I plan on launching an F1 site and never got round to it. With the F1 season starting in March, I decided this was the month to launch it. I got the beta design set up, I hired out the content to a friend who knows F1. Everything was great.

Went to set it up on the weekend….

I don’t own the domain.

I first checked my domains list in Google Drive and it wasn’t there. Headed to Godaddy it wasn’t in my account. Then I went straight to the domain itself and saw content and a website that was clearly not ran by me. Crap – did I let it expire?

Nope – I never even registered it in the first freaking place. Searched my e-mail and no record of it. Checked the domain records and it was first bought in 2012. So I guess I must’ve did a search for it, found it was available, THOUGHT I bought it but apparently didn’t.

Amazing.

Thankfully the .net and .org were available, and it’s an EMD not a brandable domain so not the end of the world. Still that kills me as I’ve got a friend who runs a similar site and I kept telling him I was going to launch F1Domain.com once a month for the past few years. Then of course I go to launch it and I don’t even bloody own it.

What a tool.

Viral Attempt:

Made an attempt to go viral last week, when I produced this article:

Winter Olympics 2014 Hockey Tournament Simulated by NHL 94.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out as good as it should. I was mostly aiming for linkbait. It got about 10,000 unique visitors and about 30 natural backlinks. Of course I was hoping for 10x that! But it’s not all bad. Got the backlinks, got some new followers and even got some depositors out of it!

Plus of course, the learning experience. There was two key things I learned from this, which were:

Less is More: In this case, I put waaaaay too much effort into it. I mean I spent hours editing in all the players, then video taping every game, then recording the highlights and uploading them all. THEN putting them all in pretty little boxscores etc.

People didn’t want that. They just wanted to see the results of the simulation, and maybe a graphic or two. Out of all the visitors, less than 1% actually clicked through every link. Meanwhile, over 85% of them actually clicked on the final bracket and final results. I was afraid to half-ass it, but in the end all I was doing was asking too much of the user. Frustrating too when Reddit brings in over 7000 views and you get just 55 upvotes from it. The potential was clearly there.

Gambling = Bad: I was hoping that the stigma over gambling websites wouldn’t affect this, but sadly I was wrong. I shared this with all the major sports outlets, and I spoke to a couple of prominent writers at 2 separate major sites. The sort of sites where if you got a link or a tweet from, you’d have to stop to do a jig.

Both of them told me that they loved it and they’d love to link to it. One problem: they just weren’t comfortable linking to a website related to gambling. So something to think about if you do something like this. I know if I was doing it again I’d put it on a different website, and then once it goes viral throw some links in to the website I actually want to promote(or even 301 it!).

Oh, and I did learn a third thing:

Don’t Drink On An Empty Stomach: You’d think being 33 years old I’d know this by now. Sigh. From Saturday afternoon till Tuesday night last week, I probably put about 30 hours of my life into this. By the time I was finished it was such a relief that I grabbed myself a strong rum and coke at about 7pm. Then I had another. Then I realized I hadn’t had dinner yet. Then I had another. And another. And then many more.

I ended up getting absolutely obliterated. I wanted 1 or 2 celebratory drinks to congratulate myself, and I ended up just absolutely smashed. Worse – I rarely drink pop, so that 1 litre of coca cola added to the hangover, and I found myself laid up for 2 straight days just absolutely dead.

Smart move.

Anyway – that was pretty much a wasted week but that’s okay – it’ll just spur me on to make this week the most productive week of my life.

Rock on.


Thank Super Bowl It’s Sunday!

Seriously – isn’t today just the greatest day? It’s something you don’t get in sports like NBA or NHL or MLB unless it’s a Game 7 – today, there MUST be a winner! It’s one game, winner takes all. No picking yourself up for a game 3 with home advantage or anything like that – one team will leave as winners, and one team losers.

That’s what I like about it – it’s definite. And you can go out and party it up and know there’s no such thing as an anticlimactic finish, as opposed to the NHL, where you can get together with your buddies for Game 6….only for it to have to go to a Game 7.

Another reason I’m looking forward to it is I’ve been dealing with a family member who has had really bad health issues as of late. I won’t go into the details but it’s been quite the last few weeks for me. That’s why there’s been no Affiliate Bible articles – I’ve barely had time to think let alone work. I also won’t be going to LAC unfortunately due to this.

So I’m really looking forward to leaving reality for a day, getting together at noon for the Habs/Jets game and basically drinking all day, and eating lots of crappy unhealthy food. I am going to eat so many chicken wings, pizza, chips and other crappy food that I’ll have to use some industrial style toilets for the next few days!

I’m not sure who will win this game – but it should hopefully be a hell of a match. I’m a Patriots fan, so F both teams really! You’ve got the best offense versus the best defense – I just hope they don’t cancel each other out.

I think my favourite part of the day is the prop bets. I generally try and put on 100 different prop bets throughout the game, sitting there with a big piece of paper checking it all off. Always a lot of fun win or lose.

Let’s hope for a great game!

Speaking of Prop Bets:

You most likely saw this article – the $50 Superbowl Prop that will win $710,923, 613,350.

Of course no online bookie would accept that action and the author mentions that in the article. But if I’ve learned anything it’s that no-one actually reads articles anyway! Every time I see it shared people talk about how they’re going to put on the same bet etc.

Either way – this is fantastic link bait. I always do a list of the crazy superbowl prop bets on websites and get some good traffic – but linkbait wise, this is incredible. Really adds that personal touch and is a fun article to boot.

Also look at the way it’s structured. Along with the content he uses big text for listing the bets, a running calculation and lots of images so that even the skimmers get the jist of it.

Genius.

Facebook Ads:

I like when I see advertising basics from offline make their way onto the online world. Especially when they’re done in a clever way.

You’ve all seen billboards or park benches advertising the fact that “Hey you looked at this billboard – now call us to advertise on it!”. While going through Facebook, I received this sponsored ad:

future-shop

Note the bottom – “Create An Ad Like This for Order of Books”, which is one of my websites and I have a Facebook page for it. It’s tremendous, and it’s a great way to squeeze blood out of a stone. It’s not enough that they have Future Shop paying them to actually advertise that, but they’re then trying to turn around and use that ad to get even MORE money.

I love that sort of thinking. Love it or hate it, Facebook never stop thinking “How can we make money?”. And they look at current revenue streams, then look at ways to make MORE money from that.

So clever and slick. Just beautiful.

Google Ads:

On the other hand, you have Gmail.

I can’t remember when they did it, but I think it was last year at some point – they decided to make it “easier for the user” by adding tabs to their e-mail. You would have a Primary Tab, Social Tab, and Promotions Tab.

I guess like most things Google it’s a fine concept – but the execution is horrible. So many people I know (1) have zero idea how to turn this off and just assume it’s forced on them, and (2) never ever click social or promotions tabs, thus missing out on many e-mails.

The impact of this can be huge. One of my mailers I send out recently started going to the Promotions tab, and this has resulted in 40% less readership. 40%! And even then, some of the readership is a good week after I actually sent out the mailer so it’s people remembering about it later on.

Of course it’s Google. They did this to “clean up your inbox” but they ALWAYS have an ulterior motive. Right now under the Promotions tab you get advertisements at the top:

promotionsgmail

It’s actually really smart. The ads are clearly labeled so you know they are ads – but that actually just makes them stand out more! And of course a year from now we’ll probably be seeing those ads in the main inbox, whether or not you actually have tabs.

I just think it’s interesting seeing how polar opposite the ad concepts are from these two powerhouses. Facebook go with using advertisements to then try and add to the user experience, while Google go with adding to the user experience, so they can then advertise on it.

Testing Affiliate Links:

It amazes me the amount of times I see a forum post where an affiliate is questioning whether their tracking works for a casino or poker room, yet actually haven’t taken the time to test out if the affiliate link is actually working or not.

The majority of time – yes it will – but you should always be testing them. Not every month or anything like that. But every time you sign up with a new program, or get an exclusive affiliate link to use, or simply decide to make one room your #1 room for the month – test, test, test.

And you don’t need others to do it for you! (IP Blocking aside). I’m not sure if it’s laziness or what – but it takes less than 5 minutes to sign up at a gambling site using fake data. Then simply wait a day(unless it’s real time) and see if it has showed up. And hell – doing it yourself means you KNOW you followed the steps correctly and takes that possibility of user error out of the equation.

I had a good reminder of why you should do this a few days ago. For one of my sites, we decided to promote a special offering at Unibet. I was running short of time, so I went with that “trust” factor we all have, made sure the affiliate link worked(it went straight to a registration form) then sent out the promo via social media.

Next day – 150 clicks, 0 signups. Yikes. For a promo like this, I’d expect 30-50 signups out of that 150 so that made me very concerned.

I went through to test it – and immediately found the problem. On the registration form I was sending them to, it was set for ONLY the UK. If you tried to register, the only countries you could register from were UK and Ireland. That was set up by default by Unibet and I had to change it.

Changed it and a day later? The signups started coming on. I could kick myself for missing that – but hey it could be worse at least I caught it now as opposed to months down the road.

That’s what a program like StatsRemote is great for, and one of the biggest uses I get out of it. If I see a program with say 100 clicks and 0 signups, I’m immediately looking into that one further to make sure the link still works, and then it allows me to optimize for that program better.

Something to think about. As you’re sitting there treating your hangover from the Super Bowl – start going through those affiliate links, and make sure there are no issues.

Birthdays:

It was my 33rd birthday last Thursday. I know this because I recieved tons of e-mail from casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms wishing my a happy birthday and then giving me some sort of offering. Here are just a few:


Intertops: Happy Birthday! 20% to $100 bonus at Sportsbook, 100% to $100 at casino, and 2 free gold chips at poker room.

Bet-At-Home: Happy Birthday! We wish you luck! Speaking of luck, you should come play roulette at our casino!

Ruby Palace: Have a 200% Match Bonus!

Slotastic: Happy Birthday, have $25 free!

The Palace Group: Log in to Piggs now and unwrap your special birthday present!


It’s fascinating to see how different they all are, and it kills me to see how outright BAD some are. I’ve made money many a time from a player who hasn’t played in 6 months, then next thing I know they’re at the casino tables, poker tables or bingo games and bringing me in money. Many times I’ve asked what retention method the program used, and I’d say at least 30% of the time the answer was “it was their birthday”.

I’m undecided what I like better. No deposit bonuses are great, but I dig that one from The Palace Group. Log in to unwrap your special birthday present? Who can resist that? Then present them with 5-10 free spins or something. Get them playing and there’s a very good chance they’ll keep playing.

Or just wish them luck then to an awkward segway into playing roulette at your casino. Some real marketing geniuses at work there. They’ll be head hunted by Facebook and Google in no time.

Now I’m off to have me some breakfast, watch some EPL followed by NHL then the Super Bowl. I have a bet with my buddy – if the Broncos win, I pay the bar bill. If the Seahawks win, he pays the bar bill.

If the Broncos win, I may just need a $710,923, 613,350 prop bet to come in to pay for it!


6 Goals I Aim To Accomplish in 2014

Well 2014 is now here. While I’m not a big resolution guy, do I enjoy taking some time at the end of a year and the beginning of a year to map out some goals. It’s a great time to take stock of your life, and really lay out what you want to do over the next year.

Plus it gives you something to think about during those horribly boring Christmas family dinners! I thought I would share these goals with you and maybe it will help some of you guys.

Get My Shit Together:

I’m a pretty organized guy – but despite that, I still lose track of a lot of stuff. For example the other day a friend asked me how many websites I own. I said “About 50″. This is my JOB. All of my websites contribute to my income. Something as basic as that I should keep track of.

On Jan 1, I got a notice that an old domain was expiring. Now the domain is useless – it’s dedicated to a poker room that closed over 2 years ago. But what have I did with that website? NOTHING. It still gets a couple of hits a week, it still has quite a few nice backlinks, and about 50 pages of solid content on it. And for 2 years I’ve let it sit stagnant being of absolute no use to anyone.

At the very least, I should have 301′d it to one of my bigger websites. It would’ve helped that site due to both the backlinks portfolio and the content. Even if the content is not relevant anymore – adding 50 pages of articles to a website is nothing to sneeze at, and helps when it’s a big brandable site.

So I’m going to be getting my shit together when it comes to that. Going through every website I own and setting up goals for each of them. If they’re making no money then either look at making money from them, or 301ing them to a brandable site. If they’re making some money then look at optimizing them better etc.

Expanding From A Niche:

One of my favourite articles on here is Think Big, Start Small – the whole point being that while you have grand plans for a website then start slow focusing on one section at a time, building it up before moving onto the next.

I’m going to be doing that in 2 different ways this year. One is CasinoAnswers.com. While initially I adopted that Think Big, Start Small philosophy it sort of lost it’s way as time went on. I have 200 Microgaming Slot Reviews, yet only 5 articles in the scratch card section for example. So I’m going to be going through that site, cleaning it up and then working a section at a time to really make the whole site better as a whole.

The other one is my forms website, DIY Landlord Forms. Initially when we started that, we aimed purely for landlord forms. However now is the time to expand – a goal we always had – and start covering more forms as well. Now everything’s running smoothly, it’s time to start covering everything else. So I’ve recently launched Simple Forms which will work on a larger scale and cover a variety of other forms.

A PPC Campaign Outside my Comfort Zone:

Many people believe the best way to teach someone to swim, is to throw them right in at the deep end. This is something I’d like to see many of you do – set a budget, and start rocking a PPC Campaign on a topic you know a little about.

It’s a method that will force you to learn – FAST. Because you’re throwing money at something and if you aren’t figuring out how best to optimize it you WILL lose that money. It’s a great learning experience and one I am really looking forward to.

Apps, Apps, Apps!

I really want to get into app building this year. This is something I’m sure EVERYONE has wanted to do at some point – probably around the point they heard of the iPhone Fart App making $10,000 per day.

Unfortunately as a Blackberry user, I wasn’t able to fully experience all of the apps out there. I did make money running a Blackberry App website and that got me more into it – but I really wanted to be on the front lines, actually producing the apps.

I got a Samsung Galaxy S4 earlier this year mainly for that purpose, and I’ve spent hours going through the apps and checking them out and getting ideas. Also studying how they make money – Candy Crush Saga in particular is amazing for that.

Plus it’s addictive as all hell.

I’ve spotted a few holes in the App World where I think I can make some good money. I also want to create some apps purely for a resourceful point of view – for example, anyone who wants sports tips I provide can download the app and be notified when they are posted.

I’ve actually already started this process with a Royal Rumble Trivia App. It sucks – but the point was to learn the process of listing apps on the Google Play store and how it all worked. It’s quite fascinating seeing the backend for something like this, and it’s really got me excited about the apps I’ll be developing later this year.

Do More Contests/Sweepstake Promotions:

Really – this is the easiest bloody thing ever. Run contests on your website. You can give away anything – like a $50 gift card, or $250 worth of books or whatever. It kills me I don’t do it as much as I should because there are so many benefits.

For example some of the contests I ran last year:

  • Increased loyalty and friendship amongst my visitors, to the point I was able to talk privately to about 50 of them and convert them to a different sportsbook than the one they were using.
  • Got a ton of backlinks from various contest websites and forums.
  • Got me a ton of extra content when I asked them to submit 200 word reviews to participate. I spent $50 for about 10,000 words of unique quality content.

And those are just a few. Nothing compared to the things I used to do with poker. Really need to run at least one per month and possibly more.

Help Out A Small and Local Business:

I actually did this last year and I’m going to be doing it again.

My barber doesn’t have a facebook page, or a website or anything. He practically has no online presence bar your standard Yellow Pages mention and any listings from sites that scrape that.

So free of charge, I’m going to create him a website and then market it online and get him a really strong web presence.

I did this last year as I said, and it was a tremendous learning experience. As affiliate marketers, we usually focus on a really broad range when it comes to marketing – focusing on countries or even continents. There’s so much you can learn from the small business world and localized marketing. Honestly it was probably my best learning experience in many years, and I’m looking forward to taking a lot of what I learned and apply it forward.

Plus he said he’d give me 4 free haircuts so you can’t beat that!

Summary:

I’m sure some of these won’t apply to many of you, but hopefully it gets your brain churning. I know mine is – I’m really excited about sitting down and looking at my portfolio of websites for example, and really streamline it. Not only will it help my business, but it will give me a much stronger sense of control and organization.

Finally, I aim to write many more Affiliate Bible articles! I’m targeting 3 per week; a T_IM, an article like this, then a personalized affiliate program review. So yay – 2014 is the year where you get to read 3000+ words from my mouth every week of the year!

Ain’t life great.


Thank Bedtime It’s Monday

Today is the first day of the Christmas holidays being over with, which means the kids are back to school. More importantly, it means there is such a thing as “time to go to bed” in my life again.

I know a lot of affiliates who are single or don’t have kids and generally don’t have restrictions like that and man – I am glad I am not them. I know many of them who handle it fine – but others who don’t. They’re self-declared “night owls”. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to get that late night motivation – but man, I am glad I am forced to say “Nope” and stay off the computer.

I used to be really bad as a kid with staying up, and as an adult I’ve never really shaken it. I remember as a kid staying up until I literally passed out at around 4am, while playing Championship Manager on my Commodore Amiga. Over Christmas break it was the same – the “one more chapter” syndrome caused me to read about a book a day, and I got into Championship Manager(now Football Manager) and there were a few more late nights due to the same “one more game” syndrome.

So yay for actual regular bedtimes and getting into bed by 9pm. Love it.

At least until NHL Playoff season rolls around.

Thanks Sports Interaction:

Completely forgot to thank Sports Interaction for the bottles of wine they sent me at Christmas:

wine

Sports Interaction are a great company. They’re pretty much focused exclusively on Canadian traffic – and it’s to the point where I’d say I direct 95% of my sports betting traffic to them. If you have any Canadian traffic, consider geo-targeting and promote SI to them. They’re really nice guys too and very responsive. If you’re Canadian head over to BetNHL.ca and you’ll note that the majority of the text links lead to SI.

I always like those little tokens of appreciation. I never expect anything and when I do get gifts from affiliate programs it’s a pleasant surprise. Increases loyalty and it’s always cool to be able to tell people you got some free swag for simply being good at your job.

Rap Genius:

Anyone read about this? Good article over at Techcrunch on it.

This one was a real head shaker. Rap Genius have great rankings and then they basically asked bloggers to post like 30 links on their webpage and in return they’d tweet their site out to their followers.

Always interesting studying the fallout of something like that. They’re back in now and look to be #1 – but they’re lucky they’re so big and were able to communicate with Google.

The majority of websites would be screwed.

“Cheat” Time:

I was talking about my bedtime above and being a night owl and so on. One weird concept I dig that is based on having a routine is “cheat time”.

A lot of people find they are more productive at night, and will work really late till 3am-4am. I think a lot of that is because they are “cheating” – they are working outside the norm, as we’re conditioned to be 9-5ers. While everyone else is asleep, you’re working and you’re at your most productive.

I’ll work from 9am-12pm. I’ll take a break to work out and have lunch, then work from 1:30pm-5:30pm. That’s my routine every weekday, and I have weekends off.

But it’s outside of that routine where I find I am my most productive.

If I get up at 5am? I’ll often work until the kids get up at 7:30am. If the wife and kids go to bed early? I might sit down and do work from 8pm-9pm. If the kids head off on a sleepover on the weekend, I might squeeze in a few hours that I normally wouldn’t.

And that’s when I’m most productive – because it feels like I am “cheating”. I am using extra hours that I normally wouldn’t have to get work in – and I’m extra motivated, and trying to cram as much work as I can into that time because I know it’s limited and must end.

If part of your resolution for the year was getting more structure in your work life or a set routine – do that, then try and squeeze in some extra hours where you normally wouldn’t to work.

You’ll be surprised just how productive you’ll find yourself.

Motivational Quote of the Week:

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

Saw that quote on my Twitter today and I really dug it – mainly because it can apply to so many things like life decisions and of course, work.

Say you were pondering a move to a new country, or to have another baby, travel for a year or to go back to school. Usually you’d sit there weighing up the pros & cons, having internal arguments with yourself and having this decision consume your whole thought process. This simplifies it: instead just think of yourself 1, 5 or even 10 years from now and ask: would future me be glad that I did that?

Work wise, it can get you over a hump. Wanting to build a new website but don’t have the motivation? Or add content to a website but just can’t be bothered? Won’t the future you be happy that you’ve either added another income source, or helped stabilize an additional income source?

You don’t even have to look that far into the future either. Feel you should work out but too lazy? Won’t the person you’ll be 2 hours from now be glad that you worked out, and feel great? Not feeling up to work today? Won’t evening you be a lot happier knowing they had a productive day?

Something to think about. Have a great week.


Thank Time It’s Monday (Again!)

I’d actually written a Thank Time It’s Monday article earlier this year, but it’s a positive thought that really bears repeating.

Our lifes are dictated by time. We have a time we need to wake up for school or for work. A lunch time. A bed time. Meetings usually revolve around a certain time. Even entertainment revolves around a certain time. Going to see a movie or a play? You have to be there at a certain time. Ready to relax on a Sunday and watch some football? You still have to do that at a certain time.

So that’s why it’s so nice when you have that lack of time awareness. With the kids off school due to the Christmas holidays, I always take time off work for that same period. And it really struck me yesterday just how great it is – we were playing board game after board game. Suddenly I glanced up at the clock and I was like “Holy crap – it’s midnight”. Then we’re sitting there trying to figure out how long we’ve been playing and really had no idea. It was just a really nice feeling to know that we were having so much fun, we were completely unaware of this thing that dictates the majority of our lives.

So thank you time. You keep us sane when you’re around, but it’s nice to forget about you every so often.

Affiliate Roundtable:

I hope everyone enjoyed the Roundtable with Jeremy, Greg and Mike from earlier in the week.

You know – that roundtable really does speak a lot about the gambling affiliate community, as I had mentioned in the article. I’m sure all of those guys are super busy, but they thought nothing of taking some time to participate in that with the goal of providing an interesting article, as well as tips for new affiliates. They didn’t ask for links to any of their websites or anything. Even when I asked them, none of them requested any links. They were just happy to do the interview.

You see so many affiliate marketer blogs online these days, but rarely does anyone do anything for free. They’re always wanting a link back, they’re always trying to sell you products. Hell, the majority of the guys who make money in internet marketing do it by selling their products to OTHER internet marketers. Search for SEO blogs or internet marketing blogs and the top ones will be covered in ads trying to sell you random software or ebooks so they can make money. Then people buy that stuff and turn it around and sell it on THEIR blogs, almost like an MLM scheme.

Anyway – thanks again to those three for doing that, and I hope to do more in the future covering a variety of topics. Next month, I’m going to talk to some people who had, or have quit their full time jobs to become an affiliate marketer.

I Love The Media:

Honestly – no-one knows how to manipulate the masses like the media.

You see it all over social networking, and even the “smartest” people get taken in hook, line and sinker.

One I saw yesterday – was an article about a couple trying a “crowd fund” to help them move from Canada to Scotland.

Of course everyone is IRATE over this. The article has over 30 shares on Facebook, almost 200 comments and then the actual article itself has tons fo comments too. People going mental about it – all falling into the newspapers hands, because that’s EXACTLY what they want. More sharing, more eyeballs, more people viewing, more people seeing the ads etc etc etc.

Just kills me how easily they manipulate people time and time again.

Viral Videos:

You all saw it – I hope so, anyway!

This video is great – and it has everything. Plus it inflicts so much emotion among the viewer. Most people are just talking about how heartwarming it is – but you can bet many people are jealous as all hell as well – not a bad thing. The small amount they paid on this is nothing compared to how much loyalty they bought, how many new people they attracted, and how many people will fly with them NEXT Christmas, hoping for the same thing.

It started me thinking about viral videos – we usually only see the ones that succeed(obviously), but what about those that fail? Then I started thinking about the only reality TV show I watch – The Apprentice/The Celebrity Apprentice.

For the last few seasons, they’ve been given a task one episode: “Make a Viral Video”. And oh man – it’s so cringeworthy it’s amazing. I highly recommend checking those episodes out, just so you can shake your heads at everything – the people making the video and their ideas, to the CEOs and managers wanting the video, and what they think a viral video is.

The Apprentice Season 12(Also known as Celebrity Apprentice Season 5) Episode 5 covers that.

UFC:

Anderson Silva and his leg break is of course making the headlines – which is a shame because there was something more notable and sickening that came out of UFC 168 on the weekend.

Meisha Tate didn’t just have Katy Perrys “Roar” as her entrance music….BUT SHE CAME OUT SINGING AND DANCING IT. Is this MMA or a freaking nightclub?

Bitch deserved to have her arm ripped right off.

What Have You Done For You Lately?

With 2013 edging to a close – I’d like you to take some time to think about what you’ve did for yourself lately.

In the last few months, what have you did to actually increase your earnings? What steps have you taken in the always continual aim of adding more zeros to the end of your monthly affiliate cheques?

I don’t want to use the word “rut” – but I find a lot of affiliates get comfortable when they’re making a certain amount of money. It’s more than the majority of people and they start to relax more, and not focus as much. I look around at people who a year ago would work their asses off on existing projects and new projects – and now they’re what I would describe as comfortable.

They’re happy with what they’ve currently got, and are never really pushing for more.

One thing you have to realize is that in the affiliate world, things rarely last forever. That affiliate program who makes up 40% of your earnings? They could shut down overnight. That website of yours that brings in hundreds of signups per month making you tons on CPA? It could lose the rankings in a flash, hurting your income big time.

Bad shit happens all the time. Ask any affiliates around during the UIEGA, or Black Friday. Ask the major Amazon affiliates who woke up one morning to be told “Hey you live in Minnesota? Sorry we can no longer pay you the $30,000 per month you rely on”.

With New Years upon us and resolutions and recollections being made and discussed – take this time to look at where you want to be a year for now. Look at your main income source and think “If that disappeared overnight, would I be ok?”. If not, then now’s the time to start working even harder.

And on the resolution note – don’t wait 48 more bloody hours to quit smoking, hitting the gym or the 900 other things you plan on doing.

Start today. Start right freaking now.

The Early Bird catches the Worm. And starting your New Years Resolution two days BEFORE New Years hits?

I can’t think of a better way to end 2013.

Have a great New Years everyone.


Affiliate Roundtable: Life After Affiliation

While deciding on whether or not to attend next years London Affiliate Conference, I was thinking a lot about just how great the gambling affiliate community is, and how many friends I’ve made within this industry.

But what really got me thinking was just how many people I’ve met over the years that have moved on from being purely a gambling affiliate to other areas of marketing and business on the internet. For example I was at the Budapest Affiliate Conference in 2009 – and over half the people I spent time with at that conference aren’t even in the gambling affiliate business anymore.

With all this talk of diversification, as well as regulation seeping more and more into the gambling affiliate world, I thought I’d take some time to talk to 3 such persons whose primary income was initially based on gambling(and mainly poker) affiliation, and now not so much.

The three people I’m interviewing today are Jeremy Enke, Mike Wittmeyer and Greg Powell.

Jeremy is one of the most famous poker affiliates who has been back and forth with poker affiliation for years. He runs the best gambling affiliate community in PokerAffiliateListings.com and while rather quiet for the last few years when it comes to poker affiliation, he is clearly now reinvigorated and motivated due to the regulated markets opening up in the USA.

When you think of “blessing in disguise”, you think of Mike Wittmeyer. A series of events such as Black Friday and the fall of a gold/silver affiliate program all ended up being the best for Mike, who is now the co-owner of the highly successful JMBullion.com, one of the largest websites on the net for purchasing gold and silver.

Finally, Greg Powell is one of the pioneers. If you remember the Paradise Poker iPod deal, Greg was one of the brains behind that. Greg now focuses both on affiliate management and consultation for affiliate programs with a focus on poker and gambling affiliation as well.

I’d like to thank all three of these guys for taking the time to do the following interviews and participate in this roundtable:

You were big into poker affiliation since the early days. What would you say were the biggest learning experiences from your time as an affiliate?

(Jeremy)As a poker affiliate in the U.S. since 2001 or so, it’s been one heck of a ride. A few of the greatest learning experiences I have taken from the poker affiliate industry is:

  • The online poker industry and affiliate landscape is constantly changing, sometimes for the good, and other times for the bad.
  • No matter how much money you are making from an individual affiliate program, it can all disappear within the blink of an eye. It happened to many of us in 2006 with the UIGEA, and again in 2011 on Black Friday.
  • I learned early on the importance of diversification and working within multiple affiliate verticals.


(Mike) Being an affiliate was a great learning opportunity, albeit in a fairly limited scope because I was a bit narrow-minded – essentially just building websites and learning SEO. Affiliating is how I learned to buy domains, set up hosting, create/code websites, and make those websites rank in search engines and therefore make money. I also learned all of the basic technical skills that a lot of us probably take for granted now, like how to change DNS, work with a CDN, use FTP, edit images, etc.

The other side of affiliating as a learning opportunity was really just meeting people at conferences and opening my eyes as to what was possible on the Internet. I started out very young, and initially viewed affiliating as a way to avoid having a job in high school and college, but not much more.

Once I started making more money and taking the business more seriously, as well as networking with people on Skype and meeting fellow affiliates in-person at conferences, I really got hungry to get on their level. It was truly just mind-blowing to see people around my age and how they could live their lives as a result of being a “super affiliate”. I think this was probably my best takeaway from affiliating – the drive to become successful like those people I had met, as well as the belief that it was actually possible.

(Greg) Great question, and looking back at those days I wish I’d have known a 10th of what I know now about the business and cementing long term relationships. I was trying everything I had read that other affiliates were doing in the beginning. I was having the most success with local advertising; creating niche sites based on the poker games in the areas I lived by. I remember Party Poker would open a password protected table for me and I would literally drive around to the casinos (land based) and drop business cards on the car windows with the information. Let’s just say I’ve been kicked out of more than one casino parking lot in my old days!

My most important lesson learned was the process of repetition. Along the way I found several marketing angles that worked, The better I became at not getting bored with the same things and instead focusing on refining those channels and re-investing into what WAS working the more successful I became.

When did you start to gravitate away from poker/gambling affiliation and why?
Well, it’s kind of been a love/hate thing for the last decade! I’ve never really gravitated away, but I have explored other markets, for example precious metals, and financial type stuff. After UIGEA in 2006, I made it a point to not be solely reliant on gambling affiliate revenue.

Then in 2011 after Black Friday, I had almost had enough to completely leave the industry. But I’ve always believed in doing what you love, and I actual have a great passion for online gaming, especially the business side of it. So with that, I gravitated more towards consulting roles and non-affiliate marketing work while the industry was in a holding pattern awaiting regulation.

I had sold my network right before most of the sites like FTP started cutting CPAs and cookie length, which back then I thought I had timed it perfectly. From that point forward I felt gambling was really saturated and also in decline, so I spent most of my time squandering lots of money in other industries, while simultaneously building one last poker site on a pretty good domain. The poker site never really took off in Google, and when Black Friday hit, I was just over it and dumped it for pennies on the dollar. A few weeks later it skyrocketed in the rankings – the buyer in that deal ended up doing quite well. Since then I haven’t done anything else in gambling.
I wouldn’t say I ever completely left the online gambling world. But the more efficient I became at helping companies grow their affiliate programs the more I realized I could replicate (see above) the process with retail and more traditional companies. One major success I had was diving into the precious metals market and growing a monster of an affiliate program selling gold and silver.
What are you primarily doing now?
Currently I would consider myself a fantasy football guru. OK, just kidding! It’s actually a very exciting time in my career right now. I recently partnered up with a great company, and together we are building a dream team to be the authority on all aspects of the regulated online gaming markets in the U.S. as they continue to emerge.

Personally I have been waiting for the opportunity to work in a regulated U.S. market for a long, long time. And while I am not actively doing as much individually as an affiliate, I am still very connected to this side of the business and plan on continuing to work closely with both operators and affiliates for many years to come.

After being in the industry so long and developing so many great relationships, I think it’s just a natural progression to become more immersed in the business of affiliate marketing than actually just being an affiliate.

I’ve been working for over two years now on JMBullion.com, which is an online retail site offering physical gold and silver products to individual investors. I fell into the project when I had bought a few gold and silver domains to be an affiliate for APMEX.com, partnered up with an old friend from PAL who knew the industry, and built them out, just in time for APMEX to shut down their affiliate program.

We were left with a good chunk of people visiting our sites looking to buy gold and silver, but nowhere to send them. My partner suggested we give retail a shot to see if we could monetize our existing traffic and perhaps grow beyond that. I was quite hesitant as I had never done anything outside of affiliating before and knew absolutely nothing about the metals industry or online retail, but fortunately he talked me into it and we sort of just winged it from there.

For the past several years now I have been focused on consulting work; both inside and outside of online gaming. It’s a huge advantage for me to be able to take the marketing tools and practices retail affiliates are using and plug them into the casino/poker affiliate mix. I still believe that gambling affiliates are the savviest marketers online so I tend to pull more influence from my ‘old stomping grounds’ than the new trends in affiliate marketing.
As someone who has seen it all in the poker affiliate world, what advice would you give to any new poker affiliates, in this new day and age of legislation?
Wow, I could write an entire book on this. It would be easy to say learn SEO, rank well, etc. But the reality is nobody knows exactly what the landscape of this new age of legislation is actually going to look like. More important than just being a “webmaster” and operating “websites”, build a brand.
Secondly, there is so much to learn as an affiliate. After a decade, I am still learning each and every day. Surround yourself with other successful affiliates and absorb everything you are able to learn from them.

Lastly, life is short; don’t waste it typing on a computer hoping to be the next internet millionaire. Have a fun life, a balanced life, and make money at the same time!

I think the best advice I could give someone is to just man up and get started. The first version of your first website will likely be horrendous and make you no money, but just taking that first step and launching your first site is where we all began. Nowadays it is so cheap and simple to build a simple WordPress site that there really is no excuse for putting it off other than laziness. Just pick a topic, go buy the domain and hosting for $50 or whatever, and put it live.

Some other general bits I’d recommend are:

- Have a working knowledge of as many things as possible and always keep learning. Affiliating was a bit more cut and dry for me, as far as buy links/buy content/put it together and repeat sort of thing, and I really got lost in that and ignored everything else for so long. Working on JM has required us to learn about hedging, corporate finance, recruiting and managing employees, working with partners, supply chain, vendor relations, on and on. The Internet is an incredible resource for reading and learning, so take advantage of that as much as possible.

- Surround yourself with the right people. We have a really great ownership group, and everyone brings something unique to the table. I’ve learned a lot from the guys I work with, and they’re all quite smart and successful, so it gives you something to strive for as well as great resources to lean on when you need help figuring something out.

- And finally, respect the money. When times are good (like when I sold my first network), you feel invincible and want to start 100 things at once and throw money at all sorts of projects, because of course they’re all going to work out and make you more and more money. Going bust on so many of my post-gambling things really taught me to treasure a successful business for what it is – an extremely rare and fragile thing that isn’t to be taken for granted.

Just this morning I spent some time looking at the New Jersey site that Party Poker has put up. It’s fascinating to me to see real companies’ spending money on US players. The smallest tip of the iceberg has been cracked and there’s no slowing down now. My advice for new affiliates is to keep up to the minute on legislation news and which companies are making their moves. Even outside being an affiliate, these companies will need people to help them run these interactive divisions. Parlay your experience and offer your services to them as a consultant in addition to being an affiliate driving traffic. Localized, geo targeting for players in these newly legal states is where the money is going to be!


Thank Bye Weeks It’s Monday

Anyone who is in a Fantasy Football League, got to the playoffs AND managed to get a bye week this week knows exactly what I am talking about.

I managed to win my division in the Poker Affiliate Listings Fantasy Football League to get a bye week and man – is it ever nice. It was awesome yesterday to just sit down and watch football and not care that certain players are having bad games, or start freaking out because Le’Veon Bells TD was chopped off or anything like that.

The fact that my Patriots and Tom Brady put on another late clinic made it all the better.

Although Gronk injured again. Seriously?

Speaking of Fantasy Football…

If you’re not watching it, you need to watch the show The League.

Holy crap is that a great show. You don’t even need to watch Fantasy Football to enjoy it. My wife loves it and she probably couldn’t name an NFL team let alone a player but we are in hysterics at it.

So yes. Try it out – just amazing. Rafi may be the greatest TV character of all time.

Lack of Routine:

Man, I miss routine.

Long-term readers will know how much I value routine – especially considering the job of an affiliate marketer. It’s so wide-open and all in your own hands. And with no boss harassing you it’s so easy to get distracted etc.

Over the last couple of years my wife was off at university so I was basically playing single parent which forced me into a very strict routine. Personally I loved it. Taking care of all the meals, going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 5am etc. It was awesome, and I felt like a badass for being so disciplined.

But now my wife is finished uni and she’s taking some time off before getting a job – and it reminds me what a lazy sack of undisciplined shit I can be! Now no longer am I reading a book, think “one more chapter” but take a look at the clock and then think I better go to sleep. Now I’m like “screw this, time to brew some coffee and stay up for a few hours and read the rest of this!”.

My 5am mornings would start with a workout, then getting caught up on e-mail correspondence and doing all the tips for my betting tips sites for the day. All that BEFORE the kids were awake and I was making them breakfast. Now? I’m stumbling out of bed between 7am-9am, throwing on a coffee and then playing the XBox until the caffeine kicks in. (Tomb Raider is all kinds of awesome BTW).

But it’s not a bad thing. I like being reminded of my flaws – as long as I learn from them, and I use them to better myself.

That applies to the affiliate world because I know many affiliates, including myself, who at times think they are “king shit”. Everything they touches will turn to gold. It’s a nice reminder when you build a website and it does utter crap – but rather than just forget about the site and give up on it, you look at WHY it’s doing crap, and use that to better yourself in the future.

As Richard Bach said – mistakes are unexpected learning experiences.

You just have to confront them dead on and immediately, rather than trying to sweep them to the side.

Time Limited Niche Site Again:

It’s amazing the fun I get out of building a time limited niche website.

The latest project is ChristmasCasino.net which is basically a Christmas casino guide reviewing all Christmas slots and other games, as well as listing Christmas promotions.

I’ve no idea how it will do, but as long as you have a big brandable site, then sites like this are basically zero risk – another good reason to have a brandable site. For example if it doesn’t work out – it’s just a case of moving all the content to Casino Answers and 301ing it, giving that site a boost.

There’s a lot of opportunity for time limited niche sites in 2014, with the World Cup and the Winter Olympics to name just a few. I’d recommed trying one of those out because it’s so much different than your regular affiliate site.

Timing:

On this day of giving thanks, I need to thank my friend Taff.

There’s a video game series people in the UK will be familiar with; the Football Manager series. For those not familiar with it – it’s basically got a stronger addiction level than the Civlization games.

The new one, Football Manager 2014, came out a month or so ago. Both me and Taff made a bet on who would crack and buy it first, with neither of us wanting to get sucked into that video game addiction again.

I’ve been close to cracking, but kept putting it off. I knew Taff would crack first as he sent me screenshots of him at the Steam checkout page, with the game in his cart, so close to giving up.

Yesterday when we were going grocery shopping, our car broke down. What’s worse is this car is on its last legs as it is and this is probably the tipping point.

While waiting for a tow, sitting in the car all alone with the snow landing all around me, I could’ve been thinking about what a fun Christmas surprise I’d just been given – having to go car shopping just 2 weeks before Christmas.

But then I got a message from Taff. “Check your e-mail”. I did, and there was a random bunch of letters in an e-mail from him. I asked what it was and he replied “I cracked and bought it. So I decided to buy you a copy too so you won’t laugh at me.”

So rather than spending the time waiting for the tow truck full of negative thoughts, I was busy planning out my tactics, deciding what team I would go etc.

Always funny when things work out like that. And now with the car out of commission I’ve got nowhere to go – meaning I get to stay in all day today and play Football Manager.

Everything happens for a reason. At least – it’s a lot nicer when you think of the bad stuff that way.

Have a great week!


Thank Coffee It’s Monday

In a weird fact about me – up until this year, I’d never drank coffee. Not once. About 70% of North American adults consume coffee on a daily basis, yet I’d never touched the stuff.

I grew up in Scotland, so I basically grew up drinking tea. The smell of coffee also repulsed me. I’d see people waiting in line at Tim Hortons, talking about they were addicted and needed their fix to get going for the day and I just laughed. That’d never be me.

But it is now.

I first consumed coffee earlier this year while in Edmonton. I had a charity walk to participate in, and in true Dealer Dan fashion I stayed up till 4am the previous night getting absolutely hammered. Woken up at 8am the next day for this long walk near death, my friend basically crammed a half hot chocolate, half coffee concoction down my throat. That got me through the walk, and was my first taste of coffee.

I never touched the stuff again until Mexico, when a business partner(Scott) convinced me to join him in a frappucino with baileys. I had a couple of those during the trip but that still wasn’t fully being a coffee drinker.

During one business meeting after Mexico we headed to Starbucks where he convinced me to get a frappucino. I did, and enjoyed it even before we snuck some baileys into it. A week later, another meeting and this time he got me to try a Tim Hortons Ice Cap. This one really hit me – the caffeine in those is strong, and I was buzzing for a good hour or so after it.

Last Sunday we met up to set up his home office, and in between setting up dual monitors, watching football and drinking beer he made me a coffee. The intention was to have Baileys in it but he filled it too much so I had my first pure coffee drink ever(A Tim Hortons K-Cup), as I had to make space for the wonderful Irish cream. I was stunned to note that I actually enjoyed it.

Last Wednesday was the big day. Around 10:30am I was starting to feel sluggish. I’d been up late watching my friend Jay Farber crush the poker tables as he proceeded to go heads up at the WSOP Final Table. I was feeling very sleepy but had a busy day ahead of me and couldn’t really afford a nap.

So I headed into the kitchen, made my first ever coffee and went with “double double” because that seems to be the most common.

And holy crap I loved it.

For the hour before drinking it, I was just sitting there staring at this organized to do list, with no idea where to get started. Before I knew it shit just HAPPENED – I was just crushing it, hammering through one thing after another.

Awesome.

Since then, it’s became part of my daily routine. 10:30am = coffee. 2:30pm = coffee. I went out for lunch earlier this week and had a couple of beers. Usually that means my day is shot as I just can’t be bothered working. However I came home, had 2 coffees and boom – ready to rock.

Oh coffee, where have you been all my life?

The true greatness of this new love is yet to come however. You see – where I live there is only one fast food place. KFC. Which also happens to be the only fast food place I hate with a passion. I’ve lived in this house for about 13 years now, and KFC has been across the street ever since I moved in, just taunting me. I’ve ate it only once since living here, and I threw it up quickly after.

It got so bad that on Tuesday evenings I’d refuse to go outside, simply because the smell of the chicken due to the “Toonie Tuesday” special would make me nauseous.

So for 13 whole years, KFC has sat there just laughing at me. And on the same week that I started drinking coffee? Well I went outside Thursday morning, to see KFC had a big “Closed” sign on it and people were busy taking all the signage down.

Why? Why because it was purchased by another company.

Tim. Freaking. Hortons.

Last week may have been the best week in my life.

Wow:

I just wrote 733 words about coffee. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I snuck one 20 minutes ago after waking up. Can you tell?

You Don’t Know Jack:

Here’s the problem when you are a long-term affiliate marketer; you get confident in your abilities. Too confident. When you launch new websites it’s such a smooth process, because you think you know it all.

But you don’t.

Here are two landing pages based on the NHL both from Bodog:

landing-pages

Landing Page A is a typically great landing page. It’s got a really nice traffic related graphic, a catchphrase, a bonus offer, a nice CTA button, and a simple step by step guide all above the fold. Pretty much the ideal landing page.

Landing Page B is a list of the current hockey lines available at Bodog.

Now if you asked me what the best landing page is – well, my first answer would be “It depends”. Because it does. It always does. However from an overall perspective, I’d say “Landing Page A Hands Down”.

Yet on BetNHL.ca, Landing Page B is currently outperforming Landing Page A by 25% over 6 weeks of split testing.

Now that doesn’t mean Landing Page A sucks. Because it doesn’t. It’s a tremendous landing page. But it’s just a good reminder that you can never trust your judgement; you have to test shit out. Constantly.

I’m a big believer in knowing your audience and Getting Inside the Visitors Head. But again – a lot that is just educated guess work. By split testing you get to learn more about your audience, plus gain some cold hard facts about what works and what doesn’t.

In next weeks T_IM I’ll talk a bit more about this and my thoughts on it. But one thing you need to take away from this week is that if you think you know something – you don’t. Always question yourself. Everything you do – even if it’s successful; look at ways to make it better.

Because 99.9% of the time, you can.

Dumbest Promotion of the Year?

I love marketing in all it’s form. From the superbowl ads all the way down to your local grocery store flyer. I like to look at the deals going on, the product placement within the flyer, and think about why they would place this item on the front page, why they’d bury this item on the 4th page, and pay attention to all the buzz words they use.

In my head, I picture a team of expert marketers all arguing and debating over this flyer all week. In most cases it’s probably just an intern with a warezed copy of Photoshop.

There’s one promotion that occurred over the weekend by a couple of big box stores, that I just can’t wrap my head around. I’ve tried. I’ve talked to many people, thought about it a lot and read various opinions.

And I still don’t get it.

Future Shop & Best Buy up here in Canada ran a promotion: bring in ANY current gen video game, and trade it for Call of Duty Ghosts, Assassins Creed 4 or Battlefield 4.

Read that sentence again. ANY freaking game.

Let’s use Call of Duty Ghosts as an example. This game came out last Tuesday. On its first day, it sold probably about $450,000,000 worth of copies. In one day. With tax in Canada, that’s almost $70 each person paid for it.

3 days later, people were able to buy it for about $1, the average trade-in value of the games being traded in. And this wasn’t just Ghosts – there were two other practically brand new games as well.

What? Why? Why in the hell would they do this? It makes no sense. It wouldn’t help brand loyalty. For every 1 person who managed to snag a copy, there was about 5 people who lined up in the cold for 2 hours and got jack. Promotional campaign to get people in their stores? But then they forced everyone in this awkward line along the exterior of the store, not allowing them to browse.

We’re just days away from the launch of the next-gen systems, and the CEOs just decided “Hey, we need to get our hands on about 1 million copies of NHL 07 for the XBox 360!”.

I just don’t get it. I’ve heard conspiracy theories about this somehow screwing over EB Games – but all I know is I’m going to be paying a lot of attention to these companies over the next little while to figure out exactly the reasoning for this promotion.

Maybe the old Blackberry CEO took over or something.

Kids Say The Darndest Things:

My 10 year old son Mason has been using my Skype account to chat to his friends. No big deal as it’s only when he plays Minecraft with them, and he talks to them on the phone first.

He got a new girlfriend a few days ago, and he added her to Skype. This got annoying real fast, because she didn’t seem to comprehend the statement “He isn’t here. He is out all day.” She’d keep trying to video chat with me, and keep messaging me “brb” and “back” and “I just ate a cheese string.” This is a 9 year old girl for christs sake – I’m pretty sure just by having her on my friends list I am committing some sort of felony.

So I told Mason last night he had to get his own Skype account, and I asked him what he wanted his nickname to be.

My son, for chatting to a bunch of 9-10 year olds including his 9 year old girlfriend wanted the following name:

“Creeperman.”

Be sure to stay tuned for next weeks T_IM.

Thank Bail It’s Monday.


Thank Betting Tips It’s Monday

Whew – been awhile. How’s everyone doing? I’ll get into where I’ve been in a second, but I just want to cover betting tips sites for a moment and why I appreciate them so much.

I’ve got quite a few niche sports tips sites, and they are some of my biggest moneymakers. But it’s not just the money I’m thankful for these sites – I’m thankful for many other reasons.

One in particular is my NHL Tips website which I launched last season. Now I lived in Scotland till I was 16, so I didn’t grow up with the NHL. But I did grow up PLAYING the NHL games on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive like NHL 93, 94 and so on. Probably the best 1 vs 1 video game action of the 16-bit generation.

When I moved to Canada – well, it was hard NOT to get caught up in the hockey buzz. I didn’t really have a specific team other than knowing the best players from the NHL games, but I started off by cheering for all the Canadian teams. As time grew on I start to get an affinity for the Canadiens and that ended up being my team.

Now over the last few years I’d watch hockey off and on. The long NHL seasons never appealed to me – so many games that I felt were meaningless. I’d mostly watch the Canadiens play whenever there was nothing else on, kept track of them and try and watch playoff hockey and that was about it.

That all changed with the NHL Tips site. Now I HAVE to pay more attention to hockey. I need to know all the teams, I need to know how injuries will affect a team, and pay attention a lot more to how teams play against each other etc.

And I freaking love it! That’s my job! I mean yeah I could outsource the tips content with ease – but why the hell would I want to do that? PART OF MY JOB IS WATCHING HOCKEY. Now I’m not just flicking back and forth between The Office and The Canadiens – I’m glued to the screen watching the Colorado Avalanche up by 2 goals with 30 seconds left because I’ve tipped them at -1.5 and it’s the difference between a winning night and a losing night.

And honestly – it’s made my life a lot more enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt that during family Thanksgiving dinner I get to say “Well this has been fun but I have to go to work – the Sens are playing”!

Of course it’s not just hockey, or tips sites – it can be anything. There really is nothing better than building websites around topics that you’re either passionate about, or WANT to be passionate about.

And man, I can’t be any more thankful for that if I tried.

So I’m Back:

Can’t believe it’s been a month since I last wrote on here. Time just freaking flies.

I’d written last update that I was heading to Mexico with my family. Man, that was a blast. Usually when I go to Mexico I enjoy it – but I’m always counting the days till I get home. The reason for that is we usually go wihout the kids – so I’m missing them like crazy This was the first time we took the kids though – and man, did it ever make it better. I could’ve stayed there forever.

For the most part we stayed on the resort. There was a really big water park there for the kids and the resort was awesome. We did go on ATVs through the jungle and did the cenote and underground cave stuff. Couple of pictures:

mexico-1

mexico-2

mexico-3

mexico-4

mexico-5

For anyone wondering, the resort we were at was the Barcelo Tropical. If it was just me and the wife I’d go elsewhere probably; but for kids it was very solid due to an awesome water park.

While I was away, I started thinking about my work environment and how much it sucked. For example:

  • When I was young and foolish, I decided a La-Z-Boy would be the ultimate office chair. Yep. In this day and age of ergonomics being such a big thing, I was sitting in a freaking La-Z-Boy all day long.
  • One of my monitors broke. Rather than replace it, I just hooked up my office TV as my 2nd monitor.
  • The TV was huge, and it really messed up how my monitors were aligned. My desk only allowed me to sit in one exact spot, so I was all twisted around like a pretzel. You’ve seen Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares? His reactions during that show would be nothing compared to how an ergonomics specialist would react if they saw me.
  • My keyboard broke and I hadn’t gotten around to replacing it, instead using a generic keyboard that was causing wrist pain.
  • My desk was a monstrosity. It was humongous and had a huge hutch and was basically a combination of desk/storage unit.

So when I came back, priority #1 was sorting all that out. New and simplistic desk, new monitor, wall mount the TV, desk mount the monitors, new keyboard, new chair with random ergonomic buzz words etc. And then of course when I decided that my wife decided we just HAD to repaint as well – so my first week back I was dealing with all that.

So basically other than doing NHL Tips every second day and watching NHL, I’ve barely did ANY work at all in the past month.

But now I’m back, I’ve got lumbar support up the ass, and I’m ready to rock it…..just in time for the NBA Season.

Maybe I need a second office TV to watch multiple sports in the office…it IS for work and maximum productivity after all!

Monetization – It’s Happening!!!

I’ll talk about this more in detail in a few weeks, but MAN I am very excited to watch the internet world over the next few months.

All the big internet companies are finally starting or evolving their monetization methods. Facebook are getting more in your face than ever. YouTube have moved into user subscription channels that cost money to view and are starting music subscription. Twitter and their IPO, Amazon raising free shipping to $35, and Instagram starting to roll out ads.

And that’s to name just a few. It’s going to be an interesting 18 months. What I really like is the REBELS. The guys who on every article are saying YouTube will die with this whatever and a new YouTube will just pop up. Then as if to prove their point, they proudly state “MYSPACE” before crossing their arms and giving a smug look.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting to study all of this.

Couple of Links:

BBM for Android: Yes, BBM is now out for both iOS and Android. And holy crap is it ever underwhelming. I’ve ranted about Blackberry enough on here – but this review at The Verge sums it up. The only reason I’m going to keep it installed is so I can convince everyone on my old BBM list to switch to WhatsApp!

Of course I’m starting up a new Blackberry website so WTF do I know.

Good article over at Moz on Whitehat link building in the gambling industry.

Finally, I have a contender for the worst way to spend your money: paying a travel agency to send your stuffed toys on a vacation.

Amazing.

Popcorn:

Now let’s end this week’s article on a low note.

Popcorn.

I consider myself a very chill person. When things turn to shit I take a deep breath and try to deal with it rationally and calmly. When life gives you lemons yada yada yada – you know the deal.

Then a completely miniscule crisis happens to you and life is freaking over and all that calmness and rationale jumps out the window.

On Friday I decided to treat myself to some Popcorn at night. So I popped over to the store and bought a bag earlier in the day.

We ended up going to a Halloween party for the kids that night and by the time we got home we were exhausted. So I passed on the popcorn and went straight to bed.

Saturday I was feeling drained and went to bed early. So again no Popcorn. But I woke up Sunday with an amazing thought: the Walking Dead was on at night! I’ll eat my Popcorn then!

It was seriously sad just how excited I was at this thought. It kept me going all day. I put in an even harder workout than normal, pushing myself more and more with the thought of gorging myself full of popcorn that night. I mean you gotta understand – I don’t eat much junk food, so I was completely obsessed over this.

So 8:50pm rolls round and man am I ready. I have margarine all ready to melt and pour over my Popcorn and I have a container of white Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning opened and ready to make this already great experience legendary.

And I couldn’t fucking find the popcorn!

I looked freaking everywhere man. Even in the most ridiculous places as you always do. Maybe it fell behind the TV! Maybe I took it and put it in the trunk of the car. Did I put it in my new monitor box prior to chucking the box outside?

The most illogical places become the most logical.

Finally I give up and head to the store to buy a new bag. On the way I am wondering what bad thing I did to have such bad karma. Did I run over a kitten or something? I laugh at this thought – karma wouldn’t be so evil as to screw me over on popcorn.

Yeah, I must’ve ran over a LITTER of freaking kittens. Because I got to the store and there was no goddamned popcorn left. THE STORE WAS OUT OF POPCORN. Like what? How does this happen?

So yeah – I ended up watching The Walking Dead while munching on celery instead.

Of course as is always the case – I woke up this morning, went downstairs and threw the kettle on and noticed the popcorn right there on the kitchen counter, tucked neatly beside the microwave.

FML.


Thank Gilligan It’s Monday

Thanks Vince Gilligan for the best TV series ever.

’nuff said.

With Breaking Bad over, I thought I’d go through TV Series that I’ve actually watched and rank them. I think it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do an actual numerical list – because some shows are just joint bloody awesome so it’s hard to rank them above each other. So I’ll put them in tiers. I won’t bother including sitcoms:

My Top TV Series:

Tier 1: Breaking Bad, the Sopranos, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
Tier 2: The Shield, Prison Break(Season 1-2).
Tier 3: Lost, Mad Men, The Walking Dead.
Tier 4: Dexter, 24, Entourage, Criminal Minds(up until Gideon left), Arrested Development.

Few notes:

Dexter: Dexter is a tough one to rank. I haven’t seen the final season yet(and I hear it’s not good) but it has some seasons that are much stronger than others. For example – Season 4, the John Lithgow season, I’d put up there in Tier 1 as it was as good as anything Breaking Bad and the Sopranos ever produced. But then there were some real stinkers which drag it down.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: While not a serious show, I feel this deserves a special mention just because of just how amazing the show is. I rewatch this show constantly and am still in hysterics. Charlies “Dayman” song is my ringtone and it never gets old.

24: Just started watching this and halfway through season 1. It could go higher.

Of course the real thing that is apparent from this list is just how little serious TV shows I’ve watched. So much of 24 still to watch, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood etc. Such a nice problem to have!

Blackberry:

As someone who was a Blackberry fanboy for about 10 years – I’ve watched with interest over the past week as one disaster after another occurs, as more bad news hits Blackberry/RIM every day.

And all I can think is: GOOD.

I used to love Blackberry, and I’d defend them to death. But one thing I absolutely hate is when stupidity is rewarded…..something that seems to happen way too often.

Thankfully, not with Blackberry. I’m just amazed it took this long. I’ve never seen a company more out of touch with their userbase, and I’m taking great joy in watching them collapse.

I mean seriously – think about some of the decisions they’ve made. Ask any Blackberry user why they remain loyal to the Blackberry? The keyboard. So RIM of course focus most of their marketing on non-keyboard phones, and made them the forefront of marketing come OS10.

Why else would users stay loyal to Blackberry? BBM. Hey, let’s allow Android and iPhone users to use BBM! I’ve read their reasons for doing that but I just can’t agree with them. They were just clutching at straws there.

Why do many people leave Blackberry? Apps. So what do RIM do? Why they don’t give a toss about the Blackberry App store.

Another major problem was the operating system. Every time a new operating system came out, their marketing was basically the same: “Yeah our last OS was a POS, but this is the best one and it’s super duper awesome.” I remember that vibe for OS 5, OS 6, OS 7 and OS 10. However if you wanted the new OS? Most of the time you needed to buy a new freaking phone!

There was no upgrades. On the Bold 9000 on 5.0? Well bad news – you need to buy the Bold 9700 to get 6.0. Oh hey you did that? Well bad news 6.0 sucks – you really want 7.0. But you gotta buy a Bold 9900!

And yes – I went through all of those freaking steps. Then they announced the Blackberry 10 series, crapped all over their previous OS – and that was the last straw for me.

Compare that to Apple. iOS 7 just came out – compatible with the iPhone 4, released back in 2010!

Sorry for the rant – but you have no idea how much joy I am getting out of it. As I said – I absolutely HATE seeing stupidity rewarded, and so I am sitting back laughing and loving it, reading all the news…..while on my Galaxy S4.

Suck it Blackberry.

On A Semi-Related Note:

If you’ve never seen it, PLEASE watch the documentary Startup.com.

This is one of my favourite documentaries ever, and I go back and watch it at least once per year. It’s a fantastic look at online businesses during the dot-com bubble, and what happens to one startup who are rolling in investments when suddenly – oops, bubble burst.

White Label Casinos:

Tomas asked:

Sometimes when I read your articles and you describe the volume of traffic you send to casinos and the amount of experience you have, I wonder, why do you keep sending players to Casinos for a share of the revenue instead of opening a white label casino of your own. I’m sure something like this crossed you have even tried it.

It’s something that has crossed my mind for sure – but at the end of the day I just don’t feel it’s worth it. The big one for me is lack of control – I’d still be forced to go along with the software providers regulations and restrictions.

Really more than anything – I much prefer just focusing on the marketing part of it. I’d only want to run my own casino if I had full control – if I had the software myself, able to add whatever games I wanted to it etc – and even then that’s a whole huge hassle by itself.

Long story short, it’s just not for me.

Affiliate Rewards:

Although I have no real interest in running my own casino, white label or otherwise, I do like to sit down and fantasize about things I would implement if I ever did run my own casino.

One thing would be affiliate rewards.

If you’ve ever been to an affiliate conference, you’ll know that one of the biggest appeals of a stand is free shit. I’m sure any affiliate manager reading this will be nodding their head at the next statement – the majority of affiliates who show up to their booth are only there for one thing – swag! And it doesn’t matter what it is. I’m sure most affiliates have picked up over 20 travel mugs, 30 affiliate t-shirts and a desk drawer full of branded pens.

I would LOVE to see affiliate programs use free gifts as an incentive. I’ve said it before but when I was mainly a rakeback affiliate, I’d do freerolls for my players. And I’d ALWAYS get a bigger response when I offered an electronic item to players, as opposed to cash. Actually I’d get about twice the amount of interest in a freeroll with a PS3 offered as the top prize, as opposed to $500 as the top prize, even though the PS3 was substantially cheaper.

I’d have some sort of incentive plan. Like let’s just say on average an affiliates share is 30%, and after all fees and so on, the affiliate program averages about 30%. Have something like this:

$500 Revenue = Kindle Paperwhite.
$1000 Revenue = iPod Touch.
$2000 Revenue = PS3 or XBox 360.
$3000 Revenue = Digital Camera.
$4000 Revenue = TV DVD Boxset, Lost complete series or something.

And so on, and so forth. I haven’t even put much thoughts into the rewards either – I basically looked around my office at what’s sitting here and put them on the scale. But it’s just a good way to keep affiliates pushing your brands. It may sound crass, but if I earn $1000 from your affiliate program and you throw in an extra $150? It’s nice and all but it doesn’t really stand out. But I earn $1000 and I get a package in the mail with $119 Kindle Paperwhite? That stands out to me like crazy.

And I know it’s not just me. I’ve seen the results of many surveys operators have conducted where most people say they’d love rewards like that.

In this day and age, so many affiliate programs all blend in. Hopefully one reading this will stand out and try something outside the norm, and get some strong affiliate loyalty out of it.

Neat Idea:

This was a paid ad I saw while reading the newspaper, but I felt it was worthy of linking:

5DollarBlog.Wordpress.com (Note: Since I linked him he’s added a couple of articles nothing to do with the topic of blog so scroll down to find the ones I am talking about)

Basically what the guy does is buy stuff on Fiverr, then blog about it while posting his affiliate link.

That’s the kind of affiliate idea I LOVE to see. It might not make a lot of money but you just never know – and it’s the type of thing I want more people to try. It’s also a fun way to do it because you get to go through Fiverr and get a ton of random things.

If you play poker – take some time to blog about it afterward. If you bet sports – have a blog somewhere where you write about the bets you made and you bet them.

People love reading that sort of personalized content. I used to run a website – DansCasinoBlog.com – where I would take $100 on a Monday, deposit it at a casino, claim the bonus then play for the week at that casino.

The website isn’t around anymore because it was a bit of a time hog – but I would play at the casino and blog about it, throw in tons of screenshots, some video etc and report how I did. It was pretty fun and I ended up actually winning about $1300 overall over the 6 weeks I kept the site updated.

The key to a site like that is not making it look like an affiliate site, offering a resourceful/interesting read for the viewer, and then marketing the hell out of it on StumbleUpon, Reddit etc with a hook that will get people going.

It can also be a good way just to add content to a site. If you check out the blog over at Multi Card Keno I have blogs posted where I buy actual keno scratch cards, and scratch them off while taking pictures.

It’s really nothing exciting – and very few people read it – but it’s still easy content to add, and it picks up enough long-tails to totally justify doing it.

Plus hey – it’s a good excuse for me to gamble it up!

Alrighty:

I’m checking out for 2 weeks unfortunately, as I’m heading to Mexico this week. Who knows maybe I’ll do an update while there – for some reason I tend to write AB content while on vacation. I remember being at the cottage one year, relaxing in front of the campfire when I came up with an article idea and 20 minutes later I was inside cranking out about 4000 words.

Have a great couple of weeks. And remember to check out that documentary!


10 Methods I’ve Used To Get Backlinks In The Last Few Years

Affiliate marketing for the most part is easy. Building websites? WordPress makes it an absolute breeze. Content writing? Easy to do yourself, or outsource. Search engine optimization? There’s a zillion basic SEO guides out there, and unless you’re a complete moron you should be able to handle on-page and on-site SEO no problem.

But the one real tricky part about affiliate marketing is building backlinks. And one of the most common questions I get is “Where do I get links to my site?” or “How do I get links to my site?”. (more…)


Thank Reacher It’s Monday

Reacher Said Nothing.

I am of course talking about the Jack Reacher book series, written by Lee Child. It can be silly, it can be over-the-top, it can be far-fetched….and I bloody love it. It’s airport fiction at it’s finest, and I just can’t get enough of the books. Without a doubt, my favourite book series ever.

However the last year was not good for Reacher fans. First the preposterous casting of Tom Cruise to play a 6″5 250lbs behemoth. And then the very disappointing A Wanted Man, which is probably the 2nd worst Reacher book of all time.

However his latest one, Never Go Back came out last week and I pre-ordered it on Kindle. Man, I love and hate that. I love that I don’t have to do anything – it just arrives on my Kindle and boom I’m ready to go – but I also HATE the fact that the books arrive at midnight. It’s soooo damn hard not to start reading then and there.

I was able to hold off and started reading it on Wednesday and had it finished by Thursday night. Just typical classic Reacher, and it was great to get the series back where it belongs.

If you’ve never read the Reacher series give it a try – perfect books if you like to shut your brain off.

Vacations:

I love vacations. I love planning them, dreaming about them, anticipating them and then of course actually going on vacation and enjoying the hell out of them.

But I also love how much more focused my work becomes once I’m actually going on vacation.

On a whim over the weekend, I decided to book a trip to Mexico for me, my wife and the kids. Friday evening it was nothing but a passing thought, and by Saturday it was a reality and all booked – we leave in the first week of October.

So it’s funny to see how my work changes. The next couple of months were vague for me – had a few things planned out, a few site redesigns and so on – but nothing really major. Yet Sunday morning I was up bright and early, notepad and cup of tea in hand, mapping out the next 3 and a half weeks to a bloody tee. Figuring out exactly what I want to get done, what I need to get done, and then also planning out what I’ll be pushing off till I get back etc.

Then there’s working out. I’ve been half-assing it with my workouts lately. But now people might actually see me with my top off? Shit, time do LIFT bro.

Really looking forward to this trip. It’ll be nice to take the kids along for once. That’s the worst part of trips I’ve been on – I miss the shit out of my kids. Will be great to have them with me and allow me to truly relax for once.

FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL:

So nice having it back, isn’t it?

I don’t think my Patriots are going to have a good year. I made a shitload on the Bills +9.5 yesterday – what a steal that was. I think the highlight of Week 1 for me though was the Broncos. Man, Peyton and Welker were absolutely sick together and the Broncos offense looks amazing.

But just being able to sit down and watch football yesterday was tremendous. I met up with my brother in law and it was off to Wing Central for some beer, wings and football:

wings-beer

I should probably put “beer” in quotes because it was Coors Light. But hey it’s perfect for pacing myself – no point getting hammered when there’s so much football still on the agenda!

Now just bring back NHL and NBA and life is bloody complete.

Shit That Kept Me Sane in August:

Monthly segment where I talk about what multimedia has kept me entertained.

Television: Holy crap Prison Break where have you been all my life? Well, the first two seasons anyway. Everyone and their mother has informed me just how piss poor it apparently gets in the last two seasons but oh well. The second season is amazing and non-stop, and the first season is one of the most intricately written seasons of TV I’ve ever seen.

Didn’t watch any movies. Book wise ECW Press sent me a bunch of hockey books for a contest giveaway on BetNHL.ca so I’ve been reading those before I pass them on.

Video game wise I played and almost completed Borderlands 2 on co-op which is a load of fun, and I bought and beat Hitman Absolution which I loved. What I really liked about it was they got the right mix of stealth and action. I felt the previous games the action was crap – and shooting etc was a pain. This engine they have was perfect.

Video of the Week:

I’m sure you’ve seen it already. Why? Because it’s viral marketing at its finest and it’s bloody everywhere:

What’s great about it is the simplicty of it. LG clearly took a lesson from Heineken and their marketing team. I expect over the next two years we’ll see a TON of other marketing like this until it’s completely run into the ground.

Alright, I won’t get to my pre-Mexico list by just chatting away….I am off to work my socks off. Have a great week all – I’ll hopefully write more than T_IM this week! It IS on my list!


Thank September It’s Tuesday!

Probably my favourite month of the year, for so many reasons.

First of all – the weather. I’m from Scotland, and even after 16 years of living in Canada I’m still not used to the weather. Summer? Absolutlely bloody hot. Incredibly humid. Hard to breathe. And yet apparently all that means is we should head to the beach – because hey, what’s hot weather without a full body sunburn to go with it!

Then there’s Winter. Ahhhh…..Canadian winters. Nothing like having to shovel 3 feet of snow every day or weather that’d freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And I only live in Ontario. Could not even imagine having to deal with the crap that Alberta puts up with.

The weather right now is just perfect – you get a few slightly sunny days, but a lot of cool days. You even get my favourite – rain! And as someone who works inside with a large window to stare out of – it’s always a lot easier to deal with when it’s pissing down.

To go along with that – I have routine in my life again! The kids are back to school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I think that statement required so many exclamation points. I just love a regular routine so bloody much, and I’m looking forward to 9pm-5am sleeps again. It’s so quiet in my house I’m not sure if I’m working in my office or a bloody library. Love it.

export

So long, fuckers!

Finally – SPORTS. So many sports. Soccer/football is back, the NFL kicks off this week, NHL and NBA kicking off soon, the CFL is rocking along – and the godawful WNBA is close to ending, which means I can stop paying attention to it. Yay.

Seriously – best month ever.

Hidden Spots:

I think on everyones bucket list should be “find a super top secret hidden spot of nature”. Somewhere where practically no-one else knows about it.

We recently discovered one and it’s awesome – a clay beach hidden away on some back roads. Very rarely is there anyone else there but us. Sometimes in the distance you’ll see a car whizzing by and that’s it – other than that it is incredibly quiet other than the sounds of nature around you.

Plus as I said it’s a clay beach – so the kids get to do shit like this:

clay-monster

Can’t beat it.

GG Keyboard:

I’ve had the awesome Logitech G15 keyboard for as long as I can remember:

g-15

Our adult cats had their second litter of kittens a few months ago, and we kept one. And it’s a bouncy little fucker. Just completely mental. Plays a game where it likes to see how many times it can jump from my desk to my wifes desk without falling. Which is fine and all – but I think the record is like 3 before it doesn’t make the jump and crashed to the ground. Just give up dude.

On the weekend it decided to try again – while I was in the middle of getting ready for Fantasy Football. I had a few Sports Illustrated and other magazines on my desk – and the kitten jumped on top of them, slid about 2 feet and went crash into my pint of water, which went all over my bloody keyboard and wrecked it.

So until I go keyboard shopping I’m stuck with some random basic keyboard I got years ago when I bought my dad a new computer. The type of keyboard that even someone from Somalia would laugh at. It’s fine for the most part – EXCEPT about 10 times per day, I use Alt + Print Screen to take a screenshot of something. However due to this keyboard being about 25% smaller than the G15 I end up hitting the wrong button. So I hit the WINDOWS key and the Print Screen/SysRq button – which automatically shuts down my computer. No confirmation screen or anything – just BOOM GOODBYE YOUR COMPUTER IS OFF.

So if I’m talking to you on Skype, and I say “Hey check out this screenshot” then I IMMEDIATELY DISAPPEAR – that’s why. It’s 11am and I’ve already managed to shut down my computer 3 bloody times today.

Pandora:

So I recently discovered Pandora. It was around the same time I decided to stop living under a rock.

Seriously though – we don’t get Pandora here in Canada. I think it’s just the USA that gets it. My friend recently went down to the States and he wouldn’t shut up about Pandora. I use UnBlockUS to access Netflixes other than just Canada – so I was able to access Pandora – and holy I am hooked.

Just an awesome service, and if you live outside the US it’s well worth jumping through a hoop or two to get it. I’ve already signed up for the premium subscription.

Just When I Think I’ve Seen It All…

I’ve been creating websites since 1996. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it all, and that nothing would surprise me anymore.

Then I launched a new website(BookSeriesInOrder.com), and started recieving search engine traffic within 3 hours.

Seriously – 3 bloody hours. I hadn’t even submitted it to webmaster tools yet or signed up with analytics and of course it had zero backlinks – and it was already bringing traffic after 3 hours.

While this was awesome – I just know it’s going to disappoint the hell out of me when I launch future sites and it takes a week for traffic to start coming in. Still was a nice little motivational boost to be making money on the site in the same time it takes an NFL game to play out.

Time to Rock:

Whew – time for me to get into a routine here and start rocking work. I’ll start writing more on Affiliate Bible now that Summer is almost over.

I want to end with this Bill Watterson inspired comic. It’s about artists – but it obviously applies to people like us too.

From Bill Watterson. I think this is pretty relevant these days.

That’s so inspiring I almost considered posting JUST that for content this week.

This is the guys site and he has a ton more like that – but as a Bill Watterson fan that one REALLY stood out to me. I really hope that ends up becoming a print because that will be going front and goddamned center in my office.

Have an awesome week, I know I will!


Thank Breaking Bad It’s Monday

Don’t worry, no spoilers.

I haven’t actually watched last nights episode yet. Due to my wifes school schedule we probably won’t get the chance for a week or so. Which isn’t all bad – I need to avoid spoilers, so I’m pretty much going off the grid socially for the next week and not checking Facebook or Twitter etc. So hey just a couple less distractions!

I’ve been going through the show again rewatching it all before it came back and so this gives me more time – I slowed down and I’ve just started season 3. On rewatch it can be quite a different show – some scenes are obviously not as intense – to the point where some of them come across boring. But then you also see a lot of the small things and can focus on them more – and it’s amazing going back and seeing some of the characters early on, considering the incredible character development that has went into them.

Anyway welcome back to Breaking Bad, and thank you for being so freaking awesome.

Shit That Kept Me Sane in July:

As I do at the beginning of the month, here’s the multimedia and brain mush that kept me entertained throughout July:

TV: As mentioned, I started rewatching Breaking Bad. I also started a new show, which was Prison Break. Holy crap what a show. I’m well aware it pretty much jumps off the cliff at some point – but the first two seasons are just incredible. I’m halfway through season 2 right now and it’s just nonstop and so intense – honestly the first two seasons of that show are probably two of the greatest TV seasons of anything I’ve ever watched. Just so well written and relentless with the plot and the twists and the ups and downs.

Books: I really didn’t do too much reading. Only thing I read was Linwood Barclays A Tap on the Window – new book that came out last week and I read in a day. Just a top, top author and if you’ve never read him – you’re missing out. Here’s a link to his amazon page. Read uh – Never Look Away first. Great book to get started on him.

Movies: Saw a few movies last month. Olympus has Fallen which was a lot of fun. Red 2 which I was disappointed with – just very disjointed and jumped from scene to scene. Nowhere near as good as the first one. Coffee Town which is bloody epic – if you’re a fan of Always Sunny then you need to see that. And Grown Ups 2 which may be the unfunniest movie there is. Seriously. There was a diverse group at the theatre from an 8 year old all the way up to a 70 year old, and the theatre was literally silent for 99% of the movie. Just terrible.

Video Games: I didn’t play too much in July – although with all of the XBox sales going on I picked up like 15 new games. I went through all of WWE 13 and played the crap out of that and got most of the achievements – really fun game. Also started Borderlands 2 on co-op with a buddy, and finally I started Hitman Absolution. Hitman series is one of my favourite video game series so I was pretty pumped for that, and it’s been a blast so far.

Mundane Work:

To keep the multimedia theme going….I was having a chat with a buddy last week. He wasn’t too happy because he had some “dull” work coming up – had to sit there and basically enter a bunch of bonuses with their terms and conditions etc etc into a database. Boring shit.

And I love it.

I LOVE mundane, dull work. I love multi-tasking, so I get a kick out of doing that type of work. It gives me a perfect opportunity to watch TV or movies – I don’t watch a lot, and I can never bring myself to just sit there and watch shows without doing…something. Like last month I really got into Prison Break and watched 30 episodes of it – but none of those episodes were done just sitting there. I was doing work, I was cleaning the house or doing the dishes, or making meals.

I seriously tackled some complicated lengthy recipes PURELY so I could do them while watching TV.

I even have a “TV Watching To Do List”. It’s got some of the most boring work imaginable on it. So when I feel like watching a show? Boom, I fire that list up and get to work while watching TV. One of the main reasons I have multiple monitors.

I remember years ago back when I was a big rakeback affiliate – my account setup at Full Tilt Poker was different, and I had multiple affiliate accounts. What this meant was that Full Tilt couldn’t autopay rakeback for me – so they’d send me all of the money, and then I’d have to send it out. In individual transfers, one after the other.

And we’re talking a big freaking dull job. I basically had to distribute about $200,000 on a monthly basis to thousands of players. And it was the type of job I couldn’t delegate to my assistant – it was SO easy to mess up and accidentally send someone $10,000 when you meant to send them $1000. So I didn’t want to put that pressure on someone else – if the mistake happened, I’d rather it was from me.

At first, I hated it and dreaded it. But then like anything that sucks – I sat back and thought about how to turn it around. Life gives you lemons, you know the drill. So I delegated that day to TV or movie watching day – I’d watch shows while I did it – and I soon started to look forward to those days. A day where I could tune the world out, relax on the couch and turn on the TV and just watch stuff while sending transfer after transfer after transfer.

I’d even reward myself those days – I rarely drink pop or east fast food – so that was TACO BELL~! day. For lunch AND dinner I’d get myself some Taco Bell. Small thing – but man, it was funny how quick my mood changed. From dreading those days to loving it with just a few simple changes.

Always look at changing things like that. If there’s something you’re dreading work wise look for either ways to make it better while doing it – or just rewarding yourself for it.

So….Bloody…Jealous:

My friend and fellow affiliate Niko is doing oh…only one of the coolest things ever.

He’s doing a 90 day road trip. And during those 90 days? He is going to take in 60 sporting events.

Here’s the website: http://www.thebandwagoners.com/

Nice mascots Niko ;)

Seriously though – when he announced that, I just about cried with jealousy. That’s one of the coolest things ever. I’m planning a trip to Chicago next Fall, where I take in a Blackhawks, Bulls and Bears game all over the one trip. But this is like that on freaking steroids.

Be sure to check the site out and follow them on Facebook, Twitter etc. I hope that goes super viral because they deserve a huge audience and I’m looking forward to living vicariously through them.

I think that’s the perfect motivation to end this weeks T_IM. If any of you single assholes out there are looking for motivation – that’s it right there. Set up a trip like that or a plan like that, and then go ahead and bloody do it. If you’re not a big sports guy do something else. One of my friends Nick traveled the world while working from his laptop. Another friend simply flips a coin every 6 months, to decide what country and beach he’ll be living in for the next half a year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m also going to flip a coin. To decide whether to feed my kids lucky charms or corn pops for breakfast this morning.

Sigh.


Thank Time It’s Monday

Or lack of time awareness, to be specific.

If you’re trying to get ahold of me – I’m not around on weekends anymore. I haven’t worked weekends for a long time but I’ve taken it even further lately. I don’t look at my e-mails at all, and I barely pay attention to my phone. I usually check it less than 5 times over the weekends for texts or whatever.

It’s actually quite refreshing. Makes Mondays a bit more of a chore as I’ve got a ton of e-mails to deal with – but the positives outweigh the negatives.

A few times over this weekend I realized I had absolutely no idea what time it was. Like I couldn’t even ballpark it – it could be as early as 2pm or as late as 7pm. Summer days obviously help that. I was just so busy with the kids I wasn’t paying attention, and I didn’t have my phone on me all day so wasn’t constantly seeing the time.

It’s just a really nice feeling to be completely unaware of what time it is, and also not actually care.

Twitter:

I’ve talked a lot here in the last year or so about why you should learn to use Twitter. The general consensus from social marketing experts and optimizers is that you shouldn’t just use your twitter account to post links – you should also use it to tweet a lot about random shit. Spend time interacting with people, discussing non-related topics to your website etc.

Basically, personalize yourself.

And hey that’s great in theory – but when Google Reader announced they were closing their doors, I did a lot of research into it. I was curious to see the reaction of people. One thing I noticed was that a lot of people would suggest using Twitter to keep up to date on your websites. But then there’d be a TON of people complaining that the people running those Twitter accounts are always tweeting non-articles – basically the useless crap social marketing “experts” recommend.

What does this all mean? Basically the same thing that should apply to any marketing or optimization advice you ever read: it’s usually never black and white. Most people paint it all with the same brush. “Yep here’s how you optimize a website”, “Yup here’s the exact method to run a facebook page or twitter account”.

It’s all different. If you’re offering a valued service in the form of subscription where you KNOW people are going to want to follow it purely for new articles – then that’s when you should go for new articles only. For example – a news website, or a tips service. However if you’re running a generic portal and you know there’s not many people out there who want to keep up to date on your latest articles – THAT’S when you want to interact a lot more and get people recognizing your brand.

Study Facebook pages of businesses and see who does it right and who doesn’t. I’m sure many of you waste an hour or so a day on Facebook anyway right? Turn that into “work”. As you’re on Facebook, start looking at that and seeing what gets a reaction and what companies do that make YOU possibly want to interact.

Something I Love:

Is when “the student becomes the master”, or when an “old dog learns new tricks”. Pick your metaphor – they both work here.

I’ve written before about how I’ve recently partnered up with my brother in law on some affiliate marketing sites, and I’m really teaching him the ropes. Our primary one right now is BetNHL.ca. He’s really passionate about hockey, I know the betting tips market and so it was the perfect project to really start up together and work on.

So I showed him the ropes etc – explaining to him exactly how you should write articles that are optimized both for the search engines and for users. It’s been great watching his work get better and better and seeing him try out new techniques, and so I’ve been teaching him more and more as time goes on.

One simple thing I explained to him was running a website via Twitter. I wanted to do a mix of above – basically follow people who are hockey fans, and occasionally(not a lot) interact with them. So I’d sit down and follow people who type hockey team names like #Leafs, #Habs or #Blackhawks. It’s a simple process and maybe 1 in 15-20 actually will follow you back. So I taught him that.

Well one night my inbox started getting hit with quite a lot of “You have new followers on Twitter” e-mails. Like I’m talking a fair amount. I thought he had just sat there and followed about 50,000 people or something – but when I looked into it, he was actually getting about a 1.5:1 follower ratio.

The reason was simple – he went right for the niche. In Ontario, people place bets by using the Government run ProLine – you go to the corner store and bet on it. So he went right for them – following people who were saying stuff like “Come on ProLine one time let’s go Leafs!”. Less people to follow – but it was quantity over quality and it worked out great.

It just made me laugh because I go on about niche and demographics all the time – and yet when it came to Twitter I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees on that one. I was always going for broad results rather than going for the exact demographic. Start thinking about that – and also of course about timing your follows. For example don’t just follow people randomly – follow them after you have put up a good tweet at the top of your timeline(ie: new tips article for the next day) and then they’re more likely to check out your site.

LinkBomb:

I keep forgetting to do Link of the Week on here so I’ve got quite a few websites bookmarked I’m just going to share:

Aaron’s Last Wish: This one is always good for feel-good videos, and a bunch of you probably heard about this. Aaron Collins died last year, and his last wish was that his family go out to dinner, then tip the waitress an awesome tip of $500. So the brother did that, and then the whole thing went viral. It got over $60k in donations and now the brother is going around the country visiting restaurants, tipping the waiter/waitress $500 and video taping it all, while sharing Aarons story. Just fantastic videos and the reactions are great.

I hope more people come up with ideas like that when they die. There was a recent story of a guy who went to Tim Hortons, gave $500 and said to pay for everyone who orders a large coffee. It’s now catching on – here’s a story of it happening a ton all over Canada. I love that. People don’t give a crap about saving $1.50 – it’s more the gesture, and the story behind it, and the good feeling behind it all. I bet you there were a lot of people having a crappy day – and just that small gesture was able to put a smile on their face.

9 Actors Who Do the Exact Same Thing on Every Movie Poster: Cracked article. Just tremendous. The content they are able to come up with on a daily basis never fails to amaze me.

Handheld Retro Games: Man, remember these bloody things? Kids today are so lucky they never have to play them. I remember bugging my mum constantly to get them, and they were just the biggest pieces of crap ever. This site allows you to play them and even with all the retro good feelings going on, I still couldn’t play them for over 5 whole seconds.

Psychology of Colour: Good article. A lot of people probably never consider colour in that regard when it comes to building a website. Of course like anything – test it out yourself.

Best Windows Apps in 2013: Good article on Lifehacker. I must confess I’ve got it bookmarked and haven’t went through it all yet – but I’ve skimmed it and there’s a lot of good stuff there. Some great resources for webmasters.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Web Page: Fascinating reading, very in-depth with a TON of links to other articles etc. Is it sunny outside? Take the laptop or tablet, a notepad and pen and a nice cold drink and spend your Monday afternoon going through that.

Well That’s It For Me….

But before I go, I’ll link you to one last Cracked article. 21 Awesome Real Easter Eggs Hidden on the Internet.

I figured that’d go with the theme of this TTIM – because you’ll end up wasting a ton of time just checking each one out!

Have a great week.


PKR Affiliates Blacklisted

I’ve worked with PKR since they first launched back in 2006. I’ve always liked PKR. From a player perspective what they brought to the table was groundbreaking, and I’ve always recommended it to casual players. I also have sent a lot of rakeback players there over the years.

During that time, the affiliate department has also been awesome. I was great friends with Margaret Burke who worked there for years and was the face of PKR Affiliates. I’ve also been working with Harry Barber lately, who has been excellent to deal with. Any time I ever had an issue he would respond within an hour, and was always quick to resolve things.

So it sucks that I have to blacklist them.

Unfortunately, PKR have updated their affiliate terms and conditions to – well to put it bluntly – screw affiliates over. The changes they’ve made are completely insulting.

Here are the changes they’ve implemented in the terms and conditions:

A “dormant account” shall mean any account which for a period of 12 months or more has not either (a) logged into the account; or (b) had funds withdrawn from it.

An “inactive account” shall mean any account which for a period of 6 months or more has not acquired 1 or more Real Player.

A “semi-inactive account” shall mean any account which for a period of 3 months or more has not acquired 1 or more Real Player.

Forfeiture and retention of account monies; For affiliates to which commissions are paid into a PKR player account, such player accounts are subject to the same terms and conditions as they would be if they were not an affiliate. This includes but is not limited to the removal of any unused balance from a dormant account and the closure of such account.

Affiliate account inactivity; In order to remain on any commission structure, affiliates accounts must remain active. Any affiliate with an inactive account will have access to the account restricted and the commissions relating to any tracked players on that account set to 0% Revenue Share.

Should the affiliate wish to once again become active, then a new affiliate account must be created to track this activity. The affiliate will no longer be eligible for any commissions generated by the players tracked under the initial account; nor any subsequent account that has been restricted because of inactivity.

Any affiliate with a semi-inactive account will NOT have access to the account restricted but, for players attributed currently to a revenue share commission, will be moved to a 10% revenue share commission. This will only occur should a 10% revenue share be a lower percentage than they are on currently.

At the time which a withdrawal of these funds is requested, the players that have been referred by that affiliate will be security checked and any accounts deemed as fraudulent/ duplicate will be removed.

I download the terms and conditions of every room on a monthly basis. All of the above text was added since I last archived the PKR T&C on July 1st, 2013. They sent out a notification e-mail on July 19th, 2013 notifying affiliates of the updated T&C.

These term and conditions updates mean simply one thing: they want to screw affiliates over. That’s all it is. There is no more long-term relationship with PKR; if you don’t keep sending them players and money then they’ll stop paying you. Even if you sent 1000 players previously – they’ll stop paying you on them.

What greatly concerns me is the timespans. These are completely brutal for a new affiliate. New affiliates can take a long time to send players through no fault of their own. However PKR are looking to punish these affiliates by lowering their commission rate after 3 months, and then taking away ALL funding after 6 months.

This sort of stuff just adds even MORE pressure to affiliates. Affiliates are already getting hit with Panda/Penguin etc – now if your website gets hit by one of them and it affects the quantity of players you bring in – you can’t even rely on the income from programs like PKR anymore.

PKR are not the first affiliate program to retroactively add these predatory terms. They won’t be the last. But do you know WHY more and more affiliate programs are doing this? Because most affiliates still promote them anyway.

There are many ways for an affiliate program to get you to keep promoting them, or pushing them more. Threatening affiliates by reducing and then taking away their commission and players? Yeah, that’s not it.

Hopefully every affiliate who actually has a backbone will stand up to PKR, blacklist them, and remove them from all of their sites.

That’s what I’m doing.


Affiliate Bucket List: 11 Things To Do in 2nd Half of 2013

Well, we’re just past the 6 month mark of 2013. Halfway through the year.

This is usually a good time to take stock of your work and life. What have you accomplished in the past 6 months? And with 6 months of the year left, what are you going to do for the rest of the year?

In this article, I’m going to cover 11 items that every affiliate marketer should do if they’ve not already did them. There are a variety of reasons to do these – expanding your knowledge, having different experiences, and improving your current websites both in the short-term and long-term. Plus hey – just trying something new, mixing it up once in awhile.

This is aimed both at new affiliates and existing affiliates. I’m sure most of you have done a few things on the below list – but it’s doubtful you’ve accomplished them all. Do that, and you’ll be a lot stronger as an affiliate.

Let’s get to it:

#1: Run an AdWords Campaign/Facebook Ads

What: Pick a campaign to run on Google Adwords and/or Facebook ads. It can be advertising to your current website, to a money landing page, a landing page set up for e-mail harvesting or even just pick a random affiliate product and promote it.

Why: First – these sort of ads are a big part of the internet ecosystem and if you’ve never ran any campaigns – you really should. Second – it’s a solid learning experience. As an affiliate you generally have low risk, and can survive on 1/100 conversion ratios.

But in this case you are PAYING for visitors. You can’t afford to have crappy conversion rates. If you’re converting at 1/100 you can’t sit back and say “oh well” – because those 99 other visitors are COSTING you money. When the pressure of money comes into it, it’ll really allow you to take a good look at your current websites and give you a whole new perspective.

#2: Run a Website Based Around Adsense:

What: The other side of the coin – build a website which makes money solely from Google Adsense, and all the people running campaigns in AdWords.

Why: It’s probably a whole different experience from what you are used to. You don’t have to write articles geared towards affiliate links anymore. Instead you can write purely informational articles, with no need to try to “sell” to the user. Instead you need to focus on ad placement, and you can learn a lot from that.

This is probably one of the easiest ones on the list too. Use the WordPress default theme or buy something like the Heatmap Adsense Theme (which isn’t just about making money – the ad placement options will teach you a lot). Spend a couple hundred bucks at iWriter and you’ve got yourself a website built around Adsense. Learning about ad placement is HUGE though – yet is something most people take for granted.

#3: Split Test

What: Take something on one of your existing websites and split test it.

Why: Split testing is huge. It can make you more money, and it can also help you understand what makes you money and what doesn’t make you money. It’s also one of the best ways to get into the visitors mind – you will start to understand what works and what doesn’t work – and more importantly WHY it works.

Everyone talks about split testing but from what I’ve seen – few do it. Try it out. Maybe try different varations on getting someone to click a no deposit bonus or subscribe to a mailing list.

Hell – even combine this with #2 and run different ad layouts to different visitors.

#4: Outsource

What: Simple – outsource something, be it content or a website design or a small project for your website.

Why: This is something lots of new affiliates don’t do – they never outsource. They wear many hats – do their own logos, set up their own website, write the content, set up affiliate links, build links etc.

While that’s fine in the short-tern if you’re short on money – you really need to start outsourcing sooner rather than later. If you’ve never outsourced before then pop out and hire someone to design a logo, or get some content written at iWriter or something.

Believe me – I’m a real hands on sort of guy and I always found it hard to stop doing everything myself. But to really grow as an affiliate, you need to start outsourcing as soon as you can.

#5: The 100 Wrongs List

What: Write down 100 things wrong with one of your biggest websites. Then fix them all.

Why: You visit your websites often I’m sure – but how often do you go over them with a critical eye? It’s amazing the things you miss when you see the same site over and over again. For example – I recently did this for DIY Landlord Forms. Here’s the homepage:

I see this page every day. And it wasn’t until I was doing this list that I realized how TERRIBLE it is. This is the most popular landing page on the site – yet there is only ONE link to the bloody landlord forms – the whole point of the site. And it’s tucked away in the nav bar – an area where many users blank out. Instead we’ve got a Youtube video which doesn’t even autoplay and adds nothing.

The step by step guide is fine but it doesn’t have any bloody links to the landlord forms – then we’ve got the blog section below – which we don’t want people to be clicking. We want them to go straight to the landlord forms! This is downright embarrassing, yet something I never really thought about until I started looking at the site with a really critical eye. (And Heatmap data backed up the fact that a decent percentage of visitors were skipping the “Landlord Forms” link and were lost).

Start this, and don’t stop till you’ve came up with the magic 100 number. You’ll be surprised how many glaringly obvious errors you’ve missed, or weak conversion pages you find. This is one of the most important one for existing affiliates – step out of your comfort zone. A good humbling is good for you.

#6: Use Twitter

What: Use Twitter. Not as a marketer. As a consumer. As an end-user. As the average Twitter person.

Why: Twitter isn’t going away. It’s getting more popular and more valuable by the day. More people are realizing the value of Twitter – especially when it comes to a news service. The Boston Marathon Bombings were a huge indicator of that. Yet most affiliate marketers I know “don’t get Twitter”. They sign up, spam their links on it, shake their head and move on.

Don’t do that. Sign up with Twitter, follow some national and local news services, some local businesses, any of your friends, celebrities who you have interest in. Just try to interact with people normally. Reply to famous peoples tweets. Just “get” Twitter. Be sure to read my interview with Graham Rowlands for more on that topic. That was written a couple of years ago – but it still stands today.

#7: Reacquaint Yourself with Your Visitors

What: Use programs like web analytics software or heatmap tracking software to keep up to date on your visitor, who they are and what they do.

Why: When you first launch a website, you’ll usually spend a lot of time learning about your visitor. You should, anyway. But as time goes on, you get lazy or busy and you stop learning about your visitor. Yet they’re evolving, technology is evolving and you really need to keep up to date with them.

I have quite a few websites where I really stopped paying attention the visitor – websites that were earning good money. It got to a point where I felt I already knew the visitor and the process was simple – new content every day, and update existing content when required. Just keep doing that and as the content grows, the visitors grow, and the income grows. Easy peasy.

Then glancing at the stats the other week – I noticed that 60% of visitors were mobile users. The website wasn’t even responsive!!! And it didn’t even look that good on a mobile browser. How much bloody money have I been missing out on due to that? Since then, I’ve changed the outlook of the website for mobile users, AND am building an app specifically for that crowd.

So go back and study your visitors. You’d be surprised what you can learn. Pick a site, spend a few hours and just go nuts staring at stats.

#8: Create a Website for Local Business

What: Find a local small business – preferably one that you frequent on a regular basis – that does not have a webpage. Then propose you create a business webpage for them.

Why: First of all – we should all be supporting local businesses. Many of them would like a website, but simply don’t have the technical know-how to do it, nor the money to really afford it.

You can offer to do one on the cheap, or free. For example – my local massage therapy clinic which I frequent every few weeks had a horrible website created from 2005(5 page website, 2 of which had been marked ‘under construction” for years). They’d dropped dramatically in the search engines which was losing them clientele. I took the job on for a very low budget, built a website from scratch and worked my SEO magic.

I am also in the process of doing a website for my local barber shop for free. The owner really doesn’t understand the internet too well and would never be able to create a website. He’s also barely running a profit – no way could he afford to get a website not does he see the benefits to doing it. So I’m stepping in and setting it up for him free of charge.

As the years pass, localized marketing is HUGE and is just getting bigger and bigger as time goes on. The education you can learn from this is invaluable. You learn so much more about local marketing, about optimizing via Foursquare and Yelp etc. Honestly out of everything I have accomplished this year – building that massage therapy website was my favourite because I learned so damn much that I wasn’t aware of. And it was fun as hell to do it.

It’s a great educational experience – plus you’re supporting local businesses. Can’t beat that.

#9: Google Authorship Markup in SERPS:

What: See title.

Why: It makes you stand out in the search results. The difference in clickthrus ranking #3 without a picture, compared to #3 with a picture, is huge. Seriously if you’re not doing this you better have a good reason other than being allergic to money.

#10: Buy An Existing, Profitable Website:

What: Spend some time on the website marketplaces such as Flippa or forums were websites are bought and sold, and purchase one.

Why: This is a really big move in regard to learning legitimate business skills and is a great educational tool. Even better if you pick a website whose topic you don’t know much about. Bonus points if their revenue streams are avenues that you have never explored.

You’ll get to learn a lot about buying a property, exploring what works and why it works. You then have to keep that income coming in, while also attempting to expand on that and start making more income per month than it was making when you initially purchased the website – that’s generally how buyouts work.

It’s an awesome way to really learn more about making money online and expand your knowledge – by throwing yourself into the deep end.

#11: Fully Understand an SEO Plugin

What: Put your hand up if you use WordPress for your websites. Keep your hand up if you use an SEO plugin. Oh look – all of you. Keep your hand up if you could provide a thorough explanation as to the potential positives and negatives of every single option within that plugin. Oh look – not a single hand is up.

Why? WordPress SEO Plugins are great – but you really, really need to know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and both the positives and negatives of it. It scares me that people will install a plugin and allow it to rewrite their titles, noindex pages on their website, stripping out or adding information to the code and changing your URLS with little idea behind the “why” of it.

Spend some time this Winter at your computer, going through every option on your favourite SEO plugin and then reading up all the contrasting opinions or reasoning behind it all. You’ll be a lot smarter when it comes to SEO after doing this, with a much more solid understanding.

In Summary:

The internet, and the marketing dollars behind it, are constantly changing and evolving. You need to expand your arsenal and knowledge while being prepared for anything.

You don’t want to be one poorly-implemented Panda/Penguin update away from bankruptcy.


Thank Targeted Marketing It’s Monday!

This week for T_IM I want to have a themed article – Thanking Targeted Marketing It’s Monday.

It is inspired by the story that was leaked this week – the horrific, horrific terrible news that the satanic XBox One will use Kinect to provide targeted advertising.

As you can imagine – the internet is raging about this. Screaming from the rooftops. Hitting up any message board and article comments forum they can to rant and rave about it.

I think it’s freaking awesome.

I mean targeted marketing has always been around – but the more personalized it gets, the better.

Privacy:

The biggest issue you hear from people when it comes to targeted marketing is privacy. But really – it’s 2013. There’s no privacy anymore. Let’s not kid ourselves. You – the one visiting this website right now – I already know so much about you. I probably know where you live approximately, what operating system you’re using, what size of monitor you have, how you got to the website, how you actually browsed the website, and so much more.

And I’m just a dude who is writing an article you’re reading – I’m not Facebook or Google, whose majority income comes from knowing absolutely every detail there is about you, and then pushing advertising at you based on that. I mean hey – remember when it was revealed that Gmail would read all your e-mails, and push ads based on every e-mail? Half a billion active Gmail accounts suggest that’s not a big deal. Facebook have been dragged through the mud for YEARS on the personal data they take from you. The result? 1.1 billion active users.

Most people will yell and put up a fuss about privacy. But when it comes down to it they just never do anything about it. If you really want to be private in this digital age you can’t interact with any social website, and you can’t access the web anymore without using proxies(which will also gather data about you). The privacy issue is really nothing more than the latest thing for people to whine about.

Advertising Is Good:

A lot of people seem to hate advertising. They talk about the PVR being a “godsend” because they can skip commercials. Are commercials REALLY the spawn of satan himself?

Advertising brings things down in price. Not everything, but a lot of things. TV shows and movies have large fundings from advertising companies for example. If they had no advertising in them, would basic cable still be so cheap every month? (The BBC license fee of £145.50 suggests not).

Think about all the free apps you download for your mobile phone. Think about all the websites you visit every day. If they weren’t making income from advertising, they’d actually have to charge money for apps, (And the ratio of people who purchase an ads-free version of an app is incredibly small) or charge money for visiting their website. TheOnion.com went with a paywall in 2011. Their traffic took a big drop after that(based on Alexa stats and Google trends) and I’m sure a large percentage of the people who still visit the website, do so by circumventing the paywall.

That’s just one of many reasons why advertising is good – because it brings us awesome shit for free or cheap!

Of course you’re all marketers or wannabe marketers – so I really hope I’m preaching to the choir here.

Advertising Is Also Bad:

Here’s one of the main reasons advertising is bad: because it’s so bloody vague!

I don’t watch much TV – so I’m not sure just how horrible the advertising is during Seinfeld reruns etc. I mostly watch sports and I’m fed the same sort of ads over and over again. All ads that are catered to the general demographic of people who watch sports.

Most of them are useless – and repeat constantly. Video game ads. Beer ads. Ads featuring supermodels in bikinis that I never have any idea what the product is like. Car ads.

Maybe you aren’t into video games. Maybe you already drink a certain beer and aren’t going to change or try another beer. Maybe you already own a car and aren’t in the market.

I mean look here’s a quick example. I logged onto my XBox and this is the home screen – the first thing I see while logging in:

See that bottom right advertisement for Netflix? Absolutely useless. Why? Because I already am subscribed to Netflix. I have the bloody Netflix app installed on my XBox and the family watch it often – but with Microsoft not currently incorporating targeted marketing based on personal data, it’s completely wasted on me.

That’s why I like targeted marketing based on your own data – because it’s solving that for us! Advertising is always going to be around – so why shouldn’t it be something that is actually USEFUL for us?

The More They Know About Us, The Better:

To stick on the Netflix train a bit – ever sign up with Netflix? First thing they want you to do is ask you to rate movies you’ve seen. Why? So they can tailor the homepage selection to your general likes. When you watch movies on there? They use that to offer you additional selections.

Are they doing that out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course not. They’re doing that because they want to keep you subscribed, and keep giving them money each month. But they can only do that if they offer you value of service. And they can only offer a valuable service if they know as much about you as possible.

It’s Convenient Too:

Last week, I visited the website FreshBooks.com. Later that day, I logged onto Facebook and the first thing I see?

That’s obviously not a coincidence. Based on my browsing there previously – they’re notifying me that Freshbooks has a Facebook page, and is suggesting I like it.

That’d creep a ton of people out. But I LOVE it. It’s so convenient. They’re helping you. They’re saying “Hey we noticed you checked that site out – want to keep up to date on it?”. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Come to think of it – I ended up hitting up Taco Bell that day. Bloody subliminal advertising.

So Back to Kinect:

Whew – sorry. I could just go on and on about advertising and how awesome it is. I love it, and it makes me sad when people use adblock programs or talk about how much they hate advertising. That’s why this new whole personalized advertising thing is so awesome – because it’s making advertising relevant again and even more of a resource than ever.

Anyway – I hope Microsoft go the whole way with Kinect. There’s such a great opportunity there. I’m sure it’d creep some people out – but there’s so many cool things they could do. if I’ve been playing XBox all morning and it’s approaching lunchtime, take a screengrab of me sitting there but add a taco bell bag and a pepsi drink on a table beside me. If I’m sitting there wearing an Inspector Gadget t-shirt, show some 80s retro ads, or notify me that Inspector Gadget is available on Netflix or Bing Video or something. Take it further – store that information, and on the off chance that I’m ever using Bing – throw ads to me based on that sort of crap.

Time To Get Off My Soapbox:

I’ve had this (in a much-lengthier) discussion with some friends over the past week – so I really just wanted to get some stuff off my chest. Thanks for listening!

I’ll end on a humorous note though. I was discussing this yesterday with a friend, and a friend of his, Jake. First time I met Jake. Jake was raging hard about the whole XBox thing and privacy etc – and was bragging about how he is “too stupid to fall for advertising tricks”, and also bragged about how “everything on my Facebook is private so no marketing company can ever get to me”. I put the obvious retorts aside, and told Jake that despite not being his Facebook friend – just give me a few minutes on his Facebook page and I’d be able to present to him a list of 50 items I could easily market to him.

He accepted the challenge, and about 15 minutes later I started listing off movies he’d like, events he’d like to go to, video games he hasn’t played yet but would like to etc. Just for fun I also recommended good steak restaurants because “I know you eat steak a few times a week.”

He was stunned. Figured it was some sort of setup etc. In reality? Despite spending 10 minutes marking everything as “private” on Facebook – he used the Facebook personalized URL for his profile page – facebook.com/username And the username he used was a unique one. A quick google of it and I had access to his blog, instagram, twitter, and about a zillion other things.

Great job staying off the grid Jesse James.

Of course – I can do all that for a person I don’t even know – yet I’m still struggling to figure out what to buy my wife for our wedding anniversary next week!

Have an awesome week people. Especially people from United States!


Thank Silva & Murray It’s Monday

Whew – what a weekend when it comes to sports. Without a doubt one of the most memorable weekends in the history of sports – with both memories coming from sports that couldn’t be more different in MMA and Tennis.

First – Anderson Silva. His reign and UFC undefeated streak came to a crashing end on Saturday night against Chris Weidman. The .gif for it is 25MB so I’ll just link it.

Just an incredible finish. The controversy and contrasting opinions after this match have just created a huge buzz – and Weidman vs Silva II if it happens will be just absolutely huge.

It also looks like it has put the kebosh on the planned superfights – which I’m quite happy about. I always felt those were short-term gains which would really hurt in the long-term. The reason I’m thanking Silva instead of Weidman is because of the joy and anger I’ve felt about Silva over the years. From the minute he entered the Octagon and just started killing people – and then he went through a series where he was boring as all hell(I was 6th row for Silva vs Leites in Montreal and I literally fell asleep). Then things changed and he became just the cockiest SOB ever – which ultimately would be his demise. Fantastic, and I hope we’ve not seen the last of Anderson as champion.

And then there was the tennis. Andy Murray made Scotland proud with the incredible win over Djokovic, just a few days after a massive comeback against Verdasco just a few days previous.

It’s fantastic to see just how well Murray has evolved over the last few years. He dominated Djokovic, and it’s just been fantastic to watch the evolution of him as a player over the last year.

What a tremendous weekend, and thanks to Silva and Murray for that.

Responsiveness:

Responsive websites are the big thing these days. So props to these guys and their responsive jigsaw puzzle.

I wasted about half an hour this morning on it. A lot of fun and very cool to see. Check it out.

iWriter:

Want to thank everyone for their feedback on my iWriter Review. I received a ton of great feedback on that and I’m going to try and do some more reviews on services I use in the future.

It also inspired me to, at some point, rewrite my Affiliate Program Reviews. With them I went for a more personal/professional approach but from the feedback from the iWriter review – you much prefer the personal approach. I’ll be sure to incorporate a lot more of that in the reviews.

Great Week:

Have to say – I had a fantastic week last week when it came to work. One of the most satisfying weeks in a long time.

I run a landlord forms website and it’s been very successful – so we were expanding out of the niche, and launching a big catch-all website to cover all types of forms.

Now the website(which I won’t link yet as some design tweaks are needed) was launched in December in beta mode. I had a chunk of work still to do on it and it really wasn’t the work you can outsource. But it became one of those things I just kept putting off and putting off.

Finally I sucked it up last week and did all the work. It was tough work – I probably put in close to 40 hours from Wednesday-Friday on the website alone – but man, did it ever feel good to be done.

If you’ve got any projects sitting on your notes that have been there for months – one of those lists that every time you see it make you go “ugh” – make this the week that you tackle it. It’s often crappy work – but it is worth it at the end, and you feel so much more progressive.

Alright – I am off to try and make this an even better week. Have a great week everyone, and I’m hoping to write a couple of articles for Affiliate Bible over the next few days.


Thank Canada It’s Monday

So it’s actually Wednesday as I write this – but hey it’s been a crazy few days, and today is really the start of my work week – so screw it, it’s Monday to me!

Canada Day was on Monday – and I felt it was the perfect time to thank Canada. For those unaware – I moved from Scotland to Canada when I was 16. And really – it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

For so many reasons – but one big one is to do with the internet. When I left Scotland the internet wasn’t really a thing over there. Especially where I lived – we never even had any digital cable or anything, and the internet would’ve been impossible to get until I was like 26.

Then I came over to Canada where they sold floppy discs at Walmart where you could pay $10 a month and get dial-up internet. Plus of course all the free AOL discs although I never really went that route. I paid the $10 to go with….I think NetZero? I think that was the company. I know it was an N-Word.

(I wonder if just typing “N-Word” raised a red flag in Washington. What a stupid world we live in.)

If I hadn’t gotten into the internet at such a young age – who knows where I would have been today. One of the first things I did when I got into the internet was start creating websites. I was doing internet marketing within just a few weeks of getting the internet, hosting my websites on Geocities etc. And really that wouldn’t have been anywhere remotely possible if I had stayed in Scotland.

Then I look at my friends who I left high school with. They almost all went to college to study absolutely useless courses, with zero idea of what they wanted to do in life. Of them all now – most are unemployed, or working in fast food joints. I think the most successful of the bunch is a manager at McDonalds.

(Not that I’m anti-college or anything; it just would have personally been a horrible choice at that time for an idiot 16 year old like myself).

On top of that – if I never moved to Canada, I would have never got into American sports such as NBA, NFL and NHL. Which is also a huge part of my income as well as a large part of how I enjoy my daily life.

So thanks Canada – thanks to you, I don’t have to spend my days saying “Would you like fries with that?”. Instead I spend my days watching Sportscentre and it’s actually work.

Can’t be thankful for much more than that.

G+ Profile Pic:

I recently changed my G+ Profile picture that shows up in seach results. So instead of this:

I went for this:

Obviously the intention is to increase CTR by pointing at the links. Looks a bit too spammy for my liking so I’m going to work on it. But these are small things you should always be thinking about and doing. It amazes me the amount of people who don’t use the G+ authorship – it really makes your website stand out in the SERPS and personalizes the website for people immediately.

Note to New Affiliates:

I probably get 50 new e-mails per week from new affiliates. People who are just starting, or are interested in getting started.

One of the most common problems I see is design.

Not ugly designs(although some are) – but the amount of time people spend on designs.

If you’re a new affiliate, forget about design. Seriously. Use the most simplistic design ever. I would allocate 1 hour to a design. 20 minutes picking a simple one, 20 minutes tweaking it to your liking, and 20 minutes on a logo.

Instead all of the focus should be on the content. Search engines don’t give a crap about design(to an extent) – it’s the content that’s important.

Once you have a site going, live and kicking – that’s when you can maybe think more about design. But a site like http://www.realmoneyonlinecasinos.com/ is what you should be looking at as a solid example – the design is simplistic, it’s not exactly well optimized for conversions – but that’s okay. They’re starting a base – getting in lots of content first, gauging how many visitors they get etc – and then from THERE they can start optimizing and tweaking things.

Things That Kept Me Sane In June:

The monthly section where I list whatever entertained me in the previous month. Let’s see:

Video Games: I played a lot of Gears of War 3 multiplayer. My game is glitched – they basically have a section where ONLY newbies can play in it. Then after a certain amount of games they kick them out. However my game is messed up and allows me to play in it. So it’s been a lot of fun as while I usually suck at online multiplayer I’m able to absolutely destroy people for once.

Also went through Bioshock Infinite. Had so many people telling me how great this was. I’m convinced it was one large collective troll. This game was a POS and I really struggled just to finish it.

Books: Still going through the Spider Shepherd Series. I actually messed up and read Book # 8 before Book # 7 – and halfway through Book #8 there is a MASSIVE spoiler about someone who died in Book # 7. So yeah, that sucked as it literally happens right at the end of Book # 7 too. Bah. Oh well – will have that series finished just in time for his new book coming out this month.

Movies/TV: Haven’t got into any new television shows yet. Been trying to go through movies. I watched about 10 movies during the month. Only one worth noting is Seven Psychopaths – just a fantastic movie with some incredible acting performances.

E-mail Solution:

This probably won’t apply to affiliates – but if you run any sort of e-commerce website I’d recommend hooking up with Sendgrid.

We were having problems with DIYLandlordForms.com – 10-20 e-mails per week from people who weren’t receiving their e-mails with their login information. Of course they WERE recieving them but they were hitting their spam/junk folders and people never check there.

Then we’d e-mail them back and…guess what….half the time the e-mails would go straight to their spam/junk.

We hooked up with Sendgrid 3 months ago and are more than happy. We went from 10-20 e-mails per week to just 1 in the whole month of June. Even better is we’d get some chargebacks due to the e-mails not getting to them, so we’ve totally eliminated them. So if you run any sort of website that sends the customer information over e-mail – go with Sendgrid.

Alright, I am off to re-watch last weeks CFL games, then do up some betting tips for BetCFL.net.

Such a tough life!


iWriter Review: Content Writing Service

iWriter is a content writing service. It’s set up for two markets: those who wish to write content, and those who need content. iWriter works as the middle-man between the two.

I haven’t used a content writing service like this in years. I’d tried them years ago and just wasn’t impressed. The content was clearly 100% copied content which had just been ran through a word spinner 30 or 40 times by a non-English speaker. The result was some of the worst writing I’ve ever read. And this is coming from someone who reads Bleacher Report on a daily basis!

I’ve long since switched to in-house writers. However I had a big job coming up of about 500+ articles in the space of a couple of weeks, and my writers were busy. So I decided what the hell – time to give a content writing service a try again. I spoke to a few people and ended up going with iWriter.

To say this was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement.

How iWriter Works:

From a webmaster point of view, it’s a very easy process. If you want to see for yourself, register an account, log in and click “Get Content”.

Once you get they, you have to fill out a form stating the content you want. Some examples of what you need to fill in:

  • Describe what the project is about.
  • Choose the word length.
  • Choose the language.
  • Choose who to submit to – all writers, 4-5 star writers, or 4.6 to 5 star writers. This will affect the price.
  • Choose the writing style – ie: friendly, professional etc.
  • Write out the purpose of the article – what the aim of it is.
  • Write down any special instructions.

That pretty much covers it. It’s about a 5 minute process, and then you send the job off to writers.

The writers then see the articles, and “claim” them. They then have a set time to write the article and submit it. You don’t have to pay unless you are happy with it. That’s what I like about this service.

You’ll get a notification that an article has been submitted. You can then review the article – which has already been ran through copyscape.

If you like the article? Great. You accept it, and pay the writer. If you think it is good but a bit rough, you can choose to “request a rewrite” and give notes as to how they can sort it out. If it’s utter crap, you simple reject it – and can choose not to allow that writer to see any of your requests again – then it goes back on the marketplace, and another writer will claim it.

It’s a very solid service, and is extremely favourable towards the webmaster. All the power is in your hands.

Who Writes The Content?

As I said to open this article – I was concerned about this being a waste of time. I was worried that all I would get is horrifically spun content and it’d set me back a week. However I was pleasantly surprised by the content I received. Some of it was absolutely fantastic – the point that I felt a bit crappy because I was clearly getting the better end of the deal.

I ended up speaking to a few writers privately and asking them about themselves. 2 of them were grad students who were looking for extra money during the Summer. 1 was a stay at home mom who did it to make some extra money, and would do writing while her newborn was napping. Another was a guy who had a boring office job and so he did it during office time.

That’s not to say they are all winners. I got some absolutely horrendous content too by people who clearly don’t know a lick of English. I’ll get into that a bit more later. But it really opened my eyes to the people who are writing on these sites, and made me a lot more accepting.

My Experiences with iWriter

In the past couple of months, I’ve had about 500+ articles written at iWriter. The majority of it has been non-gambling content. It’s been in a variety of different fields including multimedia, novels, landlording, technology and general blog content.

I’ve learned a few tricks during that time that I’d like to share:

  1. You get what you pay for. Not always the case – but if you aim for cheap articles, you usually WILL get the horrible spun content that is barely readable. Going for $3 500 word articles will result in crap the majority of the time.
  2. You don’t have to overpay. If you are doing a bulk order, test it out. For example – I can request an article to the “Basic” writers – a 1000 word article will cost $7.50. Or I can send it to the “Premium” writers – a 1000 word article will cost $10.50. I can also send it to the “Elite” writers – and it will cost $18.50.

    My partner wanted to go straight to the $10.50 crowd. But as I had a huge bulk order to place I sent 2 requests to Basic, 2 requests to Premium, and 2 requests to Elite. Guess what? They were all of great quality. I sent all 6 to 5 different people and asked them to pick out the 2 basic ones – no-one could.

    So I learned a lesson from that. When it comes to 1000 word articles, it keeps a lot of the crappy writers away. And for that particular topic, I didn’t have to spend more than was necessary. If you have a large amount of content, do some testing first.

  3. Know Your Writers: One great thing about iWriter is that if someone writes an article that you like – you can add them to a “favoured” list. Then when you next submit content, you can request it go to those people first. This is a great method and I recommend it – but take it one step further. Talk to the writer privately. Once you personalize yourself to them, you’ll see them write better and take even more interest in the articles they write.
  4. The “Please Rewrite” Trick: This is something that one of my friends does and it can be quite valuable. For the majority of articles he receives, he’ll request a rewrite. By doing that, it’s suggesting to the writer that he WILL use their content if they just touch it up better. He won’t even READ the original submitted piece. But as the writer knows they are almost guaranteed the money, they will put in that extra effort and turn a good article into a great article.
  5. Think of the Long-Term: Don’t just use iWriter as a content writing service – think of it as an interview process. You can hire these people if they do a good job. And remember these guys are writing articles – 1000 words for $6.45(their share) – if they are consistently producing good content for you, then just bloody hire them! Pay them a bit extra and they’ll be over the moon, and now you’ve got yourself a solid content writer.

What’s good is you don’t even need to hire them full-time; tell them they can still write for iWriter as well as you. But if you are paying them even a couple of bucks more, you’ll get priority, and get quality content for a hell of a price.

iWriter and Gambling Content

Obviously most people reading this are gambling affiliate managers, and will be wondering how it is for gambling content.

So far for me – eh.

I’ve tried a few articles and I haven’t been overly impressed. At least, not compared to the non-gambling content that I’ve had written. This is one where I think if you are going for gambling content – it needs to be more “filler” type content.

For example – I’d NEVER suggest they write a review of an online sportsbook. However asking them to write a preview, from a sports betting perspective, of how the Miami Heat will do in 2014/2015 would work well. I’d never ask them to break down a Roulette game and talk about it’s features; but I would trust them to write an article on Roulette odds or the different types of roulette bets.

Basically – straight-up, generally filler content that enhances your website but falls outside the “money” content category – that’s what I would go for when it comes to gambling.

And of course – keep an eye on the writers. If you get a good one – contact them. You might just find that Texas Holdem fanatic or online slots player who is making a few extra bucks, and can end up delivering you a lot of good content over the long term.

Even When It’s Bad, It’s Good

I’d say my success rate for articles so far on iWriter is about 95%. As in, 95% of the articles I’ve requested have been perfect, and I’ve accepted them with no changes needed.

Then there’s the other 5%. Horribly spun content, the works. Some of the shit you get is seriously amazing. But it’s actually AMUSING. Some of the phrases people use are unreal. If you are writing a professional article on eviction notices for example, you probably shouldn’t compare eviction notices to “a snowball in hell”.

I was worried when signing up I would have to sift through a lot of crap – but it’s actually enjoyable. You can tell within the first paragraph whether or not it’s going to be crap – and then you can sit back and enjoy the horrible writing and get a good laugh out of it.

My personal favourite – oh man, this one was gold.

I was requesting biographies on book characters. My instructions were clear. I wanted a biography of the book character “Dave Robicheaux”.

Robicheaux is the main character in a book series by James Lee Burke.

I asked for a 1000 word biography on him, and I provided clear notes as to how to structure the article.

I instead received a 1000 word biography on Alec Baldwin.

What’s great is it STARTED OFF talking about Robicheaux. Then the writer decided to stop, smoke a few eight balls, and get back to writing. About Alec freaking Baldwin. Here’s a screenshot:


Fantastic. What I like too is the little tricks the writer does to add extra words; instead of 1886 he writes “eighteen eighty six”. I also love the fact that Alec Baldwin apparently debuted OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

I like to think that that writer is just a huge Alec Baldwin fan, and attempts to make any article he can about Baldwin. “Oh you want an article on Roulette Odds? Here they are as defined by Alec Baldwin…”

iWriter Review: Summary

My main inspiration for writing this article is that from speaking to a lot of fellow webmasters, they would not go near a content writing service. They had the same prejudices I did when it came to websites like iWriter and Textbroker.

However after trying iWriter out – I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. No offense to my in-house writers – but with a site like iWriter, I’m able to get a ton of basic content written just as good, if not better, for 50-60% less in price.

If you’re looking to get content written, I highly recommend giving iWriter a go.


Thank Geo-Targeting It’s Monday

Welcome to Thank Geo-Targeting It’s Monday. Geo-targeting is something that for the last couple of years I’ve taken for granted, and I wanted to take a second to stop and actually publicly thank it.

Geo-targeting is of course the act of tailoring content towards a specific country. Oh you are from the USA? Here’s Bovada, 5Dimes and Classy Coin Casino. You’re visiting from the UK? Check out Bet365 and World Betting XChange instead!

I was reminded about how awesome geo-targeting is, when I managed to boost the numbers for my NHL Tips site mailing list by a significiant margin over the past couple of weeks.

The NHL Tip site is BetNHL.ca and it kills it. You might think with a .ca name the majority of the traffic would be from Canada but nothing could be further than the truth – Canada is actually #3 on the list, behind a couple of European countries.

So we have a mailing list – the lure of the list being getting the tips delivered to your inbox each day. With the NHL season nearing an end I REALLY wanted to push that. Our rankings have been incredible since I launched the site earlier this year – but we’re now hitting the NHL off-season for a few months. Rankings could drop off, and people could forget about the site. So it’s imperative that I get as many people connected to us via twitter, facebook, e-mail etc as soon as possible – so that I can hit the ground running come the off-season.

So over the last few weeks we’ve been pushing it with the following text:

Be sure to subscribe to our daily tips, because not only will you get the tips e-mailed to you every day but we’re working on some special mailing list exclusive bonuses and free bets.

Now that’s an okay sales pitch. I’m giving them a solid reason as to why they should sign up, and then adding in an incentive. It was bringing in on average 5 new subscriptions per day.

I then modified it slightly to geo-target without going overboard. It now says:

Quick note for people from United States: Be sure to subscribe to our daily tips, because not only will you get the tips e-mailed to you every day but we’re working on some special mailing list exclusive bonuses and free bets only for people from United States.

(And yes – I’m geo-targeting that just for you!)

The result? Average of 25 new subscriptions per day. And the only change was adding the users country twice inside the blurb. 5x the amount of subscribers.

If you’re using WordPress, and not using Epik Geo-IP or any other form of geo-targeting you’re missing out. The $50 price is nothing compared to the money you’ll make with it.

Speaking of Mailing Lists:

I’m about to take on an interesting challenge. One thing most of you probably know about me, is that I’m a big sports better. I’ve been betting sports since I was 14 years old, and I even did it professionally for a few years. I run a wide variety of sports betting tips websites dedicated to various sports. And now I’m about to take on my hardest challenge yet:

The CFL.

The CFL is the Canadian Football League. Now you might wonder WHY this is my hardest challenge. I mean, I run betting tips websites on WNBA, Darts and Golf. Surely a CFL Betting Tips website will be a piece of cake?

Well it should be – except for one problem:

No-one bets on the CFL.

Seriously. Are you friends with any sportsbook affiliate managers? Ask them how much action they’ll get on the CFL. Even bookies whose clientele is all Canadian – no-one bets on it! It’s amazing.

That’s why it’s one of my biggest challenges; because no-one bloody bets on it!

Even more importantly – no-one searches for it! So it’s a bigger challenge because I can’t rely purely on SEO; I need to focus on other areas of marketing.

And that’s where the power of mailing lists come in handy.

I’ve got over 100,000 subscribers to mailing lists spread out over a wide variety of sports tips websites; NHL, NBA, NFL, Darts, Golf, WNBA, UFC and more. Are these people interested in the primary area of this website, which is the CFL? No. But they ARE interested in the secondary area which is sports betting.

Thanks to these mailing lists I’ll be able to hit the ground running with the CFL website. This is especially important in the early days because it gives you a nice boost without having to rely on the search engines, and also can get a lot of nice natural linkage all over the web.

Harvesting e-mail addresses is important. Just aim to target people for the right reasons. No-one gives a crap if you added 10 new articles to your generic casino website; but they MAY be interested in no deposit bonuses, special VIP bonuses, or news about the latest slot machines.

If you’re doing mailing lists, FeedBurner is pretty decent for scraping your RSS, although for the more pro version I can’t recommend AWeber enough.

Party LOL

Last week I blacklisted Party Partners.

In response to the blacklisting, they invited me to sign up for a new account…..without gaining back any of the affiliates or players I sent over the last 8 years.

My response to them was simple:

Go Fuck Yourself.

Best WordPress SEO Plugin for 2013:

I get asked this a lot. And no wonder. Whether you’re new to being an affiliate or an experienced one – there’s a lot of plugins out there. And the “best” SEO WordPress plugin has changed over the years. A few years ago it was that “All In One SEO Plugin” – I think that was the name of it. Then headspace2 came on and took over.

I’m always trying the new ones, and right now I feel that Yoasts WordPress SEO Plugin is the best of the bunch. Of course it’s really one of those things where personal preference overrides all and the differences aren’t that big – but if you’ve been using the same WordPress SEO plugin the last few years – maybe try that one out.

It’s Summer – Treat Yourself:

It’s Summer. Hopefully where you’re at the weather is nice and hot. In Canada it’s currently hit and miss – sadly more miss than hit.

But this is the perfect time to really experience what it’s like as an affiliate. If you have a laptop/netbook great – you’re all set. If you don’t – go out and get one.

Then set yourself up with an office in your garden. Or head down to the waterfront with your laptop, and do work there for a few hours.

Basically – work outside! That’s all I am saying. Honestly there’s nothing I love greater than basking in the beautiful rays of the sun while working. It’s just such an awesome feeling – and one that really gets you pumped for the day.

Nothing really reminds me more of how great being an affiliate is than that. After a few hours hard at work you simply lay back in the lounger, sip on a cold drink and enjoy the sunshine without even needing to get up.

If you’re an affiliate, part-time or full-time; make sure you experience that. It’s one of the best things about this job.

Have an awesome week.


Party Partners Blacklisted

Hi guys,

Just a quick note to state that I’ve now blacklisted the affiliate program for Party Poker and their various brands, aka Party Partners.

I’ve written the full breakdown of why they are now blacklisted, however they’ve been approaching this for awhile. When bwin merged with them they updated their T&C with the usual retroactive and predatory junk and I stopped promoting them to players altogether. Really it was only a matter of time and getting around to it.

They then decided to close my account(after working with them for 9 years and sending them thousands of players/affiliates) without any notice and so I decided to make the process faster.

Party Partners are now blacklisted, and I highly recommend you don’t promote them because they can, and have, steal any players or affiliates that you bring in, as well as any commission you are due.

Full Article.


Thank Monday It’s Monday!

Whew – long time since I wrote a Thank ______ It’s Monday article. Just been crazy here the last little while and it’s nice to finally be able to settle down and write one of these.

At the beginning of May I headed off to Vegas, followed by Edmonton for what was pretty much 10 days of drinking and partying like a mad man. When I came back I was faced with the reality that Summer was fast approaching, and both my kids would be off and I would have to take the whole Summer off. So I spent a week getting everything in order, prioritizing and just figuring out what I had to accomplish work wise in June.

Well then we spoke with the kids and they wanted to go to a daily Summer camp so suddenly I didn’t HAVE to rush through a lot of work. On top of that I had my daughters 6th birthday to deal with, and a whole bunch of stuff around the house to do. I also had to get some office organisation going on, get my business taxes set up etc.

Then there was also getting a few websites in order because I had to. The NHL season entered the playoffs so I had to spend a lot of time watching hockey and focusing on providing my NHL Betting Tips. Watching the playoff games also threw off my sleep schedule, and this was the first day I woke up at 5 in over a month. On top of that I’ve been working on WNBATips.com and getting that back in shape in time for the WNBA season.

Oh yeah – plus I finally left #TEAMBLACKBERRY and I got the Galaxy S4 which has taken up a ridiculous amount of my time from setting it up to testing out all the features to……sigh, getting addicted to games like Candy Crush Saga.

So yeah – basically my whole last month has been a huge mess, and that’s why I’m thanking Monday It’s Monday. I love being dull, I love sticking to a strict routine – and after a month of mayhem I’m finally ready to get back to it.

This week is going to rock!

Coffee:

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did one thing that would’ve been on it was “drink coffee”. And after 32 years of living on this wonderful place we call Earth, I can finally say “I drank coffee”.

I’d never drank it before. Not once. I’m Scottish so I grew up on tea. On top of that, it smelled gross. And books/movies always put coffee in a weird light. People would be dependent on it and couldn’t function without it, and it’d give them this crazy caffeine rush that really I never needed. So I stayed away from it.

When I was in Edmonton, I was doing a 6k walk for charity. So of course the night before, I got absolutely blitzed out of my mind, and was up till about 3am partying. Because I’m a moron. So I was completely dead the next day. On the way to the walk we stopped at a Tim Hortons and my friends took one look at me in the back seat, slumped over and just completely out of it and decided – yeah, this guy needs coffee.

Thankfully they eased me into it. Instead of strong black coffee they got me a “Mocha” – hot chocolate and coffee I believe. And it was quite delicious. It also gave me the energy to actually complete the walk. It’s not something that I’d drink every day, but it’s good to know I have it as an option.

Anyway yeah – 32 years old and I finally drank my first cup of coffee. Quite the accomplishment. Maybe next week I’ll be able to stare at one of those “magic eye” pictures and actually see the stupid hidden image that everyone else does.

Seriously I’ve looked at hundreds of those bloody things and not once seen anything.

Shit That Kept Me Sane in April/May:

This is a monthly segment where I talk about multimedia that kept me sane and entertained over the last month. Although with no T_IM in the last month I’m going to cover both April and May here.

TV: Haven’t watched much new stuff. I have all of Mad Men Season 6 that has aired so far sitting on my PVR still to watch. I ended up going through Arrested Development Season 1-3 for the 3rd time, in preparation for Season 4. Watched a few episodes of the new season and it’s solid stuff. I can imagine it’s not everyones cup of tea but I’ve thought it has been a very refreshing change, and I’m looking forward to the eventual rewatch where you really catch how brilliant it all is.

With NHL & NBA Playoff season though I have been more focused on sports and just haven’t bothered with much actual TV lately.

Movies: Near the end of May I decided “Man, I gotta watch more movies”. I find it tough watching movies because you look at a show like Breaking Bad, all the seasons of it, all the TV time and hours put into it and the story isn’t fully complete yet. Then you try and get the same thing crammed into a 2 hour movie. However I made it my goal to start watching more movies. This is what I’ve watched all in the last week:

  • This Is 40: Thought this was bloody amazing. Just non-stop laughs, great subject matter and references etc. The Lost and Mad Men stuff killed me. Melissa McCarthy is just unreal.
  • Jack Reacher: With the books being my favourite books ever it took me a long time to get round to watching this due to the horrific casting of Tom Cruise. it actually started off not bad as it really wasn’t a Reacher movie – it was just Tom Cruise being a badass. But it got extremely bad halfway through and never recovered. Sucked.
  • The Last Stand: Arnie is bloody awesome. Great movie – I love how action movies featuring old stars are constructed these days and build up to the big finale. Nothing will beat Universal Solder though in that regard.
  • Get The Gringo: Big return for Mel Gibson and he brings it. Thought this was an awesome movie and if you’re a fan of the old Mel Gibson, it’s a must-watch.
  • Cleanskin: Always been a fan of that “lone wolf versus bad guys” niche, and Sean Bean being the lone wolf made this all the better as I just love this guy. Solid movie with some cool action scenes considering the budget, and a good story with some twists and turns.
  • Silver Linings Playbook: Pretty good. Basic story that relied 100% on the acting and the characters and they all brought it. Bradley Cooper in particular was incredible and is really one of the top actors at the moment.

Whew – that’s it for movies just in the last week! Hoping to watch about 20-30 movies in June.

Books: I finally get to cross another item off my non-existent bucket list because I read a Stephen King book! The Shining, to be exact. Was great although it did get a bit blah for the final act. However now I get to watch the movie which I’m pumped for. Also continued to go through the Spider Shepherd Books which are tremendous and I’m 4 down now.

Video Games: Haven’t played my XBox in 2 months. Skyrim just has me so jaded for gaming. Another thing I hope to get back to though over the next couple of weeks. I keep looking at my big stack of games to play and thinking “Blah”. Think it’s time I pick up Bioshock Infinite and rock the hell out of that.

Brand Loyalty:

We’ll wrap this weeks article up with something related to work! I’m probably going to write an article on this whole “brandable domain” BS that is the latest set of buzz words going round. Not that there is anything wrong with building a brand – but I don’t think people understand what they’re trying to accomplish when they’re actually “building a brand”. Instead they’re too cheap to buy a money domain name, and are building brandable domains just as an excuse.

But yeah – brand loyalty. What a wonderful phrase that is. However it only takes you so far. You still need to offer a solid service or resource behind it – actually bring something to the table. Because brand loyalty can only take you so far. If the end user doesn’t get what they want from your brand, then all the loyalty in the world means absolutely jack shit. Here are 2 examples over the past couple of weeks for me:

Blackberry: I thought I would be loyal to #TEAMBLACKBERRY forever. I really did. However after about 10 years of being loyal to Blackberry and that wonderful keyboard – I dropped them like a hot potato.

I picked up the Samsung Galaxy S4. I was always scared of having a touchscreen phone to type as it seemed impossible to use compared to my Blackberry. So I got a whole second phone and line and account because I was scared to take the plunge. My plan was to have my Blackberry as my primary phone, and the S4 would be a backup phone for whenever I wanted to try out apps etc that weren’t available on Blackberry.

After 1 week, I was completely hooked on the S4 and my Blackberry was a paperweight. I promptly canceled my Blackberry line and went full hog with the S4. Why? Because all the brand loyalty in the world couldn’t change the fact that the S4 was better. Oh so much better. In practically every way. And I even got used to the touchscreen typing very quickly.

All the brand loyalty in the world won’t help you if you’re delivering a clearly inferior product.

Samsung: In 2004, I picked up two Samsung monitors so I could play 8 tables of online poker with the 1600×1200 resolution. I didn’t pick these up due to the brand – I picked them up because these were what every poker player was playing on at that time. Over the last few years, I have had issues with both monitors. Customer service has been fantastic, sending me new monitors at no additional cost and with no hassle, extending warranties, even sending me a better monitor the last time around.

Based on that service, I decided I’d be a “Samsung” guy and when I recently bought a new TV I went straight to Samsung.

However it was my daughters birthday last week, and she wanted a TV for her bedroom like her brother. He had a 24″ TV so I had to buy the exact same size obviously. The cheapest Samsung was $250, meanwhile there were other brands at $150. Now was the Samsung better? Possibly, but when you’re buying a TV for your kid to watch Lalaloopsy and Spongebob, you’re really not too concerned about getting the best overall product. All the brand loyalty in the world couldn’t beat the vast difference in price.

I’ll have another article up later this week talking about building brands on the web from an affiliate perspective – but just remember that “building a brand” really means jack shit. All the brand loyalty in the world really means nothing if other brands can do it better.

Have a great week everyone, I know I am pumped to wake up at 5am every day again.


Do You Have Any Content Worth Reading?

We all talk about interlinking. We talk about linking to additional content within our website, about articles that we want to get retweeted and liked. We talk about bounce rates and how to decrease them, and techniques to keep the visitor on your website.

Really though – is what you are writing about worth reading? (more…)


World Betting Exchange (WBX) Affiliate Program Review

As someone who has been betting sports since I was 16 years old, I’ve been a huge fan of the evolution of Betting Exchanges. They bring so much more to the table when it comes to sports betting, and offer new opportunities as a punter to make money.

Like most people, I really got hooked with betting exchanges due to Betfair, who did an excellent job at breaking through in the sports betting industry.

However Betfair are just not a program you want to promote these days. Their affiliate terms and conditions are dire, they’ve pulled out of a ridiculous amount of global markets and there have been a lot of controversies with the company over the past couple of years. (Don’t even get me started on their BlueSq acquirement).

Due to all this, I was on the lookout for a new betting exchange to both bet at, and promote.

Enter WBX, the World Bet Exchange, who offer 50% revenue share.

I started promoting WBX in February of 2013. From a player perspective they are fairly solid and from an affiliate perspective they are solid too. There are both positives and negatives from each POV so let’s have a look at that. And before we get into all that – if you want to go check them out for yourself I won’t stop you!

Okay onto the World Bet Exchange Affiliate Review

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Affiliates Perspective

Have you ever tried to promote or explain a betting exchange to someone? It’s not very easy. Even the most experienced sports bettors can’t fully comprehend a betting exchange on the first attempt. This makes it a lot harder to convert users because as soon as they see options like “Back” and “Lay”, as well as additional betting odds beside each pick, they’re confused.

That’s the #1 reason I like World Bet Exchange. They offer both the betting exchange view, and your typical sportsbook view – and the sportsbook view is presented by default. It’s also extremely easy to switch from Sportsbook View to Exchange View – just a click of a button. This is something that I absolutely LOVE about WBX as an affiliate – immediately, the punter is going to understand how the interface works and the conversion rates are going to be a lot higher than sending someone to Betfair for the first time(who do have sportsbook view, but it’s not on by default).

The affiliate terms and conditions are a lot better too – obviously, and they accept players from a wide selection of countries (see the global section for more information on that). I’ve also had a lot of great experiences with the affiliate department so far. For example I wanted to promote WBX to my NHL audience, but at the time they didn’t have any NHL banners in the sizes I was looking for. I asked them to create some and within 3 days there was NHL banners available in a variety of sizes.

If you’re looking for a betting exchange to promote, I’d highly recommend WBX. So far I’ve been very happy with them.

Click here to sign up with WBX Affiliates.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Players Perspective

As I said above – from a players perspective, the sportsbook view is FANTASTIC. I have a friend who I’ve been trying to get into betting exchanges for the past year but he’s never been able to fully comprehend them, despite numerous attempts. I referred him to WBX and he started off using just the “Sportsbook view”. He got more comfortable with it, and within a month he was backing and laying to his hearts consent.

Their signup bonus is pretty weak, so it’s harder to convert players in terms of their bonus. It’s a “£25 in free bets” bonus – however the player needs to wager £100 to get the £10 free bet, then every £500 they wager they get a £5 free bet.

However the interface at WBX is great, easy to use and understand, and has a variety of great betting options. You can bet on all the major sports, various minor leagues, and even events like the Eurovision song contest. It’s also highly customizable giving a lot of options to the players in regards to what data they need to see.

WBX also has a great mobile version of their site which is simple and fast – perfect for mobile users wanting to bet in-play.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Quick Summary

WBX are a very solid betting exchange. Really their only major weak points are the bonus, and a lack of liquidity in various markets – something which will hopefully get better as time goes on. That’s also something where it only affects the big stakes punters in terms of backing – they can still take advantage when laying so it balances out The ability to do “sportsbook view” which is also on by default is something I can’t say enough about.

I’ve mentioned Betfair a lot in this and there’s a reason for that – I was a big fan of Betfair. I loved it. And I’ve been sad at the demise of it, both from an affiliate program perspective and a player’s perspective.

Betting exchanges are one of the hottest markets when it comes to sports betting these days. With Betfair losing a grasp on the market more and more every day, I’d recommend signing up with WBX and giving them a try. For introducing new players to a betting exchange, they’re an excellent choice.

They also offer no negative carryover, and don’t deduct chargebacks or withdrawal fees from your account.

Click here to sign up with WBX Affiliates.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Brands

The World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program offers just the one brand to promote, which is of course WBX.

WBX offers a mobile version of their website which is set up perfectly for touch screen users. You can try it out by going to touch.wbx.com and you’ll see how good it is.

WBX has a very good selection of sports. It covers the majority of sporting events that 99% of people will want to bet. WBX offers a good mix of daily betting options as well as futures. They also offer bets in advance which I like – for example you can bet on NHL games that are 1-2 days in the future. That’s something good for promoting as most sportsbooks don’t offer that far in advance.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Commission

World Bet Exchange do not do any sort of tiers – they give everyone 50% revenue share. You don’t need to earn a specific amount each month. Even if you only generate 10 cents in revenue, WBX will give you 50% of that, or 5 cents.

CPA and Hybrid deals are discussed on a case by case basis. Payments are set to be paid within 10 business days, although so far I’ve received payments within 5 business days of the end of the month.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Marketing

WBX Affiliates have a good selection of banners in a wide variety of sizes. Here are examples of them:

I wouldn’t really promote the bonus for WBX. However I WOULD focus on it being such a simple betting exchange – people fear betting exchanges are overcomplicated but World Bet Exchange make it extremely simple.

They also have a fantastic mobile sportsbook – especially for games that are in-play. I’ve tested this out quite a few times and been very impressed with the speed of it. That’s another feature of WBX I would be promoting heavily as they offer different formats for tablet, touch and just general mobile.

Basically my main theme in promoting WBX is that it is the “Betting Exchange for Dummies”. It’s a much more simplistic betting exchange to get started with, and perfect for newcomers. So many people have heard of betting exchanges but get confused about all the options – WBX does it in a very simple manner which will help all new punters. I also have a lot of traffic from people on Betfair, so I’m advertising the fact that the commission is lower at WBX then Betfair.

Customised landing pages are available.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: Global

The World Bet Exchange allows players from all countries except the USA, France, Turkey, America Samoa, the United States Minor Outlying Islands and the Virgin Islands. All other countries and nationalities are accepted at WBX.

WBX offer a wide variety of different mobile options. They have WBX Mobile which is a mobile version of the site, then a touch version specific for touchscreen devices, and also a tablet optimized site.

World Bet Exchange Affiliate Program Review: FAQ

Q: What is the commission rate at WBX for players?

WBX only take 3% on markets with 3 or less entrants, compared to to Betfairs 5%.


Thank Easter Eggs It’s Tuesday

Actually you know what – I’m NOT going to thank Easter Eggs today. I’m going to go as far as to say: SCREW EASTER EGGS.

As an adult, obviously your feeling on events and holidays change. But for the most part they’re still awesome. Christmas as a kid and Christmas as an adult? Not that different. Santa still visits me, I still get gifts – and I get the joy of watching my kids open all their gifts, as well as the joy of shopping for them.

But easter is a whole other ball game.

I remember the joy as a kid, waking up and seeing the Easter Bunny had visited. Huge chocolate eggs and absolutely delicious. So much chocolate. And that’s all you would eat all day long – chocolate! Best thing ever.

As an adult? Man with calories and sugar and fats and sodium and cholestorol – I can’t even eat a bloody creme egg without feeling guilty! Going shopping to buy easter eggs was tough – so much awesome easter candy and chocolate out there. Malteser eggs, button eggs, 3 ounces of cadbury dairy milk presented in bunny format. It’s brutal!

Even worse? It’s 2013, yet my dreams as a child STILL aren’t fulfilled. As a kid I always dreamed of basically a larger version of a creme egg – a humongous easter egg with all that creme inside. Or one big ass giant malteser. And they’ve STILL not came up with anything like that yet.

Screw Easter Eggs. They suck.

April Fools:

Even though the majority of them suck, it’s still fun to see what websites come up with for April Fools. And there’s usually a few out there that still get people. I also like when companies like Boston Pizza announce a brand new item which IS real on April Fools Day(the announced the Pizzaburger) and no-one can figure out whether it’s real or not. (BTW my friend Graham is running a Boston Pizza Giveaway if you want to try the Pizzaburger for free).

I have to give props to Youtube – they went with the April Fools joke that they were shutting down, and that the past 8 years has all been one big contest to declare a winner.

When I heard about it I groaned – thinking it was going to be horrendous. But the actual video they produced was amazing:

This is clearly just a parody of the whole April Fools phenonemen and it’s fantastic – I like that they went and got people from old videos too – top job Youtube. What’s even better is apparently they did some sort of live stream announcing the nominations, and it went on for literally hours. I checked in at the 4 hour mark and they were still going. Now THAT”S dedication.

Charity:

I’m doing a walk for charity – it’s the So Kids Can Talk campaign. Basically one of those help phone lines for kids in trouble so they can call someone anonymously and talk.

This is the first time I’ve supported this charity, and I think it’s a pretty awesome charity. It must be so hard for a kid to not have anyone to talk to – especially in this day and age where bullying seems more prevalent than ever – and it’s great that they can call someone anonymously to talk about it.

I can’t imagine how tough it must be for the operators. To have kids on the line all day, breaking down and talking about how hard their lives are, or how they want to kill themselves etc. Unreal.

If you want to donate, that’d be awesome and appreciated. Here is my personal donation link.

As a bonus – I’m doing the walk in Edmonton, following a trip to Las Vegas. In short – it means I’m going to be partying and drinking for 10 days straight, then doing a walk for charity. I’ve already informed one of my friends he will probably have to give me a piggyback ride for the majority of the walk. But hey – least I’m going to be able to sweat out a lot of toxins! I’m pretty sure anyone around me will get drunk from the sweat fumes!

Shit That Kept Me Sane In March:

The monthly segment in these articles where I talk about what multimedia brain mush kept me occupied for the previous month.

Video Games: I started Skyrim, and boy does it suck. Oh it starts off well – tons of quests, insanely addicting. Then you start to realize that for a game as large as Skyrim, it’s really incredibly linear, pointless and dull. None of the decisions you make have any real consequences or affect the storyline; and every quest is basically a “fetch” quest. This didn’t stop me from logging 40+ hours into the game though – but yeah, overall it’s a huge disappointment and I may not even finish it.

TV Shows: I’ve been watching The Walking Dead and Celebrity Apprentice as they air. It’s funny because I absolutely hate most reality TV shows – but I just love The Apprentice, although I prefer the regular ones(and of course the UK ones) to the Celebrity editions.

I think a large part of that is from a marketing standpoint, it’s fun to put yourself into the group and come up with your own ideas for a particular challenge etc. I was also recommended the UK version of The Mole but I could only find the US version and I watched season 1 of that. Quite the dated show, but still quite entertaining. Also got into Modern Family. I’d see bits and pieces of that show on TV and was not impressed – but then I sat down and actually watched it and thought it was a really awesome show. Watched Season 1-3 of that.

Movies: I watched Flight which overall I thought was pretty weak, however it had a stellar performance from Denzel so all is forgiven. Also Act of Valor which was pretty good and did a great job at the first person shooter POV. Finally I watched The Switch which was an absolutely dreadful romantic comedy starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, who had anti-chemistry.

Books: Only read one book this month. Tried out the author Stephen Leather for the first time with his book Hard Landing. Really good stuff, and if you like the Mitch Rapp/Jack Reacher books you’ll like this.

(not provided):

If you’re sick of checking your analytics data and seeing that (not provided) BS ranking top of your keywords, then there are quite a few ways around it. There’s quite a few workarounds and hacks and this one does a pretty good job of it too. I’ve had a few people ask about that lately, so wanted to share.

Goodbye to Fortune Poker:

Finally, we’ll end this week on a sad note, as Fortune Poker have announced they are closing down.

I was Fortune Pokers first ever affiliate, and it was completely by luck. I’d been working with Sporting Bet on the Boss network, and they decided to screw affiliates over and stop giving us commission. The Boss Network at that time was a well-kept secret; it was full of easy to clear bonuses, and crazy Turkish and Russian players who had absolutely no idea how to play poker.

I went looking for an alternative, and I started signing up at every Boss room I could find to determine the best one. Literally 10 minutes after e-mailing Fortune Poker and asking if they had an affiliate program(as they had a section that said it was launching shortly) James from Fortune e-mailed me back, and asked if he could call me. He called me, we talked – and I immediately picked Fortune Poker as my #1 room to promote from there on out. James was such an ambitious guy, but he also had his head on straight. He was one of those guys you just wanted to make money for.

Over the years, we became great friends and did a lot of good business together. I’ve told this story before but it just shows the personal level of customer service James would provide. One of my players, who most of you probably know – Jason “JCarver” Somerville – was trying to deposit so he could play at the high limit games, but the Boss Network wouldn’t let him deposit more than $10k in a 24 hour period.

JCarver wasn’t too happy, and I referred him to James. James told him “Go out, have a nice dinner. Get yourself a nice big juicy steak with all the fixin’s. When you come back, the deposit limits will be fixed for you, and let me know how much your dinner was and I’ll pay it for you.” And that’s exactly what happened.

It says something about people like James & Jenn that they managed to make Fortune Poker work for over 9 years. The Boss Network, especially in the latter years, is a cesspool when it comes to upper management. Just the most clueless people in the entire world, who have no understanding of business. And their rapid decline over the years is no surprise – the business decisions they’ve been making are just astounding, and it’s no surprise that Fortune Poker have decided to close things up.

Good luck in the future Jenn & James. It was a pleasure working with both of you, and becoming such great friends. I have only great memories from the last 9 years. Hell, I even wore a Fortune Poker shirt to a wedding!

And with that – it’s about time to wake the kids up, send them off to school and have the house ALL TO MYSELF for the first time in 4 days.

I’m off to rock it.


Thank Spring It’s Monday

I didn’t even realize Spring was actually hitting us until Wednesday night. I was heading downtown to the pub and the cab driver said “What a great 1st day of Spring!” while choking on his laughter. That’s because we were in the middle of a blizzard at the time – the same blizzard that caused a 60 car freaking pile-up in Edmonton.

Really – weather is GOOD though because it’s a great conversation starter. People whine a lot about everyone else “always talking or commenting on the weather” but when you’re in the presence of someone for 5-10 minutes, be it in a cab, or waiting for your Starbucks or whatever – why the hell not start up a conversation? And talking about the weather is a great way to initiate a conversation.

I try to have fun with it. I usually use it to initiate a completely made-up set of circumstances and see how long I can BS for.

“Wow lovely weather outside!”
“Yeah I can’t wait to fly to Afghanistan tomorrow for the sunshine!”

Then you spend 5 minutes talking about all the missions you’ve been on, or how “I hate Afghanistan because the download speeds are like having a 56k modem” etc.

One of my favourite things to do is try and turn any small talk conversation into a conversation about Nicolas Cage – even if I have to make up stuff just to get there. Because Nicolas Cage is awesome and just the thought of him brightens up your day.

“Wow lovely weather outside!”
“Well as Nicolas Cage said – ‘A lot of people like snow…I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
“……….oh yeah, what movie was that again?”
“The Rock.”
“Yeah that’s right – great movie.”

So thank you Spring – you’ve given me an excuse to start up random conversations with random people about Nicolas Cage movies.

And I really can’t think of a better way to spend your day than doing that.

Well, except WATCHING Nicolas Cage movies I guess. Seriously though – next time you’re making small talk with some random stranger try all you can to switch the conversation to Nicolas Cage movies.

It’s ridiculously entertaining and not anywhere near as challenging as you may think.

Bonus Thanks

Also Thank March Madness It’s Monday. Not only is it awesome because MORE FREAKING SPORTS but man as a sportsbook affiliate it’s quite the wild ride. Sportsbooks that show the players bets(such as 5Dimes) are the best because you don’t even have to bet yourself – you just see what your big money betters have placed wagers on and cheer the other side.

Love it.

You’ll Probably Hate Me:

But I need to share this site with everyone: MightyDeals.com.

It’s basically one of those “time limited deals” sites – however all the deals are for webmasters. And they have a ridiculously huge selection and all for sick deals. 500 unique vector icons for $15, 500 Texture Graphics for $27, 69 generic customizable logos for $27 etc.

I’ve been spending an absolute ton there lately – I just can’t resist buying so much stuff.

I get $10 per referral in credit to spend more there, so I’m hoping I can at least hook some of you to fund my addiction. There really is some sick stuff there though so be sure to check it out.

Comparison Content:

I’m buying the new Galaxy S4 when it comes out – it’s my first fully touchscreen phone, and my first phone outside of a Blackberry so I’m quite excited for it.

So excited I subscribe to Google News updates about it, and I get an e-mail every day with all the top stories around the web. So it’s funny when you see incredibly similar articles like this:

And I mean that e-mail went on and on and on with the S4 being compared to every bloody phone there was.

I’m surprised that craze never really hit the gambling affiliate world. A couple of sites have did it and I’ll link to this one at Pokersites.com. I mean look at it – it’s easy, EASY content which writes itself. Each section isn’t too long so it’s easy to read, and then you have the final CTA at the end which I’d expect may convert well.

If you’re starting a new online poker site maybe look at something like that as your niche – focusing on the versus market. Just for poker rooms but for EVERYTHING. Texas Holdem Online vs Omaha Online, comparing all the live support response times etc etc.

Really that’s how many affiliates become successful – they take tired out content but then put a new spin on it. And the spin doesn’t even have to be unique either. I mean a few years ago I wanted to build a huge new casino portal covering everything – you know, something that’s been done a million times before? But I wanted to put a different spin on it, and I noticed I relied a lot when Googling on Yahoo Answers, so I went with the Q&A theme for CasinoAnswers.com and it became a great success.

The whole “versus” articles can be great too for encouraging discussion, debate and so on. Poker probably wouldn’t get too much – but look at any iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy S4 article and the insane debate going on below in the comments.

Another example of putting a spin on tired contents could be done with betting tips. Take UFC for example – rather than your usual “UFC 162 Betting Tips” article you could go down fighter by fighter, like Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman, and have categories for each one. Ground game, striking, experience etc all the time declaring a winner of each section.

Video Of The Week:

That’s a Carlsberg ad – they’ve been doing a lot of these “hidden camera” ads lately and this is probably my favourite one so far. It’s so good that I agreed with my coder when we meet up next month that we should drink a bunch of Carlsbergs in tribute to that ad.

This was another one that they did which I loved:

What I really like is that they actually make the videos so entertaining and worth sharing. I’ve seen soooo many of these “viral” ads that companies come up with that are utterly useless, so it’s great to see a company that doesn’t just “get” it, but gets it again and again and again.

So when you’re relaxing this Friday night and looking back at your week, do it with a 6 pack of Carlsberg.

It’s nice to show appreciation to good marketing.


TGRIM: Thank Google Reader It’s Monday

In case you missed it, Google announced that they were killing off a lot of their products. And the product they are killing off that is getting the biggest reaction is their RSS Reader, Google Reader. Complete list here.

Google Reader, and RSS as a whole, is one of those products where you basically either use it constantly, or are unaware it really exists. It’s one of those things I can’t imagine people living without – no need to bookmark 100+ websites and visit them every day looking for new articles – simply subscribe to the website, and you basically get notified as soon as any new articles are posted.

It’s one of those things that have been integrated with my daily life. In an earlier blog post, TCIM, I posted a picture of my whiteboard:

As you can see – Google Reader actually holds its own separate entry. It was always a staple of my life. I’d wake up, workout, make my tea and all bran and sit down and go through Google Reader, catching up on all the websites I subscribed to. From affiliate blogs to video game news, from mma sites to daily comic strips.

Of course – there’ll be a replacement. There always is. There’s a wide variety of other RSS Readers out there already, and I’m sure within a month one of them will step out as the “leader”. Life will go on. Right now there’s mass hysteria and various web petitions over the end of Google Reader – but give it a few months and people will forget all about Google Reader.

I assume this is just to push Adsense even more. They don’t serve any ads via Google Reader, and the integration of ads within that could be tricky. Compare that to how Adsense is implemented on various websites. They would much rather you visit websites regularly to get your content. And if there is nothing new? Hey – good possibility you might click one of those related ads, or ads geared to your browsing history.

Goodbye Google Reader, and thanks for being an awesome service.

Just please don’t take Feedburner with you to the grave.

Awesome 404 Page:

I love me some good ol 404 pages and this was another one I saw recently that I liked:

I always like the idea of a web development team, who are paid money, spending time implementing cool 404s.

I’ve always been a fan of implementing advertisements, content etc within mobile devices. One I saw recently that I thought was great was the ESPN Clutch ads – here’s one:

So sick. I love the usage of the word “clutch” too. It’s not over-used, but it’s still stupid as hell – and one of those things that if you are watching it with your buddies you’ll start saying it together. Sure you’re saying it in a sarcastic way – but every time you describe that Walking Dead episode as “clutch”, or say you had some “clutch” chicken wings earlier it’s subconsciouslly reminding you of the brand.

Brand AND Product Marketing at it’s finest.

Learn to Embrace Sleep:

I’m sure a lot of you guys reading this are self-diagnosed insomniacs. We’ve all been there. I can’t go a week without seeing someone on Facebook declaring that they “can’t sleep” and blaming insomnia.

Of course it’s not insomnia in the majority of cases – it’s just human nature to immediately jump to conclusions. I’ve been there. I used to lay in bed at night and not be able to sleep. Hell, I used to say crap like “sleep is for the weak” and consider sleep a hinderance.

But really – sleep is AWESOME, and my motivational Monday tip is for you to learn to embrace and love sleep for the awesomeness that it is.

Sleep is great for so many reasons. Humans need sleep. It’s great for the brain. Get a good nights sleep and you’re healthier and more productive. Plus you get to DREAM. Dreams are AWESOME! You get to close your eyes and go off in this freakin fantasy world. How can you hate that?

Stop thinking of sleep in a negative way. Start looking forward to bedtime. The one time of the day where you can fully relax. Stop stressing about how you “need” to sleep – instead look forward to it. I love reading to my kids at night and starting to yawn – because then I know that sleep is just a few mere minutes away.

And hey – have a nap too. When was the last time you had a really great nap? Like just decided – I’m going to have a nap. That’s something I do maybe once a week – just curl up with the electric blanket after lunch and have a nap for an hour or two. It’s refreshing as all hell and your brain really functions a lot better catching up on that sleep.

That’s my motivational tip for the week – sleep more!

A good nights sleep is a lot better for you than 10 cups of coffee.

Finally:

You know what one of my favourite things is? When SHIT BREAKS.

In this case, Google Drive went down this morning. People couldn’t access their precious documents – and of course none of them actually sync it up on the desktop because hey who needs backups?

I love this stuff because I head straight to Twitter and watch people freak the hell out. Here are just a few highlights:

Is @googledrive unavailable for anyone else? I can’t access anything. It’s times like these when I regret depending on the proverbial cloud.

I cannot open Google Drive. This is a large problem..

WHY IS GOOGLE DRIVE NOT WORKING?

@googledrive you don’t get to just decide to stop working when you have people’s files! #unacceptable

Google Drive why are you not working? I have lots of work to do. #fail

Of all the days for Google Drive to stop working…. #really #Google

Oh cool Google Drive is down. Now I’m not going to be able to accomplish anything today.

What can I say – I revel in peoples misery. Well not misery – more “hysteria”.

Of course I’m sure they’ll all learn from it and take the 2 minutes to set up syncing to their desktop, right?

…..right.

Have an awesome week guys. Get some sleep, sync up those Google Docs and continue to rock it.


Thank Bearer It’s Monday

Paul Bearer, aka William Moody of course – the ex-WWE manager died last week.

I make no secret that I used to be a huge wrestling fan – and man, did I ever love Paul Bearer. WWE always brings in characters like this who on the surface are completely ridiculous – and their success or failure 100% depends on how the person gets into the character. Moody did exactly that and totally brought it in his role – he overcame any obstacles involving his name etc and made the character his own.

To show how awesome this guy is – at last years Wrestlemania, they had the “Undertakers Graveyard” at the Fan Axxess show where you could walk around and there was all these tombstones listing the names of wrestlers who the Undertaker had beaten at previous Wrestlemanias. They also had a Paul Bearer statue.

Except it wasn’t a statue – it was Paul Freaking Bearer, and he would JUMP OUT AT YOU and scare you. You’d think it was a wax dummy until you got up close then BOO!

You were awesome Paul – thanks for entertaining me so much over the years.

At Least They’re Honest?

I came across one of your typical generic web design/seo/social media company websites the other day and I couldn’t help but laugh.

They had all the usual generic blurbs that these companies do, and talked about how they can rank you high in search engines blablabla. But my favourite part was this screenshot:

Look guys – hire us and we’ll get you as much as 20 visitors in one day!

My favourite part is how the traffic actually bottoms out near the end of it. Did the person taking this screenshot not think to cut it off a few days early?

An oversight like this, and they expect people to actually trust them with marketing?

Amazing.

The Best Feeling:

I think one of the best things about being an affiliate is actually seeing your work in action.

I was out the other night with a friend and we got into an argument about something. 10 years ago you’d argue for hours on the topic until one of you submit out of exhaustion. In 2013, 10 minutes into the argument you stop and say “Let’s Google It” to see who is right. (It was me BTW)

My friend Googles it on his phone then brings up the website. I look over? And hey – it’s one of my websites!

It’s one of those things that never get old. Not only is it neat to see – but it’s good to see that you’re actually providing a service.

Speaking of Best Feelings…

Seeing someone claim a no deposit bonus and do this will never get old:

That’s stats for just one day, and that’s ONE PLAYER. Who signed up for a $25 no deposit bonus on Saturday, and ended up depositing $7800 in one freaking day. Then he came back Sunday and deposited $1500.

I have to give the boys at Revenue Jet huge credit – they really know how to convert their no deposit crowd. That one whale aside, they perform better in regard to conversion than any other casino I’ve ever worked with that offers a no deposit offer.

Sign up today then send me a message. I’ll make sure you get the best affiliate manager and the best deposit deals.

I love whales.

Shit That Kept Me Sane in February:

TV Shows: Oh only THE GODDAMN WALKING DEAD. I made a deal with my brother-in-law/business partner that we’d watch this show in sync with each other, and we finally started it in February. Ended up watching the whole damn thing in the space of a couple of weeks. Seriously just an awesome TV show. I’ve never really been much into the whole “zombie thing” but man I am loving this. The pilot especially was a work of art. Awesome. Just awesome.

Although screw their “Previously on Walking Dead” or “Next Time on Walking Dead” crap. Twice now the “Previously” crap has completely spoiled two episodes and two epic moments, and the “Next Time” totally ruined the Season 3 mid-season finale. A couple of moments that should be super memorable end up just leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Blah. Still a fantastic show though.

Movies: Went to see Snitch starring The Rock and Shane from The Walking Dead. It was good although there’s a few scenes where like, this tiny dude beats up The Rock and it’s like DUDE COME ON. Also Shane from The Walking Dead is the absolute show-stealer with a fantastic performance.

Also saw Wreck It Ralph. Load of crap. First 10 minutes were great for nostalgia and then the rest of it is also your generic kids movie. Also went to see Escape from Planet Earth with the kids which was actually surprisingly good even though the first 30 minutes were basically a commercial for 7-11.

Video Games: I got sucked in by that stupid XBox digital sale though. Ended up buying HAWX, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Code Veronica X, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3. Oh yeah, also Fallout 3 which I already sunk 140 hours into over 2 playthroughs and swore I’d never touch again. Sigh.

As for what I played – I went through for my 2nd playthrough of Bioshock which I last played in 2008. Man I love that game and now I have all the achievements in it. Also wrapped up my Gears of War 3 co-op playthrough with a friend who I always go through those games with. Good times but I think I’m done with the Gears franchise.

Books: Haven’t read much at all actually. Still just re-reading the Andy McNab “Nick Stone” series. I think I read 1.5 books in a month which is pretty bad for me as I usually go through 3 a week. You can blame The Walking Dead for that.

Finally…

You know what else keeps me sane? Writing these blog articles.

Last week I didn’t write a T_IM and it really threw me off. Writing these is really soothing for me, and really gets me pumped for the week ahead. I write these as sort of a “Motivational Monday” type blog post – but really it’s not just you guys I’m trying to motivate. It’s me too.

It’s a way of starting the week off on a high note. Like basically it feels like I’m coming out swinging – starting the week off with some motivation that carries me through the week. So thanks for being my audience – you guys help me kick ass every single week.

Now stop reading this and go out and kick some digital ass!


VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review

The Videoslots.com Affiliate Program is the affiliate program for VideoSlots.com. They do not currently offer any other brands.

VideoSlots.com is of course an online casino, with a strong focus towards slot machines and in particular, video slots. They are all completely online – there is no download option – and offer an extremely slick web-based interface with very vibrant and fun graphics.

I’ve been working with VideoSlots.com since December 2012. As you would expect – they do great with slots traffic. While they offer other games like Blackjack, Roulette and Video Poker – I found that harder to convert. I would recommend focusing more on the slots traffic – a domain like VideoSlots.com really kills when it comes to converting people.

There’s also been one major highlight so far working with Video Slots that I want to mention. About a week after I started working with the VideoSlots.com affiliate program, my affiliate manager Lucas e-mailed me to let me know about a specific promotion they were doing, which was currently working very well with the Swedish & Finnish markets. I asked him if he could get a few words translated for me and he had it translated within an hour.

I put a few CTAs like this live that day:

And the very next day I picked up a new depositor. From Finland. It was really nice to have an affiliate manager tell me a specific promotion which was working and for specific nationalities, and then go the extra mile and get it translated for me and help me in that regard. Service like that is sadly quite rare within the industry.

Video Slots uses the Microgaming Casino Software, which has the largest selection of slot machines out of all the online casino software available. Let’s get into the review, and my thoughts on the VideoSlots Affiliate Program…, although if you want to check them out for yourself go do that!

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Affiliates Perspective

Let’s touch on the negatives first: VideoSlots does not have a separate website for their affiliate program. What this means is that you need to sign up with a player account. Once registered as an affiliate, you then need to log in as a player which brings you to the player lobby. Then you need to scroll down to the bottom, click “Affiliates”, then click “Account” to get to your affiliate account.

It’s not a huge deal – VideoSlots.com works with Statsremote so I maybe only have to log in once a week but it’s still a bit frustrating.

Other than that, I’ve been very happy with Video Slots. As I mentioned above – most of my success is when promoting the site to slots traffic. They’ve got a very fun, vibrant feel to their website which is great for conversions. I also really like how slick and professional the user interface is, which I’ll discuss in the players perspective section of this review.

They have a lot of great marketing material, and I’m a big fan of the interface used. Here’s a screenshot of it:

It’s set up great for filtering to get exactly what type of banner you want. If you want to promote a specific currency or a specific language it’s easy to use, and it’s extremely easy to set up multiple campaigns and bonus codes for split testing.

My affiliate manager, and yours when you sign up with this link, is Lucas Godwin. Lucas has been excellent to work with so far. Any marketing material I’ve needed he has been able to get created for me, and when I had an issue with getting my identification approved to make my first withdrawal, he had it sorted within 24 hours.

Despite the minor issue in regard to logging into the affiliate backend, I’m so far very happy with VideoSlots.com from an affiliate perspective.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Players Perspective

As I mentioned above, Video Slots is all online based – they don’t have a downloadable casino. While I do like the option of both, the amount of work that has went into their web based interface is incredible, and I have to give them major props.

Here’s a screenshot of the main lobby area:

It’s designed extremely well, and the user interface is fantastic. They really have thought of everything when it comes to the interface. You can scroll down and click on any of the games, you can search for them, you can use the category navigation in the sidebar, you can filter them – for example “5 wheel slots” or “Jackpot games”, you can have it display your favourites, sort it by alphabetical order etc.

It really is like they said “How can we make it as easy as possible for the user?”, and then did everything possible to accomplish that goal.

Videoslots offer a welcome bonus of 100% to $100 on your first deposit, plus $10 free cash which is a nice little addition and a great selling point. They offer casino races for the user with everything spelled out very clearly so casino players understand the rules as well.

Probably my favourite retention option though is the cashback program. Players get 25% cashback on a weekly basis. It’s a really neat idea as it’s a great retention tool – players are paid on Fridays a percentage of the profits that Video Slots make. And I’ve noticed that the majority of my player deposits are on Fridays – meaning players are logging in, getting their cashback and then continuing to stay and deposit.

The cashback program basically rewards players for playing – win OR lose. Of course I find promoting that you get 25% back when you lose works well – people think it’s a way to “game” the casino and gain an edge. Lucas also wanted to share some details as to how the cashback program works:

The cashback is not calculated on your losses, but on the generated casino profit for every single day.
So, if a player deposits €200 during the whole week and managed to wager €15000.
The Casino RTP for slots is about 96%. ie; the casino’s profit is 4%.
So 4% profit from wagered €15000 is €600.
Therefore 25% Cashback of that €600 is €150.
There is no wagering requirements on cashback money.
Therefore you have got €150 Cashback, regardless if you won or lost during your week of play.
It is quite simple really – We are giving out 25% Cashback to all players on All their spins!
So The More You Bet – The More You Get!

For promoting to players, I would say that Video Slots is without a doubt the best web-based online casino there is. Even better than Slotland or WinADay Casino(who are two of my top-earning brands).

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Quick Summary

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the VideoSlots.com affiliate program so far. While they do offer games outside of slots, slots really are their bread and butter and that’s what I would be focusing on. I wouldn’t really bother sending them any roulette traffic etc unless you get a really nice custom landing page. Instead just focus on slots, and to a lesser extent video poker.

With so many Microgaming casinos it can be hard to pick what ones are best to promote. However VideoSlots.com really stand out due to their extremely slick web-based interface. and I would recommend pushing them to your slots traffic.

When you sign up as an affiliate, it automatically signs you up as a player account too. So check it out and you’ll see what I mean – the web-based interface really is one of the most beautiful user interfaces I’ve seen an online casino utilize.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Brands

The VideoSlots.com affiliate program has the one brand, which is VideoSlots.com.

VideoSlots.com uses Microgaming Software, and is an entirely web-based casino. Their default homepage is very solid, and I’ve seen a very high clicks->registrations conversions ratio. Here’s their homepage – click for full size:

It’s laid out very well, and shows off their fantastic user interface. It reminds me a lot of your typical “flash games” website like Newgrounds.com – it’s an extremely similar interface which works out well because most people are already familiar with that type of interface, so are used to how it works.

Along with the interface there are lots of solid selling points like the new player bonus offer and the cashback promotion which are very clear and easy to see. I really like the cashback promotion because it gets the users curiousity factor going too, and they’ll love the idea of getting what is essentially a form of rakeback.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Commission

Videoslots commission starts at 25%, and goes all the way up to 45% dependent on net revenue.

30% kicks in at 15,000 euros per month, 35% at the 30k mark, 40% at the 50k mark and then 45% when you hit 100,000 EUR. Of course it’s all negotiable, as with most affiliate programs, and I have found Video Slots very fair as long as you can bring the traffic in.

There are deductions off your revenue such as License Fees and Bank Fees. This is all laid out in the affiliate backend and is easy to understand.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Marketing

Obviously, you should be marketing Video Slots towards the slot player base. With it being all online based you can promote it to players with practically any operating system, and use the buzz words like “easy”, “fun” and of course “flash games” to get people interested.

Videoslots.com Affiliate Program offer a good amount of marketing material. It’s easy to filter through the backend and if they don’t have the marketing material available for you, you can request it. The banners are customizable based on language, currency, type and size.

There’s a nice variety of marketing material available. You can choose from a variety of promotions for example their 100% bonuses, their 25% cashback bonuses, generic game banners like for slots or roulette, and then banners for specific games. Practically every banner is animated, and in gif format.

There’s also the new player tool – where they list the payout ratio for every individual slot which is pretty slick. I don’t think any other casinos do that at this time. So they show the actual payout ratio on all of their games – another way for the player to think they are “gaming” the system. It’s got a pretty slick filter list where you can check the most played game, least played game etc.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: Global

VideoSlots does not accept any players from the USA, France, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Israel, Belgium or South Africa.

As mentioned at the top – promoting VideoSlots to Finnish & Swedish traffic is best, and it is translated for those two markets, as well as in English.

The 10 EUR free cash promo is only available for Finland, Germany, Australia, Canada, UK, Netherlands and Sweden. It does not have ANY wagering requirements.

VideoSlots also has a mobile casino which works on Android and iOS both for play money and real money.

VideoSlots.com Affiliate Program Review: FAQ

Q: When are affiliates paid?

VideoSlots.com pay affiliates on the 7th of every month, for the previous month.

Q: How do you withdraw your affiliate money from VideoSlots?

VideoSlots.com affiliates put the money into your affiliate account, which is shared with your player account. You then withdraw via the regular process any player would, with a variety of options available for withdrawal.

Good to go? Sign up with Videoslots.com Affiliates.


10 Content Ideas for the Off-Season

If you run a website dedicated to a specific sport, then during the season it’s an extremely easy site to run. The content ideas practically write themselves. You can offer news, previews, recaps, results, tips etc – the sort of “autopilot” site that we all know and love.

During the off-season however, things are different. The quantity of the content can dry up. This was something that previously I haven’t had issues with – I simply switched off for the season and then came back the next season with the usual regular content. However I’ve noticed over the past year that it hasn’t been as easy to re-establish rankings after letting the website gather dust for 6 months.

It obviously depends on the niche you are in, how competitive it is, and also how your competition react to the off-season. However after looking at results for a few different major sports, I would highly recommend keeping your site relatively busy during the off-season.

I just finished a brainstorming session with my business partner on our NHL Betting Tips website on a list of content to have written during the off-season. While there was a lot of NHL specific content, there was still enough generic content themes that should apply to practically any website – whether it’s football, soccer, F1, golf or even darts.

  1. General News: Sure, you won’t be replacing ESPN or the BBC, but the easiest content of all is to report what is happening during the off-season. Any transfer or trade rumours, retirements, coach or manager firings and so on.
  2. Betting Futures: For the main sports, even when the season is over online sportsbooks will offer betting on SOMETHING occuring in the future. As I write this for example, you can currently bet online on the 2014 Superbowl XLVIII winners, or the 2013 CFL Grey Cup. Both the NFL and CFL are in their off-season at the moment. You can offer analysis on that.
  3. Post-Season Analysis: An obvious one – but go back and look at the season that was. Analyze it from various different angles; look at how injuries affected a team, do some “what-if” scenarios, look at some of the highlights and some of the lows, get some videos going.
  4. Season Previews: You can write articles looking towards the new season, things to look out for, and general assumptions or observations on how a team or a specific player may perform in the upcoming season. Write about their schedule, any coaching changes and how that may affect the team etc.
  5. Team By Team Previews: I wanted to separate this from the above as this is content that I personally love. You go through each team in your league, and provide a detailed analysis on all of their players. One soccer website I visit daily does this – and every article has people sharing it and arguing and debating in the comments about how good, or how bad a player will actually be.
  6. Top Lists: Always great content which is easy to write, and readers love. You can do both retrospective and prospective articles. For example, you could write an article on the Top 10 Goaltenders or Goalkeepers during the previous season, or an article on the Top 10 Draft Picks, or Top 10 New Players to look out for.
  7. Linkbait Articles: Commentaries on a specific situation that is occuring during the off-season, that would be ripe for debate, or a controversial opinion. For example as I write this, Tom Brady just signed a new contract with the Patriots. You could write an article about what a bad decision that is, and how they should release him and get in some fresh blood. Of course you can write straight-up commentaries too – but they’re not as fun!
  8. Draft Analysis: This one is more for the American sports, but of course you can provide an absolute TON of articles on the draft. If you’re a fan of the NFL or NHL etc then you know the deal already I’m sure – what rookies or draft picks will play, grading draft results. Of course you can still cover topics like transfers and trades as well and grade them, and talk about free agency as well.
  9. Interviews: Try and obtain some interviews with some of the participants in your sport. With the evolution of social marketing it’s a lot easier to obtain interviews or soundbytes from athletes. Contact lots of people – from the major athletes to rookies; from season ticket holders to the coaches. Hell, even contact people in the media like radio talk show hosts or sports TV show personalities. These people love the sound of their own voice, and will be glad for something to talk about during the off-season. This is also the type of content that can get picked up by bigger brand name sites, and get you a lot of solid, quality backlinks.
  10. Video Game Content: If the sport that you cover has a video game based on it, then there’s a lot of great content ideas from there. And I’m not just talking about your boring old video game news, previews or reviews – take it to the next level! Start running simulations on it, and do what if? scenarios. Like create Wayne Gretzky in NHL 13 and throw him in the Edmonton Oilers, and see how they would do with “The Great One” back in the team. Or if a big transfer occurs such as Van Persie going to Man Utd or Tebow going to the Jets then sim that on Fifa 13/Football Manager 2013 or Madden 2013.

    Videotape it, write about it, blog it, screenshot it, share it. You’d be amazed how many people get hooked on these types of simulations and will follow it on a regular basis.

In summary, a lot of people may look at the off-season as a hinderance. However I like to look at it from a positive viewpoint. It’s a great opportunity to really expand your content base, try out some new things, strengthen your brand and social presence, and really work on building up an audience.


Thank Rousey It’s Monday

This week I am thanking the one and only Ronda Rousey. For non-UFC fans, Rousey fought in the first ever womens match in UFC history on Saturday night, as she headlined UFC 157 against Liz Carmouche.

And I really need to thank her.

See – I’ve been a fan of UFC since it was born. I was a big tape trading guy back in the day, and I remember trading tapes like crazy just so I could watch the likes of Gracie vs Kemo, and the circus that UFC was in the early days.Over the years I’ve really began to CARE about UFC.

Really – as lame as it sounds, I actually CARE about UFC and I’m always rolling with the ups and downs that the business has had over the years. One of my worst memories was when Gonaza KO’d Cro Cop, flushing the Cro Cop vs Couture fight and at least $10 million dollars down the toilet. Also being a marketer I generally get in arguments with lots of people because I’m able to see it as the business it is, while others spit blood at the thought of Jones vs Sonnen.

So I was particularly nervous about how this match would turn out. There were so many people criticizing it in advance, and raging that Hendo vs Machida wasn’t the main event(even though both of them were happy with that). There were so many potential issues – Rousey could lose, which would be disastrous as there is just so much invested in her.

Hendo vs Machida could put on an amazing fight and Rousey vs Carmouche would suck, proving the haters right. Hell, even Rousey winning by armbar in a minute wouldn’t be good – for a champ to be dominant they really need to work their way up through previously established fighters. Having a dominant fighter right off the bat(as most people wouldn’t have seen her before) would just get the old “tomato can” analogy going.

Thankfully what happened on Saturday night – well lets just say that Dana White could dream a million dreams, and still not come up with something as perfect as that.

Rousey came out strong, but Carmouche managed to get her in a BRUTAL neck crank where it looked like her head would snap straight off. I was about to have a heart attack at that point. Rousey managed to get out, and then locked on the move that has won her every fight so far – the armbar. But she was battling to lock it on with about 30 seconds left on the clock. So it became a huge game of watching the battle over the armbar, while also watching the clock and just screaming. And with seconds ticking down, Rousey managed to get on the armbar and make Carmouche tap.

Awesome, just awesome. Probably the best one round fight in UFC history, for so many reasons. Rousey was established as strong, but also not invincible. She managed to use her “finisher” which is just awesome on so many levels. And Carmouche managed to look like a really strong contender, which will get her a lot of attention in the future.

It made my weekend.

So thank you Ronda Rousey(and also Liz Carmouche). You made the UFC millions of dollars in 5 short minutes – and for some reason that really makes me happy.

Tackling Stuff You Hate:

I had a weird conversation with a friend last week. We were talking about pizza places in town, and where we order from. I mentioned one place which is my favourite and he said “Oh I never order from them”. I asked why, and his reason was “They don’t have online ordering – and I hate ordering over the phone”.

I understand it’s 2013 and the online world is taking over but really – you can’t make a simple phone call to order a large cheese pizza?

It reminded me of when I moved over to Canada from Scotland. I moved over here when I was 16. I had an extremely thick Scottish accent and no-one could understand me. Like it was really frustrating at times.

At 18 years old, I got a job with the Government. This was one of those temporary jobs which could possibly lead to a full-time position. It was in the typing/word processing department. I’m a really fast typer(about 135+ wpm) so it was perfect for me.

Another duty that section had was answering phones for the people in the positions above us. Only one person had to do that job. Now as you can imagine – I’ve got a thick Scottish accent, and people could barely understand a word I was saying. It caused a lot of problems, it made for repeating things over and over and it could get extremely frustrating.

So I volunteered to answer the phones.

They used to rotate the phones daily(as everyone hated doing it) but I stepped up and took over the phones every day. Why? Because I hated it, but I knew the only way to get over the whole communication barrier was to actually tackle it head on. And yeah it was frustrating – but as time went on, I was able to communicate a lot better, and find a “middle ground” where people would be able to understand me, while also commenting on the accent.

A few months later, the temp position I was in became available for the full-time position. I got the job. One of the interview questions was actually on this very topic – about something you’ve done to improve yourself. And I remember explaining this whole situation above, and I could tell by my bosses facial reaction that right then and there, I’d just got the job.

We all have stuff we hate to do. Maybe you hate writing content. Maybe you hate the whole process of building sites, designing graphics or doing keyword research. Maybe you hate answering e-mails.

But sometimes it’s good just to suck it up and tackle it. After doing it for a few weeks, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.

Non-English Sites:

One thing I am finding interesting at the moment is the lack of affiliates entering into non-English areas. You’re all reading this – surely you all know how great it would be to run a foreign language website. The English market for the majority of niche is oversaturated like crazy – I’m sure you’ve at least thought about running a foreign language site.

I’ve talked to affiliates who run existing sites and I’ve asked why they don’t build a version of their site in the non-English language. It’s not a case of not being able to find a translator or anything – it’s more a case of they don’t know where to start.

With existing sites, I can understand why this is tough. You don’t know how best to handle it. Do you do sub-domains like de.affiliatebible.com or fr.affiliatebible.com? Or do you do folders like affiliatebible.com/de/ and affiliatebible.com/fr/? Then how do you handle the English version?

Then there’s the content. If you have an existing website and you want it translated – chances are it’s going to be a big site for you to have that mindset. But then it’s a huge job because you’re going to have a lot of content to be translated.

Going with my whole “Think Big, Start Small” mantra I would recommend building a whole new site, which has the same design as your English site but on a completely different domain. Start small. Don’t get everything translated. Just get 20 key articles and all the design elements and then go from there. One per week.

I recently had this issue with CasinoAnswers.com. It’s large enough now and established more as a brand, and I want to start launching international versions of it. But you know how much bloody content is on that site? Over 2000 articles, most of them over 1000 words. To quote Deuce Bigelow, “That’s a HUGE bitch”.

So I started small. I launched http://www.CasinoFrage.net (still a work in progress). I got the design elements all translated into German, and then I picked 20 articles to get translated. Then it’s a case of slowly building it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor will this site be. 1-2 articles per week are added, and it’s a slow but sure process. Affiliate marketing is a marathon, not a race. And at the end of the day, the tortoise is always going to beat the hare.

Make that your project this week. You know you’ve been thinking about it. Pick one of your successful websites, get 20 articles and the design elements translated, and just start slowly. After the initial work you can go for just 1 article per week.

Then that’ll be one off the bucket list.

Have a great week. Or according to Google Translate, haben eine tolle Woche.

Which I’m pretty sure is wrong.


Thank Family It’s Monday

Well it’s Family Day – at least here in Canada. I don’t think you have it in most places – it’s basically a day where people get it off from work, the schools are closed, and you are meant to hang out with your family – so I figured it was appropriate to thank family today.

A lot of people hate days like this and Valentines Day – I particularly enjoy Valentines Day due to all the “rage against the machine” rants on Facebook, and how it’s all a “trick made up to screw people out of money” etc. (more…)


Thank Mexico It’s Monday

Well what else could I be thanking? For those unaware I was away for 10 days last week in beautiful, sunny(for the most part) Mexico staying at an all-inclusive resort so we’re going to have a vacation themed T_IM. Hopefully it’ll inspire some of you to realize you’re working too hard, and it’s time to take a break and get some relaxation going on.

There’s nothing like an all-inclusive resort to really take the stress away. I mean when you travel to places like New York, Paris etc – I never think of that as a vacation. It’s work, man. You have to figure out where you’re going to eat, you have to cram all this sightseeing into a few short days – it’s a pain in the ass.

Give me an all-inclusive resort anytime. If you want to go out then great – especially in Mexico where there is plenty of cool places to go to. But if you don’t want to? Stay around the resort, soak in the sun, relax in the various hot tubs and pools and eat and drink all that you can handle.

That’s what I call a vacation.

Maybe I’m Just A Positive Guy…

But whenever I go to a resort, I ALWAYS find reasons to say “Wow, this is the best resort I’ve ever been to”.

It’s always the little things that I really notice and make the trip better. For example – the previous resort I went to had hammocks on the balconies. I thought that was great – then we got to this resort and they had freakin BEDS on the balcony:

Every other resort has a bar filled with beer. Not only did this one have that but it also had a bunch of big ass alcohol bottles – Jim Beam, Tequila, Wine, Vodka. It’s just small things like that which make the trip all the better.

The resort was the Excellence Playa Mujeres and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. I usually go to Tulum, so it was nice to have a ride from the airport that was only about 30 minutes. Their website is here. Just fantastic.

Oh, plus the TVs in the room? They had two free PORN channels.

How can you not love that?

Of Course It Wasn’t All Good…

On the second night I may have had too much to drink. I’m not sure if I did or not though – I blacked out, so I can’t remember.

Anyway, I ended up cracking some ribs. Not exactly sure how I did it. Probably fell on the marble steps or something, although it’s possible I also picked a fight with the Karate Kid. I’m an idiot like that sometimes.

Hit up the doctor on the resort who told me “You need to rest. Lots and lots of rest. Don’t do anything strenuous.”

So two days later I of course went ziplining, cave swimming and driving through the jungle and caves in a 4×4:

Hey, YOLO right?

…I can’t believe I just typed that.

Eat, Eat, Eat

This resort was different than the others I went to – in that at dinner time, there was no buffet. There was just a variety of restaurants you went to instead. I actually liked this better – we did buffet for breakfast and lunch so it can get a bit tiresome.

Favourite was the Tapas restaurant, where they bring a big chalkboard of menu items and then you pick whatever you want. Here was our table:

And that wasn’t all – that was the SECOND helpings. That’s one thing about these resorts – when you come back, you’re hitting up the gym pretty damn quickly.

No Work:

Funniest thing when I go on these vacations – I always think I’m going to work. Then you get that first beer and it all goes out the window. I spent hours getting my netbook all prepped up and ready to go. Then I get there and I did practically nothing. I opened my e-mail inbox one day, looked at it and just said “ugh” and gave up. Trips like this just force you to not care about work, and it’s great to take a break and get refreshed. If you’ve never been to a resort – especially in Mexico – you need to go. I try and go at least once a year – in my opinion there’s no better vacation.

I even gave up my rigorous wake-up schedule. Hey, I was on vacation. No more getting up at 5am.

I got up at 6am instead.

But hey can you blame me? Nothing better than getting up at the crack of dawn, going out to the bed on the balcony and enjoying this view with everything quiet:

I’ve spent the last few days getting caught up on work, and now I am ready to rock this week. So for now I bid you a fond farewell, because I’ve got a lot of work to do.

I miss you Mexico :(


Poker Affiliate vs Casino Affiliate vs Sportsbook Affiliate: The Pros & Cons

I have new, existing and potential affiliates contacting me on a regular basis. They’re either looking to become a first time affiliate marketer, diversify into the gambling affiliate field, or looking to expand within the gambling affiliate beyond just poker.

However they’re not sure what field they should enter first, and so I wanted to write this article to list the pros & cons of every field to possibly help people decide. (more…)


Sports Betting Tips Websites: It’s Not Just About The Tips (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of It’s Not Just About The Tips. If you missed it, go back and read part one.

Now in part 1, I wrote about the two categories of people who could run sports betting tips where it WAS all about the tips. Category 1 was proven sports bettors, and Category 2 was the “car salesman” type marketer, who could take an 0-3 night and somehow convince you from that, to sign up for their premium picks.

I fall into both of those categories.

With something like NBA or NFL – I’ve been lucky enough to provide winning public tips on those for the past few years. So when it comes to marketing, I’m able to rely mainly on my existing record.

But I also know how to market from the “car salesman” aspect. I don’t take it to the extreme that some do – but you do need to know how to market verbally when running a mailing list. For example – assuming you’re offering tips at the standard -110 lines and you’re a winning tipster – you’re still only going to be winning about 55%-58% of the time. That’s standard, and any smart sports bettor knows that. However the casual punter doesn’t – so no matter your record, they’re going to be freaking out if you go 0-3 one night.

That’s where you need to put positive spins on it – you don’t send out an e-mail saying you went 0-3. You send out an e-mail reminding them that despite the loss, you’re still 24-16 for the season or whatever, and still up money. I personally haven’t went to the extreme that some people do – but I subscribe to a wide variety of sports tips mailers and watch them all. Some people outright lie, others will have a horrific losing season, but then focus on their overall results where they’re still up money going back a few years when marketing. Methods like that are generally standard in the sports betting tips market these days.

Then there’s the third method of a tips site, and the whole purpose of this article.

Sports Betting Tips Websites That Aren’t About The Tips.

Take my latest website – BetNHL.ca. That website isn’t about the tips. Not at all. At a glance it may appear to be about the tips – but it really isn’t. The tips are just another way to grow my site, another method for getting visitors, another way for getting links. For the most part, they’re on there purely for SEO purposes.

Do I put thought into the tips? A little bit. Do I want them to win? That’s a nice bonus. But it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. I don’t plan on making ANY money with the tips. If I do then great – but I have zero long term plans in regard to selling the tips, or building a huge mailing list.

It’s the non-tips content that matters.

The non-tips content is mostly targeted at people looking for information OTHER than tips. These are the people I’m going to be able to convert to. The daily tips are there purely to keep the site fresh and updated, and help add to the sites credibility. Would you read and trust a sportsbook review from a site that wasn’t updated since 2008? But you’re more likely to trust a website that’s been updated every day for the past 100 days.

I’m not saying the tips content won’t make you money. But the problem is most people starting tips websites consider it as their only source of income, and as already covered it can actually be quite difficult to make money. Despite your domain or website name being focused on “tips”, it needs to be just a small part of your overall site.

If your entire sitemap plan is “tips” then go back to the drawing board – you’re not going to make much money.

I’m going to give you just TEN examples of content you can add to these websites. None of this is a secret – play around with Google Keyword Tool for an hour and you’ll also have a host of content to add. The trick to this sort of content is knowing who is searching for it, and how to convert them to to sportsbook affiliate programs.

Let’s get started:

  1. Sportsbook Reviews: Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first – because whenever I look at a tips site, if they have expanded beyond tips it’s with reviews. Really not the best type of content – but it’s a start.

    The problem is the reviews are SO generic. You have a core audience – why the hell are you not writing for THEM? It’s like poker bonus websites. I see so many poker bonus websites who offer poker room reviews – but their poker reviews barely even mention the bonus! Or live dealer casino game websites whose reviews don’t even mention the live dealer games! Take a look at my Bet365 Review. My audience? Canadian Hockey Fans/Bettors. Notice how the content is personalized and geared 100% towards that audience.
  2. Live Betting Odds: And no – I’m NOT talking about the generic “live odds feed” you can get from Bodog or whomever. I’m talking about displaying live bettings odds from multiple sportsbooks on your website, so people can compare – something like this:

    nhl live betting odds

    People are always looking for odds and sharing odds websites – niche sites listing odds do great. Have a look at BestFightOdds.com and their backlink portfolio is impressive – many shares over the likes of forums, blogs, twitter and facebook.

    On top of that – this is a great way to educate the visitor about switching sportsbooks. Writing “You can get this bet for -105 at Bodog compared to -110 elsewhere” is as useful as pissing in the wind. However lay out the cold hard facts in a nice table format displaying all of the odds and people will take notice.

    (Sidenote: If you are looking for live betting odds, contact my coder Frank at F@DealerDan.com as he can do them for a good price)

  3. Futures/Interesting Odds Content: Load up the sportsbooks that you are promoting, and look at the betting odds they offer for Futures, as an example. I mean as of this writing in January 2013, books are offering lines on the MLB World Series, the NHL Art Ross Trophy Winner, the Superbowl Winner, the Davis Cup Winner. All content that people are searching for.

    Think about the person who is searching for the “MLB World Series Odds”. This is a visitor that is clearly interested in baseball and betting. But it doesn’t mean they have a sportsbook account already. They could just be curious, or they could be doing some sort of pickem rankings. A lot of this traffic is non-bettors or casual bettors, and it’s a great method to get links, traffic and conversions.
  4. Special Bet Analysis: You know what you can bet on during the Superbowl? Well, EVERYTHING. One bet for example – you can bet on how long the National Anthem is going to be. This is a great example of special bet analysis.

    Write 2000+ words on this! Analyze it to death! Go through the history of the National Anthem, go through the history of this person singing the Anthem – embed videos etc. Lots of people are searching for this content. There’s forum threads on it everywhere – especialy on non-betting forums. I see the same threads on football forums every year. And suddenly you get football fans who don’t bet, going to your article and reading it. And it’s so ludicrous that they just HAVE to bet on it – clicking that link to sign up at the sportsbook you recommend that they bet this at. And boom – you have them.
  5. Betting Related News: I’m talking about sports news but with a betting perspective to it. You’re not writing about Gronk being injured or Rooney getting suspended for 3 games – you’re talking about how that affects the betting lines.

    This sort of unique perspective is great for turning people into returning visitors. From the casual bettor who is ready to trust any website or tipster, to the serous bettor who is interested in your analysis of how it affects lines. And you can also use this to release news about when lines are added. “Hey guys the 2014 Superbowl Winners Odds were just released at 5Dimes – click here to see them”.
  6. Betting Statistics: Providing betting statistics is a great method for quickly gaining the trust of visitors, and also converting them to sportsbooks. Provide stats, even useless ones, when it comes to betting. How a team has been against the spread on the road, how a team performs in the first half when they’ve played back to back games, how a team performs in a double header.

    This immediately accomplishes two things: (1) The visitor trusts you because who doesn’t trust numbers? And (2) The visitor starts thinking from a stats/math-orientated perspective. And that’s when you’re able to lay out the math in regard to betting at Sportsbook A, and why it’s more profitable.
  7. Blow Them Away with Unique Betting Options: Your average bettor who is looking for tips probably has no idea all the type of bets one can make. Sure you can bet on the winner of the game, the winner against the point spread, and the over/under. But some sportsbooks offer a ton of crazy bets that are amazing for conversion.

    Capture your visitors eye – whether it’s some huge CTA at the top of the site or within the content itself. Write content specifically about those bets. Even gear your tips content towards this. At Bet365 for example, you can bet “Race to 20 Points” on NBA Games, Highest Scoring Period on NHL games, and how many corners in a soccer game. This is killer content that’s able to convert people. This season on my NBA Tips mailing list for example, I started offering First Half/Second Half Tips(ie: Raptors to be leading the 1st Half, but Lakers to win the game) which is only available at a couple of books. Signups were through the roof.
  8. Explain The Bets: Depending on the sport that you are writing about, write down the most basic bets. Football for example would be the spread betting, the money line and the over/under. Now go through every sportsbook and see what OTHER betting options they have, and then explain every freaking one of them!

    Some people may be browsing your site and see the articles and be like “Wow – I can bet Race to 14 points on NFL Games at Bet365?” Others will be betting at Bet365, and see that betting option and think “Hmmm, maybe I should Google it and see what people say about it”, finding your site in the process.

    Then you do what you do to get that specific traffic converting to other books. Let me use the whole “rush poker” thing as an example. If you’re offering rush poker strategy or rush poker information – the majority of your search engine traffic will have accounts at Full Tilt right? So no point promoting them. But then you can use that content to push people towards Titan Poker and their “Speed Poker”, saying the players are stupider or whatever you need to say.

    It’s all about knowing where your traffic is coming from. If you know they’re coming directly from Bet365 for example, you can target them personally and focus on getting them to switch to another book that offers the same betting option, but with better odds or specials.
  9. Mobile Betting: Similar to the unique betting options above – it’s about opening peoples eyes to things they weren’t aware of. You’re working as an informational resource while providing top conversion options.

    In this case, you’re writing articles explaining to the user that they can bet on their smartphone. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand how to do this correctly. The idea of betting on your phone is AWESOME – I bet on my phone all the time when I am out, and I have people amazed you can do this and asking me where they can sign up, or if it works on their iPhone.
  10. Beginners Content: This is similar to the “reviews” content I mentioned at the start. I often see sites offering some sort of beginner content. But it’s the thinnest bloody content imaginable. It’s basically “Hey you’re a beginner – go sign up at Bodog. There. All done.”

    Think of the person who is new to sports betting. Do you know how many people I get that follow my tips, but don’t understand spread betting? Or the people that don’t understand the difference in American, Fractional or Decimal odds? Lots. And they’re just BEGGING for someone to explain it to them. Many are wanting to know “how to bet nhl online” but have no idea how to do it. Provide detailed step by step guides explaining it all to them – showing them how to bet, where to sign up, video reviews, pictures etc. Become a real “for dummies” guide.

Whew – okay, hopefully I’ve got you started and you’re seeing your current or prospective tips websites in a whole new light. You’re probably sitting there thinking “Woah – this is a lot more complicated than I imagined”. That’s a GOOD thing – now you’re ready to make some money from your sports betting tips website, rather than join the graveyard of most tips sites.

And if you’re a webmaster who DOES fall into the categories where you can make it “all about the tips”? It still wouldn’t hurt to add the sort of content listed above. Lots of it is great for building long-term trust with your users, and bringing in new visitors that you wouldn’t get if it was “all about the tips”.

One final tip: Grow a thick skin.

If you’re running a sports betting tips website, you’re going to need it.


Sports Betting Tips Websites: It’s Not Just About The Tips

“Diversify” is the big buzz word of the last couple of years amongst gambling affiliates. Some are going outside the gambling stratosphere while others are staying within it, but getting into new areas. I’m seeing a lot of new sportsbook affiliates start up, with the majority of them getting into sports betting tips.

That’s great.
(more…)


TLIM: Thank Lockouts It’s Monday

Welcome to Thank Lockouts It’s Monday. Seriously – I absolutely love lockouts. The NBA lockout last year and the NHL Lockout this season.

It’s great for a couple of reasons:

(1) It makes me appreciate the sports season that much more when it does come back. I forget how much I missed watching it.
(2) As an affiliate who relies on income from sports betting it is fantastic. You go from sweating bullets to making money overnight and it’s a great feeling.

I mean it’s sports overload at the moment. NHL, NBA, NFL(although as a Patriots fan who gives a crap now), Soccer, MMA – the list goes on. Just a fantastic time, and how can we not be thankful for that!

My Latest Pet Project:

I enjoy running websites. I’ve been building and running websites since 1996. In the early days I didn’t make a dime from the websites – and I didn’t care! I just love doing it. The purpose of those websites was never to make money – I just loved creating a site, improving it and honestly getting a good feeling knowing I was providing information people were looking for.

Usually once per year, I start up a website like that. While my ultimate goal is to make money from the site – I start a site where it’s my own pet project. I handle practically everything myself – from the coding to the graphics to the content. Sure the graphics end up sucking but I don’t care – it’s just fun as hell doing it.

Last year I ran the BetEuro2012.org website for Euro 2012, and this year I’ve went with the sports betting niche again, however decided to go country specific. I’m working with my business partner Scott on this one, and the website is BetNHL.ca.

It’s so fun doing it. The lockout ended on Sunday January 6th, and I had a business meeting with Scott on the Monday to talk about future projects. We headed to a wing place, sat down and started going through the list of domains I owned. The list was in alphabetical order and we got to BetNHL.ca before we stopped – we knew this was the website we’d be launching.

I mean really – sitting down for beers and wings, and debating over who is going to win the Western Conference, or who is going to take home the Rocket Richard trophy(Stamkos is a lock!) – and it’s a BUSINESS meeting?

That’s what life is all about.

The site actually got off to a great head-start too, ranking high for betting tips on Day 1 and actually got our first depositor. I think that’s a new record for me. Even better – Scott is new to affiliate marketing, so I’ve been explaining a lot to him about sports betting tips websites. It’s inspired me to write a few articles on here about sports betting tips so I’ll hopefully get off my arse this week and do just that.

Irony At It’s Finest:

We made the decision to promote Bodog Canada as our #1 sportsbook. The reasoning for this was simple: the site is focused on Canadians, and Bodog actually have sponsorship on TSN Sportscentre. Really a no-brainer there as our target market is already familiar and trustworthy of the brand name.

Now a lot of people are simply petrified to bet sports online, so I decided to do a video. The video was simple – to show people how easy it was to deposit at Bodog. It would be a quick step-by-step guide showing me depositing. Not only would it explain how easy it was to deposit, but it would show that I trusted Bodog myself, if I was willing to deposit money there.

So I started doing the video, made my deposit to Bodog…..

…and my money disappeared.

poof* Gone, just like that. Left my Moneybookers account, yet didn’t make it Bodog.

Seriously – what the hell?

This frustrated the hell out of me. I personally don’t care – I know I’ll get my money back no problem, but I can just imagine someone betting sports online for the first time having this occur to them. That’s not good at all, and would put them off depositing online forever.

Customer service were no good either. First telling me it would take 48 hours, then coming back with various different excuses – my favourite one being “Your bank blocked the transaction”. Yeah that’s great – except the money came from my Moneybookers balance. My bank had absolutely nothing to do with the transaction.

Apparently it was a “freak time out incident”. I really do hope so. I trust Bodog completely – I’m not bashing them at all here as I just think this was a funny story more than anything else – but it definitely is concerning.

Hopefully I’ll get my money sorted soon, then I’ll be getting some friends to test with deposits to make sure this doesn’t happen to them.

And It Gets Better:

This all occured on Friday night. So I went to bed, woke up and ran StatsRemote as I usually do. And what happened? Overnight my Bodog Affiliate Account went into the red, with a casino player winning thousands of dollars!

Now this was nothing but a horrible coincidence, but it really was amusing. It brought back good memories of being a beginning poker player and expierencing the “cashout curse”. Remember that? You’d withdraw and then the RNG would PUNISH you for withdrawing – or at least that’s what it felt like.

I talk to a lot of new poker players regularly, and they like to tell me the “cashout curse” still exists. And for those ex-poker players you’ll be glad to know that “Riverstars” is still a common title for Pokerstars.

Good times. I need to play more often – I miss that paranoia.

Off to Mexico:

Unfortunately I won’t be attending the London Affiliate Conference this year, because I’m heading off to Cancun. I mean don’t get me wrong – traveling 10 hours to pissing rain and snow while being stalked and harassed by Israeli affiliate managers IS sort of appealing – but I think going to sunny weather in an all-inclusive resort and playing bar golf is just a tad better.

So I won’t be around next week. I’m hoping to write a few AB articles to schedule while I’m away but no promises.

Prior to a vacation is my favourite time though – I do up a “pre-vacation to do list” and just hammer away at it. Honestly I get almost as much enjoyment from doing that as I do while on vacation itself. It’s just a great feeling destroying a to do list, and allows me to enjoy teh vacation that much year.

Have a great 2 weeks – I know I will!


TSIM: Thank School It’s Monday!

Welcome to TSIM – Thank School It’s Monday.

In just two short hours, I’ll be making the trek upstairs, where I will proceed to wake up my kids and wife. Then I’ll be making their lunches, and sending them off on their merry way to school. For the first time in a month(Christmas holidays, wife studying plus each kid being sick) I’ll have the house to myself.

I can’t bloody wait.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the Christmas holidays. I loved spending time with my family. But man – there comes a time where you just want to tune the world out and get into your own little zone.

I had a great Christmas break. We did a ton of family stuff together. Hockey games, Chuck E Cheese, Charades, board games, building snowmen etc.

But it’s now time for them all to F off and let daddy start working. SOMEONE needs to pay for all the crap “Santa” brought this Christmas.

Two hours. Then silence.

I can’t wait.

Although…

I do feel a bit bad. I have been looking forward to today with a lot of enthusiasm. So much enthusiasm actually, that I didn’t even think to consider my wife or kids feelings on the matter.

It wasn’t until last night when we were putting them to bed that they mentioned they weren’t looking forward to today. And I was like “WTF? WHY?” Then I realized that yeah – they just had holidays, and now it’s over and they have to go back to school.

That really sucks.

I remember as a kid having to go back when the Summer or Christmas holidays were over. Man, was that a depressing time. And it’s not like it ends when you become an adult. I’m off to Mexico at the end of the month – me, my wife and another couple, for a vacation. The day we come back is the Superbowl. So I’m all busy planning out a Superbowl party for the day I come back, and then figuring I’ll take a few days off just to relax and recuperate.

My friend says he won’t even be able to watch the Superbowl as he’ll have to get ready to go back to work the next day – he’s in the UK so there’ll be some nasty jetlag/timezone issues.

I try to always appreciate what I have and not take it for granted – but that whole freedom aspect when it comes to the end of vacations really slipped me by.

I think I’ll be slipping a little chocolatey treat in the kids lunches today.

Tech Stuff:

Over the Christmas holidays, I made a few upgrades to my tech setup and figured I’d share.

New Mouse: I’ve been using the Logitech G7 for years. It’s a really, really sick mouse. However my kids have been using it too, and with it already aging it was really starting to show wear and tear. All the pads were ripped off the bottom of it. Unfortunately Logitech discontinued the G7, and despite getting in touch with some higher ups at Logitech, I just couldn’t get me another G7.

I went with the Logitech M510 but man – that was a piece of crap. It was around the same size as the G7 but there was HORRIBLE jerky movements, and trying different USB ports and different mouse pad textures didn’t fix anything. I ended up going with the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX. I was a bit hesitant as it’s like half the size of the G7 but man – you get used to it. This is a really sick mouse that you can use on practically anything. Love it, and highly recommend it.

New Webcam: I was running with some old Logitech device from years ago. I ended up upgrading to the HP HD5210 Webcam. Oh holy crap. The difference in them is just ridiculous, and the quality of the webcam is amazing. If you’re in the market for a new webcam I’d recommend checking that out.

Android on a Stick: If you’ve never heard of this – it’s basically an Android OS on a USB key-like stick. Has an HDMI port and all that – a tiny little device you can hook up to your TV and use Android. I watch a lot of sports on TV while working but with no NHL at the moment I was getting a bit sick of the lack of variety. So I decided to get this so I can watch Netflix on my office TV. It’s pretty freaking awesome:

And it’s just one of those little gadgets I’d recommend as you never know when you’ll need it. Fun to take to a hotel or something, and be able to watch Netflix on the big screen.

Shit That Kept Me Sane Last Month:

A new trend in these updates that I started in December. I go through any media that kept me sane in the prior month, then write about it!

TV Shows: I finished up Mad Men. What a great show. I also just BLASTED through It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One of the funniest TV shows I’ve ever watched – probably second to Arrested Development. I was so sad when I was near the end of it and I kept trying to stop watching – but just too good that I couldn’t stop.

I like to have two TV shows on the go – a “serious” one and a “comedy” one. I got pretty ill during December, and I ended up watching Rules of Engagement on Netflix – the sitcom starring David Spade and Puddy from Seinfeld. Decent enough sitcom I guess. They really do insult the intelligence of the audience at times, but that’s standard for most sitcoms. Watched the first two seasons of that.

Also watched the pilot of The League. Enjoyed, and will be watching that this month.

Hoping to start a new “serious” show this month. Possibly The Walking Dead.

Movies: I need to watch more movies. In December I watched exactly two. The Dictator, which was a lot better than I expected. I really wasn’t expecting anything much from it, but it was quite funny. Also the Adam Sandler movie That’s My Boy. Another one I really wasn’t expecting much from, but was pleasantly surprised. The jokes come fast and furious and there is a LOT of misses, but enough hits that I really enjoyed it.

Video Games: I didn’t play much for most of December, then I went out boxing week shopping and bought a ton of games, as I mentioned last week. I initially was going to start playing Far Cry 3, but I ended up getting absolutely HOOKED on Dishonored. Holy crap what a game. If you like games like Bioshock, GET THIS. Fantastic bloody game- although the story is a bit weak and the ending is up there with RAGE in terms of weakness.

Books: In November I read the first book by the author Tom Cain. I ended up reading the 2nd and 3rd books, No Survivors and Assassin. Both really good.

I also re-read Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter for about the 6th time. One of my favourite books ever. I also read Vince Flynns latest book in the Mitch Rapp series The Last Man. As expected, fantastic.

However the biggest surprise was The Racketeer by John Grisham. I used to love Grisham but I felt his political messages were ruining his books and I was ready to stop reading. While in bed with a high fever and sick as all hell I just decided to give him a whirl again with his latest. Holy crap I couldn’t put it down and read it in about 5 hours. If you were/are a Grisham fan, be sure to pick that up.

Welcome Back NHL:

We went to a couple of OHL Games over the break.

Here is my daughter prior to the game:

And here she is with 5 minutes left in the first period:

That’s NEVER happened during a Habs game. Thanks for getting your shit together NHL. And aren’t the people screaming that they are going to boycott just hilarious? The NHL is going to do record ratings and attendances this year. Stuff your boycotts. The people mocking the whole Mayan Calender thingy were less annoying than those twats.

I’m off to prepare lunches, get everyone the hell out of the house, then FINALLY start my 2013 To Do List.

Rock on, people.


Thank 2012 It’s Monday!

Well it’s Monday, December 31st 2012 – what else would I be thanking but the last 365 days?

It’s been a great year – but I knew it would be. I work from home and live in a first world country. How could I ever complain when I have that going for me? Too many people take their lives for granted. (more…)


TFIM: Thank Feeny It’s Monday

This week we are Thanking Feeny It’s Monday.

By “Feeny” I am of course referring to the man that guided Cory, Topanga and Shawn through Grade School, High School and even College in the awesome TV show Boy Meets World.

Thanks to that guidance, Cory and Topanga got together, stayed together(well, eventually) and become parents. The sort of parents that get to have a sitcom around their lives! Just a couple of weeks ago, Girl Meets World was announced, a quasi-sequel to Boy Meets World. Sadly it is more of its own show – but they can’t keep Feeny away for long.

Seriously, you have no idea how freaking pumped I am about this show. I felt the same euphoria that I felt when Netflix picked up Arrested Development.

During my teen years, I was into the punk scene. And I still have fond memories of those Friday nights. Prior to heading out to a club to jump around in the mosh pit and beat the crap out of each other, I’d force my friends to sit down and watch Boy Meets World while we pre-drank.

Amazing news, and I haven’t stopped smiling since. Let’s get rolling…

Productivity Tip of the Week:

I’ve written about this before – how on a regular basis I like to go through some of my quality websites like CasinoAnswers.com and lengthen an article. I’ll usually pick an article at random and add 100-200 words of relevant quality information on it.

We had purchased a couple of websites and had Casino Answers “eat them up”, so to speak. When we did that, I noticed there was a lot of content that was very short – only 100-300 words in length. So what I did was make a list of all of those articles – about 300 in all. Then every morning, part of my morning routine is to pick one of those articles at random, and turn it into a quality article of 600 words or more.

The whole process takes me maybe 20 minutes, and MAN does it feel good after it. Basically the very first thing I’ve did all morning is super productive, and it’s a great start to the day.

I’d recommend trying that – finding something you can do first thing in the morning to really get the ball rolling. It makes all those massive to do lists look a lot less daunting when you accomplish something immediately upon sitting down.

Shit That Kept Me Sane Last Month:

With this being a TV inspired T_IM, I thought it might be fun to add a new monthly section where I talk about any form of media that kept me entertained over the last month. When I work, I always have the TV on. It’s usually on a sports channel but if it’s tedious work I’ll have a TV show on. I usually have my Kindle nearby or my XBox on too – then if I need a quick break from work I go play video games for 10 minutes to recharge.

So the first week of every month I’ll do this section on AB:

TV Shows/Movies:

  • Mad Men: I started this show in November, and now am almost all done it. Really loving it. If you’ve never seen it, try it. But go in with low as hell expectations. If someone said it was boring as shit, then I could completely understand that POV. It’s just one of those shows that you can get hooked on though. My wife, numerous times, has sat down and watched a bit of it with me and then asked “How can you watch this show? It’s boring.” Then I’ve pointed out that she has just spent the last 20 minutes engrossed in this “boring show”. That’s just how it is – plus Don Draper is the F’N Man.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Finally got round to watching this, after having it recommended to me numerous times. Only watched the first season. Average, thus far.

Video Games:

  • Batman Arkham City: This is pretty much the ultimate video game in general terms. A super fun story where everything about it is covered well – from the layout of the levels to the combat. Then when you’re done there’s a zillion more things to do before you’ve “beat” the game. I mean if you focus mostly on the main story, by the time you’re done it’s like you’ve barely even scratched the surface and still have many, many more hours of entertainment left.
  • Sniper Elite 2: Awesome game if you have a buddy to play co-op with. Still fun on single player.
  • Toejam & Earl: This was re-released for XBox Live Arcade and I picked it up. Not just a nostalgia run – this is still a really fun game that’s stood the test of time.

Books:

  • Enid Blyton: If you’re not from the UK, you won’t know who this is most likely. If you ARE from the UK, you’re probably wondering WTF. I don’t know why, but I got an urging to go back and read this children book author, who kept me entertained through childhood. I read all 15 of the Five Finder-Outer books. It really does start to wear on you after awhile though, the simplicity of it, the racism, and of course the repeated sayings of “Rather!”. Plus it gives you cravings for lashings of ginger beer.
  • Tom Cain: I read his first book, The Accident Man. Fantastic stuff. If you like that airport fiction, brain mush, lone hero/spy fiction style of book(Mitch Rapp, Jack Reacher etc), and I do, then this is perfect for you.

And that’s what kept me sane through November, and a little bit of December. Feel free to post in the comments with what you’re reading, watching or playing.

Simple Media Manipulation:

One thing that never fails to amaze me is how easy the media manipulate people. And they do it in a manner that makes them more money too, whether it is pageviews or buying their newspapers – people just can’t resist.

I mean just go to your local grocery store and look at some of the ridiculous headlines on one of those celebrity magazines. Yet people buy it because of that crap!

Seriously, the majority of people are just complete fools, and it really makes affiliate marketing so much easier. “Controversy Creates Cash” has never been a truer statement.

Take this week for example – it was announced that Kate Middleton was pregnant. Practically every news site or newspaper had this as their headline.

HOWEVER – every single one of these sites also had the sub-heading: Princess in hospital for morning sickness.

Now if you actually READ the article you’d know it wasn’t just morning sickness – it was a bit more serious than that. It was Hyperemisis Gravidarum. Of course, people are idiots who can’t take two seconds to actually read the details behind something, so every web article on the topic was littered by comments of people raging about this, and how they had morning sickness and never went to the hospital. All falling for the medias trap, which is to get them to add to the site as well as interact with the site, and also come back to the site. Plus then you have people who DID read the article in the comments arguing with them – exactly as the sites wanted them to do.

Another example of this was this article about Liam Ridgewell. To quickly sum it up – West Brom Football Liam Ridgewell made a bet with a friend. The friend lost and had to give Ridgewell money. Ridgewell, to taunt his friend, took a picture of him pretending to wipe his arse with the money.

That’s the actual story. No big deal, right? Yet the media version is slightly different. Let me bullet point the article for you:

  1. Describe Ridgewell as the “Vilest Footballer in Britain
  2. Mention that he makes £20k a week
  3. State that he uses cash as toilet paper
  4. States that this is a photo that should enrage every football fan in Britain.
  5. Reminds you he makes £20,000 a week.
  6. Alleges he actually uses cash instead of toilet paper.
  7. Points out his salary per week is the same as the average salary per year in the West Midlands.
  8. Posts quotes/testimonials from people backing up their claims about how vile it is.

What’s the point of this? To get people to share the article, as well as comment on it etc. And guess what? it worked.

  1. Shared 1471 times on Twitter
  2. 545 comments
  3. 6,500 likes on Facebook

Time and time again people get manipulated with ease. Really – pick up a newspaper or log onto a news website and just look at the way the majority of the stories are tilted – to raise controversy, and get people talking, sharing and viewing.

Of course I’m not complaining – with people like that it makes marketing a LOT easier. And don’t worry – they’ll never smarten up. You can run this type of marketing into the ground, and people will still swallow it hook, line and sinker.

Bleacher Report is living proof of that.

Awesome Marketing Video of the Week:

Major props to Microsoft for this ballsy video for IE 10:

I love it. That’s just fantastic marketing for about a million reasons, yet it’s also so basic. They picked a portion of potential customers – the ones that used to use IE and have now left – and really targeted them by learning about their problems with IE and presenting it in a humorous fashion, manipulating their mindset along the way.

Beautiful.

Motivational Video of the Week:

It HAS to be from an episode of Boy Meets World of course.

If you want you can watch the full, awesome episode:

Or just skip to the motivational lesson learning climax which is at 18:08 and watch the last few minutes.

The theme of it is simple: Nothing Is Impossible.

That’s the mindset you should have this week. Look at all your potential work, look at all your potential goals, and realize that nothing is impossible, and you can achieve it all.

Then go do it.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m off outside to scrape my car. We had freezing rain last night, and the car is just covered in it. Of course I’m not worried – I’ll be able to scrape it all off. Why? Because nothing is impossible.

Sometimes it’s just a pain in the ass!


Firebrand Affiliate Program Review

Firebrand Affiliates are a casino affiliate program that I have only recently started working with. I started working with Firebrand Affiliates in September 2012. So at this time, I can’t speak about payment speed, long-term conversion or any other aspects of an affiliate program that can only be learned after working with them for a long time.

If you want to quickly check out Firebrand Affiliates then click here.

Firebrand Affiliates offer two online casinos for affiliates to promote – the casinos are Atlantis Gold Casino and Treasure Island Jackpots. Both casinos use the BetOnSoft casino software which I really liked – it’s nice to have a chance from promoting Microgaming and RTG Casinos. Very few online casinos actually use BetOnSoft software, so you’re really able to promote a variety of “exclusive” games that most casino players will be unfamiliar with.

Both online casinos offered by Firebrand also accept players from practically every country – including the USA and France. Before we get into the details, let’s do a quick Firebrand Affiliates Review from both an affiliate and player perspective…

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Affiliates Perspective

From an affiliate perspective, I’ve been very happy with my relationship with the Firebrand Affiliate Program so far. The affiliate managers have been excellent to deal with. I’ve worked with Steven and Samantha so far – and from what I have seen both of them really value the affiliate relationship.

I’ve requested quite a few items from them and they’ve been very fast at getting it done. They created a specific landing page for me at one of the casinos and I requested changes to it – the changes were done within an hour. This was something that really stuck out to me – usually even GETTING a landing page from an affiliate program can be a hassle, never mind getting some things changed on it.

I’ve also really had a great vibe from both Steven and Samantha so far – they really give off that “enthusiastic” vibe where you get the feeling they really love their jobs. And honestly for me that’s always a big thing – I enjoy working with affiliate programs more when I feel the affiliate managers actually have a passion for the programs that they promote.

Firebrand Affiliates also offer no negative carryover, which is obviously great in the casino industry. They promise payments on the 1st-2nd of the month and I received my first payment from Firebrand promptly. The Firebrand Affiliate Program website could do with some work – it’s very basic, and the commission plans aren’t laid out very well. The backend however is solid – it provides all the basic information you need, and is updated in real-time which I always consider a big selling point.

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Players Perspective

If you go to the Firebrand Affiliate Homepage you’ll see that one of their major selling points is conversions. Now really – what affiliate program isn’t going to promise that? However they did seem to state their conversions in an upfront and honest manner. They advertise “10%-15% conversion ratio” which was nice – it’s good to actually see some figures, rather than vague buzz words.

It’s a little too early for me to say how the conversions are – but so far they seem to be fairly solid. What I really noticed was how great they are when it comes to converting players. I’ve got an exclusive 10 free spins offer with Atlantis Gold Casino and I’d recommend trying it out for yourself – here’s my landing page. You’ll see how they go after the player to convert them.

Before the player gets to access the free spins, the casino is already offering some great bonuses. As soon as they are done with the 10 free spins, the casino continues to try and get the player to convert with various different offers. It’s aggressive marketing – but it works.

On top of that – since I have had a player account, I’ve received an e-mail every 2-3 days offering me additional free spins. The majority of players are going to take advantage of this – and when they do? They’re hit with more aggressive advertising. These guys are very serious about both their conversion and retention. While I don’t have the long-term data yet to see whether or not it works – I would be very surprised if it doesn’t, and I’ve been focusing on putting them in my top spots.

I have unfortunately deleted a bunch of the e-mails but here’s a screenshot of a few of them so you get the idea:

And what I really like is they don’t half-ass it on the e-mails either. Check this out:

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Quick Summary

As I said – at the time of this writing, I’ve only been working with Firebrand Affiliates for a short time. However I’m really looking forward to hopefully forging a long-term relationship with them. They hit all the right spots for me – passionate affiliate managers, prompt payments, rare software, real time statistics, no negative carryover, and what looks like very solid and serious conversion and retention.

I would highly recommend giving the Firebrand Affiliate Program a try. I’ll be completely honest – I had never heard of them until they approached me a couple of months ago about working with them. But in the short time that I’ve been working with them, I’m glad they did.

Click here to sign up with Firebrand Affiliates. Or if you want more information, keep reading!

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Brands

As mentioned, Firebrand Affiliates offer two brands: Atlantis Gold Casino and Treasure Island Jackpots.

For the most part, both casinos are the same. Their homepages are only different in terms of cosmetics – the layout is very similar.

Both brands have a very strong CTA above the fold. Here’s an example of Atlantis Gold:

Lot of things I really like about this homepage. Some of the main positives:

  • Solid bonus opening offer. Free cash AND free spins is a nice combo.
  • Using a bonus code. I’ve always found via split-testing that offering a bonus code just seems to convert better. I think it makes it more “real” to the user – and it immediately switches their mind from “Should I try this online casino?” to “I better remember this bonus code for WHEN I download this casino.”
  • Choice CTA, with Download Now or Join Now. Always smart.
  • Game of the Day: My favourite feature. It’s highlighting a game players should try out, AND is current and relevant and shows that the online casino is updating daily.
  • Sidebar: I mean look at what is on offer. 24/7 live support via telephone and e-mail; very reassuring. Slot tournaments – fantastic conversion tool as those are still rare to a lot of players. Then the generic “Win Cash” which is nothing groundbreaking but still adds to the conversions and puts positivity in the users mind. Then “Safe and Secure” with the little icon, for additional reassuring.

There’s a lot more elements to the homepage but those are the main ones. I really do dig the sidebar – I like that they offer both support and security as main features to reassure the user.

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Commission

If you visit the Firebrand Affiliates Homepage you may actually be a bit confused. The banner states “Up to 60% commission”, the FAQ states “up to 35% commission” and the commission page states “as much as 37% total commission”. I’m not sure why it’s all over the place like that and I’ve sent them an e-mail recommending they fix that.

In the meantime, I spoke with Steven Taylor at Firebrand Affiliates. He stated “The standard commission is actually 37%. We do however offer additional commission rates based on volume”. I can confirm that I signed up and am currently on the standard commission plan, and I am getting 37%.

Firebrand mostly work with revenue share. CPA and Hybrid IS available but is based on negotiations depending on volume, and the type of traffic that is coming from the affiliates website.

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Marketing

Slots are the name of the game at Firebrands two casinos, Treasure Island Jackpots and Atlantis Gold Casino.

I mean – take a look at the homepage of Treasure Island Jackpots:

Out of the 11 attention-grabbing graphics for users, 7 of them are related to slots. It’s the exact same at Altantis Gold Casino.

All of the retention I have seen thus far in regard to the e-mails sent out by Atlantis Gold Casino have been 100% focused on slots players. I’ve been getting e-mails practically daily with free spins. I would be promoting the Firebrands Affiliate casinos strongly towards slots players. This is without a doubt the best method of conversion when it comes to the Firebrands Affiliates casinos.

I spoke to Firebrand Affiliates and they said that the best conversion for them is usually always the free spins feature, or the free spins plus the 1000 EUR signup bonus. You can also get custom landing pages set up with a unique signup code which is always nice.

One thing I really like is how the casinos use social marketing. Atlantis Gold for example are always offering free spins on Facebook, and running special promos. They are currently running one where if the user deposits with the bonus code “MYSTERYFLIGHTTAG” then not only do they get a 70% bonus, but they get the chance to win a mystery flight for two. These sort of promotions are AWESOME. It’s really good to see an online casino that understands social marketing and how to utilize it so that it actually comes off resourceful.

If you’re ready, head on over to Firebrand Affiliates and register and give them a try!

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: Global

All countries are accepted by Firebrand Affiliates, and its casinos.

Both Firebrand Affiliate Casinos use the BetOnSoft Casino software.

Both casinos are download only. Atlantis Gold is Mac Compatible and actually has a big sidebar graphic declaring that – so if you’re targeting Mac Users, go with Atlantis Gold.

Firebrand Affiliate Program Review: FAQ

When do Firebrand Affiliates pay out to affiliates?

Usually on the 1st-2nd of any month.

Any more questions? Ask away. Or head on over to Firebrand Affiliates and give them a try!


TCIM: Thank Cyber It’s Monday

Welcome to Thank Cyber It’s Monday – a great time to be an affiliate, with so many companies offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

I know some webmasters who have websites dedicated to Black Friday and it’s funny to see their stats. 1-2 visitors a month for 11 months of the year, then one short period where it jumps to 20,000+ daily. Funny to see. (more…)


Chipsplit Issues: Player Detracked, Retracked to Another Affiliate

Let me preface this article by stating that this is not a recent occurrence – this issue occurred back in April/May of 2011. However it has only came to light this past week, when I discovered that a player who was tracked to me at Carbon Poker, and was confirmed by Chipsplit as tracked to me – was no longer tracked.

This issue apparently occurred as at the time, Carbon Poker would allow bonus codes to override any affiliate signups. However this is different than “player clicks through your link, sees coupon code field during registration process and googles it”, as this player was already registered, and signed up via me.

This player went through my links to register at Carbon Poker, was signed up under me at Carbon Poker, AND I received multiple reports from Chipsplit confirming that this player was tracked to me. Then he apparently used a bonus code from another affiliate when first depositing, and it removed that player from me and tracked it to the other affiliate.

This situation apparently wouldn’t occur today because Chipsplit say that bonus codes don’t override prior tracking anymore. However it is still an extremely frustrating situation that I would like to vent about.

On November 13th, 2012 a player e-mailed me to state that he had signed up at Carbon Poker via my main rakeback website, RakebackResource.com. Whenever a player signs up under me, I always ask them to e-mail me so I can confirm they are tracked, provide them with additional details, and add them to my database in case we run any promotions at that particular room.

I e-mailed Chipsplit Support to verify the player was tracked to me. On November 15th, I was informed that it was a duplicate account. The player had previously registered at Carbon Poker under a different username(Kilica), and was tracked to another affiliate.

However, when I checked my player database, I noticed that this player was listed as tracked to me, with the Kilica username. I went through my old e-mails, and confirmed that he had signed up under me. I also have numerous reports that were manually run and sent to me from Chipsplit, confirming that this player was tracked to me.

Here is a screenshot showing this:

I have another one which only displays his e-mail address and I’ve had to blur that out but here it is below:

The player had registered under me at Carbon Poker in April, 2011. As you can see above – this was confirmed by Chipsplit that he was tracked to me.

I e-mailed Chipsplit support back to verify this, because I knew for a fact that Kilica was tracked under me. They e-mailed me back to reaffirm that he is tracked to another affiliate.

At this point I took the issue to Atil and Cory, two of the top men at Chipsplit. This issue was looked into, and Cory stated that when the player deposited, he used an “offline bonus code”. Due to this, he was tracked to whatever affiliate had that bonus code.

So this whole thing is extremely frustrating. I understand the whole issue of bonus codes overriding cookies etc – but this situation does not sit right with me. This player registered under my link. This player was verified multiple times to be tracked to me. Then because he apparently deposited with another bonus code, he’s not tracked to me?

This is particularly frustrating because I correspond with all my players. I confirm they are tracked to me with Chipsplit so I can then confirm to the player that they are tracked under me. Now I look like an idiot who has to say to this player, and any other players that this happened to – that they are now no longer eligible for any promotions we are running because when I e-mailed them telling them they were tracked to me back in 2011 – that’s now no longer the case!

It makes me look like a complete idiot, and is a completely embarrassing thing to have to do.

Furthermore, the inconsistencies are driving me up the wall. On November 22nd in their e-mail to me, Chipsplit stated:

“In fact you have an offline bonus code as well RBR35 was a code that switched players to your affiliate account upon use.

However on April 26th 2011, when they set up the RBR35 bonus code, they stated:

The code that I have created is an initial deposit bonus with added tracking and rakeback, if the player is not tracked to any affiliate when they use it, they will get tracking to you and rakeback added upon use.

In addition to that, Chipsplit also stated to me:

This was also listed in our Ts&Cs at the time when these were offered.

Here is a link to the terms and conditions of Chipsplit in April 2011. Yes, I save that shit.

At no point does it state that the signup bonus code overrides the tracking link – nor does it state that “all players you bring in and who registered will be stolen from you if they use another affiliates bonus code to deposit”. I should also note that despite Chipsplit stating that their signup code policy has changed – the terms and conditions in regard to signup codes have NOT changed. Bar a few sentences, the terms and conditions now are the EXACT same terms and conditions from back in April of 2011.

It’s bad enough to feel like an idiot – please don’t treat me like one as well.

What Can Be Done Now?

Honestly, at this point nothing can be done at this stage to rectify the situation. It is what it is. I’m frustrated, and have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth over the whole ordeal, but life goes on. I’ll move on, and I’ll continue to promote Chipsplit because despite this situation, I feel they still have strong brands and I think Atil/Cory are two of the best affiliate managers out there. Hell their stat system tried to screw me out of thousands of dollars of sub-affiliate income and I’m still promoting them; losing a couple of players a year ago isn’t the end of the world.

Whatever could have been done about this situation has already been done – Chipsplit have changed their tracking so that bonus codes do not override tracking links anymore – so this situation should not occur again.

I’m still not happy with the way it all went down, however. I understand the whole “bonus code overriding cookies” deal – but to me, this is a lot different. With other programs who have this rule, the player is usually only switched to the bonus code affiliate during the registration process – NOT after they have registered and been tracked to the original affiliate.

For a player to sign up under my link after I spoke to him and referred him personally, and to have that player confirmed as tracked to me numerous times by Chipsplit themselves, then I lose that player? That isn’t right at all.

I’ve been in contact with Chipsplit as I want to run an independent inquiry into this. I’ve requested they provide me with information like the specific date that the bonus code overriding was canceled, the date the player made the first deposit so I can confirm when he was detracked to me, and a list of all players tracked to me so I can see if I’ve had any other players stolen from me. Unfortunately it’s been 24 hours since I requested that information and I haven’t received a response yet – but I will update this page when I do hear back.

I’m a very positive guy. I like to believe that “every cloud has a silver lining”. One of my main goals in life is to make lemonade out of lemons.

But there’s no positive spin I can put on this. It just sucks.

And sometimes a dudes just gotta rant.




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TWIM: Thank Whatever It’s Monday – Early Bird Edition

Welcome to Thank Whatever It’s Monday: Early Bird Edition.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote Thank The Worm It’s Monday where I mentioned that I got up at 5am every morning. This got quite a response in comments, e-mails etc and so I decided to expand on that and write a whole article about it. (more…)


TTWIM: Thank The Worm It’s Monday

This week we’re thanking The Worm that it’s Monday.

Now I know it’s Monday morning. Your eyes are still half-shut and you’re sipping on that coffee, hoping for some spark of life. So I’m going to try and explain the title of this one as simple as humanly possible.

“The Worm” does NOT refer to Dennis Rodman. (more…)


6 Gambling Websites I’m Building in 2013; and 3 To Avoid

One question I get asked often is “is gambling affiliation dead?”. And honestly – it’s a very fair question.

If you look at everything that has happened in the gambling world over the last few years, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that it is dead. I mean we have had so many issues with legislation and regulation. We’ve watched the poker traffic drop considerably. Google has been bloodthirsty lately in terms of algorithm changes that are affecting online business – particularly for affiliate marketers – drastically. (more…)


Analyzing the “Daily Deal” Marketing Method

One of the best methods of marketing that I’ve seen evolve in a dramatic fashion over the last year is the Daily Deal marketing concept.

Now – “daily deal” marketing is nothing new or groundbreaking. It’s a practice that has been around in marketing forever. It combines two strong forms of selling – “limited time product” with “cheap product”. Both of these practices on their own are very strong – put them together and the results can be very positive.

But one thing that is relatively new is businesses building their whole business around it.

Now I’m not sure if it was the first website to do this – but one of the initiators was woot.com.

Their business plan can be summarized with their tagline – “One Day, One Deal”. Every day, there would be a different item available for sale. They usually had limited stock so if the product ran out, everyone else was SOL. Woot also would never list a new item on the same day – they would always wait until the very next day before listing a new item.

What Woot really did that was groundbreaking however, was its interaction with customers. Honestly, a lot of the times the items on woot were the same items you would find on the shelves at Liquidation World or a cheap electronics store. There was a lot of liquidated items and refurbished items.

However Woot never attempted to insult the customers intelligence. They spoke to the customer on their level. They wrote witty, entertaining descriptions. They created a huge community. They created a ridiculously strong and trustworthy brand name. You had people buying items off woot that they didn’t need or even want until woot posted about it.

Hell – Woot would even promote a mysterious “Bag of Crap” where you were paying money with absolutely no idea what you would get – and these would be their highest selling days!

So – Woot was successful. As a website it evolved into sub-categories. Along with the general Woot website they opened up new websites like “Wine.woot”, “Kids.woot” and “Shirt.woot”. Wine.woot would offer wine-related products every day, Kids.woot would feature childrens products every day, and Shirt.woot would feature a different t-shirt every day.

And it’s that last one that we’re going to focus on.

Here’s something that will hopefully surprise no-one: if you do something successful, people will copy it. Yeah, big shocker right? Sometimes the websites are poor imitations (think of all the sites that try and copy Pokerlistings), while others come along and do it a lot better (ie: Reddit, Facebook). Woots t-shirt website was a huge success, and that has spawned many copycat websites with more opening every day.

And it’s bloody fascinating.

This industry is still growing at the moment, and is really still in its infancy. As more and more people catch on, more websites are cropping up. At this time there’s a few “tried and true” methods that work – but we’re still seeing all these t-shirt sites try out new things. With more competition popping up, the existing websites are then trying to “up their game”. I’m sure eventually it’ll get to the stage that any business like this gets – due to over saturation it becomes cut-throat and only minimal profit margins.

But at this point in time, it really is a business model you need to study. I wanted to write today about various marketing methods the daily t-shirt websites use, and their business model in general.

What does all this have to do with affiliate marketing?

When it comes to research, I find that affiliate marketers often limit themselves. They rely on blogs, communities and websites rather than going out and looking at actual, real-world data.

You can learn so much about marketing just by turning on the TV. If you’re heading out of the room during Superbowl commercials to get more Doritos, or you’re skipping through the commercials when you’re watching TV shows on your PVR – you’re missing out on some incredibly valuable marketing data and research. You have multimillion dollar marketing campaigns right in front of you – there is so much you can learn from that Youtube Ad before a video, or how McDonalds handles their Monopoly game.

The “daily deal” business model is on the rise right now, and there’s so many interesting marketing methods and general strategies out there that you really should be paying attention to it.

Now let’s look at these daily t-shirt websites, and how they conduct their business:

What Daily T-Shirt Websites Are There?

First things first – it’s possible you haven’t even visited a daily t-shirt website in your life. So I’m going to provide a list of the main ones – feel free to click through each one, get a “feel” for them and then come back:

http://shirt.woot.com/
http://www.teefury.com/
http://www.riptapparel.com
http://www.anotherfinetee.com/
http://www.othertees.com/
http://www.qwertee.com
http://theyetee.com/
http://shirtpunch.com/

On top of that, DayOfTheShirt.com is focused on listing ALL new designs every day, so you only need to actually visit their site, as opposed to bookmarking all the others. (And look at how they sneak the ads in there – I dig it!).

Limited Time Marketing:

I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? It’s limited time marketing – it forces a decision. People only have 24 hours (for most of the sites) to buy a t-shirt. It changes the mindset. It stops the visitor from out-thinking themselves. They know they have to make a decision quickly – and basic consumerism always sways to the “buy” mindset. Just look at Walmart on Black Friday to see that for yourselves.

What’s funny is 99% of these t-shirts are NOT limited time – you can actually buy them at RedBubble.com (albeit for a more expensive price). But the majority of the userbase is simply not aware of this.

Simplicity:

Above-the-fold is the main focus for purchasing. They have made it as simple as possible. The elements are usually the same:

  1. Models displaying the t-shirts
  2. Countdown clock showing how long you have to purchase
  3. Choice of Mens/Womens and size option
  4. Big “Buy” or “Add to Cart” CTA.

Those are the primary elements. Those are the “basics” that every site sticks with. There are numerous secondary elements to the homepage, I wrote an article that covered this topic in more detail but from an affiliate marketers perspective: Copying a Successful Affiliates Marketing Constant which you should read for more on that topic. Here are a couple of examples and you will be able to see the similarities:

One constant I do want to mention though is the websites using actual real people to display the t-shirts. This may not seem like a big deal but it’s huge – people are still wary of purchasing clothing online because you don’t really know for sure how it will look, or how it will fit. Some designs can be relatively misleading. Using actual real people to display the product is very smart because it immediately increases the visitors comfort factor in regard to the product.

Curiousity Factor:

Usually when you are an online retailer, you only get people coming to your site when they actually want to buy what you have to offer. I mean do YOU visit Newegg on a daily basis? If I need computer parts then NewEgg is my first stop – but other than that, I forget the site actually exists the rest of the time.

With these type of sites you get an absolute ton of repeat visitors because people don’t know if they’re going to want something until they see it – so they NEED to come back each day. And getting the potential customer there is half the battle.

Demand and Supply:

One reason that these websites are so appealing to start up is because of the low overhead. Unlike other t-shirt websites that create a huge selection of t-shirts and have many of them sitting around, running themselves into the red until they sell – the daily t-shirt sites don’t have that concern.

They only produce what the demand is. They know EXACTLY how much their customers want, so they’re never running at a loss when it comes to printing costs. And by limiting the customer to a one day purchase it allows them to focus purely on batch production, which is a real money saver when it comes to printing.

Easy Business to Run:

Okay I’m not saying this is an EASY business to run – far from it. But there are some great aspects to this business that make it a lot easier to run than other business.

Half the work when selling merchandise is the design aspect. They use freelance graphic designers who submit their artwork to them – so that aspect of the site runs itself! They have practically eliminated one of the toughest jobs by having other people submitting their work to them and doing their job for them. And artists are queuing up to get listed on their site.

Their web based system for displaying their merchandise is most likely very simple and easy too. Their systems are (hopefully) practically automated – it’s a case of uploading a new graphic, adding in some text and then letting the automated system do the rest of the work, like archiving the old t-shirts, updating all the graphics all around the site, on their Facebook page etc.

Visitor Based Marketing:

One great thing about these types of sites is your customers do the marketing for you!

One regular visitor will see a Breaking Bad t-shirt or a Batman t-shirt, and tell any of his friends who are into Breaking Bad or Batman and will wear that style of t-shirt. So there’s a lot of customer referral marketing going on (yet a surprising lack of refer-a-friend programs; I would be encouraging that).

Then there’s the graphic designers – the guys making the designs that end up on t-shirts. You think they’re going to keep quiet? Of course not. They’ll be over the moon that their designs are in print. They’ll be telling anyone and everyone, introducing whole new customer bases to the sites AND introducing all their designer friends who will also submit designs, continuing the process.

Hell, you could start a site like this up with zero marketing needed. Just pay a few popular designers upfront to get the ball rolling, and you’re good to go.

Teasing the Visitors:

One thing you want customers to do is want something that they can’t have – or they have to wait for. If you need an example just look at the Nintendo Wii when that launched. It’s why companies advertise new products sometimes up to a year in advance. Their aim is to get the customer practically salivating at the thought of owning that product.

Some of these sites do that too. They offer “side art” or allow the visitor the chance to vote – designs in the sidebar that are not yet for sale and may never be for sale. Then they gauge the visitors interest in them – not a day goes by without people commenting just on the side art, and how badly they want it.

Not only are those visitors then ready to insta-buy that design – but it has them coming back every day, waiting for the design that they want. And then another design may just catch their eye.

Careful of Over-saturation:

These daily t-shirt sites cover a wide variety of t-shirts. Movies, TV, Video Games, pretty artwork – the lot.

Obviously, some t-shirts will be more popular than others. So lets say one day, they run a Breaking Bad t-shirt and the sales are 200% more than the average day. Then 2 weeks later, they run another Breaking Bad t-shirt and see the same level of sales.

A bad businessman would look at that and say “Lets run Breaking Bad t-shirts EVERY DAY”.

However the guys behind these websites are smart. They know that one of the key selling points is the rarity of the items. By flooding the market with the same concept, idea or style over and over it will just turn a lot of users off.

Many people buy t-shirts from these sites purely due to that. I’ve never went out of my way to buy a Fallout Video Game t-shirt for example. However I own 4 separate Fallout: New Vegas t-shirts all from these sites, simply because when they appear once every month or so, they really seem like a rarity.

On top of that – they don’t abuse their model. If they had a popular design they could “bring it back for one day only”. I’ve seen that happen – but only a handful of times. They realize how crucial the limited time marketing method is when it comes to selling, and never abuse that.

Squeezing Blood from a Stone:

I saved my favourite one for last.

I’m sure there’s a limited amount of earnings when it comes to these websites. Probably a slow growth with a few big spikes depending on the t-shirt offered. So what we are seeing is these websites trying ADDITIONAL marketing methods to try and squeeze more purchases out of the visitor.

A few examples:

  • “T-shirt battles”: As shown above. Well, the guise of a battle anyway. Rather than one design the site will sometimes offer TWO designs. And people vote on what one is best by buying it! It’s the basic “Tip Jar Question” concept which works every time.
  • “Mystery Bag”: This is a common one of course – maybe once a month, or once every two months they’ll offer the chance to buy a mystery set of t-shirts. The price will be cheaper but you won’t have any idea what you get. People LOVE this crap – they LOVE the idea of a mystery. As I mentioned about woot and their bag of crap above – these can be the biggest moneymaking days for these sites.
  • The Last Chance: Occasionally, these sites will give visitors a “last chance” to buy a t-shirt. After the day is up, they may have an additional 8 hours to change their mind and purchase the t-shirt. This one thankfully hasn’t been abused yet as it’s not used often – and therefore it still works. It can convert on the fence visitors. It can convert visitors who forgot to check the day before. And one more thing: visitors are going to these websites WANTING to buy something. If they go and see the daily t-shirt isn’t a design they want – well, they may look at the “Last Chance” t-shirt and think “Eh, why not”, lining the pockets of these sites just a little more.

In Conclusion:

There is an absolute wealth of knowledge available when it comes to these websites for affiliate marketers. Even if you’re not interested in purchasing any of these t-shirts, you should be studying them and the methods they use. Look at what works and what doesn’t – what changes they incorporate, what new marketing methods they utilize etc. There’s so much we can learn from them – not just in their successes, but their failures too. Because believe me – as the competition increases, these sites are going to start using many more risky marketing methods.

And with more and more affiliates these days looking to start their own business, this may be one business model you should consider. But if you do that, just remember one thing:

Do it better.


Googles September 28th EMD Update

I’m sure most of you have heard about it, but for those who haven’t – Google recently did another algorithm update, focused on exact match domains.

The Google exact match domain(EMD) update took place late September 28th, rolling out first to the US and then worldwide very quickly.

Matt Cutts wrote about it on Twitter, and almost made it sound like no big deal. (more…)


TFIM: Thank F It’s Monday

You can fill in the “F” with whatever you want. Fall, Football – it all counts. I’m just happy it’s Monday and I get to write the first one of these articles in awhile!

Life has been rather crazy lately, and I haven’t been able to do much work. As an example, here was the way I spent the last couple of weeks in August:

  • August 19th: Up to Toronto for Blue Jays game
  • August 21st-24th: Back up to Toronto for Family Trip. We went to Canadas Wonderland etc.
  • August 28th-August 31: Flew to Edmonton to party it up with friends.
  • August 31-September 4th: Flew from Edmonton to Scotland, to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday.

Overall a crazy time, and I am just getting back into the swing of things – starting of course, with this article!

This update is mostly going to feature awesome little things I’ve seen on websites lately that have really stood out to me.

Meetups:

Met a couple of my good affiliate friends when I went to the Blue Jays game in Toronto. First up is Graham of the awesome CheapDude.com and also John Wright of my fierce competitor, Gaffg. Always good times with those guys, and I had a blast.

I talk a lot on here about how great it is being an affiliate, as opposed to being in the 9-5 job. Just meeting up with those two again provided me with another reason. I left my 9-5 Government job around 6 years ago. I worked there about 8 years. You know how many people I keep in touch with from that place? 1. And even then we maybe send each other an e-mail 2-3 times per year.

Yet in the affiliate industry I’ve made countless friends. People like Graham and John – where we’ll keep in touch mostly via Facebook/Twitter and sometimes e-mail, going months without seeing each other – but if our paths ever cross in the same city, there’s no question we will be meeting up and partying our asses off.

I mean – before I left, I was talking to one affiliate manager who I am friends with and lives in the UK. My trip to the UK was hush-hush but I informed him about it. He said if I wanted to spend an extra night and go visit London he’d put me up and his program would also cover the flight price. That’s what I really like: you get to make friends with both affiliates, and affiliate managers.

Yahoo Fantasy Football:

I’m in many Yahoo Fantasy Football Leagues. Each year, I get more and more impressed with the way Yahoo manage to do everything.

They introduced a new feature(I believe it is anyway) this year which is recaps after each week. Here’s the recap for one of my Week 1 games – click for big:

I mean really – all it is, is stats. That’s it. Stats but presented in an incredibly readable fashion – you almost believe that it was written individually just for you.

This is something that keeps them ahead of the game(even though there’s a lot of competition out there). On top of that, it encourages you to do more pageviews at Yahoo, which obviously increases the chances of you clicking ads or at least bumping up their stats.

Genius.

Gmail Spam

I thought this was really neat. I have a gmail account I use exclusively for newsletters for various companies – it’s nice to keep up to date on how various companies in different genres market to a user.

Recently I went to unsubscribe from one, and up popped this:

Which is fantastic – an easy way to unsubscribe from a ton of newsletters – especially if you were hit by spam or whatever. It never fails to impress me all the little tweaks Google implement that you don’t even realize yet make a better user experience.

William Hill Neat Feature:

And recently while placing a bet at William Hill:

Which is awesome – they allow you to give reasons as to why you bet on something, and also read the reasons from others. This is just yet another small thing which can only increase business. From a betting perspective – people LOVE to yammer on about their tips etc – now they can do it with a huge audience there. From the readers perspective – it’s a great way to entice the reader, and turn the potential better into actually betting. He’s not just reading the generic tips anymore – he’s reading real tips from real people.

It may not seem like a big deal – but it’s the small things like that, which can drastically increase a websites income. Always thinking of the user, how to make money from the user, and how to actually squeeze even more money out of the users actions.

And just to clarify – when you bet, it doesn’t prompt you every time. It just gives you a “Tip It” button. See the example below:

Best Captcha Ever?

A couple of months ago when the new Batman movie came out, one of my friends wanted to go see it with me.

I am ashamed to admit I had never seen Batman Begins OR The Dark Knight. I meant to really – I just never got around to it.

So while doing some light work, I started watching the Batman movies. And while filling in a web form while watching Batman Forever, this captcha popped up:

Seriously, what are the odds of THAT captcha popping up while watching freaking Batman? To say I was freaked out would be a slight understatement.

And just for the record – Batman Begins sucked big time. The Dark Knight was awesome and pretty much the perfect movie, and The Dark Knight Rises was decent but waaaay too long.

Interesting Search Results:

A couple of weeks ago while searching, I came across these results:

Obviously adding the “branding” of “Wikipedia” caused those results, but it’s very interesting to see that sort of layout. I haven’t been able to duplicate those results, but if anything I think it is a strong indication of Google leaning even more towards protecting companies brand names.

Facebook

For those unaware – Affiliate Bible now has a Facebook Page. You should Like the Facebook Page because magic ponies jump out and shower you in money. I think that’s how it works.

So of course I’m posting the articles I write here onto the Facebook page. Recently when going to post it I saw a “Promote” button.

I clicked it and:

That is freaking awesome. I mean obviously Facebook would implement that – but just look how SIMPLE it is.

Here’s what that is accomplishing:

  1. It’s making Facebook money.
  2. It’s making Facebook money while giving the user what they wants – potentially more views of their post.
  3. It’s making Facebook money while giving the user what they want IN THE SIMPLEST WAY POSSIBLE – it takes literally 2 clicks and I’ve increased my potential reach.

Amazing.

In Summary:

Take a look at your websites. Look at how you interact with the user, and think of ways where you can both make money from the user, AND do something to benefit them in some manner. That way you’re killing two birds with one stone.

I’m now off to enjoy my first REAL week back at work. Have a fantastic week everyone.


Big Time Revenue Affiliate Program Review

I started working with Big Time Revenue in June of 2012. It’s early days yet, but so far I am impressed with the relationship that we have set up. My affiliate manager is Fredrik Wadstein.

Big Time Revenue are an online bingo affiliate program. They currently offer three brands to promote, which are Bingo Palace, Big Time Bingo, and OnlineBingo.com. (more…)


Relying on Brand Names: 5 Things You Need To Know

Most affiliates rely on brand names to make money online. Whether this is directly relying on them via the search engines, or indirectly relying on them by using their strong brand name and logo across your website – the strength of a companies brand name is often a deciding factor in what companies and brands we promote.

There are many affiliates who rely 100% on the strength of a brand name, and those are the websites I want to talk about today. They build an exact match keyword domain. Here are a few examples of websites I found on page #1 on Google today for these phrases: (more…)


Thank Affiliate Marketing It’s Wednesday!

What’s that? A Thank ______ It’s Monday on a Wednesday? WTF is going on?

Well, with it being Summer, the kids being off school and for a few other reasons(which I’ll get into in a minute), I’ve been all over the place lately. Any regular readers know that there’s nothing more I love than getting up at 4am-5am every morning.

Honestly, I’m at the point where mentally, I HAVE to get up early. if I sleep in, I’m honestly depressed. The other day I didn’t wake up until 11am, and I absolutely hated it. I was legit depressed all day, and couldn’t shake myself out of that mood. I basically just lazed around on the couch doing absolutely nothing productive.

Today is the first day in about a month where I’ve actually woken up before 8am – 4:35am to be exact. And I am feeling pumped. It’s 8:30am as I’m writing this and I’ve worked out and put in 3 hours of solid work, while the whole family is sleeping.

It’s a fantastic day, and I wanted to share my motivation mojo with you!

Why Am I Thanking Affiliate Marketing?

As I mentioned above – there were a few other reasons that have made this past month a bit hectic. On July 23, my mother-in-law died. Coincidentally, on the same day as me and my wife’s 10th anniversary.

My wife’s side of the family is very close, and this has obviously thrown everyone for a loop. But in it’s own, weird way it’s really made me appreciate the aspects of affiliate marketing we don’t always consider.

Many people like affiliate marketing because it means they’re essentially their own boss. They can set their own work, set their own hours etc – really just do what they want with no hassle.

Being able to set your own hours, is something that should never be underestimated. Because it really is invaluable. There was one family member who was unable to get any time off to go to the wakes or the funeral, and I know it killed him. Then there’s others who were able to get a couple of days off, but then were forced back into the grind almost immediately. Going to work their 9-5 jobs, being forced to interact with people as if everything is ok, then finishing work and heading off to deal with all the stuff that a family death brings.

With affiliate marketing, I’m able to take all the time off I want. I’m not forced to work – if I needed to, I could take a whole month off. Things like that are very reassuring. I mean, most of my family lives in Scotland. If my mom died and I worked a 9-5 job – it’d be a lot more of a hassle for me getting the time off, then traveling over there. Then I wouldn’t be able to stay over there for long.

While with affiliate marketing, I could take off any time I wanted. Hell I just take my office with me – I could take my Netbook with me and then spend a month over there if need be.

That’s the practical aspect of it all – but the main reason for me, is the mental aspect. I’ve went through family and friend deaths before when I worked a 9-5 job. I remembered just how hard it could be. Having to pick myself up, go into the office and try and force myself into a job that I hated, while having mundane conversation with co-workers.

It sucks. Hard.

But affiliate marketing is different, because it’s a job that we love, and it’s a job where we do whatever we want. And this made the world of difference. I threw myself into building a new website. It was a great way to take my mind off the bad stuff and really focus on the positives, and distract myself. Being able to set my mind on a new website, planning it all out in my head and on paper then building it all really helped me in regard to moving on.

If you’re a successful affiliate marketer, be sure to take some time to really appreciate the job that we have. There’s a lot more positives to it than just “sitting in my pyjamas making money online”.

Onto the Positives:

I’m not one that likes to dwell on the negatives, so let’s start focusing on the positives immediately!

One of the first things I had to do upon getting back into work mode, was log into Carbon Poker, and get some screenshots of their Caribbean Stud game, while writing a quick review of it.

Now I could’ve BS’d it all but I really like to make my content etc as authentic as possible, so I decided to play a few games of Caribbean Stud.

3 hands into my game:

Why hello! That was a nice boost for sure. So I played a little bit longer. Maybe 5 hands later:

Always nice to get little bonuses like that! $200+ just for taking a few screenshots and writing 400 words? I’ll take it!

My Money Keywords:

Here’s one for the affiliate managers reading – although it’s important for affiliates to read as well.

If we’re just starting to work together, or we’re in the beginning stages of setting up a deal – don’t ask me “What keywords do you rank for? What keywords make you the most money?”.

I understand that you could be asking for purely honest reasons. You may want to know more about my traffic, so you can tailor landing pages and promotions towards that sort of traffic, to help them convert.

But one of the biggest parts of affiliate marketing, is finding the money keywords no-one else is really going for and mining the hell out of them. Large parts of any affiliate marketers income is ranking for the phrases that others aren’t targeting, and keeping those phrases as secret as possible. Because if you let others know what the keywords are, you’re basically saying “I don’t want to make money”.

The last thing I am ever going to do, is share those keywords with an affiliate manager whom I’ve never met before, and shared just 3 e-mail correspondences with. If anything, it just turns affiliates off. I was setting up a deal with an affiliate program last week, and the manager said to me “Before we agree to that revenue share percentage, we need to know what your top 10 keywords you rank for are”.

I immediately told them to forget it, and have now ignored any correspondence from them.

Now this may sound like I’m being a bit of an asshole – but I’m really not. It surprises me how easy some affiliates fork over their keywords to affiliate managers(and even other affiliates). Your keywords are the business secrets that make you money! You honestly need to guard these with your life. You can’t trust ANYONE – because at the end of the day, money trumps ALL.

I knew a relatively new affiliate that stumbled on a keyword that was generating him over 100 signups a month. For a new affiliate this was HUGE. He was speaking to an experienced, respected veteran affiliate about this. The experienced affiliate asked him for the keywords, so he could help him in regard to advice on how to really capitalize on it and increase conversions.

1 month later, the experienced affiliate was ranking #1-#6 for the keyword, and the new affiliate was SOL. Things like that aren’t even the exception – it’s the RULE. What that new affiliate did was not just share a few keywords – he shared the secret to making $xx,xxx a month(which would ultimately lead to $xxx,xxx a year). That’s something that is hard to turn down, no matter how strict your morals are.

So protect your successful keywords, and don’t let anyone know about them. There’s practically no-one that you can trust.

And for affiliate managers – as I said above, it’s all about the wording. Don’t ask affiliates their keywords. Instead ask “What type of traffic are you bringing? If you’re bringing roulette traffic for example, we can customize a landing page to acccomodate those players.” Not only is that a more tactful way of doing it, but it demonstrates that you REALLY want us to work together and make money together, and it’s reassuring knowing where your mindset is.

New Website:

I mentioned above that I threw all my energy into a new website. There’s a little bit more to it than that.

For all new affiliates, I have my (dare I say, awesome) affiliate marketing step by step guide. it’s a 25 step guide which takes someone from “I’d love to make money online” to “Holy crap, I’m set up to make money online!” and I’ve written it with the “For Dummies” mindset.

However, a guide like that is only the beginning. There is so much more to being a webmaster, and I wanted to fully capture it.

That’s why I’ve started writing a book.

I had a publishing deal hooked up years ago to write an affiliate guide in book format. But I decided against this, because everything is changing so fast in the internet world that information from even 6 months ago is outdated today. I mean, a book pre-Panda/Penguin is practically worthless these days.

So as I build my new website, I write about it in a diary format, logging what I do every day. It’s quite the challenge. I outsource a lot of stuff these days – but I’m trying to write it for the new webmaster, who most likely wouldn’t be outsourcing. So I’m doing EVERYTHING myself. From writing all the content to doing the coding, design and even the crappy logo. You sometimes forget just how much work is involved in building websites. Especially when you’re a perfectionist.

I also decided that I should go after one of the more difficult markets out there. I feel setting myself up with a challenge is for the best in terms of the work I need to put into the site. So I went for a market within the gambling niche which is both highly competitive, and not exactly what you’d call “lucrative”. That market is of course the No Deposit Market, and the website I have launched and am writing about is NoDepositSites.com.

I’ll most likely be releasing the book via the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc purely for Kindle, Kobo, Nook etc reading to begin with.

I’m not sure when I will be releasing the book. Ideally, I’ll make half a million by December and release it then, because the tagline “How I went from $0 to $500k in 6 months” is quite the catchy sub-title.

Although knowing the No Deposit market, it’ll end up being “How I wasted the last 6 months and just want to die.”

Amazon has a humour section, right?

Google Security:

I must admit, I am HIGHLY impressed with the level of security that Google offers sometimes.

I use a Firefox Plugin which has 6 of my gmail addresses in the status bar at the bottom, and it checks them every few minutes, notifying me of any new e-mails.

Yesterday, I was trying out a VPN so I could access Netflix – the USA version(The Canada version is incredibly weak in terms of quality). Well I tested it out on Firefox, which caused this IP address that I’ve never accessed my gmail with before to attempt to access my GMail, obviously.

GMail didn’t like this, even though the password was correct. So it blocked the IP address from logging in, then when I later went to log in after closing down the VPN:

– Gmail notified me of a possible hack to my account. After prompting me for my current password, it immediately requested I create a new password.
– Upon logging into my gmail, I got a big popup message notifying me about a recent login attempt. It listed the IP address, the date and time of the login, and a couple of other details.
– There was an e-mail in my account notifying me about the suspicious sign in.
– Upon changing my password, there was an e-mail informing me the password had been changed.
– Until I confirmed with Google that I was aware of this login, it continued to give me popups when I used Google Search or other Google products.
– All this data was also sent to my secondary e-mail address attached to each Gmail.

I thought this was incredible. Yeah, it was a bit of a hassle for me having to update my password in the plugin, roboform and then my Blackberry for 6 different gmail accounts – but it was worth it, knowing the security involved by Google. I mean – I’m sure if someone was REALLY wanting to hack my account they could – but it’s great knowing the efforts that Google still go to.

I guess Google REALLY don’t want anyone reading your e-mails other than you….and them. :)

Speaking of Security:

I’ll finish this weeks article off by sending you to another solid article to read: How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led To My Epic Hacking.

Always nice when people document things like that. It’s well-written too.

If you’re into that sort of stuff – I highly recommend reading The Cuckoos Egg by Clifford Stoll. I initially read that book back in 1996, but still go back and re-read it every few years. It’s the true story of a guy working in a university computer lab, who due to a slight accounting discrepancy of 75 cents, discovers a hacking group that goes above and beyond what you’d expect.

Really awesome book.

Have a great week guys.


Interview with Successful Kickstarter Edward Scimia

Kickstarter is one of those interesting website concepts that have really taken off in the past year. Yet you might not have really sat down and looked at Kickstarter or how it really works. The media don’t talk about the “core” of Kickstarter which is people with small projects just looking to get some money in advance for a project – they are focused on the Kickstarter projects that make hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight.

I wanted to talk to one of the smaller users of Kickstarter – someone with a standard project, looking for a small amount of money, and with no crazy marketing machine behind him. I spoke to Edward Scimia. Many of you may already know Ed(http://www.edwardscimia.com/) – he is a freelance content writer, and one of the best gambling writers online. (I’ve personally used him for tons of articles, and would give him my highest recommendation).

Ed is a published author, however recently decided to go the Kickstarter route for his next book. I caught up with Ed to talk about his project, and get some insight into how it all works.

Before we get into all the Kickstarter stuff – what do you do for a living?
I’m a freelance writer. Most of my work is related to online content writing: I create all of the content for chess.about.com, and also write content for gambling affiliates and other clients. In addition, I’ve done some self-publishing over the past year. That’s included a number of books that were written for the Kindle, such as Catching Fish, a book aimed at recreational poker players who want to beat live $1/$2 no-limit hold’em games.
Tell us about your Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter is for a book titled So Bad, It’s Good!, which I’m currently in the process of writing. It’s a book about the best of bad movies — the kinds of movies that are terrible, but are still fun to watch with friends. The book will have profiles of more than 50 different films from a variety of different genres. The goal is to make the book a guide that fans of these kids of films can use to find new picks for their bad movie nights.
You’ve published 4 books and a couple of game guides previously without going the Kickstarter route. What made you decide to go to Kickstarter for this book?
When I first started telling people about this book idea, I got a lot of very positive feedback. That made me think that the book could be viable in a physical, paperback form rather than as just another e-book written for the Kindle. However, it would still be a niche project, and I didn’t want to try to go through the traditional publishing route: I’ve had some success with self-publishing, and even if I put the time and effort into trying to pitch a book like this one to a “real” publisher, I’m not sure there’d be any interest.

However, while self-publishing for the Kindle doesn’t require much of a financial investment, having actual paperback copies published does. Kickstarter was a great way to raise money for the publishing costs for a couple of different reasons: it allowed me to take a lot of small pledge, and it gave me an idea of the level of interest in the book itself. There are a lot of self-publishing options out there, and the amount I raise through the Kickstarter will determine whether I go with a fairly basic publishing solution, or whether I will have a higher quality book with some paid marketing for it. If more people are willing to pledge money toward the book, they get a better product — and it probably means there’s a good deal of interest, so paying for better production will have been worth it.

I assume you will be planning on writing more books in the future. Will you ALWAYS be going the Kickstarter route from now on?
Not necessarily. I think Kickstarter a great alternative to the more traditional avenues for publishing a book or funding a creative project, and I’ll probably use it again in the future – in fact, I have at least one idea that I think would make an excellent Kickstarter project once I’m done creating this book. But I can also imagine writing books that I’d try to publish through more traditional channels rather than going the self-publishing route. While the ability for authors to independently self-publish books has come a long way from even a few years ago, there are still definite advantages that come with having a publisher working with you – particularly when it comes to marketing and distribution.
How does Kickstarter work? Do you get the money immediately after the project deadline is over? How much do they take in fees? And what happens if you didn’t write the book?
With Kickstarter, you only get paid if you raise at least the amount you set as a goal. My goal was set at $1,500 — enough to publish a fairly bare bones book after taking into consideration Kickstarter’s fees and the cost of sending out rewards to backers. I was able to reach that goal in less than a week, even though I had allowed for 28 days to raise funds. The Kickstarter will remain open until the end of that period (August 2), so people can continue pledging until that time. I should receive the funds a couple weeks after the funding ends. Kickstarter takes 5% of the total amount raised as a fee; the Amazon Payments system they use as a backend also takes 3-5%. That means that project creators will end up with a little over 90% of the money pledged.

What happens if I didn’t write the book is an interesting question. There have definitely been some phantom projects in the past, and one issue is that there’s really no way for Kickstarter to hold the project creators accountable. To be fair, even in most of these situations, it doesn’t seem like it was as simple as someone inventing a fake project and running of with the money; instead, it’s usually someone who got in over their head, couldn’t complete the project, and then gave up without producing the promised project.

The biggest defense against this happening is what will happen to the reputation of the project creators. In my case, while I’m far from being in any way famous, I am sort of a public figure because of the work I’ve done at About.com and through my books, and many affiliates know me in the gambling industry as well. Failing to produce a book after collecting pledges would be awful for my reputation, so I definitely have plenty of incentive to finish the book!

Do you find accomplishing your goal so early means less money comes in after that?

The pattern of how money is pledged to Kickstarter projects seems pretty consistent from project to project, no matter how much a project is trying to raise. The first few days after launch, there’s an influx of donations — these are the people who are really excited about your project and can’t wait to get on board, along with any friends and family who want to throw in some support. That’s followed by a slow trickle of donations throughout the life of the project. During the last 2-3 days before the Kickstarter ends, there’s another uptick in pledges, meaning most of the money comes in the first few and the last few days. Interestingly, this seems to happen no matter how close you are to your goal: you can pretty much count on an initial rush, followed by a lull and one final push at the end. That pattern seems to be holding true for my book, as pledges are slowly coming in, but not nearly at the rate they did for the first five days. Only time will tell if there’s a surge at the end for me, too.
When you were setting your Kickstarter up – was there solid guides to help you get started, set up reward levels etc? Or did you have to do your own research on that matter?
I’d say it’s a mix of both. Kickstarter does provide some guides on good practices to follow: for instance, telling project creators the basic kinds of rewards that are popular, how much people generally like to donate, and that making a video is fairly important, even if it’s nothing fancy (most of my video is simply me reading a script over my project logo). Beyond that, research is really key. It’s important to look at projects similar to the one you’re planning to see how to price your rewards reasonably.

If you’re creating something people can buy — like my book — that should be the centerpiece of a lot of the rewards, of course. You can also be creative, especially at the higher levels; for instance, I’ve allowed a limited number of people to contribute their thoughts to the book, but only at the $100 backer level. The keys are to find a balance between having low-cost ways for people to contribute, making sure the prices are high enough that you’re actually raising money after accounting for fees and rewards, and having a couple of higher priced options to capture the maximum from people who really want to be a big part of your project.

Do Kickstarter do any of the marketing for you? Or is this one of those things where any potential investments rely 100% on your own marketing?
Kickstarter doesn’t do much in the way of active marketing. However, they do have a number of ways to search for projects that can lead your project being highlighted on their website. There’s a “Discover” section on the site that allows users to search for certain kinds of projects, see which projects have been popular over the past week, and so on. Kickstarter also chooses some “Staff Picks” that get extra promotion. My book isn’t a Staff Pick, but I’ve still received 20% of my pledges from people who have discovered the project on Kickstarter. Of course, that means 80% has been raised through my own marketing, so doing the work to promote on your own is critical.
What sort of marketing have you did for your Kickstarter? And what method do you think was the most successful?
Most of my marketing has been through Twitter and Facebook, with some forum posts scattered around as well. I’d like to say that my brilliant marketing made all the difference, but the truth is that the biggest factor was getting someone who is well known to bad movie fans to write the book! Allison Pregler does a show called Obscurus Lupa Presents on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, a site that hosts a number of different video reviewers. Her show is all about b-movies, and she comes across as someone who isn’t just out to mock these films, but also loves watching them. That was exactly the voice I wanted for the book, so I approached her about writing a foreword. She was very enthusiastic about contributing, and not only wrote the foreword, but also wrote a bonus chapter for the book that’s only available as a reward for pledging through Kickstarter.

She’s also been great about promoting the book to her fans. Kickstarter provides project creators with tools that help them see where their pledges are coming from, and while it’s not possible to nail this down to the exact dollar, I’d say that about half of the money I’ve raised has been thanks to Allison’s involvement with the book.

In other words, I’d say that getting her involved was easily the most successful marketing strategy I’ve come up with. Now, that doesn’t mean you should just find anyone more famous than yourself and attach them to a project or product you’re working on: people will usually see through that. But if you can find someone who has a strong following who legitimately adds value to whatever it is you’re creating, that’s a great way to raise the profile of whatever you’re working on while also improving the final product for your audience.

Awesome thinking outside the box idea there. If anyone reading wants to start their own Kickstarter – what tips could you offer them based on your own experience?
The best advice I can give is to put in the time and effort to make a great pitch for your product before you start. Make sure you make a video for your project: it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it helps generate interest and shows you took the project seriously. For instance, mine is mostly just me speaking over a picture of the project logo, along with a short introduction that I made with my laptop’s webcam. Also, don’t be shy about marketing your idea: push it on Twitter and Facebook or whatever other social media outlets you like, and seek out people who might be especially interested in your project, as they’ll be likely not only to pledge money, but tell others about your project, too. Finally, make sure the rewards you offer are interesting; I think offering a couple of things that are only available for supporters of the Kickstarter really helps induce people to donate to your project.
Thanks very much for the awesome interview Ed, and all the valuable insight that you offered.

Hopefully some of you guys reading can thank Ed by supporting his Kickstarter.


TAMIM: Thank Andy Murray It’s Monday

I would like to thank Andy Murray for reminding me that I’m Scottish on this warm Monday morning.

You see – one of the “best” – and I use that terms loosely – things about being Scottish is when it comes to our sporting “heroes”. It’s usually a tradition when it comes to our international football team. A big tournament comes around – the World Cup or the European Championships – and even though you KNOW Scotland are crap and not going to do well – you just can’t help but think “what if”. And by the time the tournament rolls around your optimism has taken over and bloody hell – you actually think they COULD do something this tournament.

Then things like Costa Rica in the 1990 World Cup happen. Or Gary McAllisters penalty miss at Euro 1996. Or Morocco at the 1998 World Cup. Or “that save” in the playoff game against England for the Euro 2000.

Hell I wasn’t even alive for the 1978 World Cup, yet just the word “Peru” sends shivers up my spine.

But it’s been awhile since I had that false optimism. Scotland haven’t qualified for an international tournament since 1998. So I’ve actually sort of missed it. Which is why it was nice to be reminded of it all yesterday. When Andy Murray reached the Wimbledon final I went through the same sort of emotions. Initially, I knew there wasn’t a chance in hell he would win. Yet when I went to the movie theatre yesterday to watch it in 3D, I was utterly convinced I was there to witness Andy Murray create history, and send Federer packing.

And of course, he didn’t. Typical Scot – he failed on the big stage.

Thanks for the reminder Andy! You’ll get him next time bro.

Finally Got My Shit Together!

I am celebrating this week, because work-wise I am taking names and kicking asses! I finally got caught up on all the work that I’ve had on my to do list for – well, EVER.

I mean here’s one example: I had a to do list item where I would e-mail everyone who had a link to PokerAffiliateBible.com and get them to change the backlink to AffiliateBible.com.

You know when I put that item on my to do list? October 2010. And I only got around to it in July 2012.

Yikes.

But I am feeling amazing. I can finally resort to the laid-back role of Content Monkey for awhile, where I do absolutely nothing but write content for my existing sites. I’ll be building new sites too, but the websites will be content-heavy simple-design websites to begin with, so that I don’t waste any time in the design/coding phase.

I’m sure you can tell with the content rush at Affiliate Bible lately – I’m in the mood to write like crazy, and loving it! Expect many more articles in the future here – I’ll be launching the VIP area here soon too and will have more details on that.

I’m also hoping to have a Kindle eBook written and published in time for the end of the year. What better gift for your 50 year old mother than an affiliate marketing guide?

Yep, it’s going to be a GREAT 2012.

Top Lists Websites:

One website I am hoping to launch in the near future is a website focused on top lists but in a particular niche. People LOVE top lists and they’re probably one of the most shareable items on the web.

I DO own TopTenCasinos.net but I would much rather write the type of content that is less selling, and more informational, resourceful and debatable.

OffThePost.info wrote a series of articles that are a great example of what I am talking about – see Top 10 Worst Premier League Signings: Liverpool for example. It’s the type of article where lots of people are going to agree and disagree, as well as share on forums, social marketing sites etc and debate for hours.

That kind of content can be a blast to write, and in the form of Top Lists the structure is already set out for you, so the writing comes naturally.

I’d recommend adding a few “Top X” articles to your websites. They’re fun to write, and also fun to read.

Revenue Jet: Exclusive 35%

In case you missed it during my content marathon, I wrote a Revenue Jet Review.

If you sign up via Affiliate Bible, your minimum revenue share is 35%. For all those non-AB folks, it’s only 25%.

So sign up at Revenue Jet.

And if you sign up, be sure to let me know your username so I can make sure you get free access to the Affiliate Bible VIP section when it launches!

Trainspotting:

Recently, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh wrote a prequel to Trainspotting, entitled Skagboys.

First of all – holy crap, what an incredible book. I could not put it down – just an absolutely fantastic book, and I decided to go on a Mark Renton Marathon, and re-read Trainspotting and the sequel, Porno.

During this marathon, I decided to re-watch the movie Trainspotting on Blu-Ray, as it’s been a few years since I seen it. But oh man – this was more difficult than I thought. I went to purchase it on Amazon, and there were a couple of different versions.

None of the versions or product information data fields actually stated what EXTRAS were on the Blu-Ray, so I had to rely on the user reviews. Unfortunately, that proved to be more difficult than I thought.

Here are two separate user reviews ON THE EXACT SAME DVD:

All nine deleted scenes, commentary, a “making-of” dohicky, and interviews with the cast (as well as Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn) are included.

This particular blu-ray is a bit disappointing, if only because it is barebones. There are zero special features

Great. For all the help the users reviews had given me, I might as well have stuck them up my arse!

Seriously though – I don’t know if there’s a website out there that does this already – but creating a website that lists every DVD and Blu-Ray, and a complete run-down of their features could work out very well. With multiple versions of DVDs out there now – I mean christ, Dirty Dancing has the Widescreen Edition, Collectors Edition, 20th Anniversary Edition, Ultimate Edition and Limited Keepsake Edition – being able to compare them all would be a valuable resource for consumers.

And of course, telling them the best place to buy the DVD online(complete with affiliate links!) would be even more valuable.

Atil Singh

Atil Singh, Affiliate Manager of Chipsplit.

Atil is on vacation for the month of July. He notifed all affiliates of this, and that he will be in the office sparingly.

You know what this meant? It meant when I e-mailed him with a question on Friday afternoon, it took him a whopping 7 minutes to reply.

Seriously, the man is worth his weight in gold and I just wanted to give him props.

Motivational Quote of the Week:

“If you’ve never truly failed, you will never know what success feels like.”

I’ve no idea if that quote has been said before. I Googled it but couldn’t find it anywhere. But I was talking to someone last week and I busted that out. They looked at me open-mouthed for a second before saying “Man, that’s beautiful.” So I’m going to take credit for that one.

I really dig that quote though. I failed. I’ve failed many times. I was bankrupt and homeless for a period of time back when I was a teenager. I’ve invested $xx,xxx into websites and ventures that have been 100% complete failures.

And it’s those memories, which keep me going today, and also keep my head on straight. Read into the history of Donald Trump. He had many failures and a couple of bankruptcies over the years which he gets crapped on – but look at how successful he is now. If it wasn’t for those failures, he’d be nowhere near where he’s at today.

Something to think about. Never fear failure.

Use it to make you stronger.


10 Features Every Affiliate Program Should Offer(But Don’t)

It seems at least once a week, a new affiliate program is appearing on the scene or an affiliate program is revamping their affiliate backend. Yet despite logging into over 500 different types of affiliate backends over the years, not once have I been able to say “Yes. This is it. This is the ultimate affiliate backend.”

It’s really sad because I’ve even been consulted by some affiliate programs who were revamping their backend. And I’ve given then suggestions and data showing what affiliates want, then sat back and watched as they launch their new backend with absolutely nothing that I suggested being displayed.

So I thought I would write a list of top 10 features that every Affiliate Program Backend needs. Some of these you will find at some affiliate programs, but I don’t think there’s any affiliate program out there who will offer even 7 of these items. Hopefully some affiliate program reading this will get inspired, and deliver exactly what we want.

Please feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments too. This article is more focused on gambling affiliate programs but I’m sure it applies to most general affiliate programs:

#1: Receive an E-mail when a New Player Deposits:

This is something offered at a few affiliate programs like AffCoins and I’m surprised it isn’t offered everywhere by default.

Whenever a new player signs up and deposits at a casino, I get an e-mail stating:

Hello Graeme,

Congratulations, another player from your ‘XXXXXX’ campaign has made a first deposit at XXXXXX.

Player XXXXX has deposited $XXX.XX.

That’s one of my favourite features of any affiliate program. It’s such a rush being out at a family function or doing grocery shopping, and getting notified “Hey, you just made money!”. Even moreso – it’s beneficial for the affiliate program because it keeps them in your head. I get so many affiliate newsletters these days that they all sort of blend together after awhile. But these e-mails stand out, and I ALWAYS remember programs like AffCoins when it comes to promotion.

Why this is such a rare feature I just do not know. If you don’t offer real-time reporting then that’s understandable – but how about a daily report option whenever there is activity on an affiliates account?

#2: Auto-Approval of Affiliate Registration

I understand the need for affiliate programs to want to approve of affiliates upon registration. But affiliate programs also have to realize just how demotivating it can be.

Sometimes, I’ll see an affiliate program offering an promotion that I want to promote to my players. They’ll make a forum post about “this weekends special promo”, on a Friday and I’ll think “I want to promote that”. Then I go to sign up, and am told I have to wait for my account to be approved. Of course they don’t work on weekends, so I have to wait until Monday. And even then I might not get it processed. Sometimes I’ve even had to contact someone from the program to approve it.

Affiliates usually don’t work on a dull 9-5 schedule; we are all about spontaneity. If I’m signing up for your affiliate program, I’m signing up because I want to promote it NOW. I want to promote it TODAY.

Don’t make me wait, because if I wait too long you’ll find that by the time you approve it, I’m promoting someone else.

#3: Real-Time Stats

In this day and age, we really should be able to see real-time statistics in our affiliate backend. It’s even more important when you factor in special events and social marketing. If I’m trying something on Twitter during a soccer game or an F1 race, I want to know RIGHT NOW how it is working. I want to see those clicks, those signups, and be able to analyze it all quickly. If I’m split-testing, I would much prefer being able to sit there in real time and watch, and see what is happening.

Of course I do understand how it could be a bit of a server hog – but hey how about every few hours at least?

And if you absolutely can’t do real-time reporting, and have to offer daily updates, then at the very least:

#4: Give a Date and Time of when Stats Were Updated

This is something that drives me absolutely nuts – not knowing when my affiliate stats were last updated. One of the biggest culprits of this is Income Access, which unfortunately is used by many affiliate programs.

I can log in there, and see my stats for “Today”, “Yesterday” etc. That’s great – but what exactly IS “Today”? Do you go by GST time? EST time? Is it updated precisely at midnight? Is it at 6am EST?

It really isn’t that hard to have a little note stating at what time the stats were updated, is it?

#5: Easy Access To Marketing Material:

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves when it comes to Affiliate Programs, is when they make you jump through a ton of hoops just to look at a few banners. It’s crazy just how difficult it can be just to see some bloody banners.

Here’s how it SHOULD be:

  1. Click Banners/Marketing Link
  2. See a list of banners.

That’s it. That’s how the process SHOULD be. Display maybe 10 a page, with filters available so I can simply click “Flash Banners” or “French Language” or a specific size or type of banner.

However so many affiliate programs make you jump through hoops. You need to choose the Brand, then you need to choose what type of promotion, then what type of Resource, then what language. THEN you need to specify a size before you see the banner.

The latter one sticks in my craw the most really – often, I don’t have a set type of banner size. I want to build the page AROUND the best banners they offer. But to see all the banners I need to go through every individual size just to see them. It’s very frustrating having to click-click-click about 300 times just to see them all.

#6: Lack of Updated/Event-Specific Marketing Material

Often I’ll get e-mails from affiliate programs wanting me to promote their “Christmas special” or their “4th of July No Deposit Bonus” but with absolutely no marketing material available to do that.

I think it’s great that affiliate programs want to offer timely promotions – but you need to be able to offer the banners to match that. I had quite a few affiliate programs during Euro 2012 ask me to promote their special Euro 2012 sportsbook bonus, or their special Euro 2012 casino bonus. And 5 separate times I had this conversation:

Me: “Can you send me over some banners to promote this?”
Them: “We don’t have any.”

Many affiliates don’t have a graphic designer that they can go to, and immediately get something made. They rely on the affiliate program to provide it. The affiliate program needs to be on top of these things. Even just a few default banners where you change the text.

#7; Regular Affiliate Incentive Promotions/Rewards

There’s a LOT of affiliate programs and brands out there – it surprises me that affiliate programs don’t do more to try and get affiliates to work harder on promoting their specific brand, like incentives from month to month.

Party Partners used to do this all the time – every month I’d get an e-mail from an affiliate manager with a tiered bonus structure. Bring in X players, get $XX extra on top of my usual revenue share for every player I bring in etc.

It’s such a simple little method that reminds you that you might want to promote that program during the month. They tailored it to the affiliate and how many players/money they were bringing in too, and sent it in a nice, personalized e-mail. I much prefer things like that to random generic promos run by programs.

Players are offered incentive marketing methods for retention all the time – why is it that so few affiliate programs offer that for affiliates?

On a semi-related note; I’m always surprised at how very few affiliate programs or managers “go that extra mile” in regard to keeping an affiliate happy. If I was an affiliate manager, and I saw a new affiliate bring in $xxxx in his first month, or see an affiliate making $xxx a month and then suddenly jump to $xxxx after pushing their brand more, I’d be doing everything I can to keep that affiliate happy. Even something as small as doing a quick check, seeing that there’s a Keg Steakhouse or Olive Garden in that affiliates town, and sending them a $100 gift card from there for “doing a great job”.

In this industry, affiliates aren’t afraid to drop your affiliate program overnight. These tokens of appreciation can be enough to keep that affiliate around, as they’re more loyal to your program, and appreciative of you now.

It’s a great method for your future endeavors as well. Sometimes it seems like we have an affiliate manager merry-go-round, with affiliate managers leaving one program and joining another overnight. Affiliate managers could hit the ground running if they’re able to bring in top affiliates from their last program, and it’s things like that which will make you stand out from the crowd, and have affiliates remember you.

#8: Player Demographics

Many programs don’t even let you see what nationality the player is! At the very least, I want to know things like that. I want to know whether they’re male or female, what age they are etc – things like that will only help me improve as an affiliate. It’s practically impossible for me to know whether my visitors are male or female, but if I see more females signing up for your brands than men via one page, then I might be able to tailor that page better to the female demographic.

The more we know about players, the better we can market to them. And on that note:

#9: Player Metrics

I’ve sat there and watched affiliate managers, in real-time, observe players playing in their backend. They can sit there and monitor every spin of the slots a player makes, look at whether they’re using autoplay or not, as well as easily see their wins and losses.

Most affiliate programs don’t offer anything even CLOSE to that for the affiliate.

Yet the ability to know what our players are doing would be HUGE. If I’m sending someone for traffic like “best online slots” and I was able to find out what the first slot most of them play? That’s HUGE! I know that out of all the slots available, that’s the most attractive slot, so I could focus on promoting that and converting more players.

If I send a bunch of players via my Play Roulette website and they play 3 games of “3D American Roulette” before reverting to the classic American Roulette graphic style – then I know that 3D is a big turn-off for my players, and I can update my pages to warn them about that, and focus more on the classic style.

If I send you a bunch of tournament poker players and many of them sign up for the WPT Satellites? Then I know that the traffic I am receiving and sending your way is interested in WPT Satellites. So I can then push them more, and send you more players and make us more money together!

That one is such a no-brainer it isn’t even funny.

#10: Custom Landing Pages – Simple Logo Insertion

First – I think it’s GREAT when affiliate programs offer different landing pages. If I’m sending you roulette traffic, it’s great that I can send them to a specific roulette landing page. Affiliate Edge are great with that.

However in this day and age Google is promoting the strength of the brand. They want people to work more on their brand. So what you have is affiliates creating excellent, brandable websites. If they work hard enough on their brand, then the brand themselves become a conversion point – visitors are signing up specifically for your casino or poker room or whatever because AskGamblers.com or PokerListings.com or whomever recommended them, and the player trusts that portal.

So at the very least, affiliate programs need to offer custom landing pages where affiliates can insert their very own logo. It should be a two step process: (1) Choose the landing page you want, then (2) Upload your logo of a specified size. Then boom, you have your own custom URL which is promoting Roulette, and has your own beautiful brand logo on it.

I can tell you from experience – referring someone to a landing page with your own brand logo on it increases conversions. It increases the trust factor for the visitor big-time, and makes them more willing to download, register and deposit at the casino or poker room.

In Closing:

I know it isn’t easy for a lot of affiliate managers. I’m sure many AMs are reading this and wishing they could flick a switch and offer all of the above tomorrow. But with more and more companies relying 100% on their affiliate program to bring in players, these are features that need to be added. They’ll make you stand out from the crowd, get you great word of mouth around affiliate forums, and get you lots of new affiliates.

What else do you guys think affiliate programs should offer, that the majority don’t? Post in the comments below.


Interview with Diablo 3 Money Maker Kevin Newland

Have you ever wondered what happened to so many American poker players after Black Friday? How many of your players simply disappeared overnight?

Especially the professional poker player. Some moved to countries like Canada and continued to play from there. Some switched to live games. Others went to a 9-5 job, giving up on poker.

Then there’s people like my friend Kevin Newland, who looked at unconventional methods of making money.

Like playing Diablo 3.

Kevin was one of quite a few people who decided to make money online via Diablo 3. He started to tell me about it, and I found it so fascinating I just had to interview him. I love hearing about methods of making money online that are unconvential, and I’m sure you guys will too.

You used to play online poker regularly until Black Friday. Just how much were you playing prior to Black Friday, and since then how much did it hurt you?
Black Friday didn’t hurt me as much as others. About a month prior, I got a stake+coach deal for a 6-max super-turbos and cashed out my entire FTP roll. The only thing I lost was about $600 in frequent player points. Unfortunately, I spent a ton of time studying the new game and never got to take advantage. I would have been in a much tougher spot if Black Friday hit earlier, as I had about 80% of my cash locked up on Full Tilt.
Can you briefly explain exactly what Diablo 3 is. I for one just have a general idea, as I’m scared to go near any of those games due to the potential addiction factor. I lost a lot of good friends to World of Warcraft.
Diablo 3 is a “hack and slash dungeon crawler.” It’s primarily a single-player/co-op game where you control your one character, level it up, and attain better skills and items.
You ended up making money online via Diablo 3. How much exactly have you made, and in what timespan is that?
I profited about $6,100 in exactly one month.
What exactly did you do in Diablo 3 to make money?
I had two main methods of making money; using a bot program to farm in-game currency for me that I would sell off, and buying low/selling high as a gold reseller.

The bot program would continuously run your character through certain parts of the game, farming gold and items repeatedly, 24-hours a day. The botting community was extremely small when I started, so it took a long time to optimize the bot to farm at a decent rate (when I first purchased the bot, it was only making me about $2-$3 per hour.) Eventually, I added accounts, continued optimizing the bot, and got up to around $20/hour for doing nothing but turning on my laptop and walking away. The real-life value of gold started dropping significantly as more people started botting, and the existing botters added more Diablo 3 game accounts to make money at a faster rate.

As the price of gold crashed, I got out of the botting business up about $3,000 in just over 2 weeks. This was also around the same time that the RMAH (Real Money Auction House) was released; that is, a built-in trading system where you can buy or sell Diablo 3 items for real money.

After the RMAH came out, there were two active trading markets — one in which you can buy/sell items for in-game currency (gold), and the other which involved real life dollars.

With the botting community blown out of control, there was still no formal way to sell off the excess gold that the bots were farming for people (you can only sell items for cash in the Real Money auction house, not gold). Sure, you can simply use your gold to buy items, and then sell those items on the auction house, but botters are lazy and simply want to let their programs run and sell off their gold at minimal effort.

Because of this, I was able to buy hundreds of dollars worth of Diablo 3 gold from botters at low rates, and then invest it into in-game items which I sold for real life money legitimately through the RMAH. This netted me another $3,100 in exactly 2 weeks.

What sort of education and experience is required for someone wanting to do this – make money online via Diablo 3 or other games of that type?
The only really important knowledge to have when trying to turn in-game currency to real money through a blackmarket is Paypal security. These types of gaming communities are filled with scammers, and people will use stolen paypal accounts and credit cards to make payments which will eventually be stripped from you. Countless people tried to play the market similar to how I have, and were inevitably cheated out of hundreds upon hundreds of dollars until giving up.
Is this something where “the early bird catches the worm” applies, or is it something where someone could join up tomorrow and start making money?
There is still some money to be made from both botting and reselling gold and items, but it has required a lot more effort with significantly less profit. Neither of these methods can still be used to start making significant amounts of money. If there is money to be made, people will exploit it, tell their friends, and never leave until the market is completely dried up. As the game grows older, less people are spending real-life money on items, and more people are just looking to making a quick buck now that they’re bored with the game.
Was this your first time doing this in an online game? Or have you had experience from other games?
This is my first time making a fairly large sum of money in such a short period using a video game, but I’ve had a ton of experience in the market for the past 8 or 9 years. People really underestimate how many people there are, kids as well as adults, who are willing to spend money on buying a better weapon for their in-game character.
Is this a solitary job, or is there a community of people like yourself all working together? And how many people would you estimate are doing this?
At least in my case, it’s a completely solitary business. There is basically nothing to be gained from working with others unless you own and operate a massive gold-selling site, in which case it’s possible to have people work under you to find more players to buy from.

Most of the major resellers such as myself are actually still in the market, but they work differently than I do. Some are simply Chinese men who are only in business because of the language barrier between American botters and Chinese resellers, and others are using different methods than myself to profit (which I am unsure of, but if I had to guess, I’d say they own a gold-selling site where they sell at a markup.)

Does this ruin the enjoyment of Diablo 3 for you now?
Yes, actually, it already did. I haven’t truly “played” the game since I first bought the bot program. I ended up selling all of the items off of my character just to make additional money. After spending hours a day putting a price to items and gold, it’s really hard to justify playing a video game character that has $500-$1,000 worth of items equipped.

This is common for me, though. After my brother first showed me how he was buying and selling on the MMORPG “Everquest” in 1999, I’ve always been more interested in the economics behind games such as these rather than playing the games as intended.

What is next for you now? Will you still work on Diablo 3 making any money, or will you move onto other games if the opportunity arrises?
I’ve taken a break from Diablo, as the market has fallen a lot and I’d have to start yet another new project to get a new profitable business up and running. Live poker has also taken up most of my “work” time recently.
Thanks very much for the interview Kevin. It was much appreciated, and thanks for being so open about everything too.


Forum Friday Fun – July 6, 2012

I wrote one of these 2 months ago and then I just plain forgot about it, oops. Time to bring it back as a recurring article as I really enjoyed writing it.

Forum Friday Fun summed up in a paragraph: I don’t really have time to participate in affiliate forums anymore. However I always enjoyed doing it, and tackling new topics or helping people. I’ve decided instead to pick 4-5 threads every Friday from various affiliate forums, and reply to them here. That way it’s beneficial for both you, and me!

Let’s get right into this weeks Forum Friday Fun:

Players Winning Sucks!

GPWA: Player is winning nearly every day at TitanBet for 2 months.

Thread Summary: From May until current day, a player has been winning almost every day at Europartners Titan Bet sportsbook.

Unfortunately, these are one of the things that happen when it comes to promoting sports betting. Yes, 90% of sports betters are going to lose all their money – but even the biggest losers are going to win often. Online sportsbooks know this, which is why there are so few sportsbooks that offer no negative carryover.

It’s one of the concerns when you promote sports betting. But looking at that players stats – there have been quite a few big losing days for him too. There’s a good chance in the long run it will all even out.

Sometimes if you’re a big affiliate, you can negotiate your way out of these situations. While I prefer to ride them out(as the rewards long-term can be so much higher), you can point out to the affiliate program that you bring in XX-XXX players per month, and this player is hurting your bottom line. If they don’t remove him from your account you’ll just send those players elsewhere, because it’s pointless to send them somewhere where you won’t make money.

Of course, most affiliates don’t handle this in the most mature way. What you need to do is basically create a powerpoint presentation for affiliate programs. Show them exactly WHY they need to cut this player off from you – WHY it is beneficial to them. Affiliate programs and managers are a business too – you need to prove to them that it’s the best decision possible.

I had a recent situation like this where during football season, EVERY sportsbook affiliate account I had was in the negative. Most of them got turned around except for 5Dimes, which was $xx,xxx in the negative. However I decided to see it out, and after 8 months I finally got my first affiliate paycheck there, for $35. That $35 was the best payment I’ve received all year.

Give Me Facebook Likes!

Various threads all over affiliate forums for months.

Thread Summary: People post on affiliate forums all over the place, asking people to “like” their Facebook page etc.

There’s no point listing a specific thread because these are everywhere with affiliates asking fellow affiliates to “like” their Facebook page.

I’ve never understood this. If it was a Facebook page targeted at affiliates then yeah by all means – if I ever set up an Affiliate Bible facebook page I’ll be sure to ask people to “like” it – because they’re my target market! But what is the point of asking an internet marketer to like your casino bonus page or whatever?

There are only two reasons I can think of as to why someone would do that which make sense: (1) I believe Facebook still has the “25 likes needed” rule before you can get your own custom URL, and (2) To make it look like you have a lot of people that like your Facebook page, increasing the chance of others “liking” it because it looks more legitimate.

But really – why bother begging your non-audience to “like” it and only getting a few likes? Seriously, just hit up Fiverr. For $5 you can get thousands of “likes” immediately. It’s highly doubtful this is the audience you want to target, but it achieves both goals above easily, and with the least hassle.

If you’re worried about spammers etc – don’t be. I’ve used this service many times. I may see 1 spam post per month on one of my Facebook pages – at which point I’ll simply delete it(as you get an e-mail about it) and block the user, easy-peasy.

5Dimes Affiliate Review:

PAL: 5Dimes Affiliate Program – Your Opinion?

Thread Summary: An affiliate posted on PAL asking affiliates opinion on 5Dimes.

I actually replied in that thread “Top-notch” but I figure I should expand on that.

I’ve been with 5Dimes for years, both as a player and affiliate. Based on my affiliate ID, I think I may even be one of their first affiliates.

From a punters perspective, there’s quite a few negatives. Their user interface isn’t the best. Their mobile website is useless – I’ve tried betting so many times only to get logged out, and I’ve tried this with a couple of different mobile devices.

However the positives far outweigh the negatives at 5Dimes. The odds are the best for US punters usually – they even beat a lot of non-US sportsbooks at odds depending on the sport. I’ve always found their customer service and support fantastic, and withdrawals are very fast too.

From the affiliate front, I’ve really been impressed with 5Dimes too. This really seems to be a program that appreciates affiliates more and more as time goes on. When I signed up there it was so incredibly basic(they use their own custom interface) but all these years later it is fantastic. Their tracking is very detailed, and the big one is being able to see players reports. You can see what your players are betting on, what they’re winning on etc.

For me, that’s something EVERY affiliate program needs to offer in 2012. As a casino affiliate, it’s ridiculous that I have no idea if that player I sent through on a $500 deposit offer is playing slots or Blackjack. As a poker affiliate, it’s stupid that I don’t know whether my “play poker online” crowd are hitting up satellites, cash games or what type of game.

I’ve also never had a problem with affiliate communication either. Any time I’ve had issues they’ve been dealt with promptly. Their retention is excellent too – it’s one of those sportsbooks that I find punters just fall in love with. I’ve got players still betting there from 6 years ago.

If you have a US sportsbook crowd, 5Dimes is without a doubt the #1 sportsbook I would recommend you promote(with Bovada #2).

Memories From The Old Affiliate Days:

PAL: Memories From The Old Days (Pre UIEGA)

Thread Summary: This thread was actually started back in April. It’s affiliates who were in it for the long-term posting about old memories, such as using the “Granny” bonus code on Full Tilt which pissed off 2+2s GrannyMae; giving away Super/System for free but requiring them to sign up at Party Poker, and many other great memories.

As I mentioned – this thread was started a few months ago, however I remembered something yesterday that I wanted to share as I find it amusing. Way back in the day, the Poker.com affiliate program(back when Poker.com was a room and not a portal) actually offered a private link exchange service in their backend.

This used to be a goldmine in regard to getting links. You had a lot of clueless affiliates who really had no idea about the importance of backlinks, and I remember being able to get some really ridiculous backlinks in exchange for crap – people were just excited about the idea of actually getting a link.

It’s fun to think back to those days, as so many people in the gambling world(both from the affiliate side, and the affiliate program side) were so naive.

You hear a lot about the crazy CPA payments – but there is one memory that has always stuck with me. The Boss Network was a mess when it came to – well, everything. Poker rooms that would join up there only had the option of 1-3 bonuses to choose from, and most would choose a 100% to $100 bonus for players. The terms and conditions stated that the minimum requirement was you deposit $100, and play 500 hands at $1/$2 minimum tables before the bonus cleared.

Now that bonus was fairly standard for our time, but what made it even more amazing was the player didn’t actually have to play at $1/$2. They could play at the lowest limits offered by Boss Network which I believe was $0.05/$0.10 at the time. So even the worst poker player in the world could deposit $100, lose $10 at those tables and still come out with $90 after those 500 hands – mainly because the Boss Network sucked THAT much.

On top of that – the affiliate programs often paid big CPAs for every player! So they were getting shafted TWICE – from the player, and the affiliate. And bizarrely, it took MONTHS for the programs to catch onto this.

I still remember one affiliate program closing my affiliate account, and I asked them why. They informed me that over the course of 3 months I had brought them in revenue of NEGATIVE $30,000. Oops. Not one of those things you’ll see me advertise on my portfolio!

I’m really surprised no-one has ever written a book about it. I mean, we went from a world where casinos and poker rooms would practically give money away, to now, where month by month we don’t know what affiliate program is going to close up and shaft us next.

It really has been quite the crazy time.


Revenue Jet Affiliate Program Review

The Revenue Jet Affiliate Program is the affiliate program for 4 online casinos. The 4 casinos that Revenue Jet offers for promotion are OnBling Casino, Grandparker Casino, ClassyCoin Casino and LocoPanda Casino.

I’ve only been working with Revenue Jet for a short time however I am very impressed with what I’ve seen with Revenue Jet.

In particular, I fell in love with the Casino Loco Panda homepage. Here’s a screenshot of it:

Usually when I start working with an affiliate program, the first thing I do is work with them on creating custom landing pages. The reason for that is because most of their designs are targeted towards such a broad demographic that the clickthru->sign-up ratio will be rather low. However I had absolutely no qualms, and was actually very excited about promoting the Casino Loco Panda page after seeing it.

It’s the fun, bright and colourful homepage that you rarely see any more in the gambling world. It’s a fantastic design that can do a great job at converting the casual player as it immediately promotes a fun atmosphere.

The Revenue Jet Affiliate Program themselves, have been excellent to deal with so far. I have been working with Matt from Revenue Jet and his communication is top-notch. Any time I have a question he’s answering me promptly, and he is very open to trying out new things. He is one of those affiliate managers that also value the affiliate partnership, and understands that we need to work together to make the most money together.

Revenue Jet offer up to 45 revenue share, prompt payments and real-time tracking; the latter of which I really like. If you’re into split-testing as much I am, you will appreciate being able to see the effects of your efforts immediately, rather than having to wait a day or two.

All of the Revenue Jet casino brands use the solid Real Time Gaming software, which means that they also accept American players.

All of their brands present a different “image” too – for example, Classy Coin really has that “high roller” classy feel to it, and as mentioned Casino Loco Panda has the more “fun” feel where you’d want to send your Slots and Keno players.

Overall I have been thoroughly impressed with Revenue Jet thus far. Their conversion and retention methods seem solid, and they really value the affiliate partnership highly.

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.

REVENUE JET REVIEW: BRANDS:

The Revenue Jet Affiliate Program offers 4 online casinos for the affiliate to promote. The online casinos offered by Revenue Jet are OnBling Casino, Grandparker Casino, ClassyCoin Casino and LocoPanda Casino.

All four Revenue Jet casino brands use Real Time Gaming software, and accept US players. Most of their casinos offer a unique “feel” to them. All of the Revenue Jet casinos also offer both Instant Play and Download versions to accomodate both types of players, and all operating systems.

OnBling Casino have went the “Bling” route in full force, with a $5000 Table Bling Bonus, and a homepage with Gold as their main colour. They offer a variety of different bonuses depending on the player, like a $3250 General Welcome Bonus and a $4000 Slots+Blackjack Bonus. At this time, I’m unsure of the best target markets to really promote OnBling Casino to.

Grand Parker Casino and Classy Casino have a much clearer target market however – both of them focusing on “class” and high rollers. The Grand Parker homepage shows classy people, offers an $8000 deposit bonus, promotes a high roller bonus and also an exclusive VIP Club. Classy Coin is after the same market, although interestingly have went the slots route, with a flash animation of a slot machine as their homepage. It’ll be interesting to see how that converts with the regular slot market.

Where Revenue Jet really stand out for me however, is with Casino Loco Panda
. I showed you their homepage previously – this is just a fantastic landing page. It presents a really fun feel to their site that is surprisingly rare amongst online casinos these days. They don’t hit the user with too much information to confuse them – they rely strongly on their homepage design, with additional links if this isn’t enough to convert the user. Their inner pages require work, but their homepage is simply fantastic.

Overall, I would highly recommend promoting Casino Loco Panda with Revenue Jet. Depending on your traffic one of the other casinos may fit as well, but the Casino Loco Panda design is the type that should convert all types of users of broad demographics – with slots players specifically, being attracted to this site.

Revenue Jet have did a fantastic job with Casino Loco Panda, and they clearly know their audience – offering both Keno and Bingo bonuses as well, which is the type of games that a lot of their converted traffic should be attracted to.

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.

REVENUE JET REVIEW: COMMISSION:

The default commission plan begins at 25% for all new affiliates on revenue share, with the ability to earn 45% revenue share depending on your commission.

However all affiliates that sign up via Affiliate Bible will get 35% Revenue Share to begin with, as opposed to the 25%. Just click here to sign up or any of the links throughout this Revenue Jet Affiliate Program Review.

CPA and Hybrid Deals are available for Revenue Jet on request. Hybrid is a special request depending on your campaign and is a “higher pays” type deal – you get paid $100 on deposit and then once the 35% is higher revenue share takes over.

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.

REVENUE JET REVIEW: MARKETING:

Depending on the Revenue Jet online casino that you are promoting, you have the choice of the default homepage or a specific landing page. The landing pages set up for any affiliate to use are usually targeted towards the welcome bonus.

Revenue Jet offers both GIF and Flash Banners in a variety of different sizes. Their banners are pretty much exclusively set up to promote their bonuses, and most of their homepages are also focused on the bonuses.

If your website is focused on casino bonuses, then promoting either Classy Coins, Grand Parker or OnBling Casino is really a no-brainer. All of them focus strongly on the bonus, and all three of them offer really high bonus amounts, which can be attractive to the player.

OnBling Casino also focus heavily on their different bonuses depending on the game that players play – so if you are marketing to table players, you can promote their $5k Table Bling Bonus, and if you are promoting to Slots or Blackjack players, you could promote their $4k Slots+Blackjack bonus instead.

Slots bonuses are also a good fit for Classy Coin, as their main flash graphic on their homepage promotes both slots, and a $5k welcome bonus.

All three of the above sites also promote Slots Tournaments on their homepages heavily too, and Slots tournaments can be a great promotional method if you have a slots website.

Finally there’s Casino Loco Panda, which for me is the real gem of the Revenue Jet Affiliate Program, and the one I’ve spoke most highly of in this Revenue Jet Review. Their unique and colourful design is matched with very bright, attention-grabbing banners that won’t blend in on your site. Their homepage is FANTASTIC at capturing the casual player.

There’s no real set demographic for the Casino Loco homepage either – they’ve left it open for interpretation to allow them to target a broad demographic. They offer the “Best Slots” graphic, as well as a “Table Games” graphic. The main flash animation promotes the $4k bonus, has a game-show like hostess with a deck of cards, and also a roulette table in the image.

Without a doubt, I would be focusing very strongly on Casino Loco Panda when it comes to promoting a Revenue Jet brand, as it should be a good fit no matter what type of site you have. It’s even the sort of design that allows you to promote it to non-casino players, as it is very attractive and different.

Below are a few of the available banners for Revenue Jet brands:

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.

REVENUE JET REVIEW: GLOBAL:

Revenue Jet uses the Real Time Gaming Software. For all of their online casinos, they offer both download and instant play versions. This means that Mac, Linux etc users can also use the Revenue Jet online casinos.

All Revenue Jet casinos accept and welcome American players. The only country that Revenue Jet brands don’t accept players from is Israel.

All Revenue Jet casino websites are in English only, except for Grand Parker Casino which is also offered in French. No geo-targeting is currently implemented on any of the Revenue Jet casino sites.

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.

REVENUE JET REVIEW: FAQ:

Q: How can affiliates withdraw money from Revenue Jet?

A: Revenue Jet offer Neteller, Wire transfer and Skrill/Moneybookers as payment options for affiliates. Revenue Jet also will send cheques via mail.

Q: When do Affiliates get Paid?

A: Revenue Jet have consistently paid affiliates by the 5th-7th of every month, for the prior month.

Sign up for Revenue Jet and get 35% Starting Revshare – Exclusive to Affiliate Bible – Click Here.


A Website Rises From the Dead

I received a rather interesting jump in hits and rankings for a dead website that I’d practically forgotten about, and I thought I would write about it. If you have any websites out there that have been sitting there practically “dead” with no traffic or work done it – you might want to reconsider letting them expire after reading this.

I don’t want to mention the specific websites however we’ll call them Website A and Website B.

Website A: Launched this about 18 months ago. It was in a rather uncompetitive niche, and it was a roaring success overnight bringing in lots of traffic, ranking for its primary keywords in the #1 spot, and making good money.

Website B: After the success of Website A, I launched Website B 3 months later. It was an exact replica of Website A, except minus all the “fluff” content. If a page on Website A had 600 words, the same page on Website B had 50 words. Those 50 words were still the “meat” of the site however, and they were still providing a service for the visitor. There was just no-frills and no-BS to it.

The launching of Website B was obvious – I’m greedy! It wasn’t enough that I ranked #1 – I wanted to rank #2 as well. Hell, I’ll take ALL the rankings on Page 1 of Google if I can.

Unfortunately, something like this can be hit or miss. It started off a “hit”, but as so often happens in the internet world, it quickly became a “miss”, losing all rankings.

Here were the daily stats for the site in the 3 month period since the site launched – click for big:

Honestly – it didn’t surprise me. The content on there, despite being of use to the visitor, would hit any Google algorithms duplicate content checker 100%. The structure and SEO were the same as Website A. Hell, it was even registered by the same person at GoDaddy, and even shared the same IP!

So it was a fail. It happens. We stopped updating it, and after checking it periodically for awhile, we pretty much forgot about it altogether.

Until today.

While checking stats today, we noticed that we had actually made some money from the site. $0 for the last 10 months, and suddenly we’d made $30. A quick look at the stats and we realized that we’d made about $100 over the last 3 days.

What the hell?

Immediately I hopped into Analytics to check it out, and what do I see?

Again – click for big:

In the months prior to this, the site averaged 1-4 visitors per day. Then it suddenly jumped from 37 to 104 to 116 to 122 and to yesterdays high of 145.

Why exactly did it do this? It wasn’t like something happened in the world that caused people to search for some obscure term. It just started banging it home for its primary keywords again.

The reason was relatively simple:

A Test Post.

See, I’m lazy at times. If I’m testing something out on a page and want to share it with one of my employees, what I do is create a post in WordPress, schedule it a year in advance and then hit “publish”. Any administrator logged in can see the post, but no-one else can as it won’t be displayed to the public for a year.

When building the site, I did just that. And as I’m incompetent as well as lazy, I often forget to delete those test posts. That was the case here. The last time content was added to the site was 8 months ago. Then on June 25th my shoddy test post went up, and the search engines took notice, and suddenly started ranking the site high again(even higher than Wikipedia) because hey – it’s alive! No backlinks or anything have been added to the site(or removed) – the only thing that changed was that test post.

To use the “Google Sandbox” as an analogy – Website B showed up to this awesome party, hosted by Mr. Google. Everyone loved Website B initially, and were all over him.

Unfortunately a month after Website B showed up, Mr. Google realized that Website B really didn’t have much to him. He was just a floating six-pack abs with no body to him. Meanwhile there were people like Website A at the party who not only had the six-pack abs, but he had huge biceps, really nice teeth, and beautiful flowing locks of hair.

Mr. Google decided Website B wasn’t needed at the party – he didn’t really bring anything special to the table. So Mr. Google dragged Website B outside, and threw him into his sandbox, then went back into the party.

Soon, everyone forgot about Website B. He stayed out in the sandbox – maybe it was full of quicksand? Or maybe he just really liked building castles? Anyway Website B stopped making noise – he was practically dead to Mr Google and the people at the party. Then, months later, Website B was all “Oh hay I’m still alive” and yelled at Mr Google.

Mr Google came out, saw Website B was still alive and kicking, and decided to give him another chance. He invited him back into the party.

What will happen next for Website B? It’s tough to say. Lets hope he’s smart enough to not double-dip the chips, at the very least.

What can we learn from this(Other than the fact that I SUCK at analogies)? Well first of all – if you had asked me a week ago “Hey if I published a one-word post on this site, would it suddenly bounce back in the search engines?” I would say “No”. So the first thing we learn is that we’re not always right – we can always learn new things. You should know that, and that’s really one of the key rules you should never forget.

Hopefully we all learn that sometimes you CAN breathe life into a website with the simplest of things. In this case, it was just a one-word post that changed this site. How will it affect it in the future? I’m not sure – but we’re going to be slowly working on the site to hopefully keep it this way. How many of you though, are sitting there with websites that you’ve declared dead? Websites that you’ve completely given up on? Why don’t you write one decent article for those sites, and just see if it is able to breathe new life into the sites? As you can see in this situation – the answer may surprise you.

Plus, it’s always a bonus to be rewarded for your own incompetence :)


(BLACKLISTED!) Wager Profits Affiliate Program Review

(Note: I actually wrote this months ago and forgot to add it. Oops! Updated anything relevant since that date.))

The Wager Profits Affiliate Program are blacklisted on Affiliate Bible, and all Dealer Dan Gaming Network sites.

The Wager Profits Affiliate Program, at the time of blacklisting, consist of: PayNo Rake Poker, Action Poker, TigerGaming Poker, PokerInCanada.com, SciFi Casino, Breakaway Casino.

If you are a poker or casino player at any of the aforementioned online poker rooms or casinos, we highly recommend you stay away from them. Withdraw your money, and forget they exist.

Wager Profits are blacklisted on Affiliate Bible due to non-payment and non-communication.

Wager Profits were a program that I have worked with for years, dealing with various affiliate managers. The last correspondence I had with a Wager Profits employee was Richard Green in 2010.

In approximately March 2011, I reached out to Wager Profits to get confirmation of some players who had signed up at their poker room. I received no response. I attempted to contact them via various different methods, however I could not get anyone to respond to me.

In October 2011, I noticed that I was no longer receiving affiliate payments from Wager Profits, despite being due. Again, I attempted to contact them via every possible method, but was unable to get anyone from Wager Profits to reply.

I checked with various other affiliate websites and forums, and saw that every other affiliate was in the same boat – owed money, but Wager Profits weren’t responding to any communication.

To make the matter even more frustrating – all of their brands were still up and running, and you could log into the Wager Profits backend and see the commission you were “earning”. Of course, there was no possible way to get this money.

Due to this, and after exhausting every possible method of communication avenue trying to get in touch with Wager Profits, I have no choice but to blacklist Wager Profits and remove the Wager Profits Affiliate Program Review from AffiliateBible.com. I have also issued player advisories.

March 2012 Update:

In March 2012, Wager Profits contacted me. They informed me that in December 2011, the Action Poker Network was sold to Julian International Holdings, and was going to become the ChicoPoker Network.

They informed me that Wager Profits and their brands was part of the sale, and they were terminating all contacts. Despite that, they wanted to negotiate with me a deal to make a settlement payment for any affiliate monies owed in 2011. We also worked out a deal to receive payments for the first few months of 2012.

The employee who contacted me was Dave Lacia.

I thank Wager Profits for at least providing SOME compensation due to this. However I highly recommend avoiding this brand now or any time in the future, and also staying away from any properties owned by Julian International Holdings LTD or the Chico Poker Network. The way they handled this matter shows that they are 100% untrustworthy.

FYI, as of June 2012 I am still “earning” commission at Wager Profits brands from bringing players in(even new players from OLD pages are showing up) but am of course not actually receiving that commission.


(BLACKLISTED!) Lock Poker Affiliate Program Review

I’m not someone who goes around blacklisting affiliate programs “willy-nilly”. I’m also not someone who generally airs their dirty laundry in public. You’ll never see me complaining about an affiliate program on an affiliate forum – I always prefer to handle things behind the scenes.

I wanted to stress that, so you know how serious it is when I am here saying I am blacklisting Lock Poker and Lock Poker Affiliates.

3 weeks ago, I wrote about what an interesting month it was going to be for poker affiliates. This was due to Lock Poker purchasing the Cake Network and renaming it the Revolution Network, forcing the Merge Network to up their game.

Unfortunately, things aren’t going well.

I was initially skeptical about promoting Lock Poker. Everything I had read about Lock on affiliate forums was usually in the negative, and it turned me off promoting Lock to the point that I even warned my players that I wouldn’t recommend the room. In the month of May however I seemed to see nothing but positivity about Lock Poker.

I’ve generally learned never to fully trust anyone’s opinions, because it’s very rare that you get the full story. I much prefer to learn from my own experiences with a room.

So I decided to start promoting Lock Poker, and as you can assume from the blacklisting – I learned about Lock Poker Affiliates very fast!

On May 11th, I registered as an affiliate for Lock Poker. I received an e-mail from the general affiliate department, and then another e-mail from their Affiliate Marketing Director Shane Bridges welcoming me. I e-mailed him back on May 17th, because I wanted to get everything set up for my rakeback playerbase when June 1st came around. I never received a reply, and sent a second e-mail and added him to Skype, but again never heard back.

Now this was frustrating, as I was ready to move about 500 rakeback players there on a test run, and if everything went well from both the player and affiliate front I could bring them thousands more players. I was also concerned because if there was a problem that a player needed resolved, I wasn’t confident I could get a response or resolution from the Lock Poker Affiliate Department.

However one of my friends, Gerry, who runs PokerNewsBoy.com, was recently hired as an affiliate manager at Lock, so I was able to contact him about it.

Now let me just say that I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Gerry. Gerry is a standup guy, and from what I understand his hands are basically tied in regards to what he can do, so I do feel bad for him in this spot. If anything – he is the reason I persevered with Lock. I was ready to tell them where to go on June 1st, until Gerry stepped in.

The whole ordeal was generally a mess. I had 500+ rakeback players all ready to move to Lock Poker. All I needed was to be able to log in to the backend(my password wasn’t working) and also get set up with a rakeback tracker. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Well first of all, Lock didn’t have a forgot password option, and there was no way for my password to be retrieved. It took about 3 days for me just to get my freaking password for the backend so I could log in. Even then, it required a lot of extra effort on Gerrys part.

I requested the rakeback tracker at the end of May. It took about 16 days just to get the rakeback tracker, despite me hassling Gerry about it every day. I know that if he could have got it he would have – but unfortunately it was out of his hands.

We eventually came up with an alternative solution where people would sign up under my link, provide me with their username and I’d e-mail them to Gerry, who would get them tracked for rakeback. (The players could have requested rakeback from Lock support, but I prefer to make everything as easy and hassle-free as I can for my players).

This solution didn’t work out too well, as I found myself sending unanswered e-mails, and having to get ahold of Gerry on Skype. As of this writing I still have a couple of players who I don’t know if they have rakeback or not, because I haven’t heard back from an e-mail I sent a few days ago.

Now you know what? I’m a very understanding guy. I understand things may not go smoothly at times – especially in a situation like this. Lock had just purchased a whole network! Even though I had only sent a handful of players in June due to my concerns, I was ready to press ahead and send Lock a ton of players in July. I was even planning on investing a lot of my own money to bring players there.

Then Lock totally lost the plot.

On June 17th, user stillshadow started a thrread on PAL about an 11x CPA ChargeBack.. In summary, one player did a chargeback and rather than just take the CPA payment from stillshadow, they decided to essentially “fine” him 11x the CPA.

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing in their terms and conditions about this. They do mention it for revenue share, but not CPA. So it must’ve been a mistake, right?

Nope.

On June 21st, stillshadow posted to say that it wasn’t a mistake, and Lock Poker weren’t going to fix it.

Now I’m someone who always believes there is two sides to any story. Making a big decision like this – surely there has to be some sort of sense behind it. I decided to wait, as I assumed Lock Affiliates would come into the thread and offer an explanation.

They didn’t.

Instead, the CEO of Lock, Jennifer Larson, sent an e-mail to stillshadow. She stated that he is “slamming us on the forums and just being overall disrespectful”, and with that has decided they don’t want to work with anymore, and are closing his affiliate account.

Unbelievable.

I’ve been in internet marketing since 1997. I’ve been promoting gambling online since 2004. Other than Cardspike, I can’t think of an affiliate program that I’ve seen shoot themselves in the foot like Lock did. The funny thing is – all I hear behind the scenes is how much money is flowing through Lock Poker. All the money in the world won’t help a business if they have stupid people running it. And after seeing how Lock Poker handled stillshadows situation – well, I think you can make your own conclusion there.

Why would anyone ever promote Lock Poker or be a Lock Poker Affiliate? If you say ANYTHING bad about them there is a good chance they will close your affiliate account. Why would you ever run the risk of promoting these scumbags?

I know I wouldn’t, which is why I posted this on PAL earlier today – click for big:

I can’t help but think how lucky I am, really. The night before Full Tilt closed their doors I withdrew all my money and it hit my Moneybookers instantly! And I was ready to send hundreds of players to Lock on June 1st, only to be unable to log into my affiliate account because hey “forgot password” technology is apparently extremely difficult! At the time I was frustrated, but now I consider myself blessed.

Do not work with Lock Poker Affiliates. Go one step further: warn your players about Lock Poker. Let your players know that if they say something bad about Lock on a public forum, they run the risk of having their account closed, and their funds confiscated.

Think that’s going too far? Yeah….read their T&C:

if you make untrue and/or malicious comments with regard to the Company’s operation in any media or forum, the Company reserves the right (and you authorize the Company) to publicize your actions together with your identity and e-mail address, as well as to circulate this information to other online gaming sites, banks, credit card companies, law enforcement departments and other appropriate agencies. The Company may close any accounts, and forfeit account balances, that you have at Lock Poker or at any other Company website, casino and/or business

If you have any morals, then you know that sending players to Lock Poker is just as bad as sending them to Absolute Poker or Ultimate Bet after the whole “superuser” scandal. If you’re an affiliate who doesn’t mind bending over backwards for affiliate programs and only care about the almighty dollar then for sure continue to promote Lock – just remember not to even SNEEZE in the wrong direction or you could be getting one of those silly “we don’t want to work with you” e-mails too.

I am blacklisting Lock Poker. I am blacklisting Lock Poker Affiliates. If you’re looking for a Lock Poker Affiliate Program Review then here’s one: don’t promote them.

To summarize:

Walk from Lock.

Although I’d personally run.

Related Lock Poker Affiliate Program Articles:


One Trick To Writing Quality and Lengthy Content

The phrase “Content is King” in internet marketing has been bandied around forever. It’s always applied to the world of internet marketing, but more so than ever these days content is incredibly important if you want to succeed and make money online. (more…)


TE2012IM: Thank Euro 2012 It’s Monday!

Well let’s be honest – is there seriously anything else I would be thanking at the moment, other than Euro 2012? I feel bad for the people that can’t get into soccer/football – this is like the Superbowl x10 for us that are into it.

It’s also really reinvigorated me as an affiliate. I forgot how much fun it can be to run a time-limited niche site or focus strongly on a specific event. Of course, it helps that I’m killing it dollar wise, but it’s just great watching the traffic, figuring out how best to convert them, all the while knowing that you have such a limited time to do so.

And of course – sports betting! I’m what you would call a professional sports better, and honestly at times that becomes a grind. With Euro 2012 I’ve went with smaller bets of $100 and $250 for the event. If I win money then fantastic – but it’s all about adding more fun to it. So far I’m up $1265.25 which is great, and hoping to continue that run.

Feel free to Follow my Euro 2012 Bets although note the sportsbooks referenced for the bets placed aren’t entirely true – that’s a random geo-targeted script.

Alright I am PUMPED. Just a few short hours until I head down to the pub, and cheer on France amongst about 50 English fans. Can’t wait. Let’s get going….

I Added Comments:

I keep forgetting to mention this, but I added comments to EVERY article on Affiliate Bible now. Initially, comments were off for the whole site – the reasoning was that I wanted people to read the articles on here, and leave with the intent of the article in their head, rather than get distracted by discussions in the comments.

However I’ve been trying to get more comment-friendly lately with my websites, using the universal comment system Disqus. I added it for my blog articles only but I had so much fun interacting with people that I’ve decided to open it up to all articles.

So whenever I write articles now, feel free to comment on them. I welcome all comments and will always reply.

Refer.ly:

I’m going to refer you to the TechCrunch Article on it as they cover it in a lot of detail, but this is a really neat site.

Basically it’s like “affiliate-lite” – ordinary people can refer their friends to products and make money from it. No need to sign up 10,000 affiliate accounts – if you refer your friends to products, you can grab the URL from refer.ly and make money from it.

It’s a really neat concept. You see something similar in the poker affiliate world with Poker Affiliate Solutions but it’s targeted towards ordinary people.

Fantastic idea.

Motivational Quotes:

Motivational quotes are the best. If I’m feeling unmotivated or feel work is dragging, I simply take some time to browse through some motivational quotes or videos and I feel pumped again.

However sometimes that’s not enough. Reading old Chinese Proverbs or quotes from dead people sometimes doesn’t cut it, ya know? That’s why sometimes I really appreciate motivational quotes from real people. People who aren’t just out there trying to spin a phrase – but people who are saying things that are getting them by each day.

I follow The Rock on Twitter, and he’s great for stuff like that. One really stuck out to me the other morning:

Cardio time. Bringin it on this hot ass pavement. Swamp muggy and humid. Let’s roll..

I love that. He’s not trying to spin a phrase or come up with some generic quote. He’s saying it like it is. Yet 15 little words say so freaking much. It’s a hot pavement. It’s muggy. It’s humid. And he is ready to rock. All the problems just make him stronger, better and more determined. And he’s out there actually DOING it.

Seriously fantastic, and a great way to get pumped up for the week. No matter how much crap is thrown at you, no matter how bad things look – use that just to fuel you, to power you through, and to make you better and stronger than ever.

Lets just hope the England team aren’t followers of The Rock.


OMG! Euro 2012 Is Almost Here!!!

The day is finally here, and I couldn’t be more excited. Euro 2012 kicks off in just 5 hours from this writing with Poland vs Greece, and I just can’t wait.

I mean seriously – I am literally bouncing off the walls. You might think I need figuratively but I don’t – I’ll be walking around my house, see a clock and realize that the tournament starts even sooner than last time, and jump straight into my wall in excitement.

It’s funny because I know exactly WHY I’m excited too – work.

I’m always excited for the big summer tournament – every two years I’m fired up for the World Cup or the European Championships. But this is a different type of excitement. It’s the excitement I feel about having a successful website dedicated to the tournament, and the unlimited potential of money that awaits me.

This is the first time I’ve built a website dedicated to the European Championships or the World Cup. Usually I just add a section to one of my bigger websites – but this year I decided to go balls to the wall with BetEuro2012.org.

And the motivation and excitement it’s brought me is unparallelled.

Sometimes, life sucks as an affiliate and you feel like you’re going through the motions. Often, you’ll build websites that end up as failures, or websites that bring very little success. But there’s just such an amazing feeling when you build up a website, and it becomes a roaring success right off the bat.

Even moreso, in this day and age with the Google Panda and Penguin updates. You just never know how a new site is going to do – whether it is going to take off or fail miserably. Rather than outsource BetEuro2012.org I decided to do it all myself. If it was a failure, I really wanted to understand exactly why, and running and writing every aspect of the site would help me with that.

Thankfully, the opposite has happened. Here are the traffic stats for June 1st-June 7th:

It’s funny when you run these time-limited niche sites. You find yourself checking the stats pretty much religiously. I mean I only launched the site around May 20th. I remember getting excited at seeing the first search engine hits, and since then it’s just snowballed.

What’s really nice too is that so many people are betting on futures like “Top Euro 2012 Goalscorer” or “Team to Win Euro 2012″. What this means is that there is no delay – I’m seeing a signups->conversion ratio of 92%. So immediately right off the bat, I’m getting paid for my work, and I’m getting all the rewards for my hard work.

I wanted to write this, as a motivational post for any aspiring affiliates out there. If you know what you’re doing, you CAN make money online. Lots of it. I didn’t achieve everything I did with BetEuro2012.org through crazy link schemes, or viral attempts, or Digg/Reddit bombs, or spinning tons of content to make the site larger than it seemed.

I’ve did it all through hard work.

In the space of a week, I wrote over 50 top quality articles for the website that were both informational and resourceful. Since then I’ve continued to write content that I know would benefit the end-user.

Most importantly, I’ve worked my ass off.

I hope many of you guys stuck in a rut, or creating the same cookie-cutter websites over and over and feeling jaded take some inspiration out of this. In this scary, scary world of search engines it is completely possible to build a website over the course of a weekend, and have it making $xx,xxx 2 weeks later.

Events like the Olympics are just a few short weeks away.

(Feel free to follow my bets in my Euro 2012 Betting Blog. When the tournament is over I’ll write an article covering BetEuro2012.org, the mistakes I made, what I did right etc to help you guys in the future).


Great Example of a Business Using Twitter Effectively

Twitter, and social networking in general, is a fascinating case study, especially when it comes to businesses, and how they utilize these networks.

Some companies do a great job interacting with people, and strengthening their brand loyalty. One great example of that was Research in Motion/Blackberry(@Blackberry). Last year they had major issues with all of their servers going down for a few days. They then focused strongly on the #TeamBlackberry concept where all Blackberry users were a “team”, and no doubt managed to stop thousands of people from switching to iPhones or Android devices, simply due to that personal touch.

I have a separate twitter account exclusively for following practically every business under the sun, just so I can see how they interact with followers, and how they use their Twitter account. It seemed every time I logged into Carbon Poker for example, I’d see ads to follow them on Twitter @CarbonPoker. Yet their Twitter for the longest time was the usual crap 99% of businesses do – where they use Twitter purely to advertise their product, not understanding that there’s more to it than that.

(Although on a quick sidenote, Carbon do seem to understand it better as time goes on, offering a special Twitter reload bonus, and specific social media coupons and promos. Good to see they’re starting to get it – don’t just provide a reason for people to follow you, but make them pay attention to your tweets on their timeline!).

One company that had a very interesting concept was World Wrestling Entertainment(WWE). On their flagship TV show, Monday Night RAW, they would push Twitter heavily. Twitter hashtags would show up on the screen constantly, the wrestlers and the commentators would constantly mention Twitter. It actually got incredibly nauseating – here’s a video showing just how bad it got:

I don’t fault their idea. The concept was relatively simple – if people see something trending on Twitter, they may tune in to see what is happening. When Brock Lesnar returned to WWE RAW a few months ago, “Brock Lesnar” was obviously trending on Twitter. I’m sure quite a few people who saw that immediately tuned in.

But WWE are not the company that I am praising in this article.

The company I am praising is BarberShopWindow.com / @BShopWindow. These guys sell unique, unofficial wrestling t-shirts. Here’s a couple of design examples:

Now overall, these guys do a great job at using Twitter and marketing in general. They know their audience, they retweet tweets about their product encouraging people to tweet about them, they use limited-time marketing etc – it’s great. What I really liked however, was how they managed to use the WWEs overpushing of Twitter for their own benefit.

On Monday nights, WWE Monday Night RAW airs. Due to WWE pushing Twitter, it stands to reason that a lot of wrestling fans will be on Twitter during this time. What BarberShopWindow do is run a trivia contest, where they give away a bunch of free t-shirts.

The trivia contest is very simple: they will tweet a question, and you have to reply with the answer. However when you reply with the answer, you need to use #BarberShopWindow in the tweet. Even better – the majority of the questions are incredibly easy. That’s one of the key concepts here you need to realize – the questions are easy.

What does this mean? It means that a couple of hundred people are now tweeting #BarberShopWindow like crazy. Of course they are – they all know the answer! If everything works out the way BSW hope, then #BarberShopWindow will become a trending topic on Twitter. All those wrestling fans that are tuned in to Twitter, thanks to the WWE? They will see #BarberShopWindow, recognize that it’s a wrestling term, and check it out.

WWE are bringing tens of thousands of people to Twitter – and BarberShopWindow are capitalizing on it in a big way.

It’s such a basic form of marketing, yet it’s fantastic because so few companies seem to understand just how brilliant something like this is. Even if it doesn’t trend, they still have wrestling fans tweeting about them which is going to get THEIR followers interested in what is going on.

Anyone that sees this trending topic? They’re going to see that they can win free t-shirts, Follow BarberShopWindow on Twitter and join in the trivia competition! Even if they don’t win, it’s unlikely they’ll stop following BSW. It’s more likely that they will be back NEXT Monday, for the next trivia competition!

On top of all that, BarberShopWindow will also offer specials during that time. These specials are usually only for Monday night, when of course they have their best audience.

I’m sure the guys from BarberShopWindow don’t have a huge budget. They probably don’t have a $10 million social networking budget. They may not even have office space – heck, a business like this could be ran out of their moms basements for all I know.

But are these guys doing a MUCH better job than 99% of the multi-million companies on Twitter?

In the words of one Barber Shop Window t-shirt…

If you want to learn about marketing on Twitter, and even marketing in general, following small, but intelligent businesses like this is a great first step.


June 2012: An Interesting Month for Poker Affiliates

It’s been a rough time for poker affiliates, ever since Black Friday. Hell, even before then things were rough – there wasn’t a lot of growth or optimism within the industry, at least not compared to the years prior to the UIEGA.

Since Black Friday however, being a poker affiliate has really sucked. One disaster after another at the major rooms. Even the rooms that aren’t affected are still struggling to capture the old playerbase, as most poker players are simply avoiding playing poker online altogether.

As a competition, the online poker battle is generally over. Pokerstars are far and beyond the top poker room in terms of traffic, with an average of 22,800. Party Poker and the iPoker network are the next contenders with an average of 3000 each, then the rest of the pack is falling way behind. (Numbers all thanks to PokerScout.com).

Overall, the online poker world has just been BORING ever since Black Friday. Any news that does come out is generally negative. Instead of looking at the “next hot poker room”, we’re instead waking up to news of new domains being seized. Instead of forum posts talking about all the fish at a poker room, the threads instead consist of comparing how long it took to get a withdrawal.

That’s why I can’t help but be excited for the changes that are taking place in June, 2012. For those unaware, Lock Poker have left the Merge Network. They have PURCHASED the Cake Network, and renamed it the Revolution Network.

And this really IS a potential game-changer.

Oh sure – not on a large scale. We’re not going to see the Revolution Network become the #1 network overnight or anything like that. But from the sounds of things, Lock Poker are becoming quite a big player in the industry – particularly for US Poker Players.

These type of events are what breathe new life into the poker affiliate game. Suddenly you have all these poker players hearing about it, and Lock Poker have a good reputation with conversion and retention.

Of course, for the Revolution Network to succeed, they need to focus more on the best possible partners. A name change and a new skin moving over just isn’t enough to cut it these days.

A lot of people were surprised that when Full Tilt, Pokerstars and Cereus all pulled out of the US market, the Cake Network didn’t capitalize on that. The main problem with Cake, was the partners that they brought in to the Cake Network. For every potential major player like Doyles Room and Victory Poker, they had a huge amount of other skins that had absolutely no idea what they were doing.

I’m one of Cake Pokers biggest affiliates. At least once per week, a new Cake skin would e-mail me, and the correspondence would always be the same:

Random AM: “Hi, we were referred to you by Cake as you’re one of their biggest affiliates. We want you to promote us.”

That was their grand plan. Instead of focusing on new players or new affiliates that didn’t promote Cake, they instead went after Cakes biggest affiliates, and basically said to them “Promote us instead of Cake”. So unfortunately, the skins weren’t bringing anything new to the table at all – they were just trying to effectively steal players from the major site on their own network.

This wouldn’t be so bad if they actually had something to offer. But they never did! They offered the same, or worse than Cake Poker offered, and never brought anything new to the table.

For Lock Poker and the Revolution Network to succeed, they really need to pull out all the stops. They need to get big partners in. They need to convince online sportsbooks to not just sign up with them, but actively promote them. They need to allow the network skins to have freedom in regards to promotions, and help them with retention and conversion. I wouldn’t say iPoker is a huge success story or anything – but at least if you look at the different skins on there – each one gives off a much different vibe to it.

What’s also interesting is how this affects Merge – the Merge Network canceled rakeback for new players on June 1st of last year. They have immediately reinstated rakeback as of June 1st. Whether or not this is just a pro-active move or if they are actually deeply concerned about Lock Poker and the Revolution Network I don’t know.

It’s going to be interesting over the coming months to see what Revolution and Merge do. While they are really fighting over a small playerbase, competition always brings out the best in companies – and competition is something that has been lacking in the industry.

While on a grand scale it really doesn’t mean too much, as a poker affiliate I can’t help but be slightly excited by the potential battle. And one of the best things about being a poker affiliate? No matter who wins – we win.

Well, as long as it doesn’t break out into a triple threat match with the Department of Justice, that is.


10 Tips for Building Time Limited Niche Websites

With the Soccer European Championships almost upon us, many affiliates are focusing on building websites dedicated to Euro 2012. I am one of those affiliates, with my website BetEuro2012.org. (more…)


TACIM: Thank Air Conditioning It’s Monday

I feel like such a wuss but I don’t care – it’s only May 21st and I’m dedicating this weeks TGIM to the wonder that is air conditioning.

I grew up in Scotland. I grew up in rain. That’s all we had. Rain, rain, rain. Then I moved to Canada when I was 16. I’ve been here 15 years now, and I still can’t handle it. Hot weather? Yeah, I love hot weather. The horrific humidity that goes with it? Yeah. That I can do without.

We had really our first truly hot days of the year over the weekend, and Sunday was humid as all hell. I think I managed to last about 3 hours before it was time for the air conditioning to make its debut in the Summer.

Ironically, I almost entitled this post THIM: Thank Heat It’s Monday in reference to the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, who are having a FANTASTIC series. I really hope that one goes 7 games. I absolutely hate Lebron James, but I love watching him in games like yesterday where he just brings it, and makes you remember why some people compare him to Jordan.

Anyway, this post is brought to you by the wonders that is air conditionng. Yes it’s 5:30am and I’m blasting it already. I’m absolutely freezing, and I love every minute of it.

I Backed The Wrong Horse

One thing I wanted to try out was a website in the entertainment field. I decided to create a website dedicated to a new TV show that was starting. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to go after a small niche like that, with a unique sort of demographic. Plus it can be quite the challenge to make money from people looking for episode recaps, so I was up for that.

I sat down with my business partner last Fall, and we debated what TV show to start a website after. We were both huge fans of Lost so we very quickly narrowed it down to either Person of Interest or Alcatraz. We ended up going with Alcatraz, and with the domain AlcatrazTVShow.net.

Things went slow at the beginning of the site, but I managed to get our rankings up and we were doing 3000-5000 unique visitors on regular days, and 20,000 unique visitors in the 24 hours after an episode aired which was nice. I learnt a lot about what worked and what didn’t in terms of making money, was seeing everything rise financially like I hoped it would, and was even making money off unofficial merchandise. I was very close to building a nice community which would see a lot of repeat visitors.

Everything was going great, I was feeling really good about the site…..and then Alcatraz got cancelled.

Oops.

Honestly, it’s no surprise it got canceled. Everyone is raging about it – but the show started off with a 10.05 rating and 13 episodes later, the finale hit a 4.75 rating. It dropped every week, and was an absolute disaster. Of course we compare that to Person of Interest, which started with a 13.33 rating and actually rose to a 15.67 at one point, and is absolutely killing in the ratings.

However, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. We could have played it safe and built basic websites on both shows. Instead we took a risk, chose one over the other and it didn’t work out. That’s the way things go. But it was a fantastic learning experience, and it was really fun being able to turn that sort of traffic into actual money. I’ll write more on those topics in the future – but with an audience like that, it can be VERY tricky and requires a lot of work figuring out the ad placement.

I recommend building a website like that. It’s quite the challenge, and there’s still additional income to collect like when the DVD is released.

Here’s the fun graph – the show was canceled May 13th and it’s going to be fun watching the numbers plummet over the next little while:

I’ll write more on this type of site in the coming weeks.

And Now for my Next Risk:

Time-Limited Niche sites are exactly as they sound – a niche website which has an expiry date. Usually websites built around a particular event and time, like Superbowl 45, or the Kentucky Derby 2012 – that sort of thing.

Honestly these are my favourite websites to run. They can be so tricky to do. They require a lot of work – but you need that work to pay off in the short-term, because the long-term value if these sites is extremely low. So you can’t really sit around “learning” – you need to be succeeding right off the bat.

I’m just finishing an article on these types of sites, and tips on running them which should be up tomorrow. But the website I am currently running is BetEuro2012.org – a website dedicated to UEFA Euro 2012 Betting.

I’m actually doing everything on it myself rather than outsourcing it – which is something I wouldn’t really recommend. These sites have a high failure rate, and I’d much rather waste money than time on something that fails, but I love football so much and I’m having a lot of fun running the site regardless.

This is also my first time-limited niche site post-Panda/Penguin so it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out. I’ll keep you guys updated on it, and if any of you have a sports or soccer website and want a quality article on Euro 2012 Betting(with one accredited link back to BetEuro2012.org at the bottom of the site) then hit me up on Twitter @DealerDan or send me an e-mail.

Goodbye Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

I hope the last 3 years of your life were filled with unimaginable pain.

Scammers Are Getting So Lazy:

Received this e-mail – click for big:

I appreciate that they stuck to the exact same design that Skrill use in their e-mails. But did they HAVE to keep in the paragraph about how Skrill will always use your first name and last name in correspondence, then refer to me as “Dear g@dealerdan.com”. Like come on. Put some effort into it guys!

Video of the Week:

Lets finish on a high note.

I’ve mentioned the website WelcomeHomeBlog.com on here before. For those who don’t know what it is – they post videos of people from the military returning home to surprise their families. So they’ll show up with a video camera at the unsuspecting kids school or wifes work for example, and we get to see their reaction. Absolutely fantastic website.

There was one video last week posted that I actually couldn’t watch right away – the description just got to me too much. When the dad went away on deployment, he left behind his 6 year old son who had cerebral palsy. The kid couldn’t walk or do practically anything. Well while the dad was away the kid learned to walk – although they kept that secret from the dad, surprising him with it on his return home.

Just beautiful.

Have a fantastic week everyone.

Also, fuck Chelsea.


Mixing Work With Vacation Like A Boss

I go on a fair amount of trips or vacations. It could be a few days abroad at an affiliate conference, a weekend hanging out with friends, or a lengthy vacation with my family. Overall I would say I travel/vacation at least 8 times per year. (more…)


TDIM: Thank Design It’s Monday

Welcome to TDIM – Thank Design It’s Monday.

This is going to be a quick article this week as the title may suggest – it’s time for the new Affiliate Bible design to launch. (more…)


Forum Friday Fun! April 27, 2012

I don’t participate much on affiliate marketing forums anymore. There is a wide variety of reasons for that, but the biggest one is simply: time. I just don’t have the time these days to sit around on forums getting into deep discussions. I also don’t have the time to sit there for an hour critiquing someones website, when they just aren’t going to really listen or understand anyway.

My time is limited these days to working from 9am-2pm. With just 5 hours work per day I 100% have to focus on doing things that mainly benefit me.

However I did always enjoy writing and participating in forums over the years, and I made a lot of friends and associates while doing so. That’s why I decided to come up with this regular weekly feature where I browse around some internet marketing forums, pick a few topics that came up over the past week, and then add my thoughts on them.

It should be fun because I’ll cover a wide variety of topics, and there will be a more light-hearted tone. Plus I can speak out of my ass and no-one can flame me publicly!

So let’s pick out a few topics this week to comment on:

Pokerstars to Purchase Full Tilt

PAL: Stars to purchase Tilt?

Thread Summary: Pokerstars apparently are purchasing Full Tilt, after Groupe Bernard Tapie pull out.

From a player perspective this is good news, and not just because there’s “some news”. The Tapie deal was always going to be a nightmare for poker players. I’m not sure how many people are aware of the specifics of the Tapie-Full Tilt deal, but it really looked like they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

They didn’t just want to buy Full Tilt – they wanted to do it in a way where they would be benefiting financially right from the beginning. Instead of simply paying the players their money for example, they would force them to “clear” the money in a bonus-like structure, meaning they’d basically be forcing players to rake money and all pay for themselves. From a business perspective it makes sense – but it was a very cheap and half-assed ploy to spend the least. The last thing they needed was to piss off their playerbase(or what is left of it), but this would have did that.

Pokerstars from a players perspective are solid. They were the only company that really worked things out with the DOJ, and they did it in a very timely manner. They’re trustworthy, and really do seem to put the poker players first, and “give back” more than other rooms. So from a player perspective, it’s great.

From an affiliate perspective – not so much. Pokerstars have obviously never cared too much about affiliates – not that I blame them. They just don’t need affiliates, and focus so much on their own marketing that I’m sure very few affiliates bring players in on their own merits – more are a result of the brand name that Stars have brought for themselves.

It’s going to be interesting to see how everything works out. I have lots of friends who are out a TON of money on Full Tilt so I’m excited for them, for sure. As an affiliate? I’m not holding my breath.

Draw Something – How About $180 Million?

CAP: 6 Years. 35 Attempts. Then $180 Million Overnight.

Thread Summary: Link to article and brief discussion on Charles Forman, who was ready to give everything up then he launched “Draw Something” which had over 35,000,000 downloads and saw Zynga purchase it.

I love these sort of stories. Jeremy Enkes favourite quote is “There’s A Million Ways To make A Million Dollars, you only have to find one.” I’ve always liked that quote because it’s not just about getting lucky – it’s about working hard, trying everything you can out, and really just never giving up. You just have to keep trying and trying because you know what? If you’ve tried 1,000 ideas and they’ve all failed…there’s still 999,000 other ideas to try.

It’s funny – because you normally don’t hear about peoples failures until they succeed. THEN they’ll be happy to tell you about all their past failures. But make no mistake – there are PLENTY of failures every day. Successful people fail constantly. I fail constantly. For every successful website I build, there’s 1 or 2 more websites that are complete and utter failures. But it’s all about learning from those experiences, and using them to become stronger.

Google Updates: Panda/Anti-Spam:

Lot of threads on this one, but the discussion seems to be centralized in This PAL Thread.

Thread Summary: It’s been a huge week in the Google SEO World. We had the Google Panda update 3.5, as well as the Google Penguin(Webspam) Update. Overall, some MASSIVE changes in the search engine world.

People who think internet markets have it easy have never lived through this. Many of our livelihoods basically rely on one source: Google. There are a lot of affiliates and internet marketers who don’t utilize PPC or any other form of marketing: they focus 100% on search engine optimization. And overnight, they can be left in ruins.

I respect Google for working so hard at trying to make the web better for everyone. Google is a huge part of our everyday lives. Not just internet marketers, but the average user. I know so many people who don’t use bookmarks anymore; they google EVERYTHING. And Google is trying their hardest to make sure that when the user googles something, they get what they’re looking for.

And of course – Google have a problem. More and more people every day are starting up affiliate sites. Less and less people start up a website “to be a valuable resource”. More and more are starting up websites “to make money”. And unfortunately for every GREAT website out there that is able to be a valuable resource WHILE attempting to make money, there’s 10 or 20 more that are poorly-spun content farms, that provide no real benefit.

There’s lots of suggestions and advice on how to “combat” all this on blogs and forums all over the web but honestly – there isn’t really anything concrete you can do. Just building a quality website may not be enough anymore. I mean you look through the results for a lot of key phrases and they seem to be all over the place. The only real advice I can offer on this topic is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re relying 100% on one particular income source – you could be in trouble. If you’re focused on one specific niche, demographic for type of marketing – look to spread yourself out, and broaden your horizons.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t written much on Panda on here it’s very simple – I’ve never been negatively affected by it! When I’m not affected by it, it can be very hard to really write about it and dissect it. I’d like to think that the reason for that is I’ve completely giving up on buying links in the past 2-3 years, and I’ve focused 100% on building quality websites instead.

In reality, as we learned from my Wrestlemania trip report, I was just born with a horseshoe up my ass. Little bit uncomfortable, but worth it!

Oh No – Not The Martingale!

PAL: A common issue with regular online casinos

Thread Summary: Affiliate posts a complaint from a player who was martingaling roulette and hit 23 straight red in a row. Affiliate strongly suggests the online casino is rigged.

I’ll ignore the whole “23 reds in a row is an ‘unbelievable phenomenon” part because um, yeah, heh.

It amazes me that in this day and age, people still think casinos are anti-martingale. I can understand when players think that casinos are, but that’s only because most people think they have came up with some “amazing” system that “can’t be beat” – when in reality the martingale is a terrible betting system that the casinos WANT you to play.

Seriously, the casinos LOVE when people use betting systems. Because it means the player thinks they have an edge(when the house has more of an edge) and are more apt to spend money on it.

I just wanted to mention this because I did consulting with an online gaming provider not too long ago. Their whole plan was to allow skins the option to have a betting system feature. You know how some online casino games allow “autoplay”? Well it’d be like that, but the player could choose to automatically use a betting system like the Martingale, Base Five, Fibonacci or D’Almbert betting system.

What’s funny is I probably talked myself out of the job when I had to tell them that this was a mistake – people use betting systems like the Martingale because they think they have some sort of “edge” on the casino. By the casino directly pushing it on them and enabling it, it would make people skeptical and actually think more about it.

Actually, I remember when people asked me what my job was and I told them I was a poker affiliate. Then they’d spend the next hour telling me how Pokerstars was rigged, and how their aces “always got cracked on the river”. So I started telling people I was a casino affiliate. Then they’d start tell me about how they “always win” because of this amazing new system they came up with, where they just double up every time they lose.

Now I just tell people I’m a garbage man.


THIM: Thank Hockey It’s Monday

Whew – it’s been awhile. But I’m back with my regular Monday morning motivational posts, and this week we’re Thanking Hockey It’s Monday.

Really, I should be thanking all sports but specifically this week it’s hockey, and the NHL playoffs (more…)


Thank You Mick Foley Raffle: Wrestlemania 28 Trip Report

People throw the word “best” around a lot. “I had the best time last night.” “I had the best vacation.” “I’ve came up with the best marketing idea.”

“Best” is a word that has been used so often, it’s lost its effectiveness. When you describe something as the “best”, you’re stating that everything else pales in comparison. That this really is better than anything you’ve ever experienced before. That it’s the ultimate – the best, and something you don’t expect to be topped in your lifetime.

With that, I hope you enjoy my Wrestlemania Trip Report – The Best Weekend Of My Life. (more…)


Analyzing the Junk Mail!

One thing that’s great about being a marketer is you never actually have to go out of the house to do any research – every week your work and research is delivered to your house. It’s delivered in the form of junk mail, store flyers, newspaper advertisements etc.
(more…)


TFIM: Thank Fireball It’s Monday

Welcome to TFIM: Thank Fireball It’s Monday.

“Fireball?” I hear you ask. Why would I be thanking one of these?

Well actually I’m not. No, I am thanking this: (more…)


What We Can Learn From Being the “100,000th Visitor”

When researching marketing ideas, one thing you really need to look at is marketing techniques that have stood the test of time. I wrote about this in detail in my article Copying A Successful Affiliates Marketing Constant where you would look at what stays the same on a successful website over the years, then duplicate it. (more…)


TMBIM: Thank March Break It’s Monday

Welcome to TMBIM – Thank March Break It’s Monday.

What exactly is March Break, and why are we thanking it? Well next week in Canada, the schools are closed for a week, which means my kids are going to be off school all week. Unfortunately my wife won’t be, so it means I’m forced to take a week off from work.

Whenever life gives me lemons, I always do my best to make beer out of it, and that’s the case here. It’s a forced vacation from work which is great, and I’m going to take full advantage of it, and thoroughly enjoy myself, having a great time with the kids.

In the meantime, knowing I have a week off I’m going to do what I love to do best – have a week of just non-stop, name-taking, ass-kicking work ahead of me.

Ready for a big week? I know I am. Let’s get cracking.

Betfair

Let’s start off on a great note – my payment issues with Betfair were resolved, and I got paid the money I was owed.

There was never any doubt that I would get paid, but it was frustrating how long it took to do so. Thankfully it’s all resolved now, and hopefully going forward continues to be a smooth process.

Thanks, Betfair.

Fun Night

John from gaffg.com was passing through my city last week, and stopped in to spend the night. I took him out to the local Scottish pub for some haggis poutine. Yes, there’s actually such a thing and it is delicious:

After that, it was off to a different pub where we drank the night away. John reminded me that he also owed me lunch. You see, last time I saw John was in Montreal when we met up to go to the F1 Racing last year, and he had recently just launched gaffg. He was proud of the fact that he was ranking #1 for terms like Interpartners Review, so being the ass I am I challenged him to a free meal if I could outrank him for the term within a week.

Well of course, I won the challenge(thanks in part to Interpartners hooking me up with a link from their homepage – hey, I never play fair!) and won the free meal. I cashed that in at Tommys Diner in Kingston the next day, as we went out for Eggs Benedict.

After that, John stuck around for a few hours. We watched the England vs Holland game, and John even came to help pick my kids up from school. My daughter was quite taken with John:

She can be quite shy, so afterwards I asked her why she wanted to hold Johns hand(which she held the whole walk home). Her response:

“Because I love him.”

So there you have it John. Just gotta wait about 14 more years and you can be my son-in-law!

John’s got a new project on the go right now that I’m really excited about watching, as I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s an F1 Betting Tips site, and his interest and passion into F1 should really shine through on the site.

Honestly, there’s nothing more I enjoy than seeing an affiliate with a passion. I deal with so many sub-affiliates who are in it purely for the money. So it’s always refreshing and great to see someone psyched about a website, and that shines through in the work that they do.

New TV Setup:

I’ve had a dual monitor setup for years. One thing I’ve always wanted though was a nice big TV on my desk while I work. Previously I had a much smaller TV, and then I used my laptop to watch stuff as well, but I wanted to get a much better setup to make it easier to watch sports every day.

Ended up picking up a new TV late last week:

The difference it makes is unreal. Previously using my laptop I find I had to focus a lot more when watching sports and trying to work. Now it’s more of a “background” thing that I’m always paying attention to. Works really well, and I’m already finding it increasing my productivity.

Or at least that’s what I tell my wife!

Hostgator are Awesome

When it comes to the best web hosts, I ALWAYS recommend Hostgator above everyone else. It’s not just because of the great prices they offer or all the options they have – it’s because of their customer service. In the last 15 years I’ve dealt with over 20 different web hosts, and none come close to the customer service that Hostgator offer.

Last week, they reaffirmed this. Sometimes sadly, your server goes down. It happened to me last week…probably the first time in six months. It was only down for about 15 minutes, before Hostgator manually rebooted it for me and it was all working again.

What really impressed me though was their response. They could’ve just said “that’s it fixed” but instead they provided this incredibly detailed reply to my “please reboot my server” support ticket:

Hello,

Your server is back up and running at this time, responding to ping, SSH, and Apache requests. It appears to have crashed previously due to running out of memory, though unfortunately I am not able to determine the exact program or script responsible using the information on hand.
I did notice that your server had some issues making outbound connections and performing DNS lookups around the time it crashed, which may have aggirvated and worsened the memory shortage, causing the Apache and other requests to just build up. To prevent this I’ve implemented a new set of DNS resolvers on your server, so that if one of the resolvers goes down, like what appeared to have occurred here, it will just try to use the very next resolver.

To ensure we can properly isolate the cause in the future, I’ve installed and started our system snapshotting script on your server to log a lot more diagnostic information. If the issue recurs and you find your server unresponsive, please open a new reboot request and in the instructions mention that sys-snap was running previously, so we properly parse through those logs after getting the server back online.

Seriously, just awesome, and the type of company that respects you as a person, instead of just “another customer number”. If you’re looking for a new web host, I can’t recommend Hostgator enough.

Bodog.com

You probably all know now that Bodog.com was seized by Homeland Security…the worst thing is I could have been on the one breaking this news story!

The story didn’t actually break until Tuesday morning. I actually found out about it on Monday morning. I was doing some research on Bodog/Bovada and I went to visit Bodog.com and got that lovely message.

Sad thing? I didn’t realize it had just been seized. There’s been so many domains taken, that I thought it had been seized months ago! So imagine my surprise when I start seeing news stories crop up about it 24 hours later.

Could’ve got me some nice backlinks out of that. Oops.

CNN Advertising:

One website I visit often is CNN.com. I visit it purely as a quick look at the latest headlines, and to make sure the world isn’t ending or anything.

What impresses me about a website, is when you’ve visited it thousands of times in your life, yet they still manage to make you stop and say “Whoa, I notice the advertising”. This is the typical CNN homepage:

I’ll usually go there, my eyes will ignore the center and right columns, and focus immediately on the left column, which is where all the news is.

Then last week I visited and my browsing habits were immediately broken, due to the ads that they were running:

To me, that’s really awesome. First of all, it stands out in a BIG way. It’s impossible not to notice. More importantly however – it’s SLICK. It’s not just “Let’s throw up a few banner ads and hope for the best”. It’s designed with the CNN homepage in mind. Look at the intricate design elements, and how all the ad areas, especially on the right side, are set up.

If you’ve got a website where you get a lot of repeat visitors(such as a poker strategy website), think about doing something out of the box like this. If people are used to your design, you can really wake them up with something as slick as this.

That’s All Folks:

Big work week ahead, including quite a few Affiliate Bible articles to write. And of course, the new Affiliate Bible design to work on!

Have a fantastic week. Make it your best work week yet!


TRBIM: Thank Refer Bingo It’s Monday

Welcome to TRBIM: Thank Refer Bingo It’s Monday.

Let’s get right into the reason for that title, shall we?

It Never Fails to Blow My Mind

How shitty an affiliate program can be at times. Especially an affiliate program for a highly respected and popular operation.

Like Betfair.

As a punter, I love Betfair. If you’re smart, it’s a great place to make money. They also beat every other sportsbook hands down when it comes to live betting. I’ve also had great experiences with the customer service there.

As an affiliate, not so much. There’s a few issues with their T&Cs, but my biggest problem with them at the moment is payment.

Or lack of payment, to be more specific.

I had money owed to me from Betfair. I contacted them about it, and apparently the payment details in my affiliate account were missing. I updated that, and was told on December 12th that I had missed that months pay run, and would be paid all money in Januarys pay run.

Except it wasn’t.

I had to e-mail them a couple of times, and I was told on February 6th that “an administrative error was made”, and the money will be sent out 2 days later.

It wasn’t.

I contacted them February 13th, and was told the payments were still to be made. I contacted them on the 20th as I still hadn’t received anything. I was told payments were made that day, and it would take 5 business days to reach my account. Not sure why that would apply considering it’s to Moneybookers, but either way – still nothing. I trust Betfair, and I know that eventually I’ll get my money – but it’s just plain retarded that it takes this long.

I’ve been in the internet marketing business since 1997. I’ve seen it all. Yet it still always surprises me when a big operation can make basic mistakes like this. You never know when things are going to turn tits up for your operation with some bad PR, and you’re going to need affiliates to keep people on your side.

Compare That To…

Refer Bingo.

Ever heard of them? I’m sure most of you haven’t. They’re the affiliate program for Bingo Cafe and Jet Bingo. I’d never heard of them.

Then they sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago letting me know that they owed me $5,000.

Read that again. They e-mailed me. An affiliate program e-mailed the affiliate, to say “Hey, we owe you money”.

Seriously, what?

You see, back in 2006 approximately, my team launched about 15 different bingo portals. It was mainly for keyword and affiliate program research. We signed up at a variety of different bingo affiliate programs. Like we’re talking 50 different programs here.

Apparently one of them was Refer Bingo, and apparently I managed to snag a good player or two, who has stuck around for the past 5-6 years, with my revenue there building every month.

It’s hilarious because I didn’t even know my login details for Refer Bingo. And here’s these guys e-mailing me to ask me for my payment details so they can pay me.

Seriously, how often does an affiliate program do that? My traffic there for the past few years is null. If they checked my account they would see I haven’t logged in since like 2006. They could have EASILY kept that money and I would have been none the wiser.

But they didn’t. And as you can imagine – the first thing I’ve did is make it priority to promote the absolute hell out of Refer Bingo.

Thanks Refer Bingo. It’s nice to know there’s still some good guys in this industry. It was a great motivational boost when that money hit my bank account.

Epik Media Goes Epik

My design company of choice is Epik Media, owned by Frank. Many of you know who that is – he’s created the sick Geo-IP Plugin, and has did a TON of work for Gambling Affiliate sites, Gambling Portals etc. The dude can code pretty much anything.

I just wanted to give them a quick plug, and say how amazing they are. They recently redesigned their website and it is SICK – check it out here: http://www.epikmedia.com/.

Absolutely amazing guys, and if you ever need a coder, a designer, or just about anything – Epik Media will handle it for you in a timely fashion, for a great price. The work they do is quite simply phenomenal, and Frank is the best person I’ve ever worked with.

It’s just a sheer coincidence that I wrote the above 3 paragraphs of ass-kissing on the same day I have to talk to Epik Media about a quote for the new Affiliate Bible design. Just a coincidence is all!

FRANK RULES.

That’s All Folks

But I’ll be back tomorrow AND Wednesday with two new articles!

And remember – sign up with Refer Bingo. Support the good guys.